Ed got the idea of mobile billboards on an early morning walk when he saw traffic – including several large, plain Lorries – queuing at a busy roundabout as rush hour traffic began to build.
After a successful Dragon’s Den pitch which resulted in a £30k investment by Jenny Campbell for a 20% share in DrivenMedia.
The Derby-based advertising agency now offers companies, brands and organisations the opportunity to advertise on the sides and backs of Lorries, trucks and vans as they travel the world delivering goods and services.
The 23-year-old University of Derby graduate shares his story with YHP.
How did the idea for DrivenMedia come about?
After dropping my now fiancé at work, I saw a major roundabout with traffic lights, many large lorries and many cars backed up waiting for the lights to change. I realised a good 200 to 300 cars were there with nothing to look at but the back of the trucks.
I realised it would be a perfect opportunity for brands, organisations and larger businesses to promote their activities.
Tell me about the early days, the type of challenges you initially encountered?
My initial challenge was convincing hauliers to let me sell their space. I was cold calling them after all. A few days later I signed up our first haulier and the next challenge began, getting brands to see the value and invest in being visible on the space.
Most of the challenges around that came in proving reach and dwell time, which I’ve now definitively proved with Jenny’s support. One of the ways I’ve demonstrated this is via video
What is DrivenMedia? And what are you trying to solve with it?
DrivenMedia is a truck advertising firm which takes a commercial truck (HGV trailer) you would see on the motorway and using as a mobile billboard. After all the vehicle is travelling around the UK anyway – so it’s a smart use of an existing asset.
We believe the benefit is two-fold. Hauliers are essential to our everyday economy – the recent snow episode highlighted that face. Therefore we first help hauliers earn an extra income from their fleet and secondly we allow advertisers to get to a hard-to-reach yet highly receptive audience across the UK’s major road network.
Like it or not our road infrastructure is one of the most densely populated - approximately 65% of the traffic jams and congestions we face on a daily basis are caused by the sheer volume of traffic.
How have you been able to fund it so far?
I’m really proud to say it was all self-funded until our Dragons’ Den investment.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to raise funds for their start-ups?
1. Know exactly what you want to use the money for. A clear plan is useful and reassuring for an investor.
2. Make sure you can work with your investor. They are going to be part of the team no much how much they step back. Make sure you can get on.
3. Aside from money consider what else they can bring. Jenny’s black book and connections to the industry has been invaluable in unlocking doors for us.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
Very excited, I loved every minute (aside from all the cold callings). It was slow going, but our first break though was amazing. I can’t describe that feeling when The University of Derby became our first campaign.
How did you initially get traction?
A lot of cold calling, dealing with the rejection and using the feedback to come back to market with something better. That’s why we have our GPS trackers in the trailers themselves rather than the cabs because our advertisers felt it was more accountable this way. That alone came from a 20 minute cold call with someone who could be a customer – I still keep in touch because every time I do, I get closer to a campaign with them.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Little and often, I don’t like cold calling, so I’d set myself a goal to do an hour each day, every day of the week. Amazing what this activity can unlock.
Linked with this is a clear idea of who we want to talk to; Marketing directors/CMO etc of large brands, in businesses with an audience likely to be on the road. Think car insurance, car finance, national brands such as estate agencies, hotel chains, major event awareness, general brand awareness such as food producers or similar.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
It’s got to be pitching in Dragons’ Den; it’s been a dream of mine since the show started. That’s before you add the fact I got an offer from a dragon, Jenny Campbell and since filming that offer has been completed.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the DrivenMedia team for 2018?
To see our campaigns on the road more often, currently we have six - adverts on the road, over the coming months we expect that number to hit 50.
Innovation, not sure if it will be 2018, but digital signage is coming to truck advertising, this will be huge for the industry and the medium.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Customers first, pick up the phone and find out what they want – don’t assume. I went for supply first, and had to find new hauliers who fitted what my customers where looking to do.
2. Get a mentor. Graham, my mentor is invaluable and since he has become an investor. I’ve learned and insight into how a business from someone who’s been there and done it.
3. Running a business is lonely, set yourself measurable goals. For instance mine are;
a) 50 follow ups a week
b) 50 cold calls a week
c) 1 new opportunity every week.
Once I hit them, I celebrate by either having some time off over the weekend - or myself and Tara will treat ourselves to a take-away. I track progress and constantly change to challenge myself.