In the southern suburbs of Cape Town, a company sits nestled in a complex. Inside, Ariel Sumeruk is directing a group of employees to provide the best possible service to their clients. They analyse data, optimise search engines and help clients assess how their brand is doing. Conversion Science’s brand is obvious from the get go. Sumerak – a physics major and entrepreneur – sits down with a smile and a laptop. He’s prepared to put the client’s needs first.
Starting a new company is daunting, and Sumeruk is honest about how it was no less so for him. Though he was contracted by Google as a trainer and helped grow a company into the biggest SEM in South Africa, his venture was littered from the start with possibilities of risk. His way of coping with the anxieties of starting his own business echoes the quantitative methods with which he serves his customers: look at the facts and measure them up. He prudently admits that if the company failed, he could always have applied for a new job after a couple of months and more than likely would have got it. Always the pragmatist, it seems, he goes on to explain how he his clients also benefit from this data-driven, and quantitative thinking.
Conversion Science exists to provide clients with the best possible service in optimised pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Their approach to this mission is twofold: Direct access between clients and their campaign manager, and a quantitative approach to analysing data. Growing a successful campaign relies less on intuition and more on black and white evidence. Whilst Sumeruk speaks highly of the importance of gut instinct, he is adamant that even the most intuitive must check their results.
To go forward without checking that the methods and strategies he’s employing are working for him is madness, and rightly so. He explains that a campaign strategy might seem like it’s working well due to its content because it got ten more shares than the last campaign, but without checking why it’s done well, it could be the time of day it was posted that contributed to the campaign’s success. His methods draw from his days as a quantitative physicist, and his success is just as quantifiable.
In the seven years since Sumeruk started the company in a homemade office, it has racked up a client list that reaches Kenya, Nigeria and further abroad. He attributes this success to his decision to reject a financial injection in the startup stage. This rejection of financial help left Conversion Science free of any external influences or agendas, which has allowed the company’s identity to flourish. Conversion Science thus became the boutique service providing company it is recognised as today, and quantitative emphasis characterises the brand’s approach seven years on from its inception.
Sumeruk further explains how this quantitative approach has helped him best serve clients abroad. Different countries have different cultures and their own favourite mediums for accessing customers. Focusing solely on newspapers might work at home, but audiences abroad may be more active on their mobile phones.
Although we can assume we know best, he states, it is only after checking methods against results that a method can be approved. Sumeruk and his team therefore constantly check the strategies that they employ abroad, so that they steadily continue to become global players. It is this reliance on quantifiable data that makes Conversion Science reliable. Nothing says reliable more than a company practising what it preaches.
It’s second characteristic is its “laser focus” on client-faced service. Conversion Science work with clients rather than in opposition to them, meaning they always put their client’s needs at the forefront, rather than profit for themselves. They prefer traditional methods of customer service, and ironically, traditional methods is what they believe will make them one of the top players in the future. An interesting dichotomy exists between their promotion of traditional values and their current training in Artificial Intelligence.
Though Sumeruk is aware of the positives of traditional methods, he also is not naive to the uses of AI. What AI can do in minutes, one person could take a month to do. Their AI research division is being trained up to proactively analyse client’s data. Whilst the integration of AI into Conversion Science is still underway, Sumeruk insists that they are already well positioned, as the industry has been moving to a more measurable and quantitative approach over the last couple of years. “We have a head start on most of our peers since we had been focused on that since the beginning.” Quantitative analytics is the way forward, and this company was on the path years ago.