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Norwich-based Optimise has South East Asian domination in its sights

PUBLISHED: 09:40 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40 10 August 2016

Norwich media group Optimise are expanding into new offices in Norfolk Tower. Stephen Rumbelow, group strategy director and CEO Richard Syme.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norwich media group Optimise are expanding into new offices in Norfolk Tower. Stephen Rumbelow, group strategy director and CEO Richard Syme. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Optimise wants to expand its reach business across South East Asia and South America, branching out from its existing outposts in Singapore, India and São Paulo.

Norwich media group Optimise are expanding into new offices in Norfolk Tower. CEO Richard Syme.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorwich media group Optimise are expanding into new offices in Norfolk Tower. CEO Richard Syme. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand are next on Richard Syme’s list.

But the chief executive of Norwich-based affiliate marketing agency Optimise is not describing his next holiday destinations.

Instead Mr Syme wants to expand the reach of his business across South East Asia and South America, branching out from its existing outposts in Singapore, India and São Paulo.

It comes after Optimise, which uses its knowledge of markets and technology to drive advertising sales across thousands of websites for brands including Lloyds, Tesco, Expedia and Peugeot, has just expanded into a new city home.

Mr Syme has brought his two Norwich teams under one roof in Norfolk Tower, from their former homes in Colegate and Muspole Street, and has set an ambitious target of £100m turnover by 2020.

Mr Syme, who founded the business in 2000 while working at the former Norwich Union, said launching early in emerging markets would help the business harness fast growth as technology developed.

“International penetration is huge but in some countries we’re still relatively small,” he said. “There is so much growth potential in the sector.”

Optimise was this year included in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, and is on track to see turnover reach £36m for the year ending August 2016, up from £29m the year before.

But while it has blue-chip clients across the UK, its overseas growth has seen greater proportionate growth.

“In Asia we are finding clients want reach not just in one country,” said Mr Syme. “They don’t want to liaise with a company like us in every single country. We have to provide that on-the-ground support and development.

“The vision is to be a pan-Asian performance marketing network and pan-South American.”

Each country has a local managing director who will be a minority shareholder, managed by the group team based in Norwich.

Mr Syme said: “It works for us because it means we have someone on the ground with experience and they are local and have an investment in driving the business forward.

“It has been invaluable in scaling the business up quickly from 2009 to where we are now.”

Optimise currently employs 170 people globally, including 50 in Norwich, but this is likely to grow, said Mr Syme.

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