By @SimonCocking

Interview with David Kerr, founder of @Bonkers_ie, the personal finance & price comparison website. Visit bonkers.ie to compare, switch & save.

How was 2014, what went well?

2014 was a very good year for the business. We expanded a number of our offerings, helped launch a new energy provider into the consumer market, grew our home communications offerings, expanded our banking product offers and delivered consumer savings to a record number of customers of bonkers.ie

Anything you’d do differently?

Yes, lots! We’ve learned a huge amount this year – which is all part of the cycle. The most important thing is to make actionable insights from your data so you learn as much as possible.

Plans for 2015 and the future?

This year and into next are all about 3 things – user experience, product categories, team. We are on track to yield our best year to date across all three dimensions with some exciting announcements to come towards the end of the summer.

What’s your background, what led you into what you are now doing?

I’m a software engineer, having completed a BSc in UCD and an MSc in Sweden. I was initially involved in distributed systems for telecommunications network management. I then moved into web businesses in 1999, specifically into price comparison in the UK marketplace which was just beginning to take off. I was active in the UK marketplace until 2009 when I quit my job to found bonkers.ie

What do you enjoy about how you currently work and the type of work you do?

My work is a mix of management activities for our commercial partners, managing team growth, processes, systems and software engineering (I check in to our SCM every day still, but I think my cards are marked!). We’re a quickly growing team and we need to execute with increasing speed – it’s very exciting to work with such smart folks here at bonkers.ie – it’s a team I’m very proud of.

You have a following in twitter, is this part of how you do business (guessing yes) – how has it helped you?

For the business, twitter offers us a way to communicate directly and en masse – we’ve been quite successful at using social platforms to keep consumers informed in bite-size chunks, and we’ve even been featured by Twitter Inc at a talk they gave here in Dublin.

How much time does it take to stay on top of your social media digital footprint? Where else are you active as well as twitter?

Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are the main social platforms we target given we are a consumer site. We have a resource allocated part time on those platforms as part of our overall digital marketing and customer care strategies.

Blogging, who do you follow / like what they do; Neil Patel, Blog Tyrant, Ted Rubin, none of the above or others?

Neil Patel, Jason Calacanis, TWiT, Gary Vaynerchuk

Top tips to companies trying to do well on social media?

The best tip is to stop trying to game the system – lots of people forget that behind every value on an analytics report there’s a consumer – we capture and study analytics from a variety of platforms and really try to understand customer journey and pain points so we can improve our platform and get the right results to consumers in a timely and easy-to-understand way. That’s a never ending cycle so on social, I’d say to companies trying to do well that they should be honest and project themselves as people rather than a faceless corp, and try to add real value to their followers and not to treat their followers as targets to sell to.

Not all Irish companies are convinced of the value on inbound marketing, and having an online strategy – do you spend time articulating why there is value, or just focus on those that want to develop one?

I try not to pontificate too much to other companies – especially if they’re competitors – the proof is in results and I focus on our results and our impact on Irish consumers.

Using social media, how do you manage life / work, and online / offline balance?

I disconnect once a year on our family holiday, relying on phone calls or text messages if I need to be contacted by the office. Other than those two weeks, I’m online all the time. I’m fortunate in that I love my work so there’s no balance to maintain really, it’s far harder to manage time and my inbox.

Anything else to add / we should have asked you?

bonkers.ie is celebrating 5 years later this summer – I’d like to thank all of our customers for their continued support and promise lots of exciting services coming up over the next 5 years.

What should we have asked you?

About our hall of fame, so here it is …

WINNER Grand Prix: Best Website in Ireland – 2013 Irish Web Awards

WINNER Best Financial Services Website – 2013 Irish Web Awards, 2013 Digital Media Awards, 2012 Irish Web Awards, 2011 Eircom Spiders

WINNER Best Practice in Technology – 2013 Irish Web Awards

bonkers.ie is accredited by the Commission for Energy Regulation as an impartial, accurate and independent supplier of energy price comparisons.

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