The partner spotlight is a weekly series where we go behind the scenes with some of the companies that make VendorDB great. Next up is 6S Marketing.
Name: 6S Marketing
Locations: New York, Toronto, Vancouver (Los Angeles Coming Soon Q3 2016)
Year Founded: 2000
Specialties: Digital strategy, paid media optimization conversion rate optimization, analytics consulting, CRM, social media advertising, programmatic
What inspired you to start your company?
We started the digital agency because we saw a budget gap between what clients were spending in other channels and what was delivering results. We thought “Hey, we can do this” but never did we think we would be more than 4-5 nerds huddled in a corner office. We did it because we were passionate about the industry.
How did the partners meet?
The founding partners, Chris Breikss & John Blown, met on the monkey bars in elementary school and worked together at a few dotcoms prior to founding the digital agency.
The agency started in Vancouver which is an amazing city with easy access to ocean and mountains where the lifestyle has a relaxed pace. In order to work on bigger projects, the agency expanded to Toronto and New York.
What was the first job someone hired you for?
One of our first clients was a river rafting company and they had a miniscule budget but we took them on because we loved the owners and the passion behind the business. Outdoor adventure clients are still our favorites.
What was the most technically challenging work you’ve created?
Our work with Pirelli in 2015 was extremely challenging given its huge digital scope for the Highway Zero campaign.
Which work or brand are you best known for?
We are most likely know for our #WeAre6S campaign where we put a billboard up in Times Square in New York trying to convince Apple to rename the iPhone. We were featured on mashable and MTV as well as 150+ other digital publications which gained us some notoriety and almost got us arrested in the process.
Which project is your most underrated?
I think that our work in Chinese digital media is still flying under the radar and specifically the work with Cirque du Soleil. Many people don’t even know that we have a Chinese digital division called Sheng Li Digital.
Who is your most interesting staff member?
Our new director of business development in Toronto, Doug Gorrie is a character. He is always on vibrating an extremely high frequency and plays in a rock band on the weekends.
What is the smartest work you’ve seen in the past year that didn’t come from your shop?
The #LikeAGirl campaign was something that resonated with our agency given that we are 70% female. It’s one of those campaigns that has the ability to change the way people think and have real-world long standing impact. And it sold a lot of pads too.
How has the business changed since you started?
When we started in the early 2000s the digital marketing business was shady with a lot of click fraud, pop up ads, and email spam. While there are still a lot of the same challenges in digital, the budgets have finally shifted and brands are now allocating significant budget to online campaigns which makes us happy.
What emerging tech trend will have the biggest impact on your business?
The millennial generation and how they use emerging platforms like Snapchat is going to shapeshift our industry. This generation grew up with the Internet and they see it very differently than the previous generations and we need to make sure that we embrace the change and evolve our agency and offering to coincide with these changes.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Our biggest challenge is likely hiring and recruitment. We are always trying to find great people to work with.
What advice do you have for agency producers or creatives?
My advice to all agency folk is to spend time celebrating your work and helping your agency build kick ass case studies. Not enough of us are sharing our great work.
What do you make of the trend where brands are skipping their agency of record to work directly with production partners?
As long as brand are being strategic with their campaigns and have goals and targets I think they should work with whoever they want however they want.
What is the best thing about working at 6S Marketing?
While cliche, the best thing about 6S Marketing is the work/life balance. Its an agency where achieving your personal goals is just as important as achieving your career goals.
Where is the best bar in Toronto?
You can usually find members of our agency at ‘Bar Hop‘ in Toronto Friday after work taking down a frothy pint. Its around the corner from the office and has a great post-work vibe.
Any wild company party stories?
When we were smaller, we used to take the whole company snowboarding for the weekend every year. That usually got out of hand.
Which industry boondoggle is most likely to send your employees to rehab: Cannes, AICP or SXSW?
Even just thinking about SXSW makes my eyes water. One year we had trade show booth there and 6 of us went down for 8 days. We likey should have been hooked up to IVs after to re-hydrate.
Care to share a joke?
What should you do if you’re attacked by a gang of clowns? Go for the juggler.
What does the future look like for 6S Marketing?
We just moved into a brand new shiny office in Toronto. We are moving 2 people from our Vancouver office to our New York office in each of April and May 2016. We are opening a new office is Los Angeles in September 2016 on Sunset Blvd.