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Blake Micola, Founder, GMS Media Group.

Meet Blake Micola: The $1 billion marketing maverick

Prepare to get rejected and dumped by clients, but don’t take it personally – it’s just business!

Blake Micola

Blake Micola was born into an entrepreneurial family in Sydney in 1989 and had a keen interest in business and helping others. 

Despite working in various fields such as hospitality, fashion, TV advertising, digital marketing, PR, account management, and recruitment through several jobs, Blake realised that building someone else’s dream was going to make him unhappy.

At the age of 25, Blake founded his first marketing consultancy brand, “M&Co Digital,” in 2015. The following year, he launched “GMS Media Group” to assist businesses in growing through social media advertising. He was a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2019, and in 2020, GMS won the Best Marketing Service award at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. Since 2016, GMS has helped more than 1,000 brands to grow by managing over $117 million in ad budgets. Today, GMS is a well-known agency with a great reputation in the industry.

“The key for me was to specialise in one vertical of marketing, which for me was digital advertising. I decided not to try to master everything, as you end up doing a mediocre job, Blake recalls.

“I was really lucky to have a stable job in the CBD at an international SaaS company, who were really supportive of me working on my agency on the side.”

“Eventually, it turned into a part-time relationship, which gave me a couple of days a week to focus on bootstrapping my agency. After about a year of doing this, I was able to 4x my salary with revenue through my consulting, which gave me enough security to jump ship and go full-time with my agency.”

Blake went on to explain, “I landed some key clients early on that put me on the map, including Vision Personal Training, Culture Kings, F45, Dr Demartini, and the DG Institute, to name a few.”

“At the same time, I became a member of a business network called CUB (Club of United Business), which allowed me to network with like-minded business owners, win clients, and have a clubhouse to use as an office. These elements helped me tremendously in the first few years,” Blake said.

Blake was proud to share, “Since 2016, we’ve managed well over $117M+ in digital paid media budget, which has produced roughly $1B in revenue across over 1,000 clients that we’ve had the pleasure of representing.”

“I always had a passion for business, being raised by Entrepreneurial parents ,and seeing the freedom they had to live the life they wanted on their terms which I admired greatly. I also realised from working several corporate jobs that I was never going to be fulfilled building someone else’s dream.”

Approaching new clients 

The three biggest trends for 2023 are AI, a privacy-first digital world, and TikTok’s influence on social media content

Blake explains that GMS has a unique approach to selecting clients. “We have a qualification process for brands that we want to work with,” he says. “We have learned that we cannot help every business out there, so we have to pick the right ones for us. Therefore, brands must meet certain prerequisites in order for us to represent them.”

“We don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk,” says Blake. “We run multiple digital marketing campaigns for ourselves, just like we do for our clients, so we practice what we preach.”

According to Blake, this process allows for healthier relationships between GMS and its clients. “When we have a deeper understanding of a brand’s industry and business model, we can provide a higher quality of service and optimal results. We know what works best for them, even before they join us.”

Blake recently shared his insights on the hottest trends in digital marketing for 2023. “The three biggest trends for 2023 are AI, a privacy-first digital world, and TikTok’s influence on social media content,” he stated.

According to Blake, these trends pose both challenges and opportunities for businesses trying to stay ahead of the competition. “It’s becoming increasingly complex to navigate the digital landscape, but at the same time, there’s a huge opportunity for us as an agency to help brands stay ahead of the curve,” he explained.

To help businesses stay on top of these trends, GMS Media Group runs multiple virtual masterminds and has formed close partnerships with major social media platforms and search engines. “Our partnerships give us cutting-edge insight into what’s coming next. We’re often the first to know before the general public knows,” Blake said.

He also highlighted the importance of a qualification process for brands looking to work with GMS Media Group. “We can’t help every business out there, so we have to pick the right ones for us. Brands must meet certain prerequisites before we represent them, which allows for healthier relationships, a higher quality of service, and optimal results,” Blake emphasised.

Blake believes that perfectionism can hinder progress. He advises entrepreneurs to identify a niche and clearly understand the problem they are solving for their customers. He suggests testing, reviewing, and refining until there is traction in the market.

Blake also recommends forming partnerships with other agencies that offer complementary services. This can help to grow a business’s database and clientele quickly. He acknowledges that rejection and losing clients can be tough but advises not to take it personally and remember that it’s just business.

In his own words, “There is so much information and clutter out there today, so find a niche and understand clearly what problem you are trying to solve for your customer. From there test, rinse and repeat until you start gaining traction in your market. Also, I recommend forming great partnerships with other agencies that offer complimentary services to you, as that is one of the fastest ways to grow your database and clientele. Prepare to get rejected and dumped by clients, but don’t take it personally – it’s just business!”

Challenges faced

Blake shared that starting his business was a challenging journey, especially when it came to financial support. As he said, “We are fully self-funded, so there was always a financial struggle early on to support me when I started.” Being self-funded meant that he had to find ways to make ends meet while building his business from scratch.

Aside from financial struggles, Blake also faced other challenges as a new entrepreneur, particularly when dealing with clients. He shared, “Not only that but not having any prior experience dealing with client issues and having no one to fall back on with support was a learning curve.” Blake had to learn how to handle client concerns and issues on his own, without the support of a larger team or resources.

He added that more established businesses have the advantage of having resources and departments dedicated to handling client issues. With a startup, however, one must learn how to handle everything on their own. “More established businesses often have tons of resources and departments to handle issues like these, whereas, with a startup, you are doing it all yourself,” Blake explained.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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