Modern Solutions: How GR0 Cofounders Kevin Miller and Jon Zacharias Are Bringing Digital Marketing Into the Future

Some great ideas are formed over drinks, but GR0 co-founders Jon Zacharias and Kevin Miller formed their brain trust over sobriety, in a chance meeting in a recovery room. Years later, while the world reeled from COVID-19, the duo created a digital marketing empire that provides a much-needed solution to the congested online marketplace.

Zacharias and Miller come from completely different backgrounds. Miller grew up on the east coast of Florida and attended the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Following a stint at Google in San Francisco, he moved to L.A. for a fresh start.

“I actually moved to L.A. without knowing a single person,” says Kevin, and following his AA sponsor’s instructions, he went to a recovery meeting on his first night. There, he met Zacharais, an L.A. native who, after receiving a law degree from the California Western School of Law in San Diego, spent 10 years studying search engine optimization (SEO).

During that meeting, Miller spoke about a project he had for Open Listings (later acquired by Opendoor). “He was a master digital marketing expert with paid ads, and worked at Google for three years,” explains Zacharias. “But he had been assigned an SEO project to do for Open Listings, and he didn’t understand how to do SEO.” Zacharias saw the opportunity, and offered to lend a hand with his expertise.

Together, they crushed the project for Open Listings. “The plan that Kevin came up with was a huge success. Basically what he did is he built an algorithm, a programmatic campaign that got them ranked number one for every single location in the country… I was telling Kevin, you know, look, why don’t we just do what we did for open listings for hundreds of clients?” And with that, the idea for GR0 was born.

From the beginning, both Zacharias and Miller poured countless hours and grit into building their company. Pulling from their own networks, they elicited the support of celebrity endorsements and venture capitalists who they knew to be successful. “We had the vision and we brought it to these powerful people in our network, and they saw it. They believed in it as well,” says Zacharias.

GR0’s impressive advisory board includes business guru and Doe Lashes founder Jason Wong, BWCP investor Jack Mohr, superstar Paris Hilton, venture capitalist Carter Reum, investor Jeffrey Lo, Balance co-founder Judd Schoenholtz, and BAM Ventures Managing Director RIchard Jun.

Using this team of entrepreneurial experts and their own decades of digital marketing and SEO expertise, Zacharias and Miller created a niche that previously was not available in the digital marketplace: a transparent and reliable solution for using the Google algorithm for brand development and growth.

“Google’s been around for 25 years, but people forgot that that was a growth channel,” says Miller. “And for the people who didn’t forget, there were no reputable agencies. They were all buying sketchy backlinks overseas. That’s the reputation of the industry, and so we brought transparency and authenticity to an industry that has been clouded by doubt and dishonest work.”

Offering companies a reliable way to use Google for online growth was a needed solution of its own, but timing was also on their side.

When GR0 launched in February of 2020, neither Zacharias nor Miller could’ve predicted what the looming COVID-19 pandemic meant for businesses. As brick-and-mortars were forced to close their doors due to shutdowns and scramble to modify their marketing and distribution strategies in a now overly saturated online market, GR0 stood at the ready, offering a life raft.

“We definitely greatly benefited from all these companies that were going online in a way that they weren’t before,” says Miller. As a result, they were able to offer their clients a way to not only stay afloat, but increase their revenues during a time of economic downturn.

And their approach to client growth means that every new client they take gets the same personalized, hands-on approach that Miller and Zacharias initially offered to Open Listings.

“We approach every client from a very human perspective,” says Miller. “If we have 15 different channels that we can offer, we can easily pivot into something that is working if what we’ve tried hasn’t worked. We’re able to prove with real data that we don’t manipulate or own, that our companies are more able to make money by doing business with us.”

And making more money is an understatement. GR0’s clients continue to see higher Google rankings and vertical growth. FunBoy, makers of the iconic floats, quickly ranked No. 1 for “pool floats” when they partnered with GR0. Eternal flower company Venus et Fleur, a celebrity favorite, easily ascended the Google ranks for “roses that last a year” after working with GR0.

But it’s not just Google rankings that make a brand successful. From a marketing perspective, Zacharias and Miller are hands-on in their clients’ campaigns. “We’re actually running a lot of these campaigns. We’re not just managing the company from a 30,000-foot view — there is nothing in the company that Jon and I don’t have our hands in, and that’s the big difference. We have our fingers on the pulse of what the customer is thinking in a way that I don’t believe any other digital marketing management team does,” explains Miller.

Two massive campaigns featuring Paris Hilton and Addison Rae for Venus et Fleur helped skyrocket the company’s growth and transform it from a boutique company to a household name in business circles. GR0’s own success has earned them a Search Engine Land Award win for Best B2B Search Marketing Initiative – SEM in 2021, and an Inc. Power Partner Award in 2022.

As GR0 continues to expand, their client offerings have expanded, too. Recent acquisitions of Email/SMS Marketing Service QuaGrowth and Google Ads company TM Marketing Consultants help them meet the needs of their clients in a fully customizable way, which keeps their brands growing and their clients happy.

Both Zacharias and Miller know what it takes to create happiness, both for their clients, and for their employees. “We don’t take for granted the fact that we’re an employer, and that’s a privilege, not a duty,” says Miller. “To that end, we have successfully delivered on fostering a culture that’s safe, fun, and productive for our employees.”

Because of their own struggles with mental health and addiction, GR0’s company environment supports these discussions, and provides solutions to empower employees and retain them. It’s the kind of atmosphere that earned GR0 a Comparably Award for Happiest Employees and the honor of being named one of Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces in Advertising and Marketing.

As for the future, this dynamic duo has their eyes set on developing GR0 into a full service digital marketing agency. “I see us being able to serve enterprise clients. I want us to have the capabilities to support any Fortune 500 company,” says Miller.

With their innovative attitudes, creative solutions, and attentiveness to both their clients and employees, there’s no doubt that Zacharias and Miller will be able to expand GR0 beyond any foreseeable limits.

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