Why Dentsu Aegis Network Launched an Amazon-Focused Strategic Consultancy

Client demand for Amazon solutions drove the creation of Sellwin Consulting in New York

Dentsu Aegis Network hired Travis Johnson as Sellwin Consulting president. Dentsu Aegis Network/
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Dentsu Aegis Network is investing in helping clients navigate Amazon with a new consultancy focused on the platform.

“Sellwin provides marketers with an agile, multi-disciplinary consulting resource for navigating the complexities of Amazon,” Dentsu Aegis Network, Americas CEO Nick Brien said in a statement. “By aligning talent from Dentsu Aegis Network’s specialist agencies and external hires, we’ve been able to create a dedicated business to imagine and execute successful, integrated Amazon business solutions for our clients.”

Based in New York, Sellwin Consulting is led by president Travis Johnson, who arrives from IPG mobile agency Ansible, which he led as global CEO. He previously led IPG Media Lab and served as chief commercial officer for IPG Mediabrands.

Sellwin Consuting launches with a team of six consultants and the ability to tap into 131 experts across Dentsu Aegis Network in the U.S., as well as leverage existing Amazon capabilities of those individual agencies. The core team includes two Dentsu Aegis Network veterans and four new hires with experience ranging across Amazon, eBay, L’Oreal, IPG and R/GA.

Johnson told Adweek that client demand for Amazon-specific services was the primary driver behind the formation of an Amazon-dedicated consultancy, also citing “the changing nature of marketplaces and Amazon’s products and services.”

“Clients have typically separated their branding activities … and their retail activities,” he explained. “Those divisions within companies are becoming closer, because they’re recognizing that both of them have media budgets. On a platform like Amazon, they’re actually both targeting the same consumer as well.”

“Having two competing budgets aiming at that same audience is a bad user experience and also is more costly. Clients need an end-to-end solution that spans not just marketing and advertising but also retail services,” he added, including logistical help, distribution, inventory management, reputation management, content creation for product pages and more. “We’ve coupled those things with the advertising and marketing and are creating better consumer experiences across the platform.”

He explained that services include utilizing Amazon and leveraging its data for clients that aren’t selling on the platform.

“When our clients and agencies typically think of Amazon, they don’t realize the breadth of opportunities that Amazon offers,” Johnson said, adding that conversations with clients range from advising them on whether they should be on Amazon to how to optimize their performance on the platform.

“Brands need to consider their retail and branding activities together” on the platform, he explained. He also stressed that “Amazon isn’t just a platform for advertising goods that you’re selling on Amazon. The level of data and targeting and all the different advertising opportunities are virtually untapped for brands that are not selling on Amazon,” and that there are “a whole plethora of advertising opportunities that can leverage Amazon’s data for brands” not advertising on the platform.

“What we try to do is make sure that [clients] understand that Amazon is this new, strange beast. It’s not just a sales channel anymore, it’s a branding channel,” added Dentsu Aegis Network svp, e-commerce Will Margaritis.

While services around Amazon have been developing at Dentsu Aegis Network during the past few years, the planning around the launch of Sellwin Consulting began in Q4 of 2018. Sellwin Consulting was already working with over a dozen brands across categories including CPG, luxury, auto, pharmaceutical, food and beauty ahead of the official launch of its brand this week.

Johnson anticipates Sellwin Consulting will expand in the near future as brands’ opportunities with Amazon continue to grow.

“Amazon has only been really focusing on advertising for a couple of years,” Johnson said. “They’re growing faster than the market, and I think as their footprint expands they will be worthy competitors in a similar style to Google and Facebook.”

“There is significant client demand in this space and as we get more demand, we’ll be adding more people,” he added.

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.