fbpx
Connect with us
Apply Now

Entrepreneurship

How a Digital Marketing Agency Survived and Thrived in COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted most industries, and digital marketing was no exception. According to an Uplers survey of digital marketing agencies around the world, 66% of agencies experienced a decrease in revenue.

Hite Digital was among those affected as the pandemic swept across the United States in March. By summer 2020, the young agency had lost 35% of their portfolio, with nearly every client citing the pandemic as the reason. “We’re cutting our budgets,” every client told CEO JC Hite; marketing is often the first thing to go from a budget, despite evidence that this isn’t the smartest move.

Growing During a Crisis: People First

Hite worried for his team, which at the time was made up of about 40 young professionals, many with families. At Hite Digital, zero debt and savings are a priority — but taking care of their people comes first. Hite was determined not to cut one salary, or one team member, because of the crisis.

The first six months of the pandemic were rough for Hite Digital, but with some smart budgeting and adapting, they pulled through the summer. They saw firsthand how the pandemic changed clients’ digital marketing needs, and they sold many more e-commerce sites than usual as businesses took their sales online.

Through it all, Hite Digital did not cut a single team member or reduce anybody’s salary. In fact, they grew to 50+ team members and many of these moved up within the company as well. These commitments to their people, as well as efforts to maintain company culture alive virtually, paid off. As new and old clients steadily returned to their digital marketing campaigns, Hite Digital was prepared to take them on.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted most industries, and digital marketing was no exception. According to an Uplers survey of digital marketing agencies around the world, 66% of agencies experienced a decrease in revenue.

Hite Digital was among those affected as the pandemic swept across the United States in March. By summer 2020, the young agency had lost 35% of their portfolio, with nearly every client citing the pandemic as the reason. “We’re cutting our budgets,” every client told CEO JC Hite; marketing is often the first thing to go from a budget, despite evidence that this isn’t the smartest move.

Growing During a Crisis: People First

Hite worried for his team, which at the time was made up of about 40 young professionals, many with families. At Hite Digital, zero debt and savings are a priority — but taking care of their people comes first. Hite was determined not to cut one salary, or one team member, because of the crisis.

The first six months of the pandemic were rough for Hite Digital, but with some smart budgeting and adapting, they pulled through the summer. They saw firsthand how the pandemic changed clients’ digital marketing needs, and they sold many more e-commerce sites than usual as businesses took their sales online.

Through it all, Hite Digital did not cut a single team member or reduce anybody’s salary. In fact, they grew to 50+ team members and many of these moved up within the company as well. These commitments to their people, as well as efforts to maintain company culture alive virtually, paid off. As new and old clients steadily returned to their digital marketing campaigns, Hite Digital was prepared to take them on.

A New Business Model

But JC Hite had even bigger plans for the company. During the crisis, he developed a new business model for Hite Digital, that they’re now ready to launch: franchises.

The franchise model grew out of what Hite Digital was already doing by helping small agency owners grow through a combination of white label services, education, and prospecting. “These agency owners had a strong desire to help their clients reach their digital marketing goals,” says Jeff Zelaya, VP of Franchise Development at Hite. “But often they struggled to scale their business in a way that didn’t end up sacrificing time with their family and their individual self-growth.”

Through Hite’s franchise model, new agency owners will be able to get not just the operations and systems needed for a successful agency, but the training, support, and fulfillment as well. “Hite’s expansion with franchisees has been fueled and motivated by our revenue growth but also by our desire to make an impact in more people’s lives through our vision,” explained Zelaya.

Just like they prioritized their people during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hite Digital is now focusing on small agency owners and their growth, setting them up for increased success in 2021 as digital marketing continues to grow. By becoming franchise owners, these agency owners join a family that’s ready, not just to survive, but to thrive.

But JC Hite had even bigger plans for the company. During the crisis, he developed a new business model for Hite Digital, that they’re now ready to launch: franchises.

The franchise model grew out of what Hite Digital was already doing by helping small agency owners grow through a combination of white label services, education, and prospecting. “These agency owners had a strong desire to help their clients reach their digital marketing goals,” says Jeff Zelaya, VP of Franchise Development at Hite. “But often they struggled to scale their business in a way that didn’t end up sacrificing time with their family and their individual self-growth.”

Through Hite’s franchise model, new agency owners will be able to get not just the operations and systems needed for a successful agency, but the training, support, and fulfillment as well. “Hite’s expansion with franchisees has been fueled and motivated by our revenue growth but also by our desire to make an impact in more people’s lives through our vision,” explained Zelaya.

Just like they prioritized their people during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hite Digital is now focusing on small agency owners and their growth, setting them up for increased success in 2021 as digital marketing continues to grow. By becoming franchise owners, these agency owners join a family that’s ready, not just to survive, but to thrive.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2022 Disrupt ™ Magazine is a Minority Owned Privately Held Company - Disrupt ™ was founder by Puerto Rican serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Delgado who is on a mission to transform Latin America using the power of education and entrepreneurship.

Disrupt ™ Magazine
151 Calle San Francisco
Suite 200
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901

Opinions expressed by Disrupt Contributors are their own. Disrupt Magazine invites voices from many diverse walks of life to share their perspectives on our contributor platform. We are big believers in freedom of speech and while we do enforce our community guidelines, we do not actively censor stories on our platform because we want to give our contributors the freedom to express their opinions. Articles are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by our community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Disrupt or its employees.
We are committed to fighting the spread of misinformation online so if you feel an article on our platform goes against our community guidelines or contains false information, we do encourage you to report it. We need your help to fight the spread of misinformation. For more information please visit our Contributor Guidelines available here.


Disrupt ™ is the voice of latino entrepreneurs around the world. We are part of a movement to increase diversity in the technology industry and we are focused on using entrepreneurship to grow new economies in underserved communities both here in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. We enable millennials to become what they want to become in life by learning new skills and leveraging the power of the digital economy. We are living proof that all you need to succeed in this new economy is a landing page and a dream. Disrupt tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real-life experience. Disrupt Magazine was designed to give the world a taste of that.