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Rod Holmes is the Managing Partner at Pilot Digital Marketing, a business that helps other companies with SEO, PPC, and strategic web development services. Rod has been working with the web since its inception in the mid-90s and has been focused on digital marketing for more than 10 years. During that time, he has seen many clients’ businesses grow and transform.

He has a bizarrely wide range of experience: he has a background in manufacturing, he rode a bicycle around the world for 2 years, lived in Tokyo for 10 years, and started two businesses — and sold them. Rod returned to the States and ended up starting Pilot Digital Marketing with a partner, which he’s been working at for 12 years.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Rod Holmes reflects on his entrepreneurial internet journey since the inception of email
  • Why Rod and his wife biked around the world for two years and went to Tokyo to teach English — and the lessons he learned
  • The evolution of Rod’s digital agency, Pilot Digital Marketing
  • What are the best practices to hire, become a great place to work, and grow with cash flow?
  • How to maintain your organization’s culture
  • Why the open book culture matters and how to implement it
  • How Pilot Digital helped Advocate Aurora Health run YouTube ads with over 80% view rate
  • When to use YouTube ads
  • Who is an ideal client for Pilot Digital Marketing?
  • The next step for Rod: Roam Trailers

In this episode…

Digital agency owners risk growing too quickly, expanding their services prematurely, and finding it hard to maintain a high level of client satisfaction. Over the last 14 years, Rod Holmes and the Pilot Digital Marketing team have focused on growth by cash flow to avoid this fate.

Growing by cash flow involves niching your services, building a solid culture, hiring for culture fit, and creating a great workplace.

How do you achieve all this for your agency? Rod is here to share all of the details with you!

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz and guest Rod Holmes, Managing Partner at Pilot Digital Marketing. They talk about how Pilot Digital Marketing has evolved over the last 14 years and the insights along the way. Rod also reflects on his strategies for sustaining a great culture, getting more views on YouTube ads, and raising brand awareness.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Special Mentions:

Books Mentioned:

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Sponsor for this episode

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and I’m here with Rod Holmes I’m gonna introduce formally in a second but Rod I always like to you know basically mentioned other episodes people should check out and since Rod is a very experienced veteran of the digital marketing digital agency business I’m going to mention a few other past episodes Ian Garlic he runs StoryCrews, he helps videographers and video marketing agencies. He teaches his case story process. Check that out. He talked about how his dad at a restaurant and they had live dolphins in this restaurant and it was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So it’s it’s a really interesting story. He learned some marketing stuff from his dad, his parents, Jason Swenk has had an has an amazing group of top digital agency owners and he has a great podcast, check that out, and many more. And, you know, before I introduce Rod, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 at Rise25 we help businesses connect to their dream 100 relationship and partnerships. And we do that by helping them run their podcast so it generates actual real relationships. And, Rod, I always like to have people on my podcasts because I admire what they do, I admire what their company does. And I get to learn from them and form a real relationship and actually show what they do from the rooftops so other people can learn from them as well. So the number one thing in my life is relationships, and I’m always looking to give to my relationships. And over the past 10 years of podcasting, I’ve seen no better way to profile people and have a podcast so if you’ve thought of having you know, having one, if you’re a business, you know, Rod even before we’re gonna get into, you know, your you if someone’s watching the video, you see like the first whatever iMac or computer behind them, you know, that is is amazing. It’s I tell everyone, if they have a business, they should have a really good website. And I think if they have a business, I believe everyone should have a podcast as well. So if you could check out more and go to and learn more we’ve been doing it for for over a decade. And a big thank you to Jaime Martinez del Rio, who’s a business advisor who introduced today’s guests to me, and he’s, you know, works with a Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business, which is a collaboration between Goldman Sachs and Babson College, which I went through, which I thought was made an amazing network of people on a tremendous experience as well. So I’m introducing Rod Holmes. Now I’m excited. And he’s Managing Partner, at Pilot Digital Marketing, they’ve helped companies with SEO, PPC, strategic web development, like I said, like if you have a business and you go to your website, it should be really clear what you do, because people will have a low attention span, and they will bounce off. So you need someone who actually helps you create this actual not just a page that is a brochure, but actually a strategic web development process, which is one of the things that Rod’s company does. He’s been working with web since its inception in the mid 90s. And he’s focused on digital marketing for more than 10 years also, and helps his clients transform and his to his experience is really interesting. It ranges from manufacturing, you’re in a bicycle around the world for two years, lived in Tokyo for 10 years, started two businesses sold them returned back to the states and started Pilot Digital over a decade ago. So Rod, thanks for joining me.

Rod Holmes 3:46

Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Jeremy Weisz 3:48

So is there a story behind that iMac behind you? Or is that just to remind you have your, your roots. So marketing,

Rod Holmes 3:56

it was it was the computer I used to make to create my first business in Tokyo. And that was a corporate training firm. My background and my education is all in education. And I started a corporate training firm in Tokyo, I was kind of forced to start one. And I had I wrote a lot of curriculum, and then this new thing called email came out. Have you ever heard of it recently? And, and all of my Japanese clients were freaking out because they didn’t know how to deal with email that you know, how formal Do you need to be you know, and how do you reply and all this stuff. So my wife and I wrote a textbook and courses on how to use email, and it ended up being a huge success. And then this next new thing came out You might have heard of called the internet in the web. And I started teaching myself how to make websites. And then I figured out you could make data driven websites, and you could program them. And I taught myself how to do that. And we moved our courses online. And, and that was what year is large?

Jeremy Weisz 5:17

That was really early on?

Rod Holmes 5:19

Yeah. 99.

Jeremy Weisz 5:20


Rod Holmes 5:21

we made a learning management system, I ended up partnering. One of my clients was the Hitachi group. And the Hitachi group funded me to make one of the world’s first learning management systems.