Category Archives: small agency

DO Holiday Extravaganza

By | agency life, digital marketing, Digital Operative, small agency, Uncategorized | No Comments

DO always gets into the holiday spirit and this year was no different. We had a Toys for Tots – Toy drive in the office, Our Annual holiday potluck, Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, DOey Awards, Gift Exchange and DO elf who was keeping tabs on us the entire time… Here is a little glimpse into our office life over the last few weeks:

Toys For Tots

We decided to partner up with Uber and participate in the #UberSleigh Toy Drive. DO prides themselves on giving back to the community and we like that our employees are just as generous. We had so much fun buying toys and seeing the gifts multiply under the tree. We were the last stop for the #UberSleigh and they were  amazed at how many gifts we had collected!

DO Gift Exchange

Every year – we DO a gift exchange…and this year was no different. Pick a number and open a gift – you can steal…but, a gift can only be stolen twice. We all had a blast doing the gift exchange. Unfortunately for BJ, he drew first. Which means every gift he picked was stolen and in the end….He was left with a talking Parrot!

Ugly Sweater Party

Every year, we do an Ugly Christmas sweater contest. This year we had an employee who really out did herself….She walked in and the contest was already over….She wasn’t wearing an Ugly Christmas Sweater, but she was dressed like a Christmas tree. #winning

DOey Awards

A few years ago, BJ and Adam created the DOey awards – These awards are given to every employee and each person is recognized for something different and fun that they are known for throughout the office….For instance – I always wear a snuggie in the office, because I am cold 365 days a year. So, my name was “Queen Snuggie”….We also had, The “Paleo-tologist”, “Diet Coke and Dispositions”, “Hollywood” and “Bourbon for Breakfast” just to name a few.

DO Elf

And just for fun….we have the DO elf that watches over us every year to make sure we are on our best behavior – here are a couple of our favorite shots from this Holiday season with DO:

This year was a blast at DO – we can hardly wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!

12 Weeks – What It’s Really Like To Intern For A Digital Agency

By | agency life, digital marketing, Digital Operative, small agency | No Comments

It’ s that time again to introduce another one of our Fall interns –  Over the course of the next 12 weeks we will focus on bringing you a fresh perspective from our Strategy, Marketing and Design interns on what it’s really like to intern at a digital agency. Today we will introduce our Strategy intern, Steven Shyne……

I was born in Bozeman, Montana but grew up mostly in Seattle, moving back to Montana for high school and to be closer to our family. After high school I moved to Portland, Oregon for college but transferred to San Diego State University within a couple years and I’ve been in San Diego every since. While in school, I worked at a corporate travel planning firm, putting myself through college, before entering the marketing world. Traveling is how I like to most spend my time, money and energy: just this year, I went to London, Tokyo and Alaska, and in a few weeks I’m off again to Mexico. When I’m not traveling I enjoy hitting the beach, dinner parties, painting, catching up with friends, and hanging out with my dog, Barnaby.

1. Where do you go to School? What is your Major? When do you plan on graduating?

I graduated from San Diego State University this past May with a degree in Marketing.

2. How did you hear about Digital Operative?

I met Eric, my now supervisor, at a mutual friend’s party. We got to talking about all things digital marketing, he told me about DO and their internship program and that’s when my obsession with Digital Operative began. The rest is history.

3. What do you hope to learn from your internship?

I hope to learn everything, but since that’s nearly impossible, I hope to gain a better understanding of how a digital marketing agency operates both internally among their departments as well as externally with their clients as well as assist in the strategic development of providing clients with solutions.

4. 1 week down – 11 to go……How do you feel after your first week of interning?

I feel afraid that I might get hit with a Nurf gun dart! But other than that I feel very excited and really pumped to learn and help. I started my internship at the same that a new client was brought on, so I’m going to be able to watch the whole process from the beginning over the next 12 weeks.
5. What do you hope to do after completing your internship and graduating from college?

Well, I’m already done with school, but after my internship I hope to obtain a full-time job and continue to learn about all things digital marketing (and pay back my student loans).

6. Tell us something interesting about yourself?

While in college I served as a research assistant to a professor of mine, and because of our work, I received an award and a cash prize for our advancement in the field and contribution to the school. Furthermore, we are currently attempting to get our work published.

