Marcus Thomas provides a one stop shop experience for its clients

In our series on new business, Stephanie Sumner of Marcus Thomas depicts their integrated process for growth

da India Fizer , AdForum

Marcus Thomas LLC
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
Cleveland, Stati Uniti
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Stephanie Sumner
SVP, Business Development Marcus Thomas

The new year is an exciting time of renewal with opportunities for projected growth and new business. We checked in with Stephanie Sumner, SVP of Business Development at Marcus Thomas, to give us insight into the one-stop-shop method they utilize to maximize value for their clients and how this integrated process can create unique opportunities for growth.


When searching for growth opportunities, how do you determine what is the right fit for the agency?

Fit is an essential component of projecting success for both the agency and client alike and it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to evaluate synergies from the start. While we evaluate every opportunity with the same criteria, we may weight it differently because clients fill different roles on an agency roster. For instance, a brand with a small budget may provide us the opportunity to do brilliant creative work but not add that much to our bottom line. At the end of the day, we are in the business of creating value for our clients, their customers, our staff, and our community, and look for opportunities that will allow us to do just that. 


What does exponential growth look like for your agency? For example, project work vs AOR pitches, geographic, interdisciplinary, etc.

Many full-service agencies consider themselves a jack of all trades. Marcus Thomas, on the other hand, is a collection of experts with deep benches in each of our service offerings – strategy, creative, media, PR/social, analytics, digital, CRM, and marketing automation. We stand up well against specialty agencies and many clients have come to us for these specialties. Our growth comes from the unique approach to integration we can provide clients because all of these specialties reside under one roof, led by teams that already like and work together, and exist under one common P&L eliminating any competition for the pieces of the budget pie. It’s honestly the way we can provide the most value to our clients.


What are the key challenges and / or opportunities for brands in today’s marketing economy?

A consistent challenge and opportunity for a myriad of clients centers around data. Many marketers don’t realize how much data is already available to them. We surprise and delight clients with just how much data they’ve been sitting on that can allow us to create personalized, dynamic creative content, look at our media plans on a hyperlocal basis, and integrate with POS systems to create real time analysis of performance. Those brands that have ways of collecting first-party data already in place may not be using it to its fullest potential, as its impact goes way farther than just informing your media plan.


Given the uncertainty of the past couple of years, are there any trend predictions you have about where the ad and media industries are headed?

The past couple years have shown us the power of innovation as our lives shifted to more virtual experiences with brands. A brand, however, is the sum of all experiences you have with it. Being able to provide that experience as a seamless one with great care and precision will be more important than ever. The in-store experience must extend to the online customer. Messaging must feel authentic to the brand and resonate with the individual. An email offer must acknowledge the previous interactions you’ve had across every platform. That leads to consolidating resources with fewer trusted partners and empowering them to make real time decisions for the health of your business.