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Dentsu-Aegis Network is strengthening its Amazon practice with a new consulting arm to help brands navigate a world dominated by the e-commerce giant.

Dentsu is set to announce the new venture, Sellwin Consulting, today. The new group will have six Amazon specialists on staff, headed by Travis Johnson as president.

The name of the firm is a play on the obvious, combining “sell” and “win,” two activities brands are trying to master on Amazon.

“Just selling isn’t enough,” Johnson says during a phone interview. “In order to win against the competition, you need to focus on the entire breadth of what Amazon can do.”

Amazon today is one of the greatest threats--and greatest opportunities--for brands, and agencies are adapting with new teams dedicated to helping brands manage sales and marketing on the site. 

Many of the shops in the Dentsu family already have their own slice of Amazon expertise, with teams specializing in  search advertising, display advertising, product promotions, sales strategies and other e-commerce tactics. For instance, Dentsu owns iProspect and 360i, both of which have Amazon-dedicated teams.

Across the Dentsu-Aegis Network there are more than 130 people who focus on helping brands market and sell on Amazon, according to Johnson, and its shops work with more than 70 brands on e-commerce site. Sellwin is meant to be a connective layer sitting above all the holding company's agencies, Johnson says.

Dentsu declined to say how much marketing spending the holding company's clients allocate to Amazon annually, but Johnson says that the amount jumped 65 percent from 2017 to 2018, and he expects it to increase the same in 2019.“A lot of clients do something with Amazon, but they may not be doing as much as they should,” Johnson says.

For example, a handbag company could seek help deciding whether to build a direct-to-consumer website or simply invest more in Amazon. Another marketer could be proficient at buying search ads on Amazon, but need help designing its product pages. A pharmaceutical brand might want guidance in figuring out how to work with Amazon’s growing interest in that area.

In 2018, Amazon’s ad business grew more than 120 percent year over year, topping $10 billion. That is the amount of revenue Amazon reported in its “other” category on its quarterly financial results, a category that is mostly comprised of ad sales.

Ad agencies and brands are diverting more money into Amazon search ads, which help them appear high in the results when consumers are shopping on its main website. Amazon has also built an ad network that can deliver ads to websites outside its properties, and it has a stable of video properties, including Fire TV, IMDB and Twitch.

Dentsu’s Sellwin will charge clients through consulting fees on project-by-project basis, Johnson says.