Krista Pouncy-Dyson got tired of seeing businesses get burned with mediocre, over priced digital campaigns that didn’t move the needle for their bus. She founded Performance First Digital (PFD) in 2014, a digital strategy and marketing agency located in New Orleans, LA that stands by the idea that online marketing should be simple, affordable, and an effective tool for every business to utilize to attain their business goals. Their solutions include programmatic geo/behaviorally targeted banner and video ads, connected TV, SEO, SEM, website development, and social media management.
The “Air Force Brat” as she calls herself, was born in Anchorage, Ak but has lived everywhere from Great Falls, Montana to Warner Robins, GA. She is a Xavier University grad with a BS Degree in Communications and a minor in Business Administration.
Krista comes to the table with almost two decades of experience in online media, “I worked for Nola Media Group (NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune) for 17 years – Online before online was a thing. I started in 1999 selling display advertising. Top biller across all affiliates nation-wide – 7 figure digital online biller. In 2012 I moved into exec management as Director of Digital – SEO, SEM.”
“I evacuated to Atlanta after the storm,” Mrs. Pouncy-Dyson says. “Back then, the largest Louisiana companies were trying to contact their employees who had scattered. They needed them back at work. So a lot of them desperately needed their ads in the newspaper and online. For me, it meant being on the phone around the clock selling and managing accounts even when we didn’t know what was going on with our home and neighborhood.”
In 2008, the New Orleans Ad Club noted her contribution to boosting the local adoption of Internet advertising with an ADDY award for top digital salesperson.
But in the past couple of years, it hasn’t been NOLA.com or some other media brand she’s been building up; it’s been her own. In January 2014, she launched her own agency Performance First Digital. “What I had seen was that so many companies needed a solid partner who could help them strategize across all of their media and marketing efforts — not just print and digital. Performance First Digital is all about helping these marketers decide how to make themselves more visible and then get the most out of what they’re spending.”
In the short time since the firm’s launch, Mrs. Pouncy-Dyson has attracted several local clients, including East Jefferson General Hospital, Baton Rouge Community College and The New Orleans Advocate.
Mrs. Pouncy-Dyson is part of a surge of business leaders who are helping the New Orleans financial economy look more like its population. According to the Data Center, a non-profit research organization that focuses on analyzing the New Orleans region’s financial progress, New Orleans enjoys 68% more entrepreneurship than the rest of the nation. In fact, out of every 100,000 adults, 465 New Orleans residents have started their own business. However, minority-owned businesses take in only 2% of all receipts in New Orleans despite the fact that minorities make up 47% of the population and own 36% of all firms. According to the Data Center, minority-owned firms are more likely to hire minorities and to give back to their communities, which also fosters more economic growth.
Her agency is a certified participant in the Hudson Initiative, a program of Louisiana Economic Development which facilitates business opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Louisiana. As well as an active member of several organizations, including Algier’s Economic Development Foundation (2018 Board Member) and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and provides leadership for a variety of activities for the New Orleans Regional Black Business Chamber, including Media relations.
“She never enjoys her successes alone,” says New Orleans marketing consultant John Davis, a colleague from her NOLA.com years. “She is always bringing others alongside her.” Among those who have benefited is Makala Blake, public relations manager for the Spears Group in New Orleans. Mrs. Pouncy-Dyson began a mentor relationship with Ms. Blake as part of a NOLA.com program in 2015 and has continued to advise Ms. Blake despite their changes in employers.
Q: How long has your business been in operation? Is this business your main source of income or do you have other jobs or ventures you also participate in?
A: I started PFD in 2014. I also own anAirBnB and I am part owner of a chemical hauling company – K and M Transportation with my Husband, Melvin Dyson Sr.
Q: What are you most proud of (related to your business)?
A: So many things. We have been able to double our gross revenue year over year. The fact that we are the digital agency of record for East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie. I get to do what I love every day on my own terms. We are a white label provider of digital solutions for a major publishing entity in the Southeast. (NDA’d so I can’t say who it is) but we provide fulfillment for all of their SEO, PPC and connected TV orders. I’m also a Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business program participant.
Q: As an African American/Black entrepreneur, what were some of the biggest challenges and/or surprised you faced when starting your business?
A: It’s very difficult to garner business within industries we naturally should be included in – entertainment/tourism, larger private industry professional service opportunities, state contracts.
Q: What advice do you have to fellow African American/Black entrepreneurs starting a business?
A: Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Maintain excellent credit. Always show integrity. Don’t chase dollars, if you are diligent and produce in your respective industry, the money will come. All clients are not a perfect fit for your business. Know how to say no. Understand your opportunity. Don’t let anyone deter you from your passion. Be humble and acquire a network of peers that will uplift you and circulate business your way.
Q: New Orleans is such a “robust” entrepreneurial ecosystem. What are the resources (people, networks, organizations, programs, books, articles, etc.) that you have found most useful in starting and/or growing your business?
A: Black Chamber has been a huge help. And also the support of other agencies like The Spears Group.
Facebook: @Performance First Digital