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Samir BalwaniSamir Balwani is the Founder and CEO of QRY, a media agency for direct-to-consumer and e-commerce brands. QRY’s media methodology and testing framework helps e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands grow faster and scale more profitably. QRY uses a full-funnel advertising approach and ad experimentation process to rapidly optimize campaigns and identify new opportunities.

With over a decade of experience in strategic marketing, Samir has worked in high-level positions with companies including PMK*BNC, StyleCaster, and American Express. He holds a BA in economics from Rutgers University.

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

  • The importance of taking care of your people and combatting burnout
  • Finding the balance between bureaucracy and process-driven thinking
  • Samir Balwani shares lessons he learned from his time working for American Express
  • The benefits of layers and organizational structures
  • Samir shares how he decided to strike out on his own and founded QRY
  • Samir discusses how QRY helps its clients
  • Samir’s story about how QRY helped an international brand through the pandemic
  • Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and how they are evolving
  • The value of “How did you find us?” tools
  • How Samir’s company maintains a third up percent annual revenue growth and averages 80% year-over-year media growth

In this episode…

Are you taking advantage of every tool at your disposal to grow your business? Could you be scaling and growing even faster?

E-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have undergone an evolution over the past two years due to the constraints imposed by the pandemic and the changing needs of consumers. Having a strong media strategy and thorough analytics is crucial to ensure your brand is at the forefront. Always remember that your people are your #1 asset, so it’s essential that you show your appreciation and to always take care of your employees. Holding 360 reviews, having growth plans, and doing annual reviews are great to keep them engaged, happy, and fulfilled in their roles. Many elements go into creating a brand that grows and thrives. Samir Balwani knows all the ins and outs and what it takes to be at the forefront of media strategy, e-commerce and DTC, consumer behavior, and analytics.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz welcomes Samir Balwani to the show. Samir is the Founder and CEO of QRY, a media agency for direct-to-consumer and e-commerce brands. Samir reflects on his career history and trajectory and how it led him to founding QRY, how to motivate your employees, the evolution of DTC, and details QRY’s methods for helping its clients.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

Jeremy Weisz  0:13

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of INspiredINsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. We have Samir Balwani of QRY. You can find them at we are QRY.com. And Samir, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out other podcasts. And actually, Samir, we are just talking about Tony Horton and P90x. That’s an amazing episode, where he made his money as a street. mime to make food and rent money before he launched p90x. And there’s other ones since this is an agency. I’ve had Vicki Higgins on, it was interesting. And she’s talking about how to secure a $20 million $20 million in sponsorship deals. She negotiated the naming rights for a stadium. And so that was an interesting episode, not your typical agency. And then I had Kellee Johnson, who runs Ballast Group, and she does a lot of communication and PR and strategy for large pharmaceutical companies and large companies in general. So check those episodes out. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that? We help them run their podcasts. An easy button for a business to launch and run a podcast.

And you know, Samir, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always thinking of ways of how do I give to my best relationships. I found no better way to do that than a profile of people and companies I most admire on this planet and have them on the podcast and have them share with the world what they they’re working on what they’re doing. So if you’ve thought about starting a podcasting of a business, you should if you have questions, you can go to rise25.com Both my business partner I’ve been doing it for over a decade, you can ask us in emails, any questions that you can have under the earth, and it’s supported rise25.com.

And I’m excited. Samir Balwani is a founder and CEO of QRY. It’s a media buying agency for e-commerce and direct to consumer brands. They’ve created a media methodology and testing framework that’s helped brands like delsey, and Peak Design scale their business online. And Samir, thanks for joining me.

Samir Balwani  2:25

Thank you for having me.

Jeremy Weisz  2:27

You know, when I look at your background, from American Express, for years, I always think I went to it with a friend to lunch at LinkedIn headquarters. And I was like, Man, I get used to this. There’s like a private, there’s like a private level of a chef. And I stroll in the office. It’s beautiful. It’s got like gaming related things. And like, I don’t even know, why did I just go work for LinkedIn? Right. So I want to hear some of the lessons you learn from American Express first, and then why go out and start a business?

Samir Balwani  3:03

Yeah, that’s a great question. And you know, honestly, American Express is an awesome place to work at. So if you are looking for a place to work at please go apply there. You know, I would say American Express my role, I was senior manager of brand strategy, I got to work on some really amazing brand campaigns, everything from sponsoring the US Open to running digital ad campaigns for open forum at the time. And I really, it was fantastic. And one of the key things that I learned and one of the things that makes Amex such an amazing place to work at is how intentional they are on hiring people management and growth. And I think that that a lot of small businesses, and a lot of agencies especially forget that their people are their most important asset.

And in the day to day management of clients, we forget to take care of our people. And so I was very intentional about that when I started QRY as well. You know, we’re 15 people and we have a full time HR person, it was one of the number one most important things that I wanted to make sure that we had, you know? We’ve always had 360 reviews, growth plans, doing annual reviews, these are, you know, for me, these were all non negotiables. Because I wanted to make sure that the people I work with, and the people on the team are happy, passionate excited. Because we work in a creative world. We’re not just cogs in a wheel. And if you don’t love what you do, you don’t feel like what you do is impactful. You’re just not going to do it.

Burnout is, very real. It doesn’t always mean that you’re burnt out because you were working too hard. Sometimes you may be working really hard and just no one noticed. And that will lead to burnout too. So I wanted to make sure that there was is always an opportunity for us to notice and recognize and give people an opportunity to be heard, which is something I definitely learned from AmEx and then something that they’ve done just incredibly well.

Jeremy Weisz  5:11

What else does it, ah, I find that really insightful. What else does the HR person in you help incorporate? You mentioned three, six year view of the growth plans. What else?

Samir Balwani  5:21

So Avery is our HR person, and she’s our manager, our people and culture, and she does everything from talent acquisition. So actually going out and finding people to join our team and making sure they’re the right fit for us. All of the internal culture, events, everything from our virtual happy hours, because we are a fully remote team, to managing and planning our annual retreats where we all get together, we’re actually going to Nashville this year, we’ll have a chance to all get together and spend some time together. And those retreats are 15% business. And the rest of it is really just for us to be able to do all of the watercooler talk in this short period of time and be able to actually know who we work with outside of work. Because I think that that’s a really important aspect that’s been tough to replicate in a remote agency.