Matt Jasper, a Foster MBA and entrepreneur extraordinaire, kindly sat down with me to discuss his work as Director of Business Development with start-up marketing firm Wilder2. Wilder2 is a Seattle based full-service advertising and marketing agency founded a few years ago by Mark and Corrie Wilder.
Wilder2 targets small and medium sized companies in a variety of industries. Given the backgrounds and experiences of the management team, most of the firm’s clients come from the consumer electronics and entertainment industries. Their client list includes the Musicians Institute, Panasonic, Yellowtec, and Lamsac. However, the firm has also carved out a niche in the renewable energy, financial and legal services, and exploration industries. Clients in this space include Space Angels, Ocean Gate, PearTree Strategic Partners, and Planetary Power. The agency is operating within, and disrupting, an existing market. Wilder2 provides the same services as traditional marketing and advertising agencies, but with more agility and a significantly improved cost structure.
The agency’s relative youth and business model requires the management team to explore a variety of industries and company sizes to fill out its client portfolio. The agency is on short-term retainers with most of its clients. These retainer agreements are built around project-based contracts. While Wilder2 does have some repeat business, its business model and limited bandwidth disallows it from establishing a robust foundation of consistent work for a large base of clients.
Wilder2 utilizes a variety of channels in reaching and acquiring clients. The agency has positioned itself as a lower cost, but still high quality, alternative to traditional marketing firms. Their customers have responded well to the project based model, which gives Wilder2’s an even more pronounced cost proposition advantage over larger agencies. Primarily, the agency has reached customers through trade shows, tapping into contacts made in the decades of experience possessed by the management team. In addition, the agency has participated in public requests for proposals for projects as a way to supplement the direct contact business generated through trade shows and referrals.
In its few years of operation, the firm has consistently provided quality work at a price point lower than traditional advertising agencies. Through this, the management team has created a high-quality lifestyle business. The limited bandwidth and resources available to the management team appears to be the primary barrier to the agency’s growth and expansion.