Red Antler unveils performance marketing agency: ‘Media is moving upstream for new brands’

Daniel Romano (top right) will lead the agency

With the likes of Casper and Allbirds on its client list, Red Antler has cemented itself as the go-to branding agency for startups and scale-ups. Now it’s diversifying its offering with Good Moose, a performance marketing shop designed for clients looking to scale through customer acquisition.

Good Moose opens as a standalone partner agency to its parent, which is best known for its pre-launch branding strategy. It will provide expertise in search, social advertising, display, Amazon commerce, influencer marketing and go-to-market strategies for clients new and old.

Currently run by a staff of 12, the idea for Good Moose formed after its parent company noticed clients were increasingly asking for advice on digital media, customer acquisition and growth strategy, after and during the branding process.

In the past, many new brands had been able to grow rapidly with just an interesting aesthetic, good media coverage and a solid organic social strategy. But constant changes to platform algorithms and an increase in DTC competition meant a number were floundering without media and digital investment.

“Performance marketing and support with media is something that just keeps moving further and further upstream in the plans of new brands,” said Red Antler’s co-founder and chief executive, JB Osborne.

“We're consistently getting questions from founders like, ‘We need to figure out a plan for our go-to-market strategy for media – what do we do about this? Can you help us, can you refer us to someone?’”

Now, rather than continuing to divert customer dollars away from the business, Red Antler’s co-founders have launched a performance marketing agency that will “connect the dots to everything else that we were helping founders with”.

It’s a shrewd move for the agency, given digital marketing has surpassed traditional for the first time, and holding cos continue to double down on their own performance marketing offerings.

Daniel Romano, previously the head of Red Antler’s performance marketing consultancy, will head up Good Moose as chief executive.

The digital veteran has built an offering that’s expandable and flexible to clients’ needs. Much of his pipeline will comprise business founders working with Red Antler – those who are uneducated in the basics of buying media, working out acquisition costs and so on, and who are willing to have a “a very candid and transparent conversation about growth roadmaps”.

For these founders, Good Moose will first act as a substitute chief marketing officer tasked with jobs such as writing up competitor landscape analyses and customer journey maps. It will also carry out an amount of expectation setting: “Most of the time, [founders] underestimate how much money and effort they need for a successful launch,” said Romano.

Clients will then be able to take this advice and run with it, or hire Good Moose as a recruitment consultant in the performance marketing space. The company is offering its service as an in-house agency, hiring, training and transitioning internal teams for its clients.

Brands can also choose to hire Good Moose as a more traditional agency partner that will execute on growth and media plans.

“One thing that is important to keep in mind is we don't lock in clients on long-term contracts,” said Romano. “Everything's monthly based.”

This means Good Moose will be able to pick up clients larger than those Red Antler usually deals with. Romano imagines situations where the agency acts as a consultant on the growth strategies of an established business for a few months at a time, or steps in when a big company goes through a rebrand and needs help steadying the performance marketing ship after a period of change.

The team hopes Good Moose will grow to around 30 people next year. With the likes of Snowe, Henry Rose and Snap Kitchen locked in as founding clients, the agency will remain separate from Red Antler; Osborne likes the idea of keeping the data and calculations of the new business separate from the “gut and intuition” of Red Antler’s creative.

“But we also wanted to build a business and a brand for Good Moose that had the ability to be broader and more flexible and support as many businesses as possible who are looking for a thoughtful, transparent partner,” he said. “We don't want that to limit its potential.”

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