As President of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for managing operations, marketing and business development to achieve the search engine marketing agency’s mission: to be one of the most respected search engine marketing agencies in the world. Current Anvil clients include Borders, Dr. Martens, gDiapers, Lucy Activewear, Moonstruck Chocolatier, Oregon State University, PC World, Planar, Trend Micro and Yesmail. He is also founder and acting President of Formic Media, a search engine marketing (SEM) agency focusing on the small business market. With a background in integrated marketing, Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his Internet marketing career at a Web development firm, where he also created a free monthly lifestyle e-zine. Shortly thereafter, he built and managed his first search engine marketing team at local full-service marketing agency before co-founding Wave Rock Communications and later, eROI. Lewis was also Director of Marketing and Business Development at goodguys.com, an online electronics retailer. In 2001, Lewis created pdxMindShare an online career community and Portland-area networking event. He is also an adjunct professor at Portland State University, where he teaches SEM workshops. In 2003, he founded a charity fundraiser event, Anvil’s Annual Get SMART Gala, to raise awareness for SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) for which he also sits on the board. In 2005, Lewis co-founded SEMpdx, a trade organization for SEM professionals based in Portland, Oregon. He is also a member of EO, a global organization for entrepreneurs, and is a recipient of Portland Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award. Lewis sits on advisory boards for emerging companies like InSyght Consulting, NeutralSpace and Nozzle Media . He also speaks regularly at industry events and has been published in books and publications including DMNews, iMedia Connection, Portland Business Journal and Search Marketing Standard. When Lewis isn’t working or hanging out with his family, he likes to write about his travels and life experiences on his blog, The Kent Lewis Experience.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I’m working with my co-instructor to retool slides for our upcoming SEM Workshop at Portland State University. The world of search engine marketing changes constantly, so we have to keep it fresh to stay relevant.
3 Trends that excite you?
The three trends that excite me most are: the (long overdue) US adoption of smart phones & mobile marketing, the growth of Web-based video and localized search engine marketing strategies and tactics. Mobile marketing is finally making headway in the US. That means we have new opportunities to target consumers with geo-specific messages and offers that are timely and relevant. I’m also excited about the opportunities surrounding Web video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 3 minute video is a library of content. Lastly, locally-based businesses have powerful new ways to reach customers via organic search, paid search and social media (including augmented reality). I look forward to seeing how these technologies and trends converge.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Short answer: Brute force. Long answer: It’s taken a few years to assemble one of the world’s best search engine & social media marketing teams at Anvil, which makes bringing ideas to life much easier. Outside of Anvil, my network has been instrumental in growing other business ideas.
What is one mistake that you made, and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistake was not reconnecting with my former boss before he died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. He gave me two major career opportunities, and after firing me, we didn’t talk for almost a year. I missed working with him, and weeks before dying, told his significant other that he missed working with me and looked forward to connecting in the near future. The lesson is that life it too short. If today was your last day on this planet, how would it change the way you spend your time? Don’t let petty disagreements or obligations keep you from what really matters: family, friends and doing exceptional work.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Figure out what you’re extremely passionate about, then start a blog (or YouTube channel, podcast, forum or equivalent social media presence) and create compelling content around the topic until you build awareness, credibility and followers. From there, start to monetize your presence via sponsorships, advertising and affiliate marketing. Generate enough passive income to retire early or give yourself opportunities to create more balance in your life or career.
What resources have been instrumental to the growth and success of your businesses?
I rely on a variety of resources to ensure the success of my businesses. First and foremost, I rely on the resources and network of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) as well as a group of business owners and executives on the Portland Advertising Federation Agency Roundtable. Between the two, I feel like I get the insights and validation I need when tackling new challenges.
What is your greatest personal extravagance?
Beyond my family, my greatest extravagances include snowboarding, driving fast cars and chocolate old fashioned donuts.