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David Jones slams ‘lack of capable people in some legacy agencies’ & talks up data firm DP6

You & Mr Jones has recently acquired a majority stake in leading martech firm DP6

Brandtech group You & Mr Jones has acquired a majority stake in DP6, a leading martech firm from Latin America, to bulk up in the region and get closer to its partner Google at a time when the tech giant is sending waves through adtech. The Drum speaks to company founder David Jones about how this acquisition gives the group an edge on a global scale.

Brazil-based firm DP6 was founded by duo Tiago Turini and Leo Naressi in 2007. “DP6’s unique advantage is that it is the number one data business in Brazil,” says You & Mr Jones’ founder David Jones.

It will also deliver a broad set of benefits from data measurement to media attribution, martech integration, data science, AI-powered marketing analytics and content optimization. With the coming shift toward privacy-centric advertising models – particularly within the halls of Google (see the demise of last-click attribution) – as a key partner of Google and Salesforce, DP6 will help the rest of the group develop best practice in digital advertising in the tumultuous trial-and-error years ahead.

The brandtech firm’s mission statement is to “help brands do their marketing better, faster and cheaper using the latest technology(ies)”. Tech consultancies are in high demand during periods of immense change – in adtech, we’re seeing that now.

Jones says: “The complexity and challenges – and also the opportunities – make expert advice increasingly important. Things are changing so rapidly and are affected by different factors in different regions that it’s really necessary to have experts fully on board.”

The space is “heating up” and “capable talent” is in ever-more demand, and for some of You & Mr Jones’ competition at the very least there’s trouble ahead. “It’s the same reason Google is concerned that there is a lack of properly capable people in some of the legacy companies that have been downsizing over the last few years.”

DP6 will click with 55, the data company acquired in 2016 by You & Mr Jones, and will sit alongside other units such as in-housing experts Oliver, Gravity Road, Mobkoi, Mofilm, Blood and Collectively, the influencer group bought last year.

One agency benefits in particular: “It will allow 55 to even better deliver on the Latin American portions of global RFPs, and for us to scale and grow an increasingly important region for the group.”

On top of that, DP6 brings clients Carrefour, CNN, BASF, Natura, Nubank, Raia Drogasil and Whirlpool into the martech group. Some of these clients are on global retainers – big business for the group. And they join the likes of Adidas, Danone, Facebook, LVMH and Microsoft.

Leo Naressi, DP6 co-chief executive, says new regulatory moves on consumer privacy bring up two challenges, one is "addressiblity targeting, retargeting, etc) and the other from accountability (measurement) perspectives".

The firm's "embracing... a first-party data strategy" that can leverage customer data management, data science and analytics to develop an offering beyond multi-touch attribution, media mix modelling, incrementally and lift analysis.

He adds: "Wherever brands can leverage granular customer data or correlated causal events, DP6 can help assess, infer or measure marketing and media returns in order to optimize budgets and performance."

Beyond the data benefits, there's the market advantages. Jones says: “In terms of geography, the unique thing about You & Mr Jones is our ability to deliver at global scale – simplistically, the old ad holding companies can deliver globally but don’t get cutting-edge, tech-enabled marketing, and the brilliant tech-enabled companies are typically only in one or two markets.”

He claims his business gets the best of both worlds with more than 4,500 staff. In the year-to-date (August 2021), You & Mr Jones boasted organic revenue growth of more than 50%. In 2020, it saw a 27.1% net revenue organic growth rate too. It attributes this to high demand for its brandtech services that are “continuing disruption of the marketing sector”.

But now it is seeking more acquisitions as part of its growth plan. The last one was Collectively in August 2020, an influencer marketing agency that it combined with theAmplify to create a global player. It was one of the oldest US influencer marketing companies (now eight years old and boasting an all-women executive team).

The influencing veterans indeed had an older business than the one that bought it. Jones, a former Havas global chief exec, launched You & Mr Jones in 2015. He’s very much still putting the pieces in place to build a group better able to compete with the biggest. He shares: “Our next focus is e-commerce and digital media in terms of M&A and geographic expansion, as per this move.”

Weeks ago the group was linked with investment banks regarding a potential $3bn US float. Sky News claimed the listing could come as early as the first half of next year, but Jones wouldn't share anything specific on the IPO or SPAC rumors.

He instead laid out his goals for the next year, concluding: “We’re just obsessive about delivering technology-enabled marketing at global scale for our clients and creating the new brandtech category – we’ve grown more than 50% organically YTD August and that’s because of the huge growth from our existing clients, as we help them navigate the increasing complexity that the ever-changing world of technology is wreaking on marketers.”

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