Why we developed a powerhouse Paid Media division

Posted 30.08.19

Wilderness have recently bolstered its offering to include paid media. This has involved building a team across paid social, search and display.

The Drum Network caught up with the agency’s founder and managing director to find out why he felt the need to add in this service and how their clients have responded to this additional capability.

What prompted you to offer paid media as one of your services?

We are an agency that was founded on the belief that agencies could be better. That they could deliver better work, in a way that is better for its people, and for clients who want to do better.

With the democratising nature of media planning and buying and evolving client expectations, we felt as a Strategic-led digital agency we were perfectly placed to offer our clients a better paid media solution. One that is based on transparency and openness, we give clients access to their ad accounts so they can see where the marketing spend is being invested.

We are agile in our approach and need to be for always-on broadcasters like NBC Universal and the Discovery Network, optimising campaigns in real-time and ensuring this is aligned with the wider strategic oversight we provide our clients.

We could see a need for this transparent and agile approach to paid media not just for our growing client list but also to support both the strategy and creative divisions of our business.


How have your clients responded to your bolstered offering?

Our clients have responded in a unanimously positive way, as we now offer some element of paid media management to all of our existing clients. In doing so we’ve replaced incumbent networks and major players based on collaborative, plain-speaking and passionate approach.

From the strategic side of our business, most of our work is in supporting established brands navigate some element of flux or change within their business model or the wider industry, usually on a retained basis over several years. That means our business is built to work collaboratively to augment and support existing client teams and we take this approach with paid media.

We pride ourselves on being plain-speaking and honest with our clients and I think this has really resonated with our clients, particularly on the paid media side. There’s a real sense that clients have been “left in the dark” when it comes to paid media planning and buying.

As an independent agency, passion is at our core. It’s not just something we put in a deck or write on our wall, though our manifesto is printed on the wall of our offices in Shoreditch, it’s true to the work we want to deliver and the clients we want to partner with. We have a simple hiring question that really informs our approach “if you could work with any client in the next 18 months who would it be?” We canvas the answers to these questions from our team every six months and use the insight to inform our new business strategy. All of this is to say, we win as an agency and a team when we are passionate about the work we do and the clients we do it for.

We bring knowledge and expertise along with this passion and it’s allowed us to win some of our teams dream clients, HBO is an example of that, an account we won this year supporting the brand in the UK across paid media, social strategy and creative content production. It was hard not to be passionate about working on Season 8 of Game of Thrones!


Why do you think agencies are now bringing Paid Media in-house?

It’s a great question. I think in truth every agency will, in some way be a media business within the next 3-5 years, if they are not already. Traditional creative and ad agencies are already trying to jump into this space as are mobile and pure-play digital agencies.

We think, however, that we are uniquely placed to support clients changing needs in this space. Having evolved as an award-winning strategic-led business supported by an in-house creative division and full-service digital media buying team, we can provide the level of strategic and creative thinking and know-how that clients want with a transparent and agile media buying solution that they now need.

I see our future as a paid media business supported by an award-winning strategic consultancy and in-house creative division. I think the question for agencies in a few years time will be why haven’t they brought paid media in-house.

To read the full article go to The Drum.

Tom Jarvis, Founder and Managing Director – Wilderness Agency