Publishers Take Note: Demand for Marketing Services Is “Growing Exponentially”
The merger of design agency Manifest Digital and content marketing agency McMurry/TMG is the latest evidence that marketing services are a lucrative and expanding field for media companies. The agencies merged on July 6th to become Manifest, "an agency that connects experience design, emerging technology, and content to create innovative and compelling customer experiences for brands," according to the press release.
The merger is significant for publishers because it signals advertisers' growing demand for quality content that connects readers with their brands. "Our clients are looking for new ways to engage with their customers. As a result, the demand for fantastic user experience is growing exponentially," said Manifest CEO Jason Benedict in the press release. Publishers can cash in on this demand as well and develop new revenue streams around content marketing services.
This is an opportunity that Publishing Executive will explore in the "Publishing & Media Lab" at the 2015 Content Marketing World in Cleveland on September 11th. The one-day educational lab will instruct publishers on the strategy and tactics needed to develop a content marketing services division. Publishers will learn how to drive revenue by developing scalable content marketing services, how to revamp their organization to lend greater scale to these efforts, and how some publishers are already capitalizing on these opportunities. For more details on the event click here.
And for more coverage of the marketing services opportunity for publishers, check out the Marketing Services Lab.
Read the full press release from Manifest below.
New York ,N.Y., July 6, 2015 -- Manifest Digital, a leader in digital experience design, and McMURRY/TMG, the leader in omni-channel content creation and delivery, are combining to form Manifest, an agency that connects experience design, emerging technology and content to create innovative and compelling customer experiences for brands. Manifest will be based in Chicago and New York with additional offices in Phoenix, St. Louis, Saratoga Springs and Washington, DC.
The combined agency's client list will include Abbott; Allstate; BMW; Baylor Health Care System; Delta Faucet; Enterprise Holdings, Inc.; Express Scripts; The Ritz-Carlton; Kohl's; Motorola; Nestle Purina Pet Care Company; Post Holdings; WebMD; and UPS. Its combined 2015 revenue will place it in the top 100 agencies in the U.S and the top 12 independent agencies.
With access to $400 million in available capital, the combined business has national and global expansion plans with the focus on the West Coast, Europe and the UK to start, where there are plans to make a significant acquisition in complementary businesses in the next 12 months.
The Wicks Group of Companies worked with Manifest Digital and McMURRY/TMG (it brought together McMurry and TMG in 2013) to structure and execute the transaction. Manifest will be led by Jason Benedict, CEO of Manifest Digital since 2006. Joining the management team is Jamie Anderson as Chief Strategy Officer. He was formerly Director of Brand Strategy and Customer Experience at Sapient Nitro.
The combined offering of McMURRY/TMG's content expertise and resources with Manifest Digital's deep knowledge of user-centered experience design, digital expertise, and short-form content was client-driven and will enable Manifest to create pioneering work across all channels.
Manifest will also feature new specialized disciplines, including the healthcare industry-focused Manifest Life. "We are thrilled to join with McMURRY/TMG." Benedict said. "Our clients are looking for new ways to engage with their customers. As a result, the demand for fantastic user experience is growing exponentially. And when wonderfully crafted experiences are joined with amazing content the result is incredible business results for clients."
"Jason is a visionary and well known within digital and technology circles." said Dan Kortick, Wicks Managing Partner. "We have known each other for a year now and I admire his leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. I look forward to working with him to take the company to the next level where Manifest will be one of a select group of strategic agencies that can offer content and experience design-and perhaps the only one to do so exceptionally well."
Terms of the deal are undisclosed. The combined company will have 400 employees and a management team comprising executives from both McMURRY/TMG and Manifest Digital. In addition to Benedict and Anderson, the leadership team includes: Carryn Quibell as President; David Barron as COO/CFO; Simon Goodship as Chief Experience Officer; Keith Sedlak as head of business development; and Beth Tomkiw as head of the new healthcare offering, Manifest Life.
"What attracted me to this new agency is the potent combination it creates by marrying journalistic-quality content creation with industry-leading experience design." Anderson noted. "This agency is built on the recognition that content-not delivery by itself-is the means to cultivating long-term customer relationships. We have 175 staff devoted to long- and short-form content creation-editors, journalists, artists and video producers-across six studios in key client markets. It's the first combination of its kind at this scale."
About Manifest Digital
Established in 2001, Manifest Digital shepherds clients through business and brand transformations that connect with audiences in measurable, rewarding ways. Powerful human insights consistently deliver award-winning websites, mobile applications, online campaigns, local events and social movements. A leader in experience design, the agency offers a blend of strategic and tactical services including business, product and market design, with the extensive engineering skillsets required to deliver them.
McMURRY/TMG is the nation's leading independent content marketing agency, dedicated delivering strategic, transformative brand experiences that engage customers and drive measurable results. The agency works to help clients extend brands, boost engagement, build communities and deliver revenue through powerful, meaningful content. Clients include industry leaders such as WebMD, Amtrak, CBS Television, The Ritz-Carlton, Reed Exhibitions, and Baylor Health Care System.
About the Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C.
The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. (www.wicksgroup.com) is a private equity firm based in New York City that invests in lower-middle-market companies operating in selected segments of the information, education and media industries principally in the United States and Canada. Since its founding in 1989, Wicks has invested over $1 billion of capital in 28 platform companies and approximately 100 add-on acquisitions. The firm has applied a consistent investment strategy since its founding, partnering with high-quality, experienced management teams to build businesses both organically and through acquisitions.