Monday, January 11, 2010

What Marketers Want

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post titled, The Start of Something Bigger? It came on the heels of Ants Eye View's announcement that they had just joined forces with authors/consultants, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Then last week white label community provider, Jive Software, announced that they had purchased listening platform, Filtrbox. All the while I watched with interest knowing that we had some big news of our own to announce in early January.

Let's start with the news since I know that nobody likes to be left hanging. Today, I'm  proud to announce that Powered Inc is launching a full-service social media agency through the acquisition of industry leaders crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. The reason we're so excited about this is because we feel that we are now better positioned to help brands (and their agencies) define and deliver comprehensive social media strategies that integrate with their traditional marketing mix. How shall we do this you ask? By leveraging tools and tactics such as Facebook, Twitter, blogger outreach, events, communities and mobile applications of course.

We felt like it was important to take this approach because up until now, marketers have lacked a "go to" resource that could meet all of their social needs. This does not diminish any of the smart, driven and successful other boutiques and consultancies out there that help their clients with their social initiatives but rather that none of them truly provide the end-to-end solutions necessary to meet all of a marketers needs -- at least not with scale. While this may not have been a big deal in 2009 when the entire economy took a mulligan, it will be in 2010 as social media moves from experiment to mission critical.

Okay, I know you've probably got tons of questions. I'm going to try to preemptively answer a few below but you there will also be several opportunities to join us live this week:
As for the answers, here goes...

Why didn’t Powered just develop these additional social media capabilities?
We thought long and hard about the “build vs. buy” strategy, but in the end, we realized that we would dramatically increase our speed to market and add some serious talent (not to mention about 50 new brand relationships) to the Powered team by moving forward with these acquisitions.

Who are Crayon, Drillteam, StepChange?
  • Crayon brings extensive experience as a strategic social marketing consultancy to the table. They work with Fortune 1000 brands to develop strategies that positively impact customer relationships through the integration of continuous online conversations into traditional marketing programs. Crayon President Joseph Jaffe and his entire team will join Powered’s robust staff of marketers, content creators and social media leaders, with crayon and Powered immediately merging their capabilities.
  • Drillteam is an engagement marketing agency specializing in earned media.  Drillteam helps brands acquire and energize customer advocates, then sustain momentum through both offline events and online communities, and promotions on platforms like Facebook, niche blogs and Twitter.  Drillteam will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
  • StepChange enhances a brand’s reach by extending presence into social networks and mobile platforms through Facebook development/applications, social site development, mobile/apps and Widget Ads.  StepChange will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
Will Joseph Jaffe (Crayon) be staying on? If so, what role will he play at Powered?
Who is Joe Jaffe? Of course we’re kidding. Joe will play a big role in the new organization as “Chief Interrupter” of the group. He will continue to challenge the industry by providing prolific thought leadership, vision and guidance via his Jaffe Juice blog, podcast and TV show, keynote and panel presence at industry events and conferences, as well as his three books (Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and soon to be released, Flip the Funnel). More importantly, he will serve as a valued resource to Powered clients to “interrupt” the status quo, think through their social strategy and help conceive and flesh out unique and specific ideas and programs in the space.

Does the industry need another agency?
The industry certainly doesn’t need another agency that does the same thing as its predecessors. To be perfectly honest, we’re not exactly enamored with the idea of being called an “agency” at all. But this isn’t about us: It’s about the world’s largest, loved and important brands and what they need. Many members of our leadership team have lived, and successfully navigated through, several key advances in brand management, communication and emerging media innovation—led by the rise, fall and rise again of digital. We see the gaping void, disconnect or chasm between identification of need and the ability to fully deliver against that need. Social media is not another color on the media flow chart and it is not a subservient subset of digital either. Instead, we see social as a truly pervasive and transformational category in of itself that spans the entire marketing gamut—and even beyond it (touching P.R., customer service, R&D, innovation and customer experience). For that reason, we believe that we will be one of the first—and certainly not the last—of specialist, best in class agents that are equipped, staffed and scaled to fully execute and activate against this growing capability, skill set, need and opportunity. 

