The rapid pace of marketing and communication technology is affecting the U.S. workforce and putting pressure on traditional agencies already struggling to remain relevant in a fragmented and competitive global media landscape.
The impact goes beyond just enabling employees to telecommute. According to Edelman Research, the freelance workforce in the U.S. grew nearly seven percent to 56.7 million in 2018. If the trend continues, by 2027 more than half of the American workforce will identify themselves as being independent.
One new agency is capitalizing on the trend in the marketing services sector. Founded by Los Angeles-based digital marketing pioneer Tony Winders, The Winders Group (TWG) is a full-service agency taking a new approach to the collective model.
Combining technology, a classic media production structure and a vetted pool of marketing talent, The Winders Group assembles virtual teams to deliver a wide range of marketing, advertising and public relations services.
Members of “The Group” connect in one of several Zoom conference rooms, where clients and marketing specialists assigned to their accounts rotate in and out of meetings throughout the day. Other tools in the company’s marketing tech stack include G Suite, Slack, Asana and HubSpot.
“The power of the collective itself creates economies of scale for both the marketing experts we employ and the clients we serve,” says Winders. “When you add technology, a disciplined project management approach and a little bit of fun, it creates an environment where all of the stakeholders can thrive.”
Longtime post-production studio operations executive Robert Dehn is leading the operations and scaling plan for TWG by applying a classic production model to agency services.
“Similar to how movies are made, the studio production model fits neatly with our independent workforce,” says Dehn. “Teams of specialists are assembled to perform specific tasks according to the demands of each project, with a senior member of TWG overseeing the campaign from beginning to end, much like a producer would do on a film.”
The Winders Group model takes aim at the weaknesses of larger, more established agencies. A virtual workforce and agile production model give marketers with a unique alternative to traditional shops that are centralized, siloed and unable to keep up with client needs and the changing pace of marketing technology.
In its first year of business, TWG has focused primarily on serving the B2B marketing needs of emerging technology clients in categories such as health tech, blockchain, fintech and cloud computing, but the agency also plans to provide B2C marketing services. The firm’s current clients include Domuso, CloudSimple, Measured and Transparent Health Marketplace.
“The Winders Group is one of the most progressive agencies I’ve dealt with in my career,” said David Saloff, co-founder and vice president of Transparent Health Marketplace. “Most agencies worth their salt can deliver results, but their passion for the work and the dynamic process they employ to achieve results is what makes TWG so original.”
Founder Tony Winders is not new to agency life having co-founded InterActive Agency, Inc. (a.k.a. iAgency), one of the world’s first digital agencies, in May 1995. His work developing early search engine marketing, online publicity and digital advertising for studios, networks, gaming and technology companies make him widely considered “the father of Internet marketing.”
Now Winders is innovating again with the formation of The Winders Group. The key to the success of TWG, he says, is matching the best team to each project and making sure the work is highly rewarding for everyone involved. “Both clients and freelancers are thriving within the structure of The Group, which tells me we have the potential to scale and may have the prototype for what agencies of the future may look like.”