Steven is strategy intern by day and event planner by night….And 100% awesome ALL DAY

Graphic Designer & Burger Lover: Evan, Answers the Tough Questions

By | agency life, design, Digital Operative, interviews, small agency | No Comments

We took a break from working so hard to do a short interview with Evan Kosowski, one of our highly skilled graphic designers here at Digital Operative. We asked him 10 of the hardest and most vital questions we could think of, check out what he had to say!

What do you do at Digital Operative?
All things graphic.

What are 3 things on your desk right now?
Cell phone, headphones and my trusty coffee.

What is your favorite food?
Nothing beats a juicy burger.

Mac or PC?
Mac + PC?

Where are you from and how long have you lived in San Diego?
From Buffalo, New York. Been in San Diego for exactly 8 months.

What is your favorite activity?
Surfing, can’t get enough.

Where did you go on your last vacation?
Took a weekend trip to Catalina Island recently. It was surprisingly serene.

What is the last CD/MP3 you bought?
It was probably the newest Death Cab for Cutie album “Codes and Keys”.

What is your favorite airline to fly on?
Clearly JetBLue is where its at.

What brand would you love to work with?
A brand like Nike where the potential is endless and the style is cutting edge.

Thanks Evan! Only been in San Diego for 8 months, but you sure are living the SoCal life!

P.S. To see some of Evan’s work just look at the graphics on this blog. He’s created most of the DOodles’ title graphics!

Marketing Intern Day 1: The Great Unknown

By | agency life, small agency | One Comment

Hello world, my name is Denise and this is my first day at Digital Operative! I am super excited to be here and start working. I know the next 12 weeks are going to be quite interesting, with a refrigerator full of Red Bulls and robots on the walls- true signs of a good time. I seem to be the only girl working here presently, so I hope to be welcomed into this boys club. I’ve had other internships before but none at a company like DO. The quality of work designed and produced here is awesome and at the end of the 12 weeks I hope to come away with some of that awesomeness. I expect to learn what it really takes to not only work in an agency setting, but how to flourish in one. The biggest expectation I have here at DO is to watch and learn the whole process of meeting with a client and seeing the end result of their plan, whatever that may be. A few other things I hope to accomplish here at DO are to:

  • improve my communication skills online and in person
  • learn the rights and wrongs of websites, social media and SEO
  • learn the proper conduct when discussing plans with clients
  • learn a little about designing and what goes into the thinking behind coming up with a creative design
  • eat a homemade tortilla at every Mexican restaurant in the area

Lastly I hope I find what it is I want to do after graduation, and possibly be on the right track toward achieving that.


incubagency Now Accepting Intern Apps

By | agency life, education, small agency | No Comments


As with most Summers, there is an influx of new grads and Seniors looking to carve out their next move in their career path. Like many businesses, we see a need to have young folks getting our coffee, cleaning the fishtank, washing dishes, squeeging the windows, parking our cars, etc.

Really? Not so much.

By working with many students and grads from area schools like SDSU, UCSD, Art Institute San Diego, Pt Loma Nazarene; we see a continued need to help these folks evolve and get the right kind of training so they have a clue when walking into an agency, in-house role or anywhere really.

We created a 12-week program called incubagency.

incubagency is …

  • for passionate people that know the digital landscape is forever shifting
  • looking for 3 students of various focus – Design, Development & Marketing
  • delivering real cross-functional team experience
  • a combination of Mentorship, Hands-on Learning, Start-up and Doing Good
  • offering both Paid and Credit-based compensation
  • based in our San Diego, CA agency office
  • now accepting resumes for Summer 2010

If this sounds at all exciting to you, head over to and submit your information. If you really want to get us coffee, wash dishes and answer phones; we can find a cubicle for you.

DO Nominated as Agency of the Year

By | agency life, awards, small agency | 3 Comments

What a year last year was and as many award programs start their push, we find ourselves in the midst of one. I actually found out while we were at TECHCocktail that we were nominated, which at the time was an honor. You work so hard day-to-day that it’s great to see appreciation from peers within your community. As much as this nomination is great for Digital Operative; it’s even better for the people on our team who bust their butts day in and day out to make sure that our strategies, marketing, design and development work is exceptional. So big pat on the back to our team and we’d love to invite our friends to give us a vote if you think some of the work we’ve been doing exemplifies what the following description is:

“You are a San Diego based agency or consultancy that has made new media a differentiator in your service offering. You have run successful campaigns that have shown expansive growth. Your creative is shareable, your concepts are viral, and your execution makes you the agency of the year.”

