Why Givego - Written by Founder & CEO: Willie Ford

Givego CEO and Co-Founder, Willie Ford, talks about the frustrations he found in the sports and outdoor industry and how they lead him to create Givego.

I’ve always said, and truly believe that the best definition of an entrepreneur is someone who acts on their optimism. 

At the core of every entrepreneur, is someone who thinks they can make something better, and through making something that is better, they build or enhance a market, creating a business by doing this very thing- providing a better product, a better service, or sometimes, pioneering a completely new market. 

After graduating from University, I had loads of business ideas- many of which I still think about today,

but the pressure of getting a job, starting my career, and working my way up the corporate ladder

weighed heavily on me. I put my business ideas aside and graciously started working. After some time, I ended up at a company, POC. My journey to working at POC is worth a post on its own, but in short, I started as a free intern (at University) and was promoted to President of their largest market in 4 years. Although I was not an “entrepreneur” by many people’s standards, I was very entrepreneurial. 

As I sat at my desk, leading one of the fastest-growing companies in the outdoor market, I found myself incredibly frustrated. 

A few points of my frustration I couldn’t kick which eventually became the foundation of Givego are as follows:  

The first is, In 2014 my sister went to the Olympics. We had to raise over $15,000 for her to attend Sochi. Isn’t this crazy? She gets invited to one of the biggest stages in the world, representing the richest country, yet, she has to pay over $15,000 to attend. 

At POC, we were doing our best to push the limits and provide the best customer experience for our customers and partners. In order to do this, we had the same three or four options every brand had. These options were becoming so common that they were not seen as an offering that enhanced an experience - they were expected, and if they were not included, the experience was in fact, poor. These included free shipping, incentives to buy again, BOGOF, etc, etc. 

The final frustration was that we had a team of incredibly talented ambassadors who we did not utilize enough. We wanted to utilize them but had no way of doing this in a scaleable, fair, and easy way. These ambassadors were all drooling to be more involved with POC, but there were only so many poster signings, events, and pro-model products available. We had to find a way to help these ambassadors stay connected to the brand, with the intention of helping them, help us. 

These frustrations led me to what is now Givego. 

Givego is an expert marketplace that helps brands engage their customers post-purchase, leading to greater LTV, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction. Givego has over 1,000 experts, available to help customers get better at the thing for which they bought their product. 

When Customer Service Ends, Givego Begins. 

Givego helps brands decrease frustration and increase the enjoyment their customers have when they interact with their new products. 

This is a basic idea. An idea that has been around since the beginning of capitalism. When customers are happy, they become more valuable to the company. 

We help brands go from transactional to experiential. 

Brands that sell a product to a customer and overlook the experience, are transactional. They sell customer X a product, and they need to go find customer Y to sell them a product, too. 

Experiential brands know that the easiest path to growth is through the customer base they already have. This means that when the brand sells customer X a product, they support customer X in such an authentic and meaningful way that customer X comes back and buys more products- maybe they accessorize, maybe they upgrade, or maybe they refer their friends and family. Either way, it’s clear to us, and to any successful company today, when customers feel the support, love, and authenticity from the companies they purchase from, they increase loyalty and come back more often. 

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