Last year, the B2B space underwent rapid evolvement as it suddenly needed to create more comprehensive business strategies that capitalized on digital experiences in all forms. To help organizations with this adaptation, MSQ, a tech-enabled marketing communications group, brought together nine agencies of 800 people across 12 global offices to form MSQ B2B, a B2B supergroup designed to provide end-to-end creative, tech and data-led marketing capabilities. The agencies involved will rely on each other’s strengths to provide clients with more integrated experiences that drive stronger results.
The supergroup combines the expertise of:
- Freemavens, a research and insights company;
- The Gate, a creativity and media outlet;
- Holmes & Marchant, a brand design consultancy;
- MMT Digital, a web and digital product developer;
- Smarts, a public relations and content firm;
- Stack, a customer acquisition and management organization;
- Stein IAS, a full-service B2B marketing agency;
- Twentysix, a full-service digital firm; and
- Walk-In Media, a full-service digital firm.
To find out how this collaboration will empower modern B2B organizations, Demand Gen Report sat down with Tom Stein, Chairman and Chief Client Officer for Stein IAS, to discuss how the venture will provide more scalable operations, broaden organizations’ capabilities and create stronger business solutions.
Demand Gen Report: Why does offering B2B organizations this structure of agencies make sense in today’s market?
Tom Stein: If you think about what’s been happening over the last year, some of the key words that you hear time and time again are agility, empathy and omnichannel. I’ve been in the B2B space for more than three decades, and I think it’s at a high point right now. B2B companies have proven extremely resilient and innovative amid the pandemic; they stood up to the challenge and I believe they’re now outperforming the B2C sector.
We can offer the right blend of solutions at the right time to meet B2B organizations’ needs now and as they evolve. The flexibility and transparency of MSQ B2B works with clients in the way they need and adapts to their needs in an agile fashion on an ongoing basis.
DGR: Why is it important for B2B brands to have integrated agency partners?
Stein: Given the complexity of B2B brands’ go-to-market strategies, everything needs to be connected to work effectively. It becomes important to have that omnichannel partner who can provide totality in a joined-up way based on the level of emphasis that’s required.
DGR: What does the collection of all these organizations look like for you? How are you building it out and integrating the different teams and players?
Stein: The supergroup is already operationalized, and we have our proofs of concept — it’s been put through its paces. We have multiple engagements around the world that leverage the model, so we’re able to work together to meet clients’ needs in a more multifaceted way.
We’ve seen this model work effectively and we’re optimistic it’s going to meet a need in the market. It brings a level of coherence and integrity that’s going to gain traction to help B2B brands thrive in today’s economy.
DGR: What are the data aspects or implications of bringing these organizations together, and what do the potential benefits look like?
Stein: Stein IAS is a brand-to-demand agency, and data is at the core of everything we do for our clients. We plan on building on that with the supergroup. We have a Chief Data Officer at the MSQ level, and we have a deeper, broader data competency.
One good example is that one of the agencies in the mix focuses on customer relationships, whether it’s from an acquisition, loyalty or retention standpoint. One of the Stein IAS’s clients is in the healthcare sector, so while we’re working on the brand’s demand, we’re leveraging the expertise of the sibling agency to implement a multifaceted loyalty program, which lives beyond Stein IAS’s competency.
The supergroup is providing us with extension capabilities that let us do more with clients that we’ve helped develop, optimize and streamline digital transformation for. We’re aligning their digital and content ecosystems with demand and now, through MSQ B2B, we can help our clients with a more agile product development roadmap. We’re taking our capabilities and aligning them with how companies actually deploy product and marketing in their own digital transformation efforts from a marketing and product standpoint.
DGR: Do you do expect that there'll be more acquisition and consolidation in the B2B agency space going forward?
Stein: Yes, I expect there to be. The agency world naturally hasn’t been quite as inquisitive. There certainly was a fair amount of M&A activity during the pandemic, but it hasn’t been quite as acquisitive, for obvious reasons. I think that’s going to start to shift now; the B2B sector has really manifested itself as a growth driver.
I see the market heating up. I think there’ll be a combination of consolidations and acquisitions, because people are seeking scale, functional depth and competency.
Those are a few of the reasons MSQ B2B was designed. Our group is nearly 800 people across 12 offices, so we have significant scale and great functional breadth and depth.
MSQ B2B has the breadth of competency and scale to help with B2B brand-to-demand; data, research and insights; corporate and brand design; media and dynamic content; and digital transformation on the web. That’s a reasonable summary statement of our value proposition and I think that’s what’s going to drive M&A activities.