Marketing guru Jonty Hodge is well aware of the frustrations facing businesses when it comes to digital advertising. So much so that the Aro Digital co-founder has set up a new start-up focused on empowering people to run effective digital ads.
Jonty co-founded Kepla in 2022 with his friend Jarrod Mosen after identifying a gap in the market.
“Kepla is born from customer need — we wanted to empower businesses across New Zealand to run effective digital campaigns without having to fork out thousands of dollars.
“We came up with a digital marketing platform that would be easy to use and enable people to do campaigns with confidence.”
Kepla is exactly that — a digital advertising agency in your pocket. It helps create, manage, and optimise ads so people can focus on growing their businesses.
Jonty wanted people to spend less time manually analysing data and more time focusing on creating great campaigns.
Jonty is passionate about growing businesses through analysing their digital experiences and creating products to help deliver results. And he knows Kepla will be game-changing.
“We integrate with all major ad platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram, which means you don’t have to log in to any of them to understand them. It’s all taken care of.
“All you need to do is log in to Kepla. You’ll see a multi-channel dashboard where you can create multi-channel campaigns and be guided through the process. It’s simple and effective.”
Working out of central Wellington offices, Jonty has brought experts on board to help build the platform’s foundations, develop the back end, undertake research, and closed beta testing.
Kepla will use Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) channels first, with a view to scope out more channels like TikTok, LinkedIn and other programmatic advertising down the track.
By 2024 Jonty hopes to have hundreds of Kiwi businesses on board. He’s also looking to scope out Australia and other countries as well.
It helps that Kepla is based in Wellington — Jonty thinks the start-up business community is supportive and helps make the city a great place to do business.
“The beauty of working in Wellington and doing business here is the connections, the collaborations.”
“It’s super important to keep that innovation growing and help others to also flourish.”
He may be an entrepreneur, but Kepla has forced a change in mindset for Jonty.
“I’ve come to the realisation that I’m in it for the long haul, this is no short-term thing, and you’ve got to have both perseverance and passion.”
Jonty’s passion for marketing was clear early on in his career. He landed his first digital roles at Trade Me while undergoing a commerce degree majoring in marketing and international business at Victoria University of Wellington.
He quickly climbed the ranks, managing Trade Me’s paid search accounts for Marketplace and spending millions of dollars in the process.
“I was a bit of a ratbag back then, but it was fun and it’s where I became super passionate about paid search and marketing.”
A stint at global marketing agency VMLY&R followed. Where Jonty developed search strategies for big clients like Vodafone, Land Rover, and helloworld.
He crossed paths with fellow Victoria University alumni Tim Dorrian, and a short time later the pair joined forces to set up the highly successful Aro Digital.
Still, the Hawke’s Bay-born 28-year-old wanted to push boundaries and challenge himself, and Kepla is certainly doing both.
“I’ve always had this fascination for products, and combining that with fulfilling the purpose of working by providing tools for businesses to use in the marketing space that actually helps them grow.
“That’s super exciting for me, it’s super important and it definitely keeps me going.”