Unleashing the Force of Passion, Collaboration, and Success!
In the dynamic and essential world of marketing, there shines a remarkable figure who stands out as a beacon of expertise and empowerment for entrepreneurs. Leon Marinus, the Managing Director of ATKASA, a digital agency renowned for its commitment to delivering results, holds collaboration above all else. His unwavering dedication to ensuring clients become partners is fueled by his deep understanding of their challenges, coupled with a humble and attentive approach to listening. Leon gathers an exceptional team, united in their pursuit of success.
For Leon, marketing is more than a mere business venture; it is a vehicle for effecting positive change. His journey began with an unyielding drive to revolutionize not only his own existence but also leave a lasting impact on others. In establishing ATKASA, he embraced an unconventional approach that set the organization apart from its competitors in the digital, web, and advertising industries. Rather than working for his clientele, Leon believes in collaborating with them, forging robust alliances where their triumph becomes his utmost priority.
The path to success has not been without its obstacles. Over the past decade, ATKASA has faced various setbacks and weathered periods of decline. However, through unwavering perseverance and unwavering commitment, Leon skillfully steered the firm through turbulent times, resulting in a more resilient and determined entity. As the agency flourished and its workforce grew, a sense of cohesion and encouragement permeated the culture, with each member wholeheartedly embracing the company’s objectives and trajectory.
Under Leon’s guidance and unwavering dedication, ATKASA has undergone significant expansion, propelled by his team’s steadfast commitment. Their exceptional growth is evident, even in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as they have weathered the storm without losing any clients or having to lay off employees. This speaks volumes about their resolute dedication and resilience. Moreover, they have continued to attract talented individuals, expanding their team, and even acquiring their own office building, a testament to their upward momentum. Leon Marinus stands as a global leader in digital marketing.
But who is Leon Marinus?
From global stages to television screens across South Africa, Leon is widely acclaimed for his expertise in cross-channel marketing and his ability to inspire through motivational addresses. Leon has been recognized as one of the “10 Most Visionary Leaders in Online Media-2023” awarded by Insights Success, a globally leading magazine for leaders and thriving businesses.
Approaching each project, speaking engagement, or campaign with a commitment to excellence, Leon radiates passion in all his endeavors. Whether lending his expertise to news stories on Carte Blanche, highlighting their impact on global social media, or energetically leading his team at ATKASA, his leading marketing firm, Leon embodies vision and purpose.
Despite his numerous achievements, Leon remains grounded and humble. However, one cannot ignore the immense value he brings to any interaction, and the respect he commands both professionally and personally.
In his own words: “Marketing is my passion – it is my calling. More importantly, it empowers me to help other business owners achieve the results and business growth they desire.” – Leon Marinus. In today’s digital business landscape, finding a partner who can seize marketing opportunities across multiple platforms and channels in real-time is crucial. Leon Marinus has been recognized as one of the top 10 visionary leaders in online media for 2023 by Insights Success, a leading global business magazine.
Touching upon – ATKASA:
A prominent digital marketing agency based in South Africa, combines progressive, data-driven thinking with extensive knowledge gained from years of experience in the digital marketing space. This translates into exceptional, meaningful, and measurable results for their clients.
As a comprehensive digital marketing hub, ATKASA boasts an impressive roster of clients from various sectors, both locally and internationally. In this fast-paced, ever-evolving environment, they proudly prioritize a client-centric approach, consistently delivering unmatched service, cutting-edge design, and innovative best practices that position their clients at the forefront of their industries.
Fueling their success is an energetic team of leading professionals who are deeply passionate about their work, from crafting compelling social media content to creating world-class web designs.
Their expertise spans the entire marketing spectrum, offering services such as:
- Digital Campaigns & Strategies
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing and Management
- Web Design and Development
- Search Engine Marketing (Google Ads)
- Digital Content and Video Production
- Programmatic Advertising
- Creative Design Studio
- Mobile & Email Marketing
- Mobile App Development
- Media Strategy and Planning
- Public Relations Strategy and Implementation
When it comes to marketing prowess and empowering entrepreneurs, Leon Marinus stands at the forefront, leading the way toward transformative success.
Driven by his passion for marketing, Leon has built a team of experts who prioritize clients and help them achieve their goals. Let’s explore further!
Leon experienced a tumultuous and nomadic childhood, frequently relocating and experiencing diverse circumstances. Due to familial situations, he was unable to continue his formal education and pursued various jobs, often working two at a time for extended hours to make ends meet. Eventually, he transitioned to managing businesses for others, but as the end of 2008 approached, he decided that he no longer wished to work for someone else and sought a new challenge. Leon’s passion lay in building something for himself and his children, and he aspired to create a lasting legacy.
