The Rise and Fall of the Independent Digital Agency

Last week, I wrote about Imaginuity’s forward thinking history. How for the better part of two decades, we have been ahead of the digital marketing curve, which speaks to our longevity and staying power as an independent agency in a world full of digital Johnny-come-latelys.

That, combined with the recent public announcement of Moroch Partners agreement to acquire and shutter MEplusYOU (formerly IMC2), got me thinking about the rise and fall of the independent digital agency in the Metroplex.

A quick look back in time—a mere dozen years ago to 2003—revealed that the top ten digital agencies (then called web-design companies) in the D/FW Area were all independent. Several years later, in 2007, nine of the top ten digital agencies remained independent. From that year forward, the fallout became precipitous. Fast forward to this year; of the top ten agencies, only three are independent—Imaginuity and two others.

In the intervening years, the rest of the top ten, plus numerous other interactive agencies—large and small, specialized and diverse—have disappeared from the digital landscape. They have either gone out of business, been absorbed by larger traditional ad agencies or been bought by one of the Big 5 agency holding conglomerates.

During the same time span, big ad agencies and conglomerates have also courted Imaginuity. But, in every instance we have chosen to stay independent because we were and remain committed to serving our clients first.

Anyone who has worked for an agency owned by one of the Big 5 holding companies knows full well that these corporate giants measure agency ROI almost solely on bottom revenue results. More often than not, the agency’s work and client results take a back seat to meeting quarterly earnings expectations.

At Imaginuity—even if it has meant sacrificing bottom line growth—we put our clients, our people, and our work first. Yes, we have growth and revenue plans just as any successful going concern must, but without our commitment to having great people doing great work for great clients, the best laid business plans may mean nothing.

Today, we remain independent and committed to our people, to our work and to our clients. As a company, we are stronger and better for it. In fact, Imaginuity is presently in better position as a company than at any other time in our 18-year history.

We are also squarely dedicated to our main mission: Deliver our clients’ audiences the right content, at the right place, at the right time, in the most effective manner.

It is that mission—as well as the people and thinking behind it—that continues to propel Imaginuity forward as one of the oldest and most successful independent digital agencies not only in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, but also in the nation.

All to say, our independent nature has served both our company and our clients well, and we intend to keep it that way for many more years to come.

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