Carlos Corredor is the Co-founder and CEO of Condor Agency, an ROI-driven digital marketing firm. He has 10 years of experience working in digital strategy and analytics and measuring the impact of marketing initiatives on business outcomes. Before Condor, Carlos was the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Analytics at Rise Interactive.
Antonio Santana is the Co-founder and President of Condor Agency, which also functions as a staffing agency connecting US businesses with qualified, English-speaking Latin American talent. As a sports entrepreneur, he is also the Founder and Director of Wahoo, a platform that helps MLB teams find optimal prospects in the international market.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Antonio Santana and Carlos Corredor discuss Condor Agency and the inspiration behind it
- What attracted Carlos and Antonio to digital marketing?
- How entrepreneurship prepared Antonio and Carlos for a career as agency owners
- Condor’s growth in the past five years
- How the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the agency
- What is the vision for Condor moving forward?
In this episode…
Carlos Corredor and Antonio Santana share a similar story many of us can relate to. They studied and graduated in fields that they didn’t enjoy. But their degrees weren’t earned in vain. Instead, they leveraged their education and experience into their dream career.
Carlos and Antonio acknowledge that they found their calling as entrepreneurs in the digital marketing and recruiting sectors, but it took a lot of work. As avid sports fans, they hosted a sports-themed podcast and developed an app that became wildly popular in their home country of Venezuela. Having mastered social media and garnered millions of followers, they transferred their talents and skills to the marketing world. While working as entry-level marketers, they witnessed off-putting behaviors that they didn’t want to be associated with, so they founded Condor Agency. Though the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the agency’s growth, it was also the firm’s turning point, shaping Condor into the powerhouse it is today.
Join Carlos Corredor, Co-founder and CEO of the Condor Agency, and Antonio Santana, Co-founder and President of the Condor Agency, in this episode of the Tailwind Marketing Podcast. Chad Franzen of Rise25 interviews the podcast’s co-hosts about their journey into digital marketing and recruiting entrepreneurship. They discuss the inspiration behind Condor Agency, how the pandemic affected the firm, and the agency’s vision moving forward.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Carlos Corredor on LinkedIn
- Antonio Santana on LinkedIn
- Condor Agency
- Chad Franzen on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Condor Marketing & Staffing.
Condor is an ROI-driven digital marketing agency built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
Our expert team helps clients identify and execute initiatives focused on business growth. We aim to democratize digital marketing with proven strategies and measurements that guarantee a return on investment by leveraging innovative technologies and the support of our Latin American office.
We provide strategic digital marketing advice, website development, content generation, SEO, performance marketing, social media marketing, CRM and email automation, web analytics and BI reporting, video production, and staffing services.
|0:05 – 01:10||Carlos: Hi, I’m Carlos Corredor, here with Antonio Santana, owners of Condor Agency and hosts of the Tailwind Marketing podcast, where we talk to marketing leaders of agencies and B2B departments on how to grow their businesses. |
This episode is brought to you by Condor Marketing and Staffing, Power Bi Growing, playing Digital Marketing is not enough in 2023, to win you need a business-minded agile accountable team, so let’s get you one!
Condor is a Marketing and Staffing agency focused on helping other agencies and B2B marketing departments take their marketing game to the next level by leveraging analytics with Latin-American talent, you can learn more at condoragency.com
We have Chad Franzen here, of Rise 25, who has done tons of interviews with successful entrepreneurs and CEOs and today we flipped the script, and he is going to be the one interviewing us.
Welcome Chad, great to have you
|01:11 – 01:22||Chad: Hey, thank you so much Carlos, and Antonio, nice to meet you, it’s nice to see you. |
As we kinda get to know each other here, I’d like to get to learn a little more about Condor, if you don’t mind. Let’s start out by telling me, how you guys started.
|01:23 – 04:20||Antonio: We actually need to go way back, like fifteen years ago, Carlos and I were studying in the same college. He was studying Mass Communications, and I was studying Law, I graduated, but I never practiced Law, and right after I graduated, I moved to Madrid, to study a Sports Marketing Master, and when I returned to Venezuela, Carlos and myself, we were already friends, we shared a passion for the fantasy baseball, and sports in general, we had several friends in common and we started as friends, but then we started to do some things together. |
For example, we actually did a Podcast, we had more than 400 episodes in the past, related to sports and specifically baseball, and Carlos at that time was working at one of the biggest sports media in Venezuela and I was doing some radio shows. And discussing, we identified that in Venezuela there was a need for providing statistics for the venezuelan winter league. And none of the sports media were doing that, so we decided that we needed to develop this product. And not only the company where Carlos was working at that time, hired us, but also basically other sports media and news media in Venezuela hired us to provide the Venezuelan winter league baseball statistics. So that was our first business together, and also the podcast.
