Even if you’ve never heard of Market Ease, you’ve more than likely seen their work around Adelaide. Founder and CEO Binh An Nguyen has helped to steer campaigns for everyone from local brands including Maggie Beer and MyBudget to global corporations like Hyundai and even the Obama administration.
That global client list means the business could operate from anywhere in the world, but there’s only one place Nguyen wants to be based. “I’ve travelled to quite a few different countries and there's nowhere that I'd rather call home than here,” he says. “Adelaide was the first place that I saw when I came to Australia and I feel indebted to this place because I was able to build a business and a life here.”
When he first arrived as an eight year old, Nguyen’s English was “not very good,” but it improved rapidly as he grew accustomed to his new home. Not everyone was able to adapt so quickly, though, and he grew up seeing some older members of the Vietnamese community struggling to grow their businesses due to the language barrier. By the time the young tech whiz had reached university, he’d hit on a solution: an online search engine that could be translated into four major Asian languages.
Halfway through a Computer Systems Engineering degree, he quit and launched the Asian Directory of South Australia as a way to connect immigrant-run businesses with local suppliers. But as he expanded the directory, Nguyen noticed that “a lot of these small business owners were fascinated by the website that I created and they wanted to see if I could help them create a website for themselves.”
That side of the business took off so quickly that within a year he’d shelved the Directory and had four employees at Market Ease Business Promotions. And when he moved from building websites to digital marketing that could generate traffic and boost sales, the business grew even more quickly as it shifted from a project-based model to a retainer model. Demand was so strong that within a few years Market Ease opened a Sydney office and began attracting international clients.
But Nguyen always remained connected to his first home in Australia, which meant it was important to retain a base here in Adelaide. And when he began searching for a new office space at the start of the year, he had a few key criteria that needed to be met. “When we had offices in the city, people would often be late for meetings because they were looking for a park. So I wanted somewhere close to the CBD, with plenty of parking and lots of lunch options for our team.” One place fit all those criteria, and in January this year the team moved into their new offices at 79 Magill Rd.
And as Market Ease has grown to include 25 employees, Nguyen has been able to step back a little. “The business is structured in such a way that it pretty much runs without me,” he explains. “And that allows me a lot of time and headspace to think about strategy and growth… Looking forward, one of my big goals right now is to create as many jobs as possible in South Australia – right now we've got a target of creating 200 jobs here.”