He expressed his love for working with people, explaining that he had a unique perspective on their behavior and thought processes as consumers. One day, his mom and stepdad approached him with an opportunity to help market their businesses, which had recently entered the digital realm. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, he resigned from his job and began working on this venture. The company was founded in February 2009 and experienced many highs and lows along the way.
Beginning with little financial support, the founder of ATKASA Digital Agency started from scratch. This is why his company is named ATKASA, as it pays homage to the shelf company he purchased in 2009 called ATKA Trading 241 PTY Limited. Although he lacked formal education in marketing or digital media, his determination to learn led him to self-study. As time passed, he gained expertise and experience, ultimately earning speaking engagements in the field.
A journey around the world led him to receive invitations to speak on an international level. He had the opportunity to attend events and trainings of influential figures such as Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Robert Kiyosaki, Kevin Harrington, Mike Koenigs, and Pam Hendrickson. He appeared on TV shows that focused on entrepreneurship, including Good Morning Africa, Expresso, and Carte Blanche’s coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial. He was also hired by Carte Blanche to analyze the trial’s online conversations worldwide. From starting as a one-man team working with a small business nearby, he has expanded his business and assembled a team of 28 full-time staff. Currently, he creates and implements strategies and online plans for multinational corporations worldwide.
Humble Beginnings to Industry Leader
According to Leon, the genesis of the company stemmed from his desire to bring about positive change not only in his own life but also in the lives of others, including his clients and employees. He established the agency with an unconventional approach that differed from most digital, online, and marketing firms. Leon’s philosophy is distinctive in that he does not work for his clients; rather, he works with them. He views the relationship with his clients as a partnership, where the success of his clients is his ultimate goal. The company’s journey has been a bumpy ride over the last 14 years, requiring a significant amount of effort, commitment, motivation, and passion to navigate through the ups and downs and reach where they are today.
Although the COVID pandemic impacted their operations, Leon takes pride in retaining all their employees and clients, making them one of the few agencies to achieve this milestone. Highlighting their growth, they added more personnel and purchased their office building. While still in the recovery phase, the company has global experience with multinational campaigns and executions, working with clients from China, Japan, the UK, the US, and Dubai. Presently, the company is focused on expanding its physical presence.
Workers and Support Group
As he progressed on his journey, Leon’s style of leadership underwent a transformation. Growth and learning are highly valued by him as a leader, and he expresses gratitude for the opportunities he has had to develop. Honesty and transparency are integral aspects of his leadership approach. Known for his directness, he does not waste time with his staff, yet he refrains from micromanaging them. Instead, he entrusts them to carry out their responsibilities to the best of their abilities, with a focus on serving clients and achieving the company’s objectives and reputation. His team operates synergistically, with a shared belief in both successes and failures. This indicates that victories are the result of collective effort, whereas obstacles or setbacks are tackled as a team.
He is a leader who considers the impact of his decisions on his employees and their families rather than basing them solely on personal feelings or opinions. He prioritizes the future of his team and the potential consequences of his choices. His decisions are made with the best interests of the business and all involved parties in mind. He recognizes that his agency would not exist without his team and values their contributions to the company’s success. Despite his leadership role, he acknowledges that it is the people on his team who make everything possible and provide top-notch service to clients. This is demonstrated by the fact that some employees have been with him for over a decade, including his first hire, who remains on staff to this day. To ensure that everyone is informed about ongoing and upcoming projects, as well as any proposed changes to the company, weekly staff meetings are held. During these meetings, everyone is given the opportunity to share their thoughts and ask questions, resulting in active participation from all team members.
ATKASA has undergone a significant transformation over time, now functioning as a complete digital agency that delivers a comprehensive range of services. Rather than limiting themselves to a single expertise area like website development or search engine optimization, they specialize in providing diverse services. All of their resources are managed in-house, and they don’t outsource any of their work. Their team comprises experts in their respective fields, who receive regular training to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their areas of expertise. They have established themselves as a unique entity in the market. For Leon, it’s crucial to dominate the market and become the go-to agency. However, it’s equally important to recognize that marketing needs to continue evolving.
Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, it had a positive impact by prompting brand managers, marketing managers, and business owners to focus more on online strategies. This shift is currently taking place, and brands and businesses are beginning to prioritize online efforts. Winning an award is not always a true indicator of an agency’s excellence. While an agency may be recognized as the best because it won an award, it does not necessarily mean it is the best.
