THE BOY WHO SHOWED INITIATIVE
MEET ADAM ZELCER – THE ORIGINAL ADBOY. THROUGH CLEVER NEW TECHNOLOGY HE’S OUT TO DELIVER A MORE EFFECTIVE AND AFFORDABLE ADVERTISING AND MARKETING SERVICE TO SMALL BUSINESSES. AND HE HAS BIG PLANS.
Adam Zelcer is the original Adboy. He’s out to deliver a more effective and affordable advertising and marketing service to small businesses.
For Auckland-born Adam Zelcer life has always revolved around the next big opportunity. Even as a schoolboy he was buying favourite lollies from the dairy on the way to school and reselling them to his classmates at lunchtime for a profit.
His teenage years were peppered with various business projects including washing cars, reselling vehicles purchased at auction, and importing handbags from China.
Adam studied graphic design at University and completed work experience at a traditional advertising agency. As a high- school student he admits he wasn’t engaged in his studies – therefore he struggled in the workplace, having to buy books to get up to speed on grammar, spelling, maths and computing as an adult.
“I dropped out after two years of international business studies because I had learnt more after just a few weeks experience in my handbag import business,” he recalls – an online business he ran in his spare time.
Adam discovered his knack for advertising and statistics while working his day – job in customer service for a struggling
“We're moving towards a future of AI and automation in advertising, so a lot of agencies without the technical and creative skills are going to fall behind.”
smartphone repair service. The business was only averaging a few repairs per day, and that was just from foot traffic.
“I figured people searching online for a phone repair centre nearby could be a goer, and so I put a proposition to my boss. I would spend my own time after hours learning online advertising, provided he gave me an advertising budget.
“My boss agreed and my efforts resulted in bringing in five times the amount of daily repairs in just a few months. Employment tripled and later we had to move to a larger location,” he says. The thrill of growing a business soon became an addiction for Adam. It wasn’t long before business owners were calling him for help. Adam’s success at the repair centre meant he didn’t have to convince them in order to work with him.
He also got a buzz out of helping business owners. “I got to see the people I work with make a profit, and other positives such as creating more employment and helping consumers get what they want.”
Thanks to his success Adam was now picking up clients by word of mouth. He left his job to work freelance, and then in September 2017 kicked off Adboy.com from a desk in a small design studio.
“I remembered ‘Adman’ was a nickname given to traditional advertising people in the early 1900s, so I thought ‘Adboy.com’ would be a smart brand for a new breed of online agencies.”
ADBOY SHOWS PROMISE
Today based in Melbourne, but targeting both sides of the Tasman, Adboy is gaining traction.
Despite his personal challenge over selling, because he “doesn’t have the gift of the gab”, Adam’s new venture has progressed well.
“The support from everyone I’ve worked with since day one has been incredible,” says Adam. “The businesses I work with always tell their friends about me. I guess they’ve been doing most of my sales work! A few have even wanted to invest in me!”
The business hasn’t thrown up any surprises so far, he says, although he believes that might be mainly due to the fact that he’s very cautious.
“There’s zero template for success in business – you just have to educate yourself and do your best work.”
In creating his online advertising service, Adam wanted to offer a better alternative than “an entire team of marketing experts, and at a fraction of the cost”.
“We’re achieving this by providing effective online advertising services and cutting out traditional ad agency overheads like stationery, meetings, sales staff and any labour that can [now] be automated.
“Adboy also connects companies via chat to AI-assisted advertisers – so their dollars only ever go towards smart work.”
Is he worried that other similar services will enter the agency marketplace? Not really.
“There are many other advertisers out there but it’s never bothered me because Adboy.com has its own way of doing things and others do their own version. Just like there are plenty of comedians out there but none like Jerry Seinfeld!”
Commenting on the ad agency landscape, Adam says the barriers to industry entry are fairly low so there is a lot of mediocrity. “We’re moving towards a future of AI and automation in advertising, so a lot of agencies without the technical and creative skills are going to fall behind.”
He explains his latest initiative is to help put businesses on ‘autopilot’ with ‘virtual customer service assistants’ on Facebook Messenger.
“The automated responses help businesses serve, and sell to, their customers 24/7 while cutting out big employment overheads,” he explains. “It is going to change how many businesses engage with their customers and I am really excited to be one of the first to make this technology practical to SMEs in Australia and New Zealand.”
Adam sees chat assistants as a cost-effective way for businesses to connect with customers.
“Human customer service that’s 24/7 is expensive and websites have a lot of friction with stuff like page speed, navigation, forms, account creation, FAQs, checkouts and the need for calling a human.
“There are a lot of instances where websites can be bypassed and where human interaction can be automated which will lead to cheaper customer acquisition costs.”
Adboy is an initiative and opportunity that Adam is 100 percent committed to, and he’s in it for the long-haul.
Along the way he might just be instrumental in transforming an industry that is long overdue for one.