What is a Social Agency?
A Social Agency or social media agency is an entity that assists companies and brands in the new world of conversational marketing. The confluence of digital, virtual and peer-to-peer networks is causing consumers to act more as a collective than ever before, and they are demanding a truly two-way conversation. We are looking to be the partner that will help brands enter and be successful in that conversation, by building a successful strategy that:
  • Connects business to social
  • Joins and manages network presence
  • Builds and manages branded communal spaces
  • Connects conversationally through mobile and physical events
The Social Media Agency is the horizontal layer that must be centrally managed but also closely integrated with all of the traditional vertical functions of marketing, such as media, interactive, PR and creative.

What else am I missing? A lot I'm sure. But as you know, I'm pretty good at delivering updates real time through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog, etc. Oh, we're also planning a couple of big blowouts at OMMA Social (January 26) and South by Southwest (SXSW Interactive) in mid-March.

Let's get it on!


  1. Wow. Congrats guys. Excited to see what you are all going to create together.

    I officially have a lot more work to do.

  2. Congrats Aaron and the new team. Very excited to see this team makes its mark.

  3. Congratulations! This is great, exciting news!

  4. Great timing Aaron. I think the market is really primed for this kind of consultancy and centralized expertise. And you guys have the street cred and experience to provide real insight and fresh perspectives on this stuff.

  5. Congrats and best of luck Aaron :)

  6. Extremely excited about this move and looking forward to a phenomenal year! Welcome crayon, Drillteam and StepChange!

    ~Don Sedota

  7. Stuart - thanks. we are excited about the possibilities.

    Mike - mucho obregado sir.

    Brett - looking for a good theme song for @Powered now. ;)

    Dave - we agree. and i appreciate the vote of confidence. hope you're doing well.

    Shey - thank you!

  8. Wow, that is some big news. Congratulations Aaron, I look forward to watching the exciting things that you and Crayon will do together. Bravo!

  9. Congrats Aaron! This is a great move for Powered (and you). I look forward to seeing how you continue to evolve your offerings to serve the market. Great timing and additions to the team.

    Best of luck!


  10. Wow -- big news! Congrats, Aaron. I look forward to What Happens Next!

  11. Wow! This really supercharged my Monday morning. I think this announcement has huge implications for our industry and I'm very excited to see what the future has in store for you and the Powered team.

    I couldn't be happier for you!

  12. Congrats Aaron! Looking forward to seeing what the new team does in 2010.

    Beth Harte
    Community Manager, MarketingProfs

  13. Congrats again Aaron. Knowing both Crayon and Drillteam well (I'm learning more about Stepchange) this will be a compelling and powerful combination of forces, all of which will lead to bigger things. This is great news for the industry and most importantly, clients who will benefit. Cheers!

  14. Hey Aaron;

    Congrats on the news. I think that consolidation is in the cards for 2010.

    Kami Huyse

  15. WOW!!! Jim, Ken, Adam, Kami, Beth, Alexa, Ann and Ben -- honored to have you stop by and share our excitement. We too are looking forward to what happens next. Looks like 2010 is going to be HUGE!

  16. Congrats Aaron! Good luck with the new band!

  17. Max - thanks man. Let's catch up in NYC sometime soon!

    Rachel - mucho obregado!

  18. Good stuff Aaron! Congrats! Let's talk soon about how mobile engagement might fit in the mix?

    God bless.

  19. Thank you David. We actually got some "mobile" capabilities via the acquisition of StepChange... but still happy to have that conversation sometime in the coming weeks.

  20. Hey Aaron - congratulations to you, Joseph, Greg and the rest of your newly enlarged team from everyone here at We Are Social in London and Paris.

  21. Aaron- this is big news indeed. Congrats, and all the best to you and your growing team!

  22. Robin - thank you! Waving hello to London and Paris!

    Kelly - we have been blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response to date.

  23. Aaron-- congrats on today's news. Very exciting and best of luck!

  24. As so many other have said, congrats! Wish you all the best in 2010!

  25. Congrats Aaron! Very exciting news.

  26. Eve - hey, so thrilled you stopped by. And I really appreciate the kind words.

    Jake/Jackie - you guys rock. I'm sure you know exactly how this feels. ;)

  27. Thanks Dave. It's amazing that the announcement was a week ago and we're still getting great feedback! Such an exciting time to be in this space.