The local advantage: Behind the growth and success of Momentum Group

Despite not setting out to build an agency, Momentum Founder and Director Natalia Taylor, found herself part of a chain of events over the past seven years that led to the birth of this locally owned independent media agency. We chat to her to find out about the advantages of keeping things local, the role of agencies like Momentum, and what is behind the agency’s growth.

Can you share a little bit about how Momentum Group came to be and its journey to where it is now?

Momentum’s journey into a full-service agency has been really organic. Each stage brought fears and challenges, for example, when taking on new staff. You need the team to do the work but need the work to pay for the team!  So there’s a lot of responsibility every day. Doing right by customers and staff and sticking to the “culture” you want for your business. Sometimes, this has meant saying no because the fit wasn’t right, but it also meant we navigated a great course.

The biggest challenge, undeniably, was Covid – which was terribly hard for staff, families, and customers. I used the time to support customers, model the business and bring up a new baby!  What fills me with immense pride is how the team pulled through and the collective achievement of our team during this journey. We’ve delivered exceptional support to our clients and established valuable relationships within our industry. Our commitment to innovation and a client-centric approach has benefited our customers and contributed to the growth and betterment of our industry as a whole. 

But we’re just beginning and are super excited about the road ahead. Our journey has equipped us with the experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm to continue pushing boundaries and delivering outstanding results.

As a locally owned independent media agency, what are some of the benefits your clients will experience by choosing to support local compared to a global company? 

Kiwis love to support local, and our industry is no different. As an independent, we are more agile with processes while offering the same technology and expertise as global players. All our digital buying is done in-house and not farmed offshore, for example. Our edge is our ability to offer competitive rates customised to each client or brand’s needs.  

Local knowledge is everything. We understand the local market, the customer behaviours and cultural nuances so we can craft strategies that resonate with the local audience.

The other big benefit is that when you support local, you are actively contributing to the growth and sustainability of the New Zealand media and advertising industry. This support fosters a thriving ecosystem of local businesses, partners, and talents, reinforcing our community’s economic and professional development.

What are the key factors driving the rise of local independent media agencies like Momentum, and how do they challenge the dominance of big holding companies in the marketing and advertising industry?

One major driver we’ve noticed is the amount of businesses seeking better investment efficiencies, exacerbated by current economic conditions. Transparency and accountability have always been key, but there’s more demand from businesses that need to deliver tangible business results. It’s an exciting time for us as this is where independents shine. We can deliver the efficiencies and keep the money onshore, supporting local staff at competitive rates. 

What are some of the challenges you have observed SMEs facing when working with big media agencies?

New Zealand is quite unique; we have significantly more SMEs than other countries, and 97 percent of all firms are small, which accounts for over a quarter of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP). Big media agencies are incredible in what they deliver for large-scale corporates; they’re geared up for that but less so for SMEs. So, the challenge for SMEs is how to get the same level of service and expertise. In advertising, service, expertise, and relationships really matter, and that’s what makes media work effectively. Independents allow businesses to get that big agency service but at a more customisable fit.

How is Momentum’s growth trajectory reflective of the broader trend of senior talent moving from big agencies to independent media agencies? What advantages do these independent agencies offer to attract such talent?

Our growth is emblematic of a broader shift in the media and advertising industry, where experienced senior talent is increasingly moving from large, traditional agencies to the indies. We think Momentum has a lot to offer such as lifestyle balance and flexibility, workload management, hands-on involvement, a collaborative team culture, and the freedom to innovate.

In what ways does Momentum prioritise client-centricity and transparency in its approach to advertising, and how does this differ from the practices of larger media agencies?

Our commitment to client-centricity and transparency is deeply ingrained in our approach to advertising, differentiating us from larger media agencies in several ways including a client-centric focus on value, cost transparency and accountability, platform agnosticism, flexible rate structures, streamlined processes and reduced overheads, data driven insights, and a results oriented approach.

Can you share insights into the launch of IMANZ (Independent Media Agencies of New Zealand)? Why is the launch of IMANZ important, and why should more New Zealand brands support locally owned-agencies?

IMANZ represents a concerted effort to bring local expertise and perspective to the forefront of media planning and strategy in New Zealand. By choosing to work with IMANZ members, advertisers gain access to a pool of experienced and senior media strategists and operators intimately familiar with the unique dynamics of the New Zealand market. 

Furthermore, IMANZ members are committed to supporting local businesses and communities. They understand the importance of investing in and nurturing the growth of New Zealand enterprises. By collaborating with IMANZ agencies, advertisers align themselves with partners who have a vested interest in the success of their fellow New Zealand businesses. This local focus extends beyond just business relationships; it often involves active participation in local events and initiatives, fostering a sense of community beyond client-agency interactions’ transactional nature.

In a globalised world, it is easy to overlook the importance of local expertise and community engagement in advertising and media. However, IMANZ serves as a reminder of the unique value that New Zealand-owned agencies bring. By supporting IMANZ and its members, New Zealand brands can foster stronger relationships, drive more successful campaigns, and invest in the growth and prosperity of their own communities.

For more information about Momentum, visit momentumgroup.co.nz/, or learn about IMANZ, visit imanz.co.nz/.

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