Digital Operative, 85SIXTY Enter Strategic Partnership

D2C digital commerce agency Digital Operative (DO) and data media shop 85SIXTY are entering a strategic partnership to provide clients with full-funnel services, since each complements the other one. Or more succinctly: "Brands want one throat to choke," quips BJ Cook, CEO-cofounder, Digital Operative.

Founded in 2008, DO has developed digital experiences for customers of D2C brands, including LifeProof, Invisible Children, Spartan Race and Volcom.

The 40-person 85SIXTY, launched in 2011 by Steven Price, operates as a data-focused agency with a proprietary analytics toolkit working across media, email, influencers and content. Both agencies are based in San Diego with additional offices in Denver.

This alliance was client-driven; brands kept telling the two agencies they wanted to reduce the number of shops they work with because their agencies are always vying for more dollars and often step on each others' toes. This slows down any productive work for the brand, explains Cook.



The time loss that happens when brands drop a number of agency partners in one room to work on campaigns can be frustrating. They all tend to cross over in offering areas, which can drive posturing. And that isn't productive, he adds.

Now, as one combined entity, the agencies can deliver the entire "lifecycle" with capabilities ranging from creative and holistic campaign launches to paid media and ecommerce development.

Still, the reason one agency did not acquire the other is what the founders say is the drop in "massive value" when services are not well integrated and knowledge becomes siloed in channels.

Instead, by officially teaming up, the agency's skill-sets combine from the start. “We’ve invested in one area of expertise and DO has invested in another. That focus has let us each to develop unique strengths that are best in class,” remarked Price.

"Each company has developed expert practices that will help brands see results faster, since they won’t have to oversee multi-agency partnerships," says Cook.

"We want brands to view our teams as an extension of their in-house marketing team,” Prices adds.

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