If there’s to be an iTunes equivalent for advertising agencies and services, The WPM Group in Raleigh plans to deliver it.
The marketing agency recently launched which offers clients a variety of deliverables (“A to Z,” the slogan says) on-demand rather than through full-service or long-term contracts.
And may have struck a goldmine.
“We launched five weeks ago and well over a dozen clients have taken advantage and we’ve garnered over $110,000 in iA business alone,” WPM Chairman David Jeffries told Local Tech Wire.
Jeffries uses iA in referring to the iAdvertizing business, which he oversees directly. Chief Executive Officer Todd Coppernoll runs the rest of what Jeffries calls “our core agency.”
The new business for the 12-person agency actually came about in part due to adversity, Jeffries acknowledged. Although profitable and self-finance since launched in 2001, WPM did lose several clients when the Wall Street crisis last fall hit Main Street.
Building off a thought process triggered by his programming of an iPod device for his son, Jefferies developed the idea of offering ad agency services ala carte, so to speak. To further solidify the iPod link, a potential customer described the iA suite as an iPod-like service. Now, WPM staff is staying busy servicing a wide variety of clients.
“We currently have five different accounts and an ever increasing number of iA clients,” Jeffries explained. “Many of whom are one-time clients who just need some creative, strategy, media buy assistance. Some of those are now becoming repeat in a very short period of time.”
Before launching an agency career, Jeffries led Paramount Financial, which was acquired by Farmers & merchants Bank of Virginia.
Local Tech Wire recently talked with Jeffries, an East Carolina University graduate, about iAdvertising and other trends he sees emerging in the marketing space.
What trends/thoughts triggered the idea for the iAdvertizing offering?
The genesis of iAdvertizing was my setting up my son’s iPod on Dec 26th, 2008. I thought, what a great idea to provide people the ability to create “the soundtrack of their lives” by choosing only the songs they want and/or relate to.
Also, how great that people didn’t have to spend $15 for a CD when they only wanted a couple of songs … just get what you want and go.
As we are a virtual agency (all of us work out of our homes and therefore have little to no overhead) I thought that with some simple investigation we could easily commoditize our service offerings and ultimately provide businesses with a solution that gave them agency-powered advertising without the traditional contracts and/or long term engagements.
Same thing as the iPod. Why pay an agency for a big, high dollar contract when you only need a certain laundry list of items.
Now, the setting up of my son’s iPod and the fact that we are “virtual” was combined with the fact that we had a large degree of attrition from some of our long standing clients in August and September of 2008. Like so many other companies we lost clients due to the economy.
However, my thought is that whether the economy is suffering or not, a solution that provides businesses with high-level creative and flexibility of engagement is a business model for any economic climate. So, the net/net is that the combination of economic forces, our virtual nature and my son’s iPod all came together to create iA.
Interesting point on the iTunes – how did this reference/nick name come about?
It was a client who coined the phrase. We were describing it to him and he said, great, the iTunes of advertising. He had no prior knowledge of how the whole idea came about and so it really hit home with me.
Why do you consider this groundbreaking?
Simply put, it’s never been done before. Sure, there are web services, logo services, brochure services, etc. on the web, but none that have been all encompassing and backed by a full-service agency. The only reason I can surmise for this is that the overhead of traditional agencies has been so high that there is no way they could commoditize their offerings and have the price be attractive.
Were you/are you not worried about cannibalizing your own customer base and future client business?
We approached all of our existing customers upon the final decision about moving forward with iA and offered them the opportunity to go with iA or to stay with their current contract.
For clients that still need the “full service” we offer that.
We look at it like this…the traditional contract is a “home run.” It’s a good deal for both sides and ultimately the client gets more in terms of service and we make more so it’s a “win win.” We wanted not just to hit the home runs, but also have a means by which we could take advantage of the “singles, doubles, and triples.”
There is no shortage of “need” when it comes to marketing, however, there also no shortage of caution among business owners when it comes to large capital outlays. iA allows a business owner, chief marketing officer, VP of marketing, others to get what his/her company needs, know that those dollars are going for only what they’re intended, and keep moving.
The advertising world certainly is changing. What excites you and concerns you about the future?
Everything and nothing
I’m totally excited for as long as they’re products and services to sell there will be a need for marketing/advertising, and with the size and structure of our agency we are well positioned to adapt to changing economic conditions. It’s all just a very exciting ride that we’re glad to be a part of, and if we can develop and provide better services (such as iA) for our clients then I feel that we’re doing our job to the best of our ability.