Duncan Alney: How the Indianapolis tech scene can continue to thrive

How the Indianapolis tech scene can continue to thrive

Launched in 2001, Firebelly Marketing has been a social media marketing service provider since the early days of social media management. Despite a constantly evolving industry, Firebelly has been able to triple annual recurring revenue, add new clients to their roster, and recently hired three new team members with a plan to double its staff by mid-2018.

While some of the success can be attributed to the diversification of services — and the overall increase in spend on social media-related services across the U.S. — Duncan Alney, founder of Firebelly, also attributes this growth of his business to another factor: the thriving tech community, both in Indianapolis and nationwide.

“Marketing and technology are closely intertwined so as our tech sector continues to grow, so does the demand for specialized marketing support,” says Alney. “We’re experiencing a huge growth spurt right now at Firebelly, largely prompted by the growing need for companies — both in Indy and nationwide — to drive brand awareness and website traffic to compete in today’s market. Companies of all sizes and types understand the need to create  awareness, engagement, and traffic to their site.”

Duncan Alney

Duncan AlneyCEO

Alney believes Indianapolis is — and always has been — a marketing tech hub. “Indianapolis has a tech legacy dating back 20 years, and ongoing tech development has prompted an entire ecosystem to support it.”

A large talent pool, a reasonable cost of living, and a growing amount of amenities are just a few reasons for why the Indianapolis tech scene continues to grow, according to Alney.

“We have a huge talent pool to choose from, with dozens of universities in the region,” says Alney. “Employees want to work in Indianapolis with its much improved food and entertainment scene. Plus, we have relatively affordable office space, and there’s an increasing supply of labor that is more affordable than the coasts.”

Alney also believes our talent is competitive. “Talented marketing professionals in Indy tend to have a high commitment to measurement and good instincts. This combination is unbeatable when supporting any client, in any location.”

To support the growth in Indianapolis, Alney encourages companies to sell nationally.  “Marketing tech companies are often niched and specialized, and they can thrive in the Indianapolis market by selling to local and national companies,” says Alney. “Firebelly, for example, is diversified; we count on clients all over the country for 60% of our revenue.”

Now that ExactTarget’s Connections event is no longer in Indianapolis, Alney believes the city should host more niche conferences. “As the Indy tech scene continues to develop, there’s an increasing interest in learning and developing strategies for competing in a global market. For example, I’ve spoken at Facebook-specific events created to help organizations leverage Facebook for their business. The marketing field is so vast, so going niche would help Hoosier-marketers gain information and skills to stay excited and develop in their career.”

According to Alney, Firebelly will continue to expand its services offering to local and national clients in the coming months. Specific services include conversation research, media relations management, content campaigns and more.

“It’s an exciting time to live and work in Indianapolis,” says Alney. “National brands are looking to partner with marketing agencies that provide the very best services — no matter where they’re based.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Staff Report. TechPoint is focused on strengthening the tech community in Indiana.