Evolving the traditional agency model

26 Feb 2020 in

Kicking off our first 2020 “In Conversation With” interview, we’ve spoken to Jai Amin, Vice President of Paid Search for Jellyfish.

Jellyfish is a global boutique agency, delivering digital marketing solutions for a host of clients in Europe, the US, and South Africa.

Jai has been with Jellyfish for over nine years, making him the best person to get the inside scoop on topics such as services that go beyond the traditional agency model, the best in paid search, and what career advice he would give his past self.

Let’s begin.

To kick things off, please can you give our readers a bit of background into what your main responsibility at Jellyfish is?

I’m the Vice President for Paid Search at Jellyfish, which involves wearing quite a few different hats. My biggest one is to ensure our paid search efforts are always innovative and pushing boundaries. I, maybe to the annoyance of my team, set very high standards for our existing clients.

But with that comes the need to have the right kind of mindset and tools to enable my team to do their very best work.

I also have to make recruitment a top priority. We’ve learned so much over the last 9 years of hiring people. There’s less of a focus on tech skills, and more of an emphasis on hiring people with the right sort of attitude. You can teach someone technical skills, you cannot teach someone how to have a positive attitude to work.

What do you mean by having the right tools?

Specifically, our technology. We continually develop our solution and look for the right tech and the right platforms to give the best quality for our clients.

So, for example, we use Infinity and Search Ads 360. But, we use about five other important technologies to help support our work. Technologies that help us remain in budget and act as a safety net for our projects.

There is always new tech becoming available for paid search, so we constantly vet these opportunities and determine if they can add value to our solution. People assume that having more tech means taking more jobs away from people. But actually, it has freed my team’s time up to be far more creative.

Jellyfish’s CEO, Rob Pierre, recently spoke about the importance of offering services that go beyond the traditional agency model, how does paid search fit into that?

We’ve actually been at the forefront of that for a while now. It’s about being able to provide the right product or service to our partners when they need it and adding value to the relationship through multiple channels.

At Jellyfish, we’ve transcended this typical agency model by becoming expert practitioners and trainers across the digital spectrum. We advise clients on how to do their own paid search and how to get the most out of the technology they’ve got, or we can do it all for them. We can provide training, thought leadership, webinars, strategic support either through fully-managed or self-served partnerships.

For example, one of our major projects in 2019 was creating an in-house team for a very well-known brand in the US.

The brief was simple. We helped stand up the technology, we organized their media accounts and improved performance, we helped them recruit then train their staff, and we handed over the keys when they were ready to take over as their own in-house team. We are now coming to the end of this exciting time and it’s been one of our most successful projects. I can definitely see us doing a lot more of this in 2020.

What questions should your clients be asking you in 2020?

“Am I measuring everything I need to be measuring?”

“How are we differentiating ourselves from our competition?”

“Do we have the right creative plan in place?”

Ensure the foundations are firm, understand the market and industry trends, understand your competition, make sure you are building/developing the rights assets and establish a growth plan and strategy.

How does an agency stand out?

I think it starts by looking at your value proposition. At Jellyfish, it’s the breadth of digital services that we offer, the knowledge and expertise we bring, our technical and data-driven approach to our work and our innovative output.

It’s also the ability to show a collaborative strategy across all departments. Whatever we discuss, be that social, paid, or search we make that what we present a joint up approach in all that we do.

What excites you about 2020?

Perhaps it’s a selfish one, but we’re actually moving into a new office. We’re now counting down the weeks. And we’re so excited to move into our new offices. That’s going to be a huge change for us culturally. I mentioned earlier that we are a joined up approach agency, with everyone working together - this move is only going to enhance that.

The other exciting thing is the opportunities we’re going to get in Brazil, Paris, Germany, and our expansion into Asia. Increasing our global footprint and the opportunity to be involved in more global campaigns, pitches and initiatives.

If you could advise your past self to be wary of one thing in your career, what would it be?

I would say to my past self:

“Don’t be protective of your job. Get rid of the fear of ‘If I don’t do all of this, then what am I going to do?’ It’s about being more open to your role changing on a regular basis.”

“I feel we could have a more open mindset towards our jobs - though I know that is much easier said than done. Businesses change and that means roles change. It actually means the company wants to use their employees’ brains more, and results in less mundane boring work and more fresh, new challenging work.

Finally, in an interview for Martech series 1, you mentioned the need for a consistent view of the customer journey. What’s the real value of having this?

The real value of seeing consistency in the customer journey. Finding the consistent holes in gaps in your customer journey. Doubling down on what’s working and to improve on what’s working and then apply them elsewhere. Is that creative, messaging? If it’s good - do it more. You can only do that by having a consistent view of the customer journey. Without consistent data and fragmentation, you’re just making guesses.

Infinity is a powerful call intelligence platform that not only proves your results but also drives continuous improvement for sales and marketing teams. Hundreds of agencies are already seeing the value of partnering with Infinity.

"Infinity has always taken caller data seriously, which gives us great confidence in recommending them across our client base. We're pleased that our clients can see we work with such forward-thinking platforms."

Rob Pierre | Co-founder & CEO, Jellyfish

If you’d like to see how Infinity works with agencies to deliver full attribution for their marketing efforts, start a conversation with us by clicking this link or by using the live chatbox on the right.


1.Martech need for consistent view, Martech Series, (2019)

Alex Fassam

Alex Fassam

Alex is a digital expert specialising in creating copy that engages, entices, and excites our clients. Usually found poring over past issues of Vogue and playing paparazzi to his dogs.

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