Right after, we also identified that all the sports media in Venezuela were doing traditional and old-school journalism, and we wanted to create our own sports digital media with a relaxed approach, focusing on videos and that’s why we also launched that new product that was called “El Abonado”, that is basically like a season ticket holder
|04:20 – 04:52||Carlos: It’s kind of like bars to sports, but we didn’t know bars to sports by then, for people familiar with ESPN and other platforms, it’s one that is more relaxed, it’s focused more on young people and how they go on about sports. And the fact that you don’t have to do sports as it fits political news or political events, it’s fun. No one is going to die, nothing is going to happen, it’s just a home-run or not, or a goal or not.|
|04:52 – 06:24||Antonio: Yeah, and it was also a success at that time, for example we had over half a million followers in social media, we developed an application for Android and app store. And that was new at that time, we basically became the most downloaded application in the market in Venezuela, we were sponsored by biggest beer company in Venezuela, we were basically a success at that time, all the baseball players were engaging with us, commenting, asking for videos and things like that, and that’s basically the initial part of all our route where Carlos and myself were working together in different projects, there were other projects that weren’t successful at that time but we were doing this by our own, with our own employees and basically all that in Digital Marketing because we needed to put positioning our products, doing paid media, SEO, and social media. we were really huge in social media, so those were the beginnings of our story.|
|06:25 – 08:42||Carlos: Yeah, I remember when I was working for that newspaper, at the beginning is like I already knew sports journalism was fun, but it was not really for me. it was hard to make a living out of it, the tipping point was that for the baseball fans, there was a closer, he was a player for the Los Angeles Angels back then, Francisco Rodriguez, and I was assigned to interview him that day, it was going to be a huge interview, it was the first time he went to Venezuela, I was supposed to ask him when was he going to play his first game with a Venezuelan team, La Guaira Sharks, and I had to wait for him for four hours, I got to the stadium really early, 1 or 2 pm, the game was at seven, I waited for him from the morning, and he walked out and he didn’t answer me, he said “later, later, later” and he’s like “no time, sorry, bye” and that’s when I said “ok, no. let’s focus on digital marketing full time” and by then, I remember having discussions with my boss: let’s do analysis of the games, scores, statistics, it’s not that we came up with it, it had been in the U.S. for a while but no one was providing it in Venezuela, but there was always an excuse, no budget, it was not te priority. so I quit and then I met Antonio, and yeah, we were friends, but it’s not like we were best friends, we became really good friends working together in this projects, and then we developed that and sold it to the newspaper I was working for. and that’s when I said “this is definitely what I want to do” the digital space, so I went to Chicago in 2011 to do a Master’s in Digital Marketing in Northwestern, worked in a couple of agencies to gain some experience and then we saw the opportunity of not only a sports publisher or a sports website, but a Marketing agency.|
|08:43 – 09:09||Antonio: and by that time in Venezuela there was a huge crisis, and we were a success by then, and we were earning money, and we had several employees, around 30 employees, but in that crisis, the game changed completely and we needed to, basically shut down operations in Venezuela.|
|09:09 – 09:43||Carlos: I remember that in one week, the currency which is the Bolivar, it went from 10 bolivars the dollar, to a 100 bolivars the dollar. so if I needed 3, 4 thousand dollars a month in Chicago to get by, now that suddenly became like 3 or 4 hundred and I was like, I need to pay my debt with school and I need to eat here in Chicago, so that’s also another reason why I worked in those agencies for a good 5 years. until we actually said let’s do this, a Marketing agency project.|
|09:45 – 10:00||Chad: Yeah, you guys could’ve done I mean, you have a lot, a degree on Mass Communications, of all kind of backgrounds in sports and you worked in marketing agencies, what was it about having your own marketing agency that was so appealing?|
