NP Digital COO Talks About Explosive Growth, Agency Hires 125 In 3 Months

NP Digital has added about 125 employees in the first three months of 2022. About 650 employees support the performance agency’s clients today, but the company expects to add at least 50 more in the near future.

Kristen Shaw, senior vice president of marketing at NP Digital, recently joined the company to focus on lead generation, SEO, paid search, social media, account-based marketing, and partnership marketing.

Some employees work from the San Diego office. Most work from home around the world -- from the U.S. and Canada to the United Kingdom -- such as Brittany Richter, chief operating officer, NP Digital U.S.

Richter stepped into her role on May 2. She joins after supporting clients at Dentsu Media, where she served as chief of business strategy and transformation and chief of staff and head of resource management. Previously, she spent eight years at iProspect in the roles of chief solutions officer and senior vice president, head of products and services and vice president, head of social media, among other positions.

“The new business pipeline is constant, and we’re winning business at a high rate,” Richter said. “We’re having a little bit of turnover like you would see at any agency, but the agency is mostly growth driven.”

Search & Performance Marketing Daily (S&PMD) spoke with Richter to get her perspective on the current market and her plans for the year. Portions of the discussion follow.

S&PMD:  How does a company manage 125 new hires within three months?

Richter:  You need a really good on-boarding process. Get people in cohorts, those who joined every couple of days, so they can go through the process together. It’s beneficial not to be the only new person.

S&PMD:  What are some of your goals for the year?

Richter:  There is so much momentums at the company, so I want to help create processes, protocols and procedures — all the Ps, alliteration, purely accidental — though I don’t hate it. It’s to help me maintain the momentum and scale the business. I want to make sure the operation runs in a way that’s sustainable.

S&PMD:  Is the industry going in the correct direction?

Richter:  From a consumer standpoint, all the tighter privacy options are important. While challenging, it is forcing advertisers to think of ways to get more creative because of the limitations.

The hot topic now is the metaverse, but things are also moving toward the addressable space. The more control advertisers have, the more control their brands have when spending advertising dollars. It will benefit everyone except for those who built their platforms on technology that is less transparent.

S&PMD:  You have spent your entire career in advertising?

Richter:  Pretty much. I got my Master’s after my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Delaware, but my plan was to be a college professor. I taught public speaking for two years at the University of Delaware and managed that course, along with all of the instructors who taught it. I had a blog on the side just as a creative outlet. I organically started to learn about SEO before you could take classes. It caused me to make a pivot in my last semester, and I got started in advertising right away.

S&PMD:  What does a COO do at NP Digital?

Richter:  In the agency world, COO can mean a couple of things. It’s usually tech, IT, security and systems, or business operations processes, and overall agency management. I’m in the latter camp, working with Mike on all things NP Digital in the U.S. like overseeing the channel teams like SEO, paid media, and more, as well partnering with finance and human resources.

S&PMD:  If you could be one fictional character, which would you choose?

Richter:  Batman always comes to mind. I’ve had an affinity for Batman my whole life for a variety of reasons, but I feel it’s because I try to do good and not take the credit. Do it behind the scenes.

S&PMD:  Do you have time to read?

Richter:  Recently, I’ve been on a comedic kick. The books have less story of their life, and more stories from their life. I started with female comics, and read a couple about male comics.

S&PMD:  What is the best piece of business advice you received and from whom?

Richter:  Jack Swayne, the global CEO and managing partner at mSix&Partners, who I worked with at iProspect, told me to set boundaries. Although he appreciated it, I always wanted to say 'yes,' because I wanted to help people. He said the better I can set boundaries, the better I can support myself and others. I always say, 'this guy Jack Swayne told me,,' so I can pass it along with credit due.

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