The company places great emphasis on their clients’ feedback, the outcomes they achieve, and the quality of their work. Although they have been recognized with awards, they do not rely on them to establish their position in the market. As one of the largest independently owned digital agencies in South Africa, they take pride in their autonomy and aspire to be recognized as the foremost experts in full-service digital work. With a versatile skill set, this agency can handle a range of tasks, but they do not claim to be the best in a particular area based on a single award-winning campaign. Instead, they aim to establish themselves as the leading agency through positive feedback from clients and exceptional work quality. Prioritizing their reputation and word-of-mouth referrals, they attract new clients through exceptional service, high-quality output, and impressive results.
Collaboration is Key
Leon emphasizes the importance of collaboration between his agency and the client. He firmly believes that building a relationship with every brand, client, or company they work with is fundamental. This relationship starts with mutual understanding, which is achieved through open discussions, conversations, and meetings. For Leon, the first and foremost priority is to determine whether there is synergy between the client and his agency. He believes that for a successful partnership, the client and the company need to be on the same wavelength, get along well, and have a shared vision.
Leon doesn’t base his decisions solely on the amount of money offered by companies or individuals. He believes that for a successful relationship to develop, there should be synergy between him, the brand, and the agency. If this synergy is lacking, Leon would professionally exit the deal. He stresses that this relationship is mutual, and it’s crucial to understand what the client wants to achieve. Unfortunately, Leon often encounters brands and companies that are unfamiliar with the online space. They might ask for social media marketing without a clear objective. They could be doing it because of their competitors or following the trend. In Leon’s opinion, the key is for them to have a sit-down with the client, business, or brand and establish the outcomes they are seeking. Once the outcomes are defined, the rest of the process becomes more manageable. Leon’s marketing approach is distinct from other marketers in the industry. While most marketers would begin by examining the brief and what needs to be done, he starts from the opposite end. He commences by assessing the results they need to achieve, such as lead generation, brand awareness, or prominent brand recall and engagement. He always starts at the end of the process.
His approach to creating a strategy for clients involves starting with the desired result and working his way back to the front. By doing this, he can develop an execution plan that’s tailored to the client’s needs rather than just following their initial brief. For example, a client might request a social media campaign with eight posts and two ads, but they may not have defined key performance indicators or results they’re hoping to achieve.
The initial conversation revolves around identifying the intended outcome. Collaboratively, they establish the desired result and create a proposal and strategy detailing the deliverables to be provided to the clients. X, Y, and Z are executed to accomplish the objective. Upon reaching a mutual agreement, the client approves the plan and associated costs, and the team proceeds to execute and deliver the project.
Leon emphasizes that their approach is to exceed expectations by “Promising less and delivering more.” When working on a campaign, they begin with the initial strategy phase and present the potential outcomes to the client based on their budget and objectives. The agreed-upon goals and KPIs serve as a benchmark for success, and their primary objective is to surpass those targets. Leon’s process differs from others in the industry, as they prioritize over-delivering results throughout the campaign.
The clients they collaborate with are equally invested in their business and are included in every stage of the process. This level of involvement and concern results in the most exceptional client experience in the industry, which cannot be equaled by any other agency worldwide. Their response time is equally impressive, with an average of 15 to 30 minutes to address client inquiries or requests. They take immense pride in this, and it is apparent in their long-standing client relationships.
Tales of Challenges Faced
During a discussion about campaign execution challenges, he mentioned that there were rarely any issues with funding or the workforce. However, there was one campaign that posed a challenge due to the tight turnaround time and the timelines set by the client. The client requested a cross-national campaign for their brand in six different Southern African countries, which was an intensive three-month project. The campaign encompassed various elements such as Google search, display advertising, video production, social media, email campaigns, and website development. In fact, the website alone was a 38-page interactive platform that required content for social media and blogs. Overall, it was a massive campaign that demanded full digital integration.
The team was tasked with creating recipes using the client’s products as well as designing and implementing assets for members to use on digital platforms. Additionally, they had to oversee the execution of 96 billboards across six countries, all at the same time. This was all accomplished within a tight timeframe of just two months from brief to execution and go-live date. From a digital standpoint, they created over 960 assets, excluding website development, and successfully launched 96 billboards during the campaign’s launch week. Despite the late nights and high stress, the team’s hard work paid off, resulting in a hugely successful campaign for the client. The client enjoyed the best sales in the history of their business over the next three months.