|10:00 – 11:28||Carlos: It’s a good questions, marketing and agencies in general is the top business, it is much easier to do an app have 2 million people use and then just make some bucks per person and it’s very scalable that way. People’s businesses they require a lot of attention, effort, mentoring, training, recruiting. there’s a bunch of headaches that are related to it, so it’s a top business to get into, but it was that frustration while building those products ourselves as entrepreneurs and working with other agencies, that we saw how most of them were really bad, they were mediocre, they took advantage of the client not really knowing, let’s say, development or marketing, so we ended up doing things on our own, whether that’s developing the website, promoting on google, finding influencers, back then the word “influencer” was not even a thing and we found our network in sports journalists and said “hey, promote me on twitter and we’ll pay you for each download that we get” that type of thing, so we did that by ourselves, we did the SEO, we learned the SEO, learned sales and did it. and that’s why with the marketing, obviously good content but the marketing was a main factor on why that project was successful and we could do it better than any agency, so-called expert. so it was like let’s definitely do it ourselves and we knew we could help others.|
|11:28 – 11:53||Antonio: And it was actually like, if we had an agency, we were basically putting these products on the market with SEO, with Paid Media, with email marketing, social media, it was like basically running an agency before we had our own.|
|11:55 – 12:14||Chad: Yeah, sounds like you have all kinds of experience in marketing and you kinda became experts in marketing, but you mentioned Carlos, your experience as entrepreneurs, I’m guessing that your experience in launching other businesses had to dig in why you started this one.|
|12:14 – 15:02||Antonio: Yeah actually, we’re still entrepreneurs, it’s something you never lose. for example, for me, I studied Law, and then I switched to sports journalism, and it wasn’t for me, but when I started develop this products and launching them and putting them into market, it was like that was my passion, like being an entrepreneur and enjoying all the process, since the foundations until the consolidation of the company. and right now what we’re doing is basically we’re using our agency as some kind of hub to create new ideas and we use the internal team to help us with that, because, I mean, we’re on the agency basically on a full-time basis, but using the team to create new ideas, to delegate, to give them autonomy to help us develop new ideas is something that has been really good for us. |
For example, we developed a project that is called “Wahu” that is basically like an independent scouting platform where we gather information from baseball prospects in Latin America, and we use advanced technology to gather that information and then we sell that information to Major League Baseball teams, where they use that information to sign prospects. so right now for example we have 11 teams, 11 MLB that are working with us, MLB is actually working with us.
We have another project called Cobra, that it’s a sports pool application to give and send direct challenges to play with the community. and also another one that is called UNO that is basically a service for wellness, fitness and nutrition. so, as you see, Chad, some of the projects that we have developed are also related to sports, and it’s something that we never lose, we actually use all the sports values into our agency and it’s something that is part of us, basically.
|15:02 – 16:26||Carlos: And the other thing there is that I think if you look at other agencies and where their founders come from, they usually come from other agencies, the traditional advertising space. and sometimes they migrate to digital but it’s usually people that have always worked in Advertising, from traditional TV days and traditional advertising today. versus us, we come from other entrepreneurial projects, launching our businesses, so our mentality is, let’s say, a little less creative and a little more entrepreneurial. and not to say creativity is not important, we definitely think there’s a place and it’s really really important, but we can definitely smell the BS when they want to sell you just the creativity with no data to support it, or no business onto why that’s a good idea, right? so I think that’s really what sets us apart. |
It’s not a coincidence that analytics is our strongest service, we’ve been doing baseball analytics since before working in marketing even. that’s another thing that is in de DNA of Condor, being Data-driven and entrepreneurial.
