An interview with digital marketing consultant Adebukola Ajao
Blog written by James Leonard for the Divine Purpose Podcast
For anyone interested in the world of digital media marketing – or for anyone looking to get inspired – this interview with digital marketing consultant, agency owner and self-identified “brand therapist” Adebukola Ajao is one you’ll want to watch.
Humble, determined, and “a good person” as one client described her (take note: being a good person gets you business), Adebukola helps her small business clients become the marketers they need to be to truly succeed. She works with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and nonprofits and takes their businesses to the next level.
During her time with the Divine Purpose Podcast, Adebukola tells Eddy and all of us about her business, tips to success, life story, and must-read booklist. Throughout the interview she tells you – just like she does with her clients – what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. And she does it out of love.
“If you’re in business, marketing is your business.”
Digital marketing is a hot buzzword these days. You’ll find it all over YouTube and LinkedIn. From online courses on copywriting to tweets on SEO to job postings for social media managers… The financial experts will tell you digital marketing is one of the best ways to go from surviving to thriving in modern times.
It makes sense too. Living in the digital age, all business owners need a digital marketing plan. So, if you know how to write marketing emails, design graphics, and brainstorm big strategies, you could make it work.
This is something Adebukola Ajao knows well. She’s built a digital marketing business from the ground up. And she’s done so by connecting creatives from all over the country, bringing together some of the best talent out there.
Business owners know their business inside out, they know their product, but they don’t always know how to market their business. And unfortunately, you can have the best product in your niche, but without the best copy, design, and marketing strategy, your product will get lost. Especially now with the amount of volume out there on the online marketplace.
That’s where Adebukola and her business BDY CONSULT come in.
“There are many relics to that movement.”
A Boston native, Adebukola grew up in the community of Mandela, a part of the Roxbury neighborhood with a rich history. Named after the South African leader, Adebukola embodies the revolutionary spirit of the place where she grew up.
Being raised around entrepreneurs like her mother, business is in her blood.
Adebukola started her journey in high school while attending Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard. She then went on to study politics and Africana studies at Emmanuel College, thinking she’d become a lawyer.
But as she soon realized, anyone can have a job. What she wanted was a passion.
And it was her passion for social justice that led her to marketing.
Researching Black Twitter as an undergrad, she began a deep dive into digital archiving, journalism, and the editorial process. This introduced her to the emerging field of digital marketing.
Self-taught in many ways, Adebukola started her business as a one-woman team. Marketing, sales, everything.
But after a client asked her a question she didn’t know the answer to, Adebukola decided to return to school for her masters in order to fill the knowledge gap.
Lots of people fake it until they make it. Adebukola isn’t one of those people though.
She wants the best for clients and the best for her business. And so she started graduate school at Northeastern University.
There she learned skills like how to pitch like a boss, how to level up her portfolio, and how to be the expert marketer her clients needed.
Having the credentials, now she teaches at Northeastern. Shaping the next generation of marketers as both an adjunct professor and by mentoring high schoolers.
Breaking barriers, she’s now part of the 3 percent of professors in this country who are Black. And as studies have shown, you do better as a student and as a professional when you’re taught by a professor who is a Person of Color.
“If you don’t know what you want to do, it’s not the end of the world.”
During her time in academia, Adebukola witnessed the struggle many students go through, still unsure of what to do with their lives. But the reality is, you figure things out as you go. You evolve. You adapt. And your business grows with you.
Digital marketing wasn’t even a thing when she was growing up. Adebukola was part of the generation that witnessed the social media revolution.
As she tells us “The way digital exists today didn’t exist when I was in high school. You can’t dream about something you don’t know.”
This is something all kids with entrepreneurial aspirations should know. What you’ll do with your life may not even be a thing yet.
Being at the forefront of an emerging industry isn’t easy in the short-term. But it provides limitless potential in the long-term.
Marketing is always changing and what worked a few years back doesn’t always work now. Keeping up to date on trends is a must in this field. Adaptation is essential.
When she started her digital marketing agency, Adebukola did it all too. Marketing, sales, everything.
And nothing could stop her.
Even when she needed neck surgery in 2021 and couldn’t speak, she still worked up until the end. As she tells us, in the world of digital marketing you can work as long as you can type.
But after five years of doing it all, she knew that she needed a team to take over while in surgery and recovery. So Adebukola built a team of creatives, pulling together talent from around the country.
When building a team and network, you need people who compliment you as the boss and who know what you don’t know. Intelligence and expertise are essential for success, but too much ego can destroy what you’re building.
Being an entrepreneur is often synonymous with being a perfectionist. But as she tells us, letting your team do the work is the true testament for an entrepreneur.
“It’s really hard to let go. It’s okay to say I don’t have all the answers. There’s a lot of space for everyone. Everyone has a specialty, everyone has something they’re good at, everyone has their niche.”
Building a business – be it a digital marketing agency or any other business – isn’t easy. There’s struggle, things will go wrong, there will be rejection, disappointment, stress… But everything worthwhile in life is worth the struggle.
Adebukola knows this well. She’s an entrepreneur and teacher despite struggling with social anxiety. Something you’d never know listening to her warm and inviting personality. But the reality is just because something is a challenge doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Not when you’re determined.
“There are a lot of problems out there that need to be solved and if you can do it, you can do good and make money.”
Like most aquarians, Adebukola is creative and altruistic. She has a drive not only for success, but also for a deeper purpose. That purpose is community and giving back. Social enterprise is what the experts call it.
Driven by her faith, her love for God and her love for humanity, Adebukola is an agent of change. She helps her students and other aspiring entrepreneurs get the resources they need to succeed like scholarships.
Here are a few of the things she wants you to know as a young entrepreneur or aspiring professional.
Number one. Do your research. And then do more.
Research. Research. Research.
Also, create case studies. Put it all together. Build a portfolio.
Put yourself out there. Even if it scares you. Because you can be nervous in social situations and still be a boss.
Adebukola encourages others to do what she did.
Seek out mentorships and stand on the shoulders of others.
Gain knowledge in both conventional and unconventional ways, from school to teaching yourself. Read, especially the books other entrepreneurs aren’t reading. You can’t stand out from the crowd if you only read what the crowd is reading.
One person she encourages you to read is poet, writer, and social activist Alice Walker.
“You don’t have to do things alone.”
If you’re feeling as inspired by Adebukola as we are at the Divine Purpose Podcast, listen to the interview or watch it on YouTube.
And this is just the start.
You can follow her for more tips on all things digital at For all things digital.
Being a writer at heart, you can find her work published in Huffington Post and Teen Vogue and read about her success in Ebony and Forbes. You can also subscribe to her newsletter Each One Teach One. And you can follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
And remember what she says.
“You will work for what you love.”