Latest Industry Trends and Changes
Leon mentioned that their agency is a partner of several companies, including Google, WordPress, Meta, and Shopify, which enables them to receive the latest news and insights from their partners around the world. They attend conferences and webinars hosted by these partners and have an online training portal that offers free access to the latest training in their fields, such as marketing, creative, and video editing. Leon himself spends at least two hours a day reading about the latest trends, industry news, and market developments globally. ATKASA regularly deals with its partners, holding weekly meetings to advise and guide them on the latest digital developments, including AI. ATKASA invests heavily in technology, using some of the best software solutions in the industry, especially from a digital perspective.
He prides himself on being knowledgeable about every single one of his clients, regardless of whether he works directly with them or not. Even though he has dedicated teams for client service, he diligently keeps track of every account within his agency, including the progress of every project in his studio and the individuals in charge of them. He remains attentive to the outcome of his work and closely monitors it. If an aspect is not performing as expected, he proactively speaks with his team members to find solutions to the issue. He refrains from micromanaging his teams but instead trusts them to complete their assignments. However, in situations of excessive workloads, he motivates and provides guidance whenever needed. Despite all of this, it is noteworthy that his agency seldom works after the typical business hours of five o’clock, which is an uncommon practice for most agencies.
He stated that his team rarely has to work late, and they can efficiently schedule, plan, and execute their work to consistently meet deadlines within regular working hours. In the event of last-minute tasks, the team supports each other even if only one person is working on them. He emphasizes the importance of moral support, stating that they are all in it together. He also mentioned that there has never been a scenario where his team could not execute a project without his involvement. Although he oversees and guides them, his team is independent and capable of completing tasks on their own while keeping him informed.
Exclusive Advice for Those Starting Out
According to Leon, many individuals who own laptops believe that they can become digital marketers and specialists without any limitations. However, this perception leads to challenges in the market. Therefore, Leon advises anyone who intends to join the industry to do it for the right reasons. If the motivation is solely to earn as much money as possible, then it’s not the right reason to pursue a career in digital marketing. “Passion is what drives success in marketing, and it’s crucial to have knowledge and skills in the field to excel,” expressed Leon.
Secondly, the need to continuously improve oneself, particularly in the digital realm, he stated that when hiring new staff, he doesn’t necessarily value a degree or formal education, as he believes that what is taught in universities doesn’t always translate to real-world experience. He has had success in training his team members from scratch, resulting in highly specialized professionals in the industry. He believes that degrees hold little value and that it’s more important to focus on personal growth and professional development. He also mentioned that many clients have come to him after being burned by other companies that made empty promises, highlighting the importance of honesty and delivering on commitments.
Thirdly, honesty is key when it comes to dealing with clients. If Leon doesn’t know the answer to a question, he admits it and promises to get back to them with the correct answer. He believes that being transparent with clients creates a positive reputation in the industry and reflects positively on one’s personal character and business. Unfortunately, many people fail in this industry because they try to deceive clients with false information just to make a quick buck. He advises against this and suggests that one should stick to what they know and not deviate from that just for financial gain. Ultimately, being truthful with clients is the best approach to success.
Ground Amidst Achievement
Leon’s philosophy centers on treating every person equally, irrespective of their background or status. He firmly believes in his equality with others and rejects any notion of superiority. In fact, Leon lives by the principle of learning from others, recognizing that everyone possesses unique knowledge and expertise. Despite being a globally recognized expert in digital marketing, he remains humble, acknowledging the perpetual room for learning. Valuing the insights and skills of peers, colleagues, and even juniors, Leon encourages knowledge-sharing. His open mindset for continuous learning underlines his belief in never viewing himself as superior to others.
In his explanation, he describes himself as a hardworking individual who takes pleasure in what he does and strives to be the best at it. His passion for his work is what propels him to excel, not for the sake of pleasing others. He takes great pride in his exceptional work and can confidently stand behind anything he presents to clients. He treats everyone with the same level of respect and dignity, from the janitor to himself, and values each individual the same. He understands that success is a fickle game and can come and go in an instant. Therefore, he never looks down on anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, and is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. This philosophy is the foundation of his life, and he applies it to every person he encounters.
Leon has stressed the importance of the next 5 to 10 years for ATKASA. As a leader of various other companies, his primary focus is to expand his agency’s presence globally across multiple regions. The goal is to offer exceptional customer service at a reasonable cost while maintaining a South African perspective. Leon’s ultimate objective is to gain more global recognition for his agency, which he believes is the best in the market. Several brands and businesses that they collaborate with can attest to this. What sets ATKASA apart from other agencies is its approach, which prioritizes clients and transparency in all their transactions.