The big agencies all seem to be talking about killing off their digital silos and moving them closer to the central nervous system. Yet there are still plenty of new, small digital shops offering their specialist services. And now there's another new player on the local digital marketing scene after Market United (MU) announced its arrival on Auckland soil, adding to its offices in Sydney and Perth.
Jerry Beale, the group account director, says the company has been fairly sneaky so far, but only in the sense that it's actually been operating since January. Beale just wanted to wait to officially announce the arrival until it had some good work under its belt, a good crew onboard a good relationship with its local and international network partners, which, in New Zealand, include search optimisation and search marketing specialists First Rate and interactive sales network 3dinteractive.
These two companies have represented Australian digital marketing group Q Limited in New Zealand since 2001. So Beale, who was one of the founders of Ice Interactive and has a background as a creative director/writer with Saatchi & Saatchi, Tequila and others, says it's like one big family, with work pushed to wherever it will be done best, like thinq digital, MU’s Perth-based strategic planning arm, which includes a social media strategist.
Across the three offices, MU has over 50 strategists, creatives and developers and focuses on websites, e-commerce platforms, interactive advertising, social media campaigns, email marketing, mobile, iPhone and iPad applications. The MU team in Auckland currently numbers four, with senior creative Les Porter from the United Kingdom and an account manager from Tequila\Shift recently recruited.
Beale says it is currently sharing some work with Firstrate, particularly Contact Energy, and has also done some good work for Fatso this year. And while he won't name any names, he says there are already a few agencies looking to work with MU and there's plenty of work currently on its table, including some for Metservice.
As far as New Zealand's digital marketing scene goes, he believes there's still plenty of work to be done. He says there was a time when there was a brightness about New Zealand's business culture, but "we've become a little beaten down over the last ten years" and there is now a sense of cautiousness when there should really be a sense of experimentation and innovation, especially given the speed of change in the digital sphere. As such, he thinks New Zealand has fallen a long way behind Australia in terms of our digital marketing offering.
"In three years there could be more people accessing the internet via handheld devices rather than laptops, so what are the implications. And what happens when the phone becomes a payment device?"