September 15, 2021 by Michael Bürgi

It’s been six weeks since The Stagwell Group closed on its merger with MDC Companions to develop a bigger holding company that affords in marketing and media companies and products, as effectively as info technology, polling, PR companies and products and SaaS products. And Mark Penn, the corporate’s chairman and CEO, says he sees the corporate as a more trendy model of a holding company, with a spotlight on increasing its roster of SaaS products and updating its media arm, Stagwell Media Community, to incorporate first-catch collectively info technology that’s not cookie-dependent. 

Factual this morning Stagwell announced it is merging its digital- and performance-first ForwardPMX into its Assembly media agency, in a expose to mix more trendy, tech-pushed operations with its more legacy media shopping and planning shops. The merged Assembly will file into Justin Townsend, ForwardPMX’s CEO who also oversees the merged Stagwell Media Community, which homes all of Stagwell’s media-facet agencies.

Penn spoke with Digiday about reasonably just a few areas whereby Stagwell expects to develop, even though he many events cautioned that it has finest been six weeks since the merger’s shut. The following Q&A has been edited for home and clarity. 

For the explanation that merger, what’s working really effectively, what’s going critically effectively and what wants to be adjusted? 

It took somewhat longer than I hoped. The most attention-grabbing unifications occurred in media where we’re really ready to assign something collectively now that manages $5 billion of largely on-line media. It’s an providing that spans from the tip of the funnel in relation to performance marketing all of the scheme in which down to the loyalty and CRM and influencer marketing, and the entirety in between. However we’re aloof within the early stages. 

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In bringing media sources collectively, where carry out you stack up towards other media networks? 

We’re within the course of bringing collectively these companies, products and folks within the most acceptable methodology. If you evaluate us to GroupM, it’s so great more offline media, and S4 is some distance smaller than we’re, frankly. They don’t catch the total suite of capabilities now we catch.

We’re within the final observe processes of testing our Cue product, which is the client working out and engagement mannequin. It’s going to be the flagship of our media and info providing. Everyone’s asking, ‘What roughly first-catch collectively info carry out you catch?’ We provide out hundreds of thousands of client interviews … which give us a fresh, recent database that will not be cookie-dependent and permits us to feed that in with first-catch collectively info and perhaps some restricted third-catch collectively sources in expose to develop an viewers focusing on and acquisition tool that is going to be cutting-edge. It’s going to be our reply to the opposite media networks on the market.

We’ve taken this mannequin to reasonably just a few potentialities and they’ve been blown away by the simplicity and accuracy of its operation. [Penn declined to identify the actual clients, but Beth Sidhu, Stagwell’s chief brand and communications officer, said they include a major online women’s retailer, a fitness tracker, a DTC meal carrier, and a major investment house.] We desired to glimpse the scheme in which it performed all the scheme in which via reasonably just a few verticals. 

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What relating to the rise of non-feeble would-be holding companies transferring into agencies? How great does this in discovering of competition defend you up at evening? 

We’re the fresh in discovering of competition. Stagwell began six years ago with the concept of what would happen while you went digital-first. If you’re really going to be a success in marketing on the present time, you wish to catch the ethical advert to the ethical person on the ethical time. If you’re swish pondering the ethical advert, that’s restricted — that’s savor the extinct holding companies. If you’re going to swish catch it to the ethical person, then OK, you’re a focusing on company. And while you’re [thinking about] the ethical time, you’re a media-first company or an on-line drawl provider.

That’s how we’ve built Stagwell, deliberately with a concept in mind that’s very utterly different from the methodology the feeble holding companies had been built. However I’m also not swish taking one slice of the pie and asserting that’s your total pie when it’s not. It’s not by chance that Accenture assign the head of Droga5 on the head of its company. If you don’t catch creativity and digital, you’re not really ready to fulfill entrepreneurs to scale. 

You’ve talked about SaaS choices as a enhance home that objects you except for other holding companies. How? 

My concept here is to form out a enormous SaaS deliver of the commerce all the scheme in which via our examine, advert-tech and comms-tech products. That’s going be a enormous focal point of mine within the approaching months. We’re out within the market with just among the foremost gross sales on the PRophet AI tool, which tells you how your [press] releases are going to support out. Here is what makes us a accurate challenger within the marketplace. 

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What I felt changed into as soon as well-known within the merger changed into as soon as to catch to a accurate scaled platform where we would possibly maybe well also attain up to larger and larger potentialities, and larger contracts, and not be pigeonholed as one limited piece of the commerce … to change into a accurate challenger towards the Immense Four [holding companies WPP, IPG, Omnicom and Publicis].

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