VOTE for DO as Agency of the Year

Big Brother Agencies Getting a Bad Rap – AdAge followup

By | digital marketing, small agency | No Comments

So I’m reading an article titled Does the Industry Need Big Digital Agencies Anymore? and I begin to think about some of the 22 projects we’ve done over the past year. I think about some of the projects where we’ve been 4th down on the food chain providing Flash development for Unilever to strategizing and executing a guerilla marketing campaign for one of the largest Japanese TV networks, driving 200,000 views to their video channel.

Does it matter that big agencies are using small agencies to do the work? An even better question is, “Do the clients care they are working through a middleman?”

From being both in a 150-person agency to DO, which is 10 people; it should be all about results. The shift to digital marketing for traditional agencies is a stretch unless you go out and buy a small shop with processes and experience in place. What the big agencies do offer is global strategies, client services and relationships. They’ve been with a client for a few years, so they understand their business, they understand the customers they are engaging and they have been responsible for crafting the messaging. Now the shift to digital can be facilitated by using what people were calling “production companies” or what I would call “translation shops.” At the end of the day it’s about great content, integrated tactics, measurement and optimization. So results. You can have the best creative in the world, but if you don’t know how to deliver that into the digital channel and to the type of customer that spends 6 hours a day on their phone, 4 hours on Facebook, 30 minutes reading magazines, 4 hours watching TV on Hulu and 2 hours playing Rockband; think of it like “Returned to Sender.”

Smart traditional agencies are looking for savvy digital partners to provide strategy, marketing and technology. Digital is here and if you’re still thinking about how to maximize your clients’ exposure on the web; you’re already behind because cross-platform (mobile + web) is where you need to be. iPhone consumption is growing, DROID is here and mobile frameworks are here to help you make the transition. Think digital, think about your future.

Here’s the link to the AdAge article too.

Being a Digital Agency is Easy

By | agency life, entrepreneurship, small agency, startup | 2 Comments

There’s so much to consider when starting up your own digital agency and here’s the list that circulates my brain everyday from when I wake til when I fall asleep around 3-4am each morning.

  • What category do we fall into? Digital Agency, Interactive Marketing, Social Design Consultants
  • Should we offer services in everything we’ve ever done?
  • Who can I reach out to in order to extend our network?
  • What big agencies would have large amounts of overflow work?
  • What companies are hiring for roles that they could save money on by working with us?
  • Is it better to hire on or partner with another team?
  • Am I spending my time on the right stuff?
  • Is our environment the best it can be for our team?
  • When is it time to expand into a bigger office?
  • When are we launching our social media analytics tool?
  • When is the website redesign going to be completed?
  • Am I spending enough time with my family?
  • When will I sleep?

There are some harsh realities when starting up a digital agency. And there are so many great things that come with it as well. Can you focus on the good things and let the little things roll off your back? Some of the most important things about a Digital Agency are: love who you work with, never give up, be creative when looking for projects, tap inspiration from those around you and believe that what you envision as the point of sustainability will be there soon.

As much as this translates into some of the daily challenges I face as the CEO and co-founder, it also should show that I embrace transparency outside of my own walls. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on some of the things they are challenged by and see if we can create some great tips and resources for other agency leaders.



Good News for the Small Agency

By | awards, digital campaigns, events, small agency | One Comment

So I just got an email from AdAge. Figured is was about some big agency launching the next best social media campaign, viral Flash microsite or how someone jumped ship from CPB that used to work for JWT and is now dating someone from TBWA. Whew …

What I found was the Small Agency Awards brought to you by AdAge.

  • $150 per entry
  • Agency must have 75 employees or less
  • Two categories: “Small Agency of the Year” or “Campaign of the Year
  • Final entry deadline is May 22nd

I was reviewing the categories trying to see where DO would best fall. We’re too new for the Agency of the Year, but consider this my virtual nomination. We do have a great campaign, that unfortunately, we can’t talk about due to this legal, acronymed document and others.

To all those little guys out there, go on with your badselves and submit your work, be proud to be small and keep doing big things! Madison Avenue isn’t looking so good these days. But here in San Diego, things are thriving and I’ve noticed many little agencies popping up all over around here. Best of luck!

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