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#AOTYAwards MY 2021 spills: Elixus attributes its success to its people

#AOTYAwards MY 2021 spills: Elixus attributes its success to its people

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Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Elixus is a performance-driven digital marketing agency that specialises in performance marketing, social media, CRM and email marketing, web development and SEO, said its LinkedIn. Among the list of brands the agency has worked with include Decathlon, L’Occitane, Peugeot, Savencia, Arla, and Lurpak. Recently, the agency managed to clinch the gold award for Performance Marketing Agency of the Year at A+M's Agency Of The Year 2021.

Additionally, it was also a finalist for Digital Agency of the Year, New Kid on the Block, Agency Leader of the Year and Most Effective Use – Mobile at A+M's Agency Of The Year and MARKies Awards 2021. 

Elixus's regional head of business development, Hubert Wang Tose (pictured) told A+M that when it came to the agency's success, the credit goes to the people. "Our people have the ability to deliver our various services in a way where all disciplines collaborate and talk to each other," he added. Moreover, when it comes to recruitment in the agency, Tose explained that the agency believes that technical skill can be trained, but character is within the individual. "We place as much importance on the person as we do on their technical skills," he said. 

This interview is done as part of A+M’s winners' and finalists’ interview series for AOTY Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, click here.

Tell us about your agency and what makes it special? 

Tose: We launched Elixus - a full fledged digital marketing agency with a strong focus on performance in July 2019 with five original team members. In a little over two years we have grown to over 90 people with boots on the ground in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, the UK, and France.

Over the past two years we have had the pleasure of working for some amazing brands, a number of whom are well-known global brands including, Decathlon, L’Occitane, Peugeot, Savencia, Arla, and Lurpak. We have also serviced a number of local and regional heroes including Ayam Brand, TNGD, BigPay, KUMU, and Mr DIY.  We currently work with close to 100 clients with both local, regional, and international remits, providing a combination of our performance marketing, social media marketing, email and motion video design services.

When we set about launching Elixus, we felt that there was a significant gap in the market for a new breed of digital marketing agency to fill. With a founding team that had spent their formative years in a variety of marketing disciplines, we felt that the market would be well served by combining the consultative approach traditionally provided by your consulting firms, creative design, that has for a long time been the strength of traditional agencies, technical,  data-driven optimisation to sit in that apex between the key players in today’s digital marketing landscape.

We don’t see ourselves as revolutionising digital marketing, we just believe that with our performance-based, scalable methodology for digital marketing - we are just doing it better. 

What do you think is needed for agencies to succeed in today’s day and age? 

Tose: I believe that there are three things that allow agencies to succeed these days: maintaining high standards around client servicing, something we like to call operational excellence and performance-based results, hitting or often exceeding KPIs set by clients.  The key ingredient to making this happen is people. We would not be where we are today without the unrelenting commitment shown by our amazing team of professionals day in and day out.

Our people have the ability to deliver our various services in a way where all disciplines collaborate and talk to each other. Another key component for success has been for us and our clients to stop looking at social media management, paid ads, CRM, branding, and design as siloed disciplines but as inter-connected.

A simple example of this is how we provide free static design for AB test variations for performance marketing because you can’t optimise ads effectively without it.

How do you attract the right talent for your teams? 

Tose: Our original core team was assembled through our CEO and founding team’s network of past teammates. The first 30 or so members of Elixus had worked for or worked with members of our founding team. At this stage, we had worked with each other before, gone our separate ways for one reason or another, and because of the “Elixus Dream” found ourselves back under one roof again.

Personal networks can only go so far, and in recent times we have created a talent acquisition function to support the acquisition of talent for Elixus. There are three things that have helped to attract talent for our teams. Firstly I believe it is the company culture that we have created here, which is based on our core values of 

  1. What I do best #KICKASS
  2. Done it, Nailed it #OPERATIONALEXCELLENCE
  3. Don’t worry bro #IGOTYOURBACK, 
  4. My second name is #HUSTLER
  5. & FUN...

Secondly, people often get excited by the clients that we work with, and thirdly, I believe that people are attracted to working for Elixus by our story. They are excited by this new upstart agency that has taken the SE Asian market by storm and has achieved meteoric growth during a period that has been possibly the most challenging market conditions experienced at least for our generation.

Furthermore, when people get to talk to our team, they get to know that we are an organization that promotes equal opportunity for all. Our five board members are made up of a 3:2 ratio of Female to Male. Our team is made up of a diverse group of people of different nationalities, religions, and sexual orientation. We believe that technical skills can be trained, thus we started our internal academy to support that growth, but the character is within the individual and we place as much importance on the person as we do on their technical skills.

What do you think makes for great client-agency relationships today? 

Tose: There is a broader picture that one often does not see, understanding that, we as an agency, are a cog in a much larger machine, the core foundation is for our cog to turn so the rest of the machine functions. If our cog is not turning in sync with the rest of the machine, the machine will inevitably look to replace the cog for a better one.

As with all great relationships, one needs to have compromise, expectations that are clearly managed, and a clear plan and clear and careful planning for deliverables which the Agency can reasonably meet and adheres to the Client’s needs. High standards with it comes to client servicing is paramount, it strongly ties with two of our core values of #IGOTYOURBACK and #OPERATIONALEXCELLENCE. 

Compromise is extremely important when it comes to building a strong relationship between Client and Agency. Having clients that put unrealistic demands on the agency is ultimately untenable but at the same time, the agency needs to be flexible with its approach to servicing the client account. Clear lines of communication, working together towards a mutually agreed delivery schedule will help to build a strong foundation between client and agency.

Unrealistic or poorly managed expectations on the client’s side is a surefire route to disaster. This all starts way before actually engaging the client with the sales team. Not overselling and setting unreasonable expectations on the client-side. We believe in underpromising and over-delivering. But at the same time always aim to deliver what we promise.

Planning is another important part of building a strong client-agency relationship. Make sure that clear boundaries are set with the client, turnaround timelines for setting up ads, designing banners. This is closely linked to managing expectations as it is also not reasonable to jeopardize the health and sanity of our team in order to satisfy unrealistic expectations from the client-side.

What capabilities will you build on as we head into 2022? 

Tose: Digital marketing is a people business, we’re only as strong as our weakest link. Going into 2022, we will continue to invest in our people. Providing training and support across all areas from management skills and technical skills in order to help our team become better versions of themselves.

That aside, we will continue to expand on our channel expertise and broaden the options that we can offer our clients when it comes to our digital marketing services. We launched our Motion Video design business,, at the beginning of 2021, continuing to grow and refine this business will be a core focus for us going into 2022.

Building on the success we have achieved with our Social Media and Performance Marketing offerings, we have plans to continue our growth trajectory - launching complementary services, such as digital marketing consulting and training, that help to provide a well-rounded performance driven offering for our clients. We will also invest further resources into our European expansion through our teams in the UK and France


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