StrategyMediaAKQA Aims for Integrated Digital Services

AKQA Aims for Integrated Digital Services

San Francisco-based ad agency builds up search marketing practice, expands U.K. media planning operations, and more.

Digital ad agency AKQA announced Tuesday it’s building out and integrating search engine marketing services into its marketing and advertising services.

“This is part of a broader strategy to increase our media and search practice,” Tom Bedecarre, AKQA’s CEO, told ClickZ News in an interview. “We have a close relationship with our clients looking for an integrated approach to online marketing. It’s helpful to have a bigger set of services and a bigger team to service our clients.”

Scott Symonds, AKQA’s executive media director, pointed out that a lot of clients have had two separate groups: one handling customer-relationship management and search initiatives and another devoted to branding. However, the advertising and marketing landscape requires more integration of the two. “It’s time now, and it’s not unique to us. It’s born out of necessity,” he said.

AKQA hired Scott Linzer as director of search marketing. He’ll work to tightly knit technology from SearchRev, a company acquired by AKQA last year, into the ad agency’s services, as well as develop search engine optimization services. Previously, Linzer was McCann Worldgroup’s search marketing director, working on the Microsoft and Nortel Networks accounts.

“SearchRev will continue independently but [be] more focused on tool [and] technology customers vs. AKQA Search, which will support a higher level of strategy and integrated service in addition to being powered by SearchRev technology,” Symonds said in a follow up e-mail.

As it adds services, AKQA named an associate media director in New York City. Jessica Drapiza previously held a digital strategy role with Starcom MediaVest, where she focused on the Wal-Mart business. Additionally, the agency added two communications planners to its U.K. office, complementing the earlier hire of a media executive there.

The goal: to win more business both on- and offline, rather than work solely in the digital trenches, when it makes sense for AKQA and its clients.

“We have actually done a fair amount of offline media recently and do hope to continue to do so as we increasingly get full AOR [agency of record] status with new clients,” Symonds explained. “Our Palm Treo campaign last year included substantial print, event, and OOH [out of home] media planning and buying.”

AKQA isn’t alone on its quest to add services and integrate them into their offerings. Carat USA and Carat Fusion last year merged to become a single all-media agencyand hired talent to expand its search engine expertise.

“There’s a lot of upside in the broader search [market],” Bedecarre said, pointing to anticipated growth in mobile, local, and video search marketing.

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