It was a great accomplishment for Acronym to get a patent for a mapping system in secure search -- a feat that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office called "impossible." But it takes more than technology to earn the distinction of MediaPost Agency of the Year for search -- it takes the courage and the ability to offer brands an innovative business model, which ranks right up there with innovation.
"It was quite difficult to get a patent in the area of secure search," said Selina Eizik, Acronym CEO. The patent for a mapping system related to not-provided keywords in secure search describes a method for statistically determining the keywords used during encrypted searches.
Three years ago, Google encrypted keywords coming from search, making it difficult for marketers to optimize campaigns based on consumer intent and then trigger the correct content. Acronym's patent brings keywords back into view through probability and statistics.
Creating a custom business model geared toward each client was the greatest challenge, considering the range of industries and verticals. Acronym settled on offering three core business models that allowed the agency to differentiate itself from competitors. These include In-House Search Support, Search Center of Excellence, and Pay Per Performance.
This year, Acronym employees worked out the details of the process to support what Eizik calls the "in-house model," which supports about 90% of its enterprise brands looking to build an in-house team. The company created a Search Center of Excellence providing support, processes, and technology to execute the strategy across search engine optimization, paid search, video, paid social and programmatic. About 78 employees support clients globally such as Accenture, BMW, Viceroy, Godiva, SAP, Fairmont, Nasdaq, and NPD.
"It's not standard to what agencies do," Eizik said. "It takes a consulting model and molds it together within the client's operations."
Data will be the industry's greatest challenge in 2017, Eizik said. Marketers are guided by the data in the agency's machine-learning platform and prefer to connect the dots via micro-moments rather than creating conventional personas. This is the process that has generated new success for the company and its clients. By creating brand affinity much earlier in the buyer's journey, the agency claims to have much stronger conversion rates for brands at transactional stages.
"Every enterprise has so much data, but they are not sure how to leverage it," Eizik said. "Many are talking about using a DMP to house all their data to better target consumers, but the problem is that most marketers don't know how to do that."
Acronym wants to leverage search data stored in a data management platform and teach brands that they already have all the data they need to target efficiently. The plan for 2017 involves collecting data, migrating it to DMP and teaching marketers how to take search data and integrate it with their CRM and customer data.
In addition to a great business strategy, it takes a skilled team and leader for a company to take the title of Agency of the Year for Search. So MediaPost asked Eizik to name the best piece of advice she has ever received. "Someone once told me to forget about being the smartest person in the room and instead surround yourself with smart people," she said. "Since then I have learned I don't need to be the best at everything. Instead, if we have a team that collectively makes us a smarter unit, that's more powerful than anything."