Up-and-coming business development managers may dream of one day seeing their startup achieve the online advertising sales success of industry leviathans like R/GA but, according to digital marketing high-flyer Peter Kim, size doesn’t always matter.
Kim has just bid farewell to the International Group of Companies agency R/GA after a mere five months as Managing Director of Business Transformation, returning to Austin-based social analytics startup Dachis Group which appointed him as their first employee back in 2008.
Big agencies like R/GA might look exciting to outsiders – there aren’t many advertising sales managers who could fail to be impressed by its success, from its modest beginnings in the 1970s as a film production company to one of the biggest digital ad agencies in the world. But there was clearly a certain je-ne‑c’est-quoi missing for Peter Kim.
Well, it’s not so mysterious, actually. Kim was appointed by R/GA to work primarily on helping the agency to organize social media programs for its illustrious clients. The agency is undergoing a “reinvention” according to its founder Bob Greenberg, a process he claims takes the best part of a decade to complete.
But a strategic role in a digital leviathan proved not to Kim’s taste. He insists that nothing went wrong; he just found the pace of agency life too slow compared to the startup environment he’d become used to. He left Dachis Group in the fall to take up his new position but then bumped in to its co-founder, Jeff Dachis, over the holiday season and was pleasantly surprised at the progress the firm had made since his departure.
“Once you move out of the startup environment, it’s really easy to forget how quickly things are going,” he observed after Dachis told him the company had now brought products to market that weren’t anywhere near ready when he left.
Mr. Dachis, who also co-founded the Razorfish digital agency, says his firm has now raised $51 million in venture funding in just five years and currently employs 160 people. Dachis Group persuades marketers to go further than simply social listening and build better, data-driven insights to act on derived from social information.
Kim returns to his former employer in a newly-created role: chief solutions architect. Maybe speed is better than size sometimes.