Mr. Channon has 20 years of digital marketing and business development experience. He is Executive Chairman & Principal at NewLead, a digital marketing and technology development firm.Previous professional experience includes technology, marketing and executive leadership roles at Saltmines Group, Bridgevine and Atlantic Synergy. He is also an elected member of the board of directors for Voices for Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast, a 501c3 non-profit serving Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program. Mr. Channon also serves as an advisor and investor in several consumer-facing technology start-up companies. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and Rotary International. He is a near lifelong resident of St. Lucie County, Florida. B.A. degree in Religious Studies from Stetson University and participated in the school’s Basketball Team, the Roland George Investments Program and the Prince Entrepreneurship Program. His interests include athletics, investing, horse racing, craps tables, Scotch, underprivileged children’s causes, theology, chicken wings, hot sauces and naps.
Tell us something about yourself and your role at your company.
I am the Principal & CEO at NewLead. A South Florida based technology services firm providing website design, software programming, digital marketing, business consulting & cloud services. I am responsible for securing new business relationships and revenue, identifying customer needs to help fuel our internal innovation and new skill adoption, community relations and client success.
How do you think digital marketing, more specifically SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
In the past 10 years, Google’s algorithm has become better and better at reading web site pages and scoring them the way a human would. For example, in the early days of SEO, it was possible to trick the engines through keyword stuffing – it got sites ranked high but to a human, the content and text just did not make any sense. Google’s algorithm is increasingly focusing on customer experience and takes into account so many more forms of inputs to effectively score a site. Pages that cater to the consumer – load fast, easy to navigate, have clear content organization and legible, understandable text – are being rewarded more and more. So, the trend for SEO has been to focus on customer experience and meaning – not on tricks and hacks to build SEO rank.
The state of regular Google and Facebook updates are uncertain and challenging right now — how are you and your team managing through it?
We are aware of the changes going on at Google and Facebook. However, they do not significantly impact our SEO and customer experience services for customers. We have always focused on what is good for the customer – good content, good navigation structure, fast loading pages. Never any tricks or hacks. Customer-first mindset. Tell a real story about your services with the content, an Google will reward you. Yes, at times, we see SEO hacking give competition short term benefits, but when the algorithm pendulum swings, our efforts are not impacted. Same approach on Facebook – we focus on writing and producing relevant, helpful ads and content for our audiences and that is the source of performance strength. In short, we are not super concerned about the things we cannot control – we are on the things that we can.
Everybody knows what you have achieved, I would like to talk about your failure stories and how they impacted your professional life. (as we know Rome wasn’t built in a day)
I am an expert in failure – it has happened many times. I have learned that failure of a venture is not the end. Sometimes, it is the beginning. One venture I started in 2014 fell apart in 2017. I am grateful it did. Because of that, I was able to grow one venture of mine by 5x since that collapse as well as arrange the sale of one project for a material gain. It’s also triggered a series of events that has led me to meet many new people and gain many new perspectives. Without that collapse, which was painful, I would not be where I am today. When it comes to failure, the sun will come up the next day and those that matter most to you will continue to support you. It takes a true understanding of that to push forward in the face of adversity and uncertainty and find the goal line. Many are fearful of failure and refuse to fail. That is not succeeding. It also brings character into question. I have seen those facing failure and turn to unethical and illegal practices simply to save face and avoid failure – faced with that performance pressure and uncertainty of what’s next, it becomes very easy to give into temptation to engage in questionable and compromising practices. I look back and I sleep well at night because I know failure is not the end. I suggest all entrepreneurs to embrace the reality of failure – it will make it much easier to choose the right path when faced with uncertainty – to effectively evolve the business to success – and to keep eyes and ears open to new perspectives and opportunities. “Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.” Lou Mannheim, portrayed by Hal Holbrook in Wall Street.
Who are some of the remarkable people you look upto within the industry who’ve made a memorable impact on you? (And how they have helped you stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry).
I am an avid reader of David Cummings’ blog about start-ups and business development. Although I have never met him, I enjoy reading his commentaries and blogs. They are so fundamentally solid, accurate and clear. He has achieved enormous start-up and technology service success by embracing simple, sensible tactics for hiring, marketing, learning from mistakes and evolving the business model. I see a lot of start-ups, venture-backed companies and mature businesses that over complicate their offering or rationalize misguided decisions. They don’t succeed. They may sustain but they fail to create measurable financial, cultural and community ROI for their employees & shareholders. Whenever things are not going my way, I am usually able to find one of David’s blogs to read and those are helpful – and to reference #4, without one of my recent failures, I never would have been exposed to his wisdom.
What do you think makes your business so unique from your competitors?
Very few firms can compete with our prolific delivery rate and customer service. I feel they are nearly unmatchable compared to our competition and we can compete with any firm in the country on those items. Our business is very price driven, but by focusing on our core values of service, customer-first and business-owner mindsets, we can serve customers they way they wish to be treated and at very competitively priced offerings. We also know our boundaries – both on the low and high ends of the spectrum. We cater our offering to our strengths – from geography to capabilities to types of clients, we limit our focus to where the relationship is a win-win. That results in efficient projects, satisfactory financial performance and high-reference rates to other businesses. Together, these values manifest themselves in the forms of trust and accountability. We have those 2 things locked down (but we are always trying to get better and improve) and with those 2 things, winning and securing the right business relationships that help our clients and our business are often a foregone conclusion.