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By Alexandra Bruell
For a marketer, finding an ad agency in another geographic market -- especially to handle a one-off project -- can be expensive, tedious and time-consuming.
The startup Globality wants to change that with an algorithm that connects brands with small and midsize local agencies around the world.
Globality, which also wants to help large companies search for energy, legal, environment and social impact services firms, is the brainchild of former Current TV CEO Joel Hyatt. The Silicon Valley startup has raised $37.5 million in funding from investors that include former Vice President Al Gore; Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman; and John Emerson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany; among others.
Marketing was an obvious fit as one of the initial service verticals, said Deborah Conrad, chief marketing and revenue officer at Globality and former marketing chief at Intel.
"It's one of those areas where we felt we could make a very strong impact really early on," she said. "It's not legislated like accounting or other service areas where there's a degree of difficulty." The idea, she said, is to help small global firms and fix an "antiquated process."
Globality, which thus far has vetted and invited 350 ad agencies across the globe to join its platform, only supports searches for projects budgeted over $100,000. Agency head count is capped at around 500.
"Our mission is to make globalization work for more businesses and people around the world," said Mr. Hyatt, Globality's co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "We will bring buyers and sellers unprecedented access to new business opportunities."
Unlike other search consultancies, Globality doesn't charge the marketing client directly. Rather, it charges the winning agency a 15% fee of the total project budget. For most traditional consultants, that compensation requirement would be problematic, since not all clients pay their agencies on time. With Globality, the client is obligated to place the project funds into an escrow account when both sides have a signed contract.
More marketers are moving away from awarding long-term retainer accounts in favor of one-off projects, making Globality's approach ripe for success, said Ms. Conrad.
Typically, a client with an international project assignment for a campaign or product launch might just tap into a large global network they already work with at home, rather than consider a smaller and more specialized independent shop that might be a better choice for the project.
Globality, which has 75 full-time employees, is now trying to convince a number of large companies that they have choices. For example, a Scandinavian company that makes jet engines tapped Globality to help with brand strategy and social media in South Korea. "That's just hard," said Ms. Conrad.
The process starts with the creation of a client brief. Globality's system prompts the client to answer a number of questions about its objective. With each question that gets answered, the system then offers more specific follow-up questions, and ultimately refines its recommendations for which agencies the client should select from. Globality executives then vet the selections and work closely with the brands throughout the agency review.
Porter Gale, senior vice president of partnerships at Globality and former vice president of marketing at Virgin America, is among the senior marketing executives supporting the business.
"The vision is very much the marrying of the technology with the human curation," said Ms. Conrad.
Globality doesn't want to limit its technology or approach to specific service industries like marketing and law. Ultimately, the goal is to work with a company across multiple services and be "part of a procurement solution," said Ms. Conrad.
Write to Alexandra Bruell at [email protected]
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2017 12:32 ET (17:32 GMT)
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