I had the good fortune of seeing a market opportunity up close very early in my career — namely that most agencies were rather unsophisticated in the way they pursued metrics for their clients.
I’d spent my undergrad years on economics and stats classes, seminars, and conventions, and found that this analytical perspective was so foreign in the offices I worked and visited. Even outside of research, most agencies weren’t necessarily rigorous in their approach to client service. For the most part I thought they were selling hours, at a markup, not guided by any philosophy bigger than that.
Just another bootstrapped out of a garage story
So, I started my own agency, and I was often comforted by the idea that the worst thing that could happen is I would fail. Which might sound reductive, and certainly displays a privilege and luxury, but I always figured if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get another job. So it goes.
The initial offer of Sangfroid! when it was founded about 5 years ago was just me — that I would use the data available and improve the way we collect and think about it to increase the ROI on your comms.
I made the website, logo, and business cards myself. I used my DSLR to shoot a video of downtown Austin on a loop, and slapped that at the top of the website with the headline, “Analyze the data even though it might prove you wrong.”
The team and business grew from there. I came to understand the largest demand to be in paid media, after I saw how ad agencies could waste incomprehensible amounts of ad dollars. And so as we grew we also pivoted our focus from communications to marketing.
Somewhere in the middle here, I was struck by the revelation of how Scrum and Agile could be applied to growth marketing, and we developed a method for setting sprintly goals for our clients, and then testing tactics until we hit them. At this time my main sales claim to potential clients was, “The process works; the team is awesome.”
And then last year, in the spring of 2020, the business took off. We were working with sophisticated growth-stage companies that had equally sophisticated creative needs, and began to look for senior creative talent.
Acquisition, growth & alchemy
Some of our partners took notice, and I formalized a partnership with our friends at Unknown Ventures to back the agency on the next chapter of growth. All of this — new more mature clients, new services, an acquisition by a venture studio, happened to the background of pandemic, shuttered offices, and markets in freefall.
A year ago, with help from our venture partners, we drew out a plan to grow our team to be full service, under the guiding thesis that an agency that combines rigorous, agile media and SEO with bespoke creative and branding would be the uniquely best choice for any growing company. We can not only market you, we can take you to market and grow with you.
Lots of agencies are commoditized offerings — Managed SEO, etc. And too often that’s the best that growing companies have access to.
That’s not us. We’ve spent the last year perfecting this value formula of full service growth marketing so that we can be a true partner in our clients’ journey. That’s more than just a process and team, a process and a team is what any agency has. We represent an idea, a philosophy to guide companies from concept to product-market fit.
Drop the ‘Marketing Studio,’ it’s cleaner
So this spring we’re rolling out a new look (and a cleaner name) fitting of this idea. Sangfroid! isn’t just a marketing shop, it’s the idea of calm in the face of a challenge, of unrelenting creativity, and the endurance to iterate until we succeed with you. We’re excited for you to see it, and look behind the scenes at the dogfooding that brought this new chapter of Sangfroid! to life. Stay tuned for more content pulling back the curtain.
Sure, the name is still hard to pronounce, but the results are easy to love.