“I think being able to harness the digital era goes hand in hand with growth”, Marcel Duffy
In this monthly message from the Managing Director, we are tackling the topic of auctioneering in the digital age. In a previous post, we discussed the history of auctions and how auction houses are still seen; namely as an old fashioned institution, with many auction houses failing to truly grasp the digital age.
Marcel, however, comes from a highly technical IT and E-Commerce-based background, which has shaped the way we at Global operate.
How did you get into auctioneering?
“I kind of fell into auctioneering.
As many people know I used to teach computer science for a living. I was asked while teaching to help out with a rebrand of an auction house. In my own time I researched auction houses as you do prior to a rebrand. The rebrand itself consisted of an entire overhaul in all their infrastructure. It needed brand new kit, including a new network.
I kind of brought them into the 21st Century, if you like. Now, that had a massive impact on their turnover. I think it quadrupled. That’s an impact in itself. Bringing an auction house into the digital age is massive and it’s key for me. That is why I have a dedicated marketing department. We invest a lot in our infrastructure and equipment including hardware, software.
Being able to communicate with the wider world has never been easier. We need to harness that potential.”
The older, more classical auction houses, including Sotherby’s already has an established, loyal following. But for new and emerging auction houses, grasping and successfully utilising the digital landscape is integral to how well the business does.
How important is the digital landscape for emerging auction houses and businesses in general?
“These older, established auction houses will always have a loyal following, but if they really want to get through these tough times, expand, grow, adapt and change, then it is impossible to operate externally to the digital. I think being able to harness the digital era goes hand in hand with growth. If you’re isolated, you may have the best products and service in the world, but if nobody knows about it, then it is pointless.
You need a lot if hard work. A lot of dedication. You must have a thick skin because you’ll take a lot of knocks. This industry is, after all, all about rejection. But I’ve found, the more you push through it, the more you keep going. Success begets success at the end of the day.”
The internet and social media has facilitated our exponential growth. We are now trading to over 20 countries and have developed a strong customer base through the digital landscape. It has allowed us to remain fully operational throughout the pandemic and it can honestly be said that we would not be where we are without the digital.