How a Canadian new business state of mind can grow your agency

We here in The States could learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the North. Particularly as it relates to business models. One example is an outfit named LoyaltyOne. Your first clue that these guys are smart is their URL.

I first heard about them when I needed to get smarter on the latest trtends in loyalty marketing. Our Canadian neighbors offer us a lesson in packaging and positioning agency-like services that enable a company to make new money from new markets. What follows, naturally, are a few observations about this company that can get you thinking about new ways your own firm can make money.

LoyaltyOne has six units; each centered around interesting vertical offerings. Airmiles is centered around direct marketing and analytical services in the airline business and could easily be extended into other loyalty-heavy categories with reward programs.

Colloquy is something of a think tank for related work. They offer anyone, including other agencies, the chance to buy their 30,000 foot intellectual property. Then they have Direct Antidote, which looks to be a straightforward agency. It offers, yep, you guessed it, CRM and other direct marketing services. The company also uses a shopper marketing unit that uses “shopper-based analytics to boost retail performance.” (So, data, data, data!)
Here’s what I like about them:
They’re focused in one area: a vertical.
One could even argue they have developed a supply chain perspective, making money from many parts of the planning and execution process of direct and information marketing. It’s also on-trend and ROI-friendly.
They can sell to just about anyone.
clients, agencies, supplier partners and the host of consultants that serve them. You can pay them as little as $1,000 or several millions. All around one area: using data to drive performance. Think about the cross-selling opportunities here! And then, when you ladder up from LoyaltyOne, you have Alliance Data Systems. A bigger company that owns companies like Epsilon and other data-centric companies, suppliers and agencies.
They do all of this in a transparent fashion.
No hiding who they are, what they do, or for whom they work.
Is it just me, or does Canada seem full of smart? From time to time I get the chance to work with an agency up there. Each time, I love it. And while I am always a sucker for an accent, there’s just something very smart about ’em. Nice, too. And yes, you should be reading that “about” in the best accent you can muster.
Anywho, what do you think? Do these guys have a model that’s worth you exploring? Or am I smitten for no good reason?