West Cary Group (WCG) is a full-service marketing and advertising agency that specializes in creating marketing and communication campaigns that are focused on quantifiable results and ROI. Its ability to merge data analytics with the creative process is its USP. WCG specializes in a variety of industries like financial services, pharma, healthcare, and retail. The Richmond, Virginia-headquartered minority-owned agency was founded in 2007 by founder and CEO Moses Foster.
Prior to founding WCG, Foster was a senior director at Capital One where he led a team of over 40 associates who created over $750 million in marketing communication annually. He also serves on the board of directors for Direct Marketing Association and Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Venture Richmond.
Key Success Factor
WCG, from the very beginning, had realized the power of data and analysis and how important it is to give equal standing to both the analytical and the creative team. Most companies of their size in the industry do not have any group specifically dedicated to data science, and that gives them the edge over its other rivals. Being able to execute data driven marketing is a huge positive, especially for a client group like Fintech, which understands the power of data. Having data scientists on board to ensure that decisions are empirical versus intuitive.
WCG usually works with companies having a budget of $250,000 and upwards. WCG clients may not be Fortune 500, but they are usually VC-backed companies looking to break into the big league. Its capabilities around performance marketing are as good as any larger player in the market, but West Cary Group is able to provide these services on a more competitive budget. This is made possible because it does not have huge overheads like the larger firms.
WCG has always prided itself on being channel agnostic. Its decision of picking a marketing channel is based on a lot of variables like what the customer wants, the kind of product, and what is the client business model. After considering all these variables, it comes with an economic model targeting appropriate channels that are best suited and has maximum potential to succeed. Success or failure of a channel depends on three things: gross response, net response, and conversion. So it lets the data speak on which channel to use rather than taking a gut decision.
Collaborating with Insurtech and Fintech
The company has worked with multiple fintech and insurtech companies including leaders like SoFi. It collaborated with SoFi on direct mail. It has been leveraging both online mediums like Facebook and offline channels like direct mail for customer acquisition. According to the founder, many leading fintech lenders acquire a major chunk of their customers through direct mail. Working with fintechs is exciting and challenging as they are extremely ROI driven and aggressive in their approach.
In order to evaluate the feasibility of a channel, a test design is developed to see the results of invested amount with the help of statistically significant tests. Usually, these tests are carried to see whether it will be useful or not, and all these tests are primarily ROI oriented. The reasons why this strategy works is because instead of pre-committing to one particular channel, WCG waits for the market reaction. Based on that, WCG decides whether to do a full roll-out with that particular channel or not.
A typical sample test involves a sampling of 10,000 customers. The agency likes to go ahead with results that are in the 95% confidence interval. This investment is prudent so that results are strategically significant and actionable for the client. A direct mail campaign typically costs $0.50 to 0.75 per package.
Looking Beyond Direct Mail
The company has also analyzed satellite radio and television as an advertising medium for its clients. Foster believes that radio provides for an extremely targetable audience, and TV can be a great investment for a client that can work on scale. He has always wanted to execute a performance marketing campaign on TV but hasn’t had any client engage with them for TV because the roll out costs are too high. Most clients believe TV is for branding but leveraging data analytics for TV can also be used for performance marketing. With cord cutting now a major trend among millennials, TV might be declining in viewership, but it’s still a multi-billion dollar channel. It might not be as dominant as before, but TV is not dead as a medium to target potential customers.
The Perfect Client
The company loves working with entrepreneurs and teams who come to it with a good product in a competitive market. They want to work in the niche market where a “spray money on advertisement” approach would not work. What is most important is to solve the problem of the channel mix. Which channels should the client use, in which order and in what quantum. The power of combining multiple channels to work together will always be better in maximum circumstances than relying only on one channel. Being able to calculate that synergy is what will make or break a campaign. For this, the agency needs to test individual mediums in silos and then in conjunctions. Only then can they decide on that perfect spending matrix.
The company has grown steadily over the years and now has a 35 member team. Data-driven advertising has changed the marketing landscape, and all companies ranging from tech startups to century-old community banks are looking to capitalize on data for achieving quantifiable results on their marketing spend. That is a boon for agencies like WCG, which have always been ROI-driven from the start and have incorporated data science as a part of the service offering from day one.
Written by Heena Dhir.