(Photo caption: Jason Ridge, Managing Director, IMP-SF)
By Ruksana Hussain, California Business Journal.
With the ever-changing landscape that is the digital marketing space, the lifespan of any one communication element can be short, but the engagement generated with each piece of content is vital.
For Bay Area-based agency IMP-SF (formerly Integrated Marketing Partners), that engagement comes with greater expectations given its focus on the financial services, technology, and fintech industries. Built on a 20-year foundation of excellence in sales, content, and brand engagement, the agency’s client roster includes global brands like Oracle, SAP, Bank of the West, Intel, and Discover® Global Network.
Taking the helm after a recent rebranding initiative is newly appointed Managing Director Jason Ridge. Ridge has worked with IMP-SF for the last three years and brings more than 25 years of marketing and advertising industry experience.
“I’m not only responsible for defining who we are and what we do, but also solidifying our positioning as a leader in content marketing, sales enablement, and creative campaigns,” he says. “My number one job is to help establish where we go for the next 3, 5, even 20 years. It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to grow.”
While IMP-SF is a full-service digital agency, it specializes in working with B2B and B2C clients looking to succeed in the areas of highly considered purchases, complex sales cycles (or technologies), and those looking for defined multi-channel global campaigns.
The firm’s expertise in the financial and technology sectors is driven by the wealth of knowledge at the leadership level—the agency’s Director of Planning, Executive Creative Director, and Chairman combined bring more than 90 years of industry experience—a statistic not common in the agency world.
Being based in San Francisco has worked in the company’s favor, providing proximity to Silicon Valley and access to the immense talent the Bay Area offers. The company also has a satellite office in Chicago and longstanding relationships with contractors and partner groups, allowing the agency to scale like a much larger entity.
Notable is IMP-SF’s average client tenure. Most relationships have been in place for more than seven years, which is quite an accomplishment in the digital agency space. In fact, “it’s almost unheard of,” Ridge says.
He chalks it up to industry expertise and the fact that the firm is always growing or learning and “always evolving”. “We’re always looking for ways to bring something new to the table. Something our clients haven’t thought about.”
For instance, IMP-SF helped one of its financial services clients change the way it markets to commercial clients by developing a content-based ABM program that positions the bank as a thought leader and encourages engagement.
“We take the knowledge we have of the industry and marketplace and put together programs, technologies, branding, and messaging tailored to their specific need,” Ridge says.
IMP-SF also works on insight.tech, focusing on IoT (Internet of Things) design solutions and ideas. “In the case of insight.tech, we had the opportunity to take a longstanding, print-based partner program and reimagine it,” Ridge says. “The result is a digital content hub running on an advanced content experience platform that uses AI and intent marketing to determine what visitors coming to the site are looking for, what will most interest them, and serves up customized content to help drive engagement and capture leads.” In the first year, IMP-SF was able to help its client realize a 280-percent digital circulation increase and a 76-percent program partner increase. “None of this would have been imaginable without IMP-SF’s understanding of the client and their marketplace but also the latest platforms and technologies available,” Ridge says.
He admits that “a lot of our time is spent continually staying one step ahead of our clients’ potential needs. Educating ourselves on the latest technologies. Researching the trends in the markets we serve. The work never ends.”
“But neither do the possibilities,” he says with a smile.
One of the big challenges Ridge sees for the industry as a whole is figuring out how to integrate all the content being produced in a way that ensures the right content gets to the right audiences at the right time and in the right context. As he says, “any agency can produce great content. But very few, and I mean very few, have our mastery for finding relevance and deepening conversations.”
In many cases, challenges are answered through partnerships. “We seek partners who can help our clients bring together the latest technologies, like AI and machine learning [ML], to elevate their content and reach new audiences more effectively and efficiently,” he says.
“These new platforms provide tremendous value by looking into a users’ online activity, developing a profile, and understanding their intent. It not only allows our clients to share content more effectively, but also better understand what to share, how to share it, and when to share it.”
As for the future of IMP-SF, Ridge says “Growth and relevance are our focus. Our biggest opportunity as an agency is hiring the brightest talent and ensuring that we are well positioned with other partners and teams to provide the best creative, deliver value to our clients, and be on the leading edge of what’s next.”
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