The British are coming to the Windy City! This summer, UK B-to-B digital shop Omobono is opening its first U.S. office in Chicago. With nearly half of its work done on behalf of U.S. based clients, who include Coca-Cola Enterprises and Shell, Omobono CEO Ben Dansie said the time is right to build its U.S. presence.
"In our view [Chicago] is the home of corporate America," says Dansie. "We’re fully focused on business brands so we need to be where our clients and prospects are, not where the media industry is. Gone are the days when clients went to agencies.”
“If we truly want to reflect the global nature of our client base,” added Dansie, “we need to be here. The clients we work for are all here." In addition to Coca-Cola Enterprises and Shell, they include BP, Ingredion, BT, Rentokil, Seaco, Swiss Re, Syngenta, Tata Steel, and Willis.
Omobono’s Global Project Director Tom Kelly and Senior Project Manager Becca Tomlinson will relocate from the UK to Chicago to run the office. The business plan is to grow steadily to 20 employees. Beyond that expansion will be dictated by the performance of the office, says Dansie.
This expansion has been in the works since Dansie went to Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, IL in 2007. "But as with everything it’s about right time, right people," says Dansie. "We’ve got the opportunity to put two of our best people into the office here and they can plant the seed of our culture. In terms of timing the business is now over 50% internal in terms of revenues in to our UK office so we have to make the move to reflect the way the business is growing."
Looking forward, the agency is eyeing possible offices in San Francisco and Switzerland. "Right now I need to concentrate on Chicago – but I think there’s a big opportunity on the West Coast for our niche," says Dansie.
Meanwhile, as part of its U.S. expansion, Omobono has partnered with the Business Marketing Association to release research on B2B digital marketing in the U.S. Some 80% of B2B marketers in the U.S. agree that their priorities have altered in the last three years. Indeed, they say they are now handling more channels, more audiences and more geographies than three years ago. And 85% feel being a marketer is more challenging than ever before.
Omobono's report also finds that 74% of U.S. B2B marketers say that they are being asked to tackle objectives beyond the traditional province of marketing. Now, the top three objectives are strengthening thought leadership, deepening customer relationships and raising brand awareness.
On average, U.S. B2B marketers target five audience categories on top of customers and prospects, and 73% say they are targeting more audience types. In fact, just 44% of U.S. marketers target end customers. Instead, important audiences, after customers, are internal – senior stakeholders and current employees. New audience types include potential employees, industry analysts and the media.