TechnologyAdvice is a B2B marketing company focused on quickly and effectively connecting businesses of all sizes with the IT vendors that best fit their technology needs. Their proprietary SmartAdvisor web tool allows users to sort through hundreds of IT providers based on desired features and budget, providing free and unbiased guidance that saves hours of research in the purchasing process.
Once the SmartAdvisor tool delivers its recommendations, they can put companies in touch with providers or supply additional information. Their website also provides in-depth research on tech products and trends through articles, research reports, white papers and videos.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on how your mindset as an entrepreneur has always been “Act now. Think later.” and how this approach has influenced your leadership style?
Rob: It really takes a certain mindset to survive as an entrepreneur. You can’t be afraid to take risks and you can’t be fazed by failure. I learn more by experiencing things – even if that means making mistakes. I don’t overthink decisions and get paralyzed by details and doubt. I dive in, then evaluate to find ways I can improve. To me, not taking risks is the biggest risk of all because you are limiting your experiences and opportunity for growth. This mindset has influenced my leadership style, as well. I try to avoid hiring people who use words like “strategizing” or “brainstorming” too often. I need more action and less meetings because in my mind, time wasted becomes opportunities wasted.
BusinessInterviews.com: What problem is TechnologyAdvice solving?
Rob: We have two main issues we’re trying to address. 1) Save IT buyers time and money in the research phase; and 2) Keep IT vendors honest by not letting them oversell their offerings. IT buyers are looking for the best fit for their needs, while IT vendors are looking for the people who will benefit most from their products. We believe there is a better way to make this connection that can benefit both sides. We research the products, produce educational content and offer unbiased analysis through our proprietary SmartAdvisor tool that helps IT buyers identify the options that best address their specific needs. This produces a more productive and positive purchasing process for both sides, with more educated customers less likely to invest their time and money in the wrong product.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some trends in gamification that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Rob: Gamification solutions that help employees increase productivity are certainly becoming the most common and the most in demand from companies large and small. The great thing about gamification is that, when done right, it makes an employee more productive while also making the work being performed more interesting. More productivity and more fun at work usually provides a big boost for company morale, so it’s the proverbial win-win for the company and employee. A more specific trend that’s fun to watch is the rapid proliferation of vendors in the gamification realm. Whether it’s productivity, consumer engagement, employee on-boarding or specific job training, businesses now have seemingly every option available. They can choose a large vendor that offers extensive customization for different campaigns, or they can go with smaller, specialized vendors to address specific needs.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to rebrand from Thrive Marketing Group earlier this year? What advice would you pass onto someone contemplating rebranding their company?
Rob: The inspiration to rebrand came from the need and desire to simplify our focus. As Thrive Marketing Group, we were a full-service digital agency that was trying to be everything to everyone. We promoted a creative environment and fostered new business ideas and ventures – maybe a bit too much. When we took a breath to evaluate everything in the spring of 2013, we realized we were running ten separate businesses from our one office. It was time to simplify and focus on our core business, which had become marketing products for technology vendors. We rebranded this facet of our business as “TechnologyAdvice,” making it our mission to use our knowledge and relationships in the tech realm to benefit those purchasing IT products. For those considering a rebrand, the first and most important step is identifying what you believe in and what you want to represent as a company. If it’s not something you can completely buy into, you won’t be fully committed to the change. Once you do this, you must jump into that decision and communicating it clearly and constantly to your team and your clients to make sure they’re on the same page.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share the significance of moving into your new office space and why it felt like such a milestone?
Rob: It was around the same time we came to the realization it was time to “grow up” as a company. We were finding great success in what we were doing, so we needed a bigger staff and a better working environment to keep up with the demand. We purchased land and had our entire leadership team get involved with designing our custom-built office, so to see it become a reality was a very powerful experience. Just a few years ago we were a small group working from my house, so this was a clear representation of the strides we had made as a company and the exciting future that lies ahead.
BusinessInterviews.com: You impressively started your first business at the age of 12. How has your definition of success changed or evolved since your earliest venture?
Rob: When you’re a kid, your definition of success is pretty simple and generic: you want to make lots of money to have a nice home and support a loving family. At least, that’s what it was for me. I’ve always been very driven and goal-oriented, but those goals have evolved over the past 15 years. Success to me is now tied more to relationships and growth than it is to income and possessions. It’s important to me to have a positive impact on the lives of others, so I find opportunities for us as a company and myself as a leader to be involved with charitable organizations and business development programs in our community. I’m extremely focused on our company’s growth, not just in revenue numbers, but in ideas, impact and the professional development of our team. Besides that, my biggest evaluation of success comes from being a great husband to my wife and a great father to our two kids.
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