Zach Robbins is the CEO of Leadnomics, a digital lead generation and marketing company that leverages the latest media technology and data science to deliver scores of high-quality customer prospects to agents, carriers, and other members of the insurance industry. The company also applies its unique lead generation platform to meet the needs of leading advertisers and publishers. In 2011 and 2012, the company achieved rankings in the top 50 on the Inc. 500. Additionally, Zach is the CEO and founder of Margo Insurance, a venture he started last year. Margo aims to revolutionize the insurance marketplace by providing customers with more transparent pricing while advocating on their behalf. Both Leadnomics and Margo are based in Philadelphia, with presences in New York City. Aside from executive functions, Zach is also a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
WILL COTTER: Can you give us an overview of Leadnomics?
ZACH ROBBINS: Leadnomics is a customer acquisition technology platform. We specialize in vertical areas such as insurance. The platform started developing in 2007. Since then, we’ve just been adding core functionality to the platform to make us successful in each area that we decide to operate in.
How did you get involved in the insurance industry in particular?
When we were managing search campaigns, we really cut our teeth in financial service verticals: short-term lending, credit cards, anything really with a financial services background. From there, we shifted to auto insurance, where we noticed massive scale—pretty much everyone in the U.S. drives as part of their daily commute. We thought that there would be massive opportunity.
So you were initially involved in search engine marketing?
Well, in 2007, me and my co-founder were actually still in college. Early on, at the very beginning of the company, our efforts were 100% geared towards managing Google search campaigns, display campaigns—way before content marketing and things like that ever existed.
How has content marketing changed that landscape?
Content marketing is relevant to us in terms of how we position the brands we build. It’s fortunate that we have a content team in-house that can produce the content and then market the content that we produce first-party rather than going to an agency and paying for services that way.
Where does Leadnomics fit into a company’s overall marketing approach?
Within marketing techs, there’s plenty of marketing technology, marketing automation platforms that sell the promise of either marketing and automating processes for your business or your service. The distinction with Leadnomics is that we’re actually working with advertisers or insurance carriers where we’re only compensated on a performance model.
Can you tell us what motivated the decision to expand out of Philadelphia and into New York City?
We’ve been in Philadelphia since 2008, shortly after the inception of the company. We’ve had our headquarters here since then, but for certain roles we found that it is much easier to actually hire in New York. Much more of our competition has a presence there, so for certain roles it’s much easier to find people with prior experience rather than train 100% of the staff.
How important is that prior experience?
I think that one of the things that really make us successful is that we’re built around being very lean and agile, and being able to execute on priorities as they come up. It’s about making sure that the teams are collaborating enough, and making sure that the company has a culture that enables everyone to really understand the impact that they can have on the company.
Do you focus on different clients or verticals here versus in New York?
The client base is not so relevant to each of the area offices that run because we actually work across the entire country, so we don’t need essentially regional offices or something like that to sell nationally. Our client base is actually reflective of that: we have clients all across the country. The clients can be a national insurance carrier, someone like Allstate or Progressive, or it could be someone who is using some of our self serve technology that has a 4 person shop—and that’s somewhere in the Midwest. There’s companies similar sized to us, where they’re 40 to 100 people. There’s a few public companies in this space that play in the same areas. Insurance, for example, is one of Google’s largest categories. GEICO may spend up to a million dollars a day on just search advertising. So, there’s a lot of marketing dollars to go around for auto insurance, and carriers need to sustain their growth.
Would you consider Leadnomics to be a marketing agency?
We don’t have an agency model, but at the end of the day, a lot of the services that we offer for our clients are agency services; we’re just doing them on a different pricing model. It can be anything from display, media retargeting, email, social, search. Affiliate marketing is one of our core competencies and something that we really built the company on. To this day we still maintain an affiliate network.