David Koder: Building relationships

Products mentioned
Long-term goals

David Koder’s passion and commitment drives the success of D Koder Marketing, a Bath, Pa.-based agency that forges long-term relationships with clients. Catch up with David on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The who:

Given a business name is so central to a brand, we tend to put a lot of importance on it. How did you arrive at a name, and how do you feel about it now that you’ve been in business a while?

This is an awesome question and love sharing it… We originally started our business with Velocity SEO. We had the name, logo, but when we started the mission/vision statement we felt the excitement decrease. So after four to six months of work, we knew it was not catching in our market and surrounding target markets. We regrouped and brainstormed what the overall focus on the industry we are in and what we do.

D Koder Marketing was a play on words with our last name being involved in the development process.

My journey into this industry started in 2004 as a sophomore at Southern Lehigh High School taking web design classes and working with Front Page old-style HTML. (Why we started our business name with D Koder.) After leaving the sporting goods retail industry, I found a love for marketing. I carried over my best traits from retails into the marketing industry. (I do not hold a degree from college.)

This journey has been bigger than that. Marketing has nothing to do with promises, it has everything to do with A/B testing — and not any one client is the same.

As my father-in-law says, “My reverse lights are on.” Did you ever watch someone back up? Majority of people cannot. For me, it’s easy — I am a backwards thinker, you know — dyslexia. I have always thought through everything backwards. In the beginning it was hard, but as I got older it became easier.

In school I needed extra help, teachers liked me, but not my constant questions. To me, marketing is questions, experimenting and showing your findings and perfecting. “D Koder” is the starting point to all of this and also the beginning of understanding your needs to solve a problem.

“Marketing” was simple — that explained what we can help you with, and the industry we are in.

When we picked our colors, orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. Black denotes strength and authority. Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth.

I always loved figuring things out and helping others accomplish bigger and better. Our logo is all about the client. That is why we have the K behind the D and M. even though Koder is our last name, it is also a play on words and represents what we do — and why it’s orange.

With some brands, location is a key component. Is there anything about the place you live and work that’s shaped your own brand?

I was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley and lived here my entire life. When I started working for large marketing companies,I always did right for the client as I knew I was not leaving this area — and reputation is everything. I was not so much working on the marketing aspects, but my communication and networking skills, which is why we took off so quickly. I spoke to roughly 50% to 60% of the businesses in the Lehigh Valley over the last 15 years.

Could you describe the scope of your operation?

Some 75% of our day-to-day focus is marketing. Another 15% of our day is website design. We pick up clients based on their long-term focus. If marketing is not in their future plan, we decline and send them to a website designer. Our retention rate on clients who we have built their website and do their marketing is 99% since we launched our business.

Some entrepreneurs describe an aha! moment, the instant they decided it was time to take things into their own hands. Could you describe any of those moments you’ve had?

Ha-ha, where do I begin and end with this one? Let’s point out the elephant: Not following through on your word. Every big company worked on contracts, not effort. That was the turning point for me. If I wasn’t the first — I was pretty darn close to being the first agency to offer no term contracts and I know I we were the first to give our new clients exclusive rights to their target GEOs

The what:

What kind of projects do you prefer to work on? 

Marketing on search engines.

Sometimes we’re in a position where it’s necessary to turn down projects or even fire clients. What do those situations look like for you, and how do you manage them?

Simple, we interview our clients with a digital form when it comes to marketing. We take a thorough look at their current voice on the web. We ask them the common question:

Have you worked with any other agencies that handled your SEO? And how long ago did you leave that agency?

When we take on website design projects we want to know the client’s long-term goal, and that it’s not just build us a website. So, if they are looking for just Facebook advertising and a landing page, we will not take on the client.

The how:

An obvious metric for measuring our own success is how much you got paid versus how much time it took. In your experience, what are the advantages and drawbacks here?

We do everything in house and do not outsource any of the work, so the advantage is more profitable and still maintain a competitive proposal on the table. The downside is rapid growth, so you need to be prepared to hire and scan new team members or take on our approach and filter your leads from great and terrible.

Are there any resources (e.g. apps, processes) that you’d recommend to an up-and-comer?

This is such a broad question that I could answer on a podcast, haha.

What’s your parting shot for people who want to be like you when they grow up?

Think backwards.

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