|16:26 – 16:36||Chad: So you launched Condor 5 years ago, we’ve kind of established the foundations of how things got started, tell me about what the growth has looked like. What you look back then when you started from now.|
|16:36 – 17:28||Carlos: Yeah, well. After the crisis and all, that team was reduced, and we officially started Condor which was at the beginning of 2018 it was Antonio, myself and maybe 2 or 3 others. so let’s say a team of 5, and today after 5 years we are a team of 80. all of us, well, i’m in the U.S., but the rest of the team is in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, all of them in Latin America, and we just made the Inc. 5000 list, so it’s been a tremendous last couple of years, the first couple years were rough as any business, and then we finally started to take off in year 3 or 4.|
|17:28 – 18:38||Antonio: It was very important for us, even when at the beginning was very hard, and we struggled as many companies, I think it was really important to have like a clear vision and a set of values, and like the compass was very clear for us, like we needed to move in this direction, and basically we worked in different process, for example, process-centric is one of our values, and even when our process were not that good at the beginning, we were constantly working on basically tuning those processes, and that was a key factor from the beginning and now we keep our focus in what needs to be done, basically.|
|18:38 – 18:56||Chad: Carlos mentioned that in year 3 or 4, if you started in 2018 year 3 was 2021, that’s kind of the heart of COVID. 2020 was COVID, 2021 was also the heart of COVID, How did you guys kinda persevere through that?|
|18:56 – 21:16||Antonio: well, actually COVID was scary. At first, we lost a couple of clients, some of them reduced the scope and it was a scary situation for everyone, basically. But it was a turning point, for us. COVID basically changed the game, people started to work from home, the hybrid model was basically what everyone was doing. And actually sometimes people from the U.S. after COVID moved to other cities, for example I live in Mexico City and if you walk in a popular neighborhood here in Mexico, you can actually hear more english than spanish, so that’s when we realized that if companies or agencies were working with someone remotely in Chicago, or in New York, or any part of the world, they could work with someone from Latin America. Basically. and that’s when we started to also focus on providing services to Digital Marketing Agencies, and it was a new line of services. We started to say: okay, maybe sometimes agencies they already have the know-how but they need talent. And we started to provide talent for them, even when we borrowed part of our team to those agencies or when we found full-time positions for them, part-time positions for them. But it started to be a service for us and we identified that agencies were needing that, and if for us was really good to build a team abroad and we grew basically having a Latin American team, why not help these agencies to do the same? So, it started scary but then it turned to be a game changer for us.|
|21:16 – 22:11||Carlos: Yeah, I think working remotely is already scary for a lot of people, in all of the world especially back then, so removing that part of “okay, we have two barriers” You have to work with someone remote and you need to work with someone from a different culture. |
So the first barrier was removed, and as they understood that, you know they’re from a different country but they speak perfect english, they’ve been in the U.S, maybe these guys are not that different as I thought, you know.
And that has helped not only in recruiting talent directly but even in the managed services, to connect more and to have more people feel comfortable with the team. Let’s say the agency part of the team or the managed services part of the business.
So yeah, COVID was big.
|22:11 – 22:26||Chad: Very nice, so you experienced tremendous growth even in the mids of difficult circumstances behind your control, and now as we head towards the next year 2024, what’s kind of your vision for Condor moving forward?|
|22:26 – 23:46||Carlos: We obviously want to continue to grow. We’re not satisfied. Definitely happy and grateful but not satisfied. We’ve made good progress defining the two industries that we think we can help a lot, one that we have been discussing is Marketing agencies helping them to leverage talent in Latin America, permanent, full-time people, freelancers, borrowing people from our team, white labeling spaces from our area I think it’s great. And the other is helping B2B marketing departments and, in particular, IT Services and Consulting Companies, that have particular problems that we’ve been able to solve throughout these last few years, and we’re developing preparatory technology for that, so going after those two segments, holding in on both, that’s a strategy to continue to grow. |
But ultimately, the vision is to connect Latin American talent to corporate America, that’s really the long-term vision and then more on a short to mid-term basis is focusing on those two segments.
|23:46 – 25:20||Antonio: And we want to be like the biggest connectors between the Latin American people and Corporate America, basically. And what Carlos and myself always say, is like for example in baseball: if you’re a baseball team you will hire the best available talent there, you will find to Japan, to Venezuela, to the Dominican Republic to find the best baseball players, and you need to that also if you’re a company. You need to open your eyes and look for people abroad. And also, for Big Papi, that he was huge in Boston, he was earning more money at Boston than he was earning when he was back in the Dominican Republic, so for the people in Latin America, for us, it’s also opening good possibilities for them in that connection. So that’s how we see the things in the future and what we will say to agencies and companies, it’s really good to hire people abroad and it will basically put your team in a better position.|
|25:20 – 25:40||Chad: Okay, well, hey Antonio and Carlos it’s been great to talk to you today, to meet you, I really enjoyed hearing about your company, you have a great vision for the future. Thanks so much for having me today|