Excellence Through Values. Nine Years in the Making
All Inclusive Marketing – 9th Anniversary
Interview with Sarah Bundy
Happy Birthday AIM! Today we are celebrating All Inclusive Marketing’s 9th anniversary and in honor of our incredible journey, we have asked our Founder and CEO, Sarah Bundy, a few questions about the past nine years and what it takes to build a company committed to excellence. Here is Sarah’s interview, candidly reflecting on her AIM story and sharing her vision for the next 9 years. We hope you enjoy her honest and inspiring answers as much as we do.
Why did you start All Inclusive Marketing?
Originally I wanted to take immaculate care of a couple of clients while raising my children at home. I felt there was a gap in the market for an all-inclusive solution of ethical and transparent full service performance marketing, where brands could come and be so well taken care of that they felt that they were at a 5-star all-inclusive resort. I wanted it to be a place where they didn’t have to worry about a thing. It was all just taken care of for them, in their best interest and for their benefit. I wanted to be the company that set the standard of excellence in the affiliate marketing space. I envisioned doing this by “DIGGing” every day (delighting our clients, innovating in the market, driving growth for our programs, and giving back)
What was the most important Goal you wanted to achieve when first starting AIM 9 years ago and have you accomplished it?
Being able to take immaculate care of our clients, while setting the standard of excellence in our industry, was my goal. Nine years later we have absolutely accomplished that, and we continue to do, which we showcase through our A+ rating on the BBB, our 5 star rating on Glassdoor, our Global Excellence Award through the Performance Marketing Awards, and several other well known industry recognitions and awards. These are all testaments to what we set out to do: set the standard of excellence within the digital and performance marketing space, and we do it each day as a team, and as a family.
What has been your proudest moment at AIM?
I have so much that I appreciate about our incredible team and our company, and what we’ve accomplished in our time together. It’s hard to narrow it down just to one or two moments, but I’d say that my two proudest “moments” were when we won Company of the Year out of all 400,000 small businesses in British Columbia in 2016, and when our team won the Global Excellence Award in London last month for the work we have been doing with iStock by Getty Images. Winning a Global Excellence Award, especially with the amazingly innovative and best-in-class companies that we were up against in that category, was incredibly rewarding for our client and our entire team. I was beaming when I saw them go up on stage together, and it was so well deserved.
We know that one of the things you value most, is your team. What do you find sets AIM employees apart from people working at other companies? Are there certain personality traits or skills that do well at AIM?
We have two things that guide us in finding the right talent and aligned team players: Do they want to set the standard of excellence and step up to the plate to strive for that each day? Do they do their best, work together, have a hunger to learn and grow and help each other? And, do they DIGG? This is our value system as an acronym, which stands for: to Delight, Innovate, Grow and Giveback. It helps us find the most aligned team players; people who care, who shine, who have it in their bloodstream to go above and beyond, who are agile, innovative, collaborative, and execute for the sake of achieving continuously improved results. Our people are passionate, honest, kind and extremely intelligent. We lift each other up, we carry each other when we need to. This team feels more like family than anything else. For us to have the culture we do, and the value system we have in an entirely remote, globally dispersed team, and be as close as we are, is something really rare and incredible to be part of.
Tell us about your biggest professional challenge
I think the biggest challenge, because we are all so close and there are so many bright and talented people here, is that we don’t see each other more often in person. We are all spread out in various areas of the world from Vancouver to New York to Cape Town to Barcelona. Although we’ve built our systems and team structures to support efficiencies, communication, collaboration and scale globally, not being able to see each other as often as we like can be a personal and professional challenge. Mind you, this is more of an emotional challenge than a business one, because we like each other so much and are a powerful team. It would be nice to celebrate our successes together more frequently in person.
You once said “Work-life balance is essential to business success and your sanity”. How do you find that balance as a mother and female business owner in an ever-changing industry and do you have any life hacks you can share?
Great question. I actually mentor a lot of moms and female start ups who have this as one of their opening questions. I think it comes down to being organized, understanding and setting boundaries and priorities, understanding your “why”, and being selective when you need to. It’s also about surrounding yourself with the right people, investing in them and empowering them, and then getting out of their way so they can do their best work aligned with a clear vision, mission, purpose and direction that you get to set together. If you can do this, then you’ll find you have more time to find your work-life balance and enjoy the things and people you love.
