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VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk says his bootstrapped digital media company is generating more than $130 million and it’s coming for WPP and Omnicom — with no ‘meaningful competitor’ in sight

Gary Vaynerchuk

VaynerMedia started 10 years ago as a scrappy social-media agency and has grown into a holding company, VaynerX, that’s more than 800 people strong.
Led by the divisive Gary Vaynerchuk, the holding company, VaynerX, houses six businesses including analytics, consulting, and digital media, and has blue-chip clients like GE and Chase.
VaynerMedia says it racked up $131 million in revenue in 2018, projects 15% growth this year, and is profitable.
At a time when agency holding companies are under attack, VaynerX boasts it’s truly differentiated from industry giants like WPP and Omnicom and is winning business from some of the industry’s titans.
Detractors and even fans say the agency has come a long way but has to grow its international presence, creative chops, and talent to truly compete.
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As the advertising establishment heads to Cannes for the annual, rosé-soaked ritual of making deals and collecting awards on the French Riviera, Gary Vaynerchuk wants the marketing world to know there’s a new type of agency holding company in town.

Vaynerchuk and his brother AJ started VaynerMedia with a scrappy social-media agency operating out of borrowed space. It’s since grown into an 800-plus-person sprawling holding company, VaynerX, with six businesses including analytics (Tracer), consulting (The Sasha Group), and digital media (Gallery Media Group). It boasts blue-chip clients including GE, Mondelez, and JPMorgan Chase.

Read more: Oreo maker Mondelez’s CEO is rejecting ad agencies’ normal pricing and pushing for them to have some skin in the game

The list of criticisms of Vaynerchuk is long and well-chronicled: He’s a flagrant self-promoter whose social-media showmanship serves him more than his clients, his stakes in social-media platforms present conflicts of interest (VaynerX has said it discloses those relationships), he runs a sweatshop, he’s a one-man show, and all he’s selling is hustle. (A 2014 Fortune headline asked: “Is Gary Vaynerchuk for real?”)

But as VaynerMedia marks its 10th year, Vaynerchuk, the agency’s CEO, claims that VaynerX is the antithesis of traditional holding companies like WPP and Omnicom and is vastly underestimated in its ability to disrupt the industry’s giants.

“We’re in massive growth mode,” he told Business Insider in a wide-ranging interview. “I genuinely do believe over the next decade that people are going to realize how historically correct we are with our strategy, creative, and media, and that there won’t be a significant second choice. I do not believe that holding companies will be able to reform their companies to get to this religion. And I don’t see any independent shops that are close enough to become a meaningful competitor. So I’m feeling quite confident. I do not believe the industry understands how big we are still.”

WPP and Omnicom haven’t responded to a request for comment.

Vaynerchuk says his agency is faster, more productive, and more accountable than the holding companies

The traditional agencies are at peak vulnerability. The ANA exposed them in a scathing 2016 report for ripping off clients; marketers are demanding more accountability of them; and new competitors are coming in the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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