It is nearly impossible for independent agencies to remain competitive as the big holding companies spend billions to acquire data and analytics companies.
At least that’s the position of Bob Kantor, former Global CMO at MDC Partners, who is offering a new service in partnership with Crossmedia to these founder-backed agencies.
"Creative agencies not connected to real data and analytics are not taking advantage of modern tools that every client is seeking,” says Kantor. “Independents can't afford this expertise, but they can't afford not to offer these solutions."
The new service, dubbed Dawn, is designed to serve as a portfolio network in which independent agencies receive data science, measurement, and media expertise provided by NY-based independent media shop Crossmedia and its dedicated intelligence group, Redbox. Kantor is recruiting other agencies with additional services to join the network.
"Marketers are seeking the most talented, specialized agencies that are seamlessly integrated with a world-class tech stack and brilliant advanced data analytics," he says. “We started with the single question: 'What is the ideal model to partner with talented agencies and modern marketers to address their needs for aggressive business growth?'"
Participating agencies pay a fee while Dawn retains a share in the agency's growth. However, Kantor stresses a key point of difference is the independent agency remains entirely in control under full ownership.
One of the reasons clients prefer to work with independents is because of the unique visions of the creator, he explains. He is seeking to surround them with data and experts to enable them to compete against better-funded rivals.
Kantor and Crossmedia CEO Kamran Asghar have already brought several agencies into the group, including Pereira O'Dell, Dirt and Main Street One. As part of the Dawn network, these agencies become part of a larger community that may leverage their respective capabilities for collaborative purposes. For instance, a creative agency may be paired with a dedicated eCommerce shop on a pitch seeking those two services.
"We will mix the agencies if the opportunity is right," says Kantor.
One agency partner is SDL because of its global footprint. This agency will broaden the network outside of the U.S. by enabling uploads of all assets worldwide as well as hosting production shops across the world. “It lets us localize our network on a global scale,” he says.
Kantor is now focusing on adding additional agencies with advertising, public relations, experiential, eCommerce, digital, and global production expertise.
As for the name of the new entity: "It's a fresh start," he says. "The dawn rising in the sky is a positive sign."