The founders of Adtrak tell us about their success and how they rose to the top – despite starting out in a garage!


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Adtrak now make their home in Nottingham city-centre.

Back in 1998, Chris Robinson and Alex Lavender forfeited their financial and professional security to pursue a business concept they believed in. Leaving behind their jobs, the pair started out on their own business venture: an online marketing agency that they christened Adtrak. This meant starting again from scratch, running a business for the first time from a garage, and earning just £12,000 a year.

Yet the company’s fortunes today illustrate that this was a risk well worth taking. Adtrak has experienced exponential growth since 2005, incorporating a host of additional design and marketing services and increasing in size from a team of four to now employing almost 100 people in their 17,000 sq. ft. offices. The company’s annual turnover has increased year-on-year, and their current figure of £6 million is projected to rise to £7.5 million in 2016. They are now a preferred partner of Google, and receive invaluable insight into industry trends, keeping the company at the forefront of digital developments and enabling them to offer a wide range of cutting-edge services. Recently nominated for two prestigious RAR Digital Awards, the agency’s ascent shows no sign of slowing in the immediate future.

Arguably, Adtrak’s success can be attributed to its early recognition of the role that personalised graphical representation plays in a company’s marketing and advertising strategies. In what they deem as their ‘measured approach’, Adtrak closely monitors its clients’ marketing plan, tailoring it as needed to ensure best performance. “A successful business brand needs harmony between the visual message, the sales message, and the product/service itself,” explains Managing Director Chris.

For the first four years, Chris and Alex handled all accounts, advertising and operations themselves, working 18-hour days to ensure that their business succeeded. However, it was the company’s expansion into the world of web design that Chris cites as a key moment in its development – “For the first eight years, web design wasn’t really a consideration for us, as we already had a steady client base of about 1,000 customers. However, there came a point at which we were saying “no” to a lot of potential clients, so we decided to employ an in-house web designer. Within two weeks, we were completely swamped. We grew from four to 16 people within a year and managed to double our turnover. It all happened very naturally.”

Committed to providing a contract-free service for its customers while promoting a good work/life balance for its employees, Adtrak remain focused on continuously developing the talent on its books. The agency’s fantastic staff retention rate of 97%, along with on-site recreational options (featuring a gym, pool table, after work yoga sessions and more), are testament that a healthy work environment breeds creativity and technical progression – two vital components necessary for such impressive commercial growth.

Having cornered the Nottingham market, Chris Robinson’s sights are now set on helping London restaurateurs to use their web presence to increase footfall. Given the company’s success to date, it may only be a matter of time before Adtrak are the agency of choice for the hospitality sector.