A Decade of Thin Pig
The architect must be a prophet... a prophet in the true sense of the term... if he can't see at least ten years ahead don't call him an architect. - Frank Lloyd Wright
We’re not architects, and we don’t profess to be able to see ten years in advance. But today, we celebrate ten years in business, and we believe it’s because we were able to identify a growing need a decade ago. It’s a pretty big deal for us.
According to the US Small Business Administration , only about half of new businesses survive to five years, and only about a third are able to celebrate their first decade. Like us.
Ten years ago, our founders Greg, Tony, and Darrin were involved with planning meetings, and they felt that the hotels they were sourcing could greatly benefit from a more robust social media presence. At the time, very few hotels were doing much, if anything, on social media. This visionary trio had identified a need, but still needed to find a client willing to take a flyer on an unproven vendor. As luck would have it, I was a hotelier at the time, and turned out to be that client.
The social media landscape was quite a bit different back then. Just nine months earlier, in December of 2008 MySpace and Facebook were neck-and-neck with 59 million U.S. visitors each. In fact, Facebook entered 2009 just slightly behind MySpace. But this would be Facebook’s time to shine, as they would go on to exceed 350 million users by the end of the year. 2009 was also a breakout year for Twitter; they would grow to 58 million users. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Instagram wouldn’t launch until 12 months after we did.
For our clients, social media was something they could no longer ignore. At the time, websites generally offered only basic, template driven information about a hotel, but social media allowed each property to showcase their unique and local brand voice, and actually have a conversation with potential customers. While most marketing budgets weren’t ready to add staff to manage this effort (in some quarters they still aren’t), we were able to come up with a service that could efficiently and professionally manage this effort.
But Social Media moves quickly (remember Peach anyone?); in the beginning, paid advertising usually consisted of a $10 boosted post here or there for a brunch or a happy hour promotion. Now it forms the backbone of much of what we do. Driving website traffic is a priority now, but in the early days we actually found ourselves augmenting the website content. Our company built out a ton of custom Facebook tabs in the beginning, because for a number of our clients, we were actually able to convey their message better on Facebook than they could on a website. Our beautiful tabs eventually became obsolete with the onset of mobile
Ultimately, creating coherent social advertising strategies would become critical and one of our main focuses as we grew as a company. Facebook’s annual revenue was $777 million in 2009; last year it nearly hit $56 billion. Our ad spend has also grown exponentially. One thing hasn’t changed though, and that is the conversation part of social media. Over the past ten years we have had the great privilege of helping our clients have hundreds of thousands of those conversations.
Greg has often said to me that to be good in business, you have to first ‘be in business’. A very simple statement, but I think it runs pretty deep. By being in a business that we understood and were good at, we became aware of a lot of other ‘things’ that our clients needed. And after learning how to do those things, a lot of new clients became aware of us. By being flexible and willing to learn, Thin Pig has been able to beat the odds and make it to ten years. In our first decade we have now worked with hundreds of clients in a number of verticals in eight countries. Not bad for something that started as a side hustle out of a coffee shop.
It all started with the recognition of a need and figuring out a way to service it. So today, we celebrate, and we would like to thank all of our employees, clients, contractors, and business partners, past and present, who have believed in us and have been a part of our story. I am already looking forward to writing our 20 year anniversary post in 2029...stay tuned. Now if I could only find my Peach login….