Martin Is Feeling ‘Fool’-ish

An Internet ‘Motley’ Crew Assigns Its Money Smarts
ATLANTA–The Motley Fool, a well-known personal finance and investment site on the Internet, last week named The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va., to handle all aspects of its advertising and marketing.
Martin was considered along with a short list of undisclosed agencies. Billings were not released. This is the first time the client will work with an advertising agency.
In addition to its Web site, the client has produced four books and recently initiated a nationwide weekend radio show. The latter is part of a joint venture with Cox Radio.
“Our real intent is to build the brand,” said Peter Coughter, managing director of The Motley Fool account at Martin. “In the short term, we want to drive more people to the [Web] site and register more people as ‘Fools.’ They have a great brand. We want to enrich that and broaden it.”
Why, after four years in operation, did the Fool want an agency relationship?
“We have been fortunate enough to market our brand with no external advertising,” said client official Chris Hill. “We felt that as we matured as a company we needed to make the jump to the next level and get someone to help us in ways that we haven’t gone into yet.”
The client discovered Martin through a referral from the father, who works in the advertising business in Chicago, of one of the company’s three founders.
“We went into the search with our eyes wide open,” Hill said. “We had total ignorance of the ad business going in, but we checked out a lot of agencies, talked to a lot of business partners, did a lot of fact gathering and compiled a lot of opinions. Martin blew us away with their presentation, and we knew these were the people we wanted to partner with.”
Agency and client will sit down after Labor Day and formulate a marketing plan. Once that strategy is in place, Coughter said the media mix will be determined.
Martin’s first Fool-ish work will begin appearing in the fourth quarter.