Whether they know it, every holding company media agency has a target drawn on their backs. Because it seems not a week goes by without another company launching a new product or service to infringe on their turf, claiming heightened agility, superior technology, better value or just finer instincts to serve media solutions to clients.
The latest company to target winning clients away from media agencies is Model B, a tech firm that is announcing today the formal launch of an automated omnichannel media planning and buying solution called Blueprint. Model B’s president, Todd Silverstein, described it as a service that can replicate in hours what media agencies take days to do.
Blueprint aims to integrate multiple elements of media planning, buying and analytics for marketers looking to take those responsibilities in-house, or for small agencies looking to enhance their media-side abilities. “Nothing great really exists to empower marketers to simplify, add transparency to, and enrich cross-channel data for media buying,” said Silverstein. “I want to empower brands to license this directly and take it in-house.”
For agency clients, “it’s very much a hybrid model, where we’re not going to hand over a piece of tech to the end-user and give them a bucket of hours or make them pay for enablement — like many do — to figure out how to use it,” said Silverstein. Instead, he said, Model B helps agencies get up and running over a time frame to eventually transition and license the tech directly.
For marketers, two of which are already using Blueprint, Silverstein said the goal is to wean them off requiring a media agency and become self-sufficient. “It’s not cold turkey — it’s giving them a succinct roadmap to get to where they don’t need that [agency].”
Pricing is dependent upon a multitude of variables, but starts at $10,000 per month, said Silverstein, adding the company is willing to structure agreements that focus on outcomes/results by including an element of performance-based pricing. “We feel very confident that our solution is much more cost effective than anything currently in the market,” he said.
“Launching advertising with Blueprint made it surprisingly simple to scale our program across 30 audiences and three different marketing channels,” said Hodges Markwalter, COO of Blueprint client Viva Finance, a fintech provider looking to change the lending business. “Initial results have exceeded our expectations by delivering conversions at one-third of the cost we had budgeted for. We’re excited to see where this new platform can take our business.”
Without giving specific figures, Silverstein touted Viva’s success as reaching a cost per origination that was half of the company’s goal, predicated on performance based on organic channels. He called it a “perfect use case” for Blueprint.
Though Blueprint has no agency clients yet, its second client has some consumer cachet: Ayesha Curry, who is launching an e-commerce brand called Sweet July. The wife of basketball superstar Stephen Curry, Curry said in a prepared statement: “Blueprint has made launching Sweet July much easier than I thought. I looked at several solutions but Model B’s technology is much more seamless. After talking it over with my team, it was a no-brainer.”
Though it was built on the back of existing extract, transform, load (ETL) software from a major tech vendor, which Silverstein declined to identify, Blueprint is now 80 percent powered by originally developed algorithms, with the goal of being fully proprietary in the near future.
A veteran of building products in agencies including 360i and Edelman, Silverstein joined Model B three months ago to get Blueprint up and running. He said he was drawn by the firm’s serial entrepreneur founder, Aptin Buergari, who looks to build tech solutions that fix broken models.
Blueprint isn’t the only solution launching today. Frequence, an ad sales automation software company, is rolling out SmartProposal, which aims to help local media ad-sales operations optimize media campaigns. According to a company spokesperson, SmartProposal uses machine-learning tech to analyze data points from thousands of media campaigns to generate campaign proposals designed to help media sellers close more business and generate added revenue.