If you could show 9-Years-Ago-Sarah-Bundy a snapshot of AIM today, what is the one thing she would be most surprised to learn?
How big we got and how globally recognized we have become. I didn’t know when I was 6-months pregnant starting this company out from my living room that we’d be Global Excellence Award winners, a PROFIT500 company, a W100 company, Company of the Year in BC, have a 5 Star Rating on Glassdoor, an A+ Rating on the BBB, and that we’d have gotten this far entirely based on referrals and the word of mouth of others. I wouldn’t have expected the caliber of clients or talent that we have today, all of whom we are very grateful to be serving, all of whom have come to us on their own accord, because of what we have built and the reputation that we have in the global market. I’m very grateful for it, and I’m extremely honored that we get to enjoy and experience all the things that we do with these amazing people (team, clients, partners, family, etc.)
Where do you see AIM in 9 years?
Continuing to grow and flourish in the performance marketing space globally. We have committed to setting the standard of excellence in Performance Marketing and DIGGing every day. We will continue to do that, but at scale, and with fresh eyes, ears, partnerships, verticals, technology advancements and hopefully even more client and team awards for innovation, excellence and growth! I also want to see our AIM for Change program (part of our formal give-back program in partnership with Plan International) really take off, where we can help more children around the world have access to fresh food, clean water, medical supplies and a chance to live a happy, healthy lives.
One piece of advice you can offer a budding female entrepreneur?
Oh man, I don’t have just one piece of advice. There are too many things to say and that I needed to learn when I first got started. Maybe a few of these: Believe and know you can do it. You’re just as strong and capable and brave as anyone else. Never bend to who you are. Stay true to yourself. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will lift you up and help you flourish. Then lift them up and help them (and others) flourish too. Be okay knowing you’re not going to be good at everything. Don’t worry about not having all the answers. Hire incredibly talented and smart people to fill those gaps for you. Focus on your strengths and being the best at what you do. Invest in people. Treat people well. Be honest. Work hard. Know your “why”. Communicate your vision frequently. Ask the right questions. If you don’t know the right questions, ask which questions you should be asking. Find a mentor. Find 10 mentors. Never stop learning, sharing, growing. Thank people often. Adjust and be ready to move quickly. Invest in your systems. Plan. Budget. Be bold. Never give up. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
Plenty to Ponder 🙂
Thank you Sarah for sharing your learnings and congratulations to both you and your husband, partner and AIM Co-Founder, Iain Bundy on building something truly special.
We have asked some of our Team members Why they love working at AIM:
“The people. It’s a great culture.” – Ashley
“I love the team and how everyone is so passionate about their jobs, eager to learn more and do better, and the fact that everyone is so helpful and kind. It’s really great to have such a strong company culture for a remote team!” – Natalie
“Being able to work with great people and doing amazing things for the industry. I also love being able to interact with other industry professionals to keep constant growth.” – Derik
“The people! Everyone is inspiring in their own way, passionate about producing the best work possible and driving each other forward to learn more, be better, and think outside the box. We’re a close-knit team for being completely remote!” – Jules
“It’s a healthy environment to spend so much of our time, with people that are kind, helpful, and good at what they do!” – Jason
“Truly the people! Everyone is so nice and kind and wants to help everyone out. We are each other’s own cheerleaders and our cheer is on point.” – Erin
“AIM is a company with heart! Everyone is kind, hard working, and always willing to help each other out! Which is especially amazing considering the distance between us. Being a remote team offers the advantage of having the best people while also offering us some flexibility to schedule our days around whatever we have going on.” – Leanne
“#1 is the people. You guys get STUFF done! ;). but seriously, I’m constantly impressed by how motivated each of you are and how swiftly you tackle projects and your willingness to help others. I was taken under your wings and allowed to flourish, and this is the first company I’ve worked for that has promised what they’ve delivered in believing in me and providing the tools to help me excel. I have finally found my “career family” and I couldn’t ask for more!” – Hailie
“The people that make AIM run is what makes it so great. AIM cultivates a fantastic work environment; I can feel the passion and energy in every moment I spend with the team. It feels like home. We grow together and push forward regardless of the obstacle. It’s a fantastic experience.” – Mark
“Being part of a distributed team of rockstars from all over the world. Working for a #GirlBoss that inspires, leads and sets an example of work-life balance. Shared values. Flexibility – to name a few.” – Ansi