Amid an increasingly competitive business-to-business marketplace, global marketing group MSQ is stepping up its B2B offering by pulling together nine agencies and 800 people around one rapidly evolving category.
While there have been plenty of headlines about digital transformation, perhaps no space has evolved as quickly as B2B marketing. B2B marketing has long been considered a laggard, dependent on events and more traditional forms of marketing. Now, as it has shifted into digital mode, MSQ Group is aligning nine of its agencies to offer omnichannel solutions in the form of MSQ B2B. The company is calling this new offering “a unique business-to-business agency model providing end-to-end creative, tech and data-led marketing capabilities”.
MSQ joins the likes of Merkle B2B, which consolidated five agencies in September last year to offer what it calls “the first end-to-end integrated B2B agency”. This is a trend that is likely to continue, according to eMarketer’s principal B2B analyst Jillian Ryan. “B2B marketers need agency partners that are thinking holistically about the customer journey. That means partners need to have deep expertise in certain specialities across the marketing value chain – be that branding, data, design, advertising, messaging, measurement – while also using that knowledge to inform sophisticated efforts to guide a cohesive cross-channel customer experience.“
MSQ B2B group consists of nearly 800 people at nine agencies across 12 offices globally, offering services including B2B brand-to-demand, data, research and insights, creative, corporate/brand design, internal communications, public relations, social and content, media, web and digital transformation.
MSQ B2B will be led by SteinIAS chairman and chief client officer Tom Stein and Kate Howe, the executive director of MSQ. Howe successfully led the reinvigoration of Gyro UK where she spent five years as chief exec. Gyro is now a part of Merkle B2B. Stein will retain his role as Stein IAS’s chairman and chief client officer.
“The world changes. The B2B marketing world changes. The pace of change over the past year has been unprecedented,” says Stein. “This is no time for agencies to stand still or stay stuck in models that just aren’t relevant anymore. We haven’t. MSQ B2B is an agency model with capability, agility, flexibility and transparency that breaks an outdated mold.”
The formation of the joined-up effort was a natural evolution based on client demands, says Stein. For example, for Thames Estuary, one of the UK’s most important economic development initiatives, MSQ’s brand consultancy Lloyd Northover (now part of Stein IAS) developed brand strategy and visual identity, the website, advertising and experiential marketing. MSQ added PR agency Smarts as well as The Gate for media planning and buying.
The nine agencies are Freemavens (research and insights), The Gate (creative and media), Holmes & Marchant (brand design consultancy), MMT Digital (web and digital product development), Smarts (public relations and content), Stack (customer acquisition and engagement), Stein IAS (full-service B2B marketing agency connecting brand-to-demand to measurable outcomes), Twentysix (full-service digital) and Walk-In Media (full-service media).
“The point of MSQ B2B is to give clients easy access to the broad range of business issues we can help them with. Joining up their technology, marketing and data can deliver more value, more cost-effectively,” says Howe. “That’s what we believe brands need today. It’s a powerful model for B2B brands that currently find themselves lacking in options when looking for an agency that can truly deliver full-service communications capabilities on a global scale.”