The world of digital marketing has reached a critical decision point. For years, digital agencies have espoused their data-driven / innovative / tech-savvy credentials, while behind the curtain the work is done by people. An agencies’ DNA is that of a services business with every strategic plan, compensation model and sales channel geared toward services – thus they have little incentive to become efficient if it means reducing services revenues. Despite the glossy tech-centric webpages and “proprietary platforms”, the idea of a productized software offering simply doesn’t fit into the services mindset of most major agencies.
That is about to change. Brands have tired of their agency’s inability to provide better insights than their in-house team and are no longer willing to tolerate a sub-standard level of support. This sentiment is perfectly encapsulated by a recent keynote speech by P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard who said:
“More than ever, we need agency partners to see around corners and innovate in areas such as measurement, stewardship, content development, artificial intelligence, immersive experiences, multicultural media ecosystem development, media supply chain efficiency, and the future of media and advertising... We’re finding that we can do more work in-house productively and we can strengthen agency partnerships at the same time to create even more value.”
If the 3rd largest US marketing spender ($5B in 2021) feels that spend and program effectiveness is key to their growth, and is telling agencies to step up their game, it will not be long before every major account is expecting the same. Spend optimization (at scale) is a technology problem and cannot be solved with more billable consultants doing something a machine can do in seconds.
Hence the critical decision point – do agencies change their DNA to be a complementary combination of technology and services that their customers are expecting (and agencies already say they are) or do they continue with the “we’re a services business” philosophy that has clearly run its course with their customer base?
Such a backdrop is important in the context of a Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM) that Bravery Group is currently releasing to strategic Buy-Side parties. The SaaS platform company Bravery Group represents provides a rare opportunity for a visionary agency to leapfrog all of their peers and become the foremost authority on spend effectiveness while becoming a more sustainable balance of automation and services. This SaaS company is already “seeing around corners” for some of the most influential brands in the world because they provide the end-to-end automation that agencies are (poorly) imitating with an ever-growing team of consultants.
A glimpse into the SaaS platform.
CONNECT: Aggregate and unify data to create a single source of truth for marketing performance.
PLAN: Calculate marketing budgets and goals based on past performance.
PREDICT: Analyze spend scenarios to maximize marketing efficiency and ROI
ALLOCATE: Plan cross-channel campaigns based on the ideal marketing mix.
ATTRIBUTE: Analyze marketing impact on business results like lead, transaction and sales.
This SaaS company is the market disrupter that Agency CEOs or Boards will look back on in a year’s time and wish they had acquired. As it is, they will be left with the difficult choices of either competing against the acquiring agency with service-centric offerings or attempting to build a scalable SaaS platform themselves, recognizing that developing enterprise SaaS isn’t something agencies do well.
The CIM goes to great lengths to discuss the strategic opportunity that this company offers. The company is at the relatively small size that makes them an affordable strategic acquisition precisely because the prevailing strategy will likely be to make the offering exclusive to an acquiring-agency’s clients. Bringing the tool in-house means becoming the agency that major brands are demanding, while competitors struggle to sell service-led solutions into the same client base.
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