Brands must drop outdated 'Mad Men' approach to buying services, says founder of Studiospace

Brands must drop the outdated “Mad Men” approach to buying agency services, according to a leading industry figure.

Pete Sayburn, the founder of Studiospace, said the marketing sector has been reinvented by the digital revolution, but the way in which agency services are bought has hardly changed in 50 years.

He said: “There’s still this beauty parade of big agencies. Don Draper from Mad Men would be at home there. But it locks out the smaller companies as it’s just too expensive and time-consuming.”

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“The agency beauty parade needs to end. Brand managers and marketing heads should be able to access the best talent but, all too often, the best briefs go to the big guys.

"We want to give those big media companies and consultants a run for their money.”

The Studiospace technology platform provides a matchmaking service putting big brands together with smaller, specialist independent agencies.

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are matched with relevant suppliers. Studiospace also handles the contracts, invoices and payments.

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Since launching in January, the platform has attracted major brands including Aviva, Jaguar Land Rover and Gala Games, as well as more than 100 independent agencies. Mr Sayburn and his co-founder Gideon Hyde, launched and grew the innovation company Market Gravity, which they sold to Deloitte in 2017.

Pete Sayburn, CEO of StudiospacePete Sayburn, CEO of Studiospace
Pete Sayburn, CEO of Studiospace

He added: “There was this insatiable desire to do it again. We didn’t really need the money, but we wanted to launch a business again but to do it differently. It took us almost a decade to build Market Gravity. This time, we want to do it faster.”

In September, the business gained £1.5m of funding from Fuel Ventures.

Mr Sayburn said: “We want to give the likes of WPP and Accenture a run for their money. The marketing industry is ripe for disruption and we’ve got the platform to do it. It also feels great to be helping some of the hottest indie talent get access to the best briefs.”

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Part of the founding team is Robin Scarborough, who is taking charge of Studiospace’s Sydney office, along with industry veterans Phil Kohler, Paul Bowman and Neil Barnett.

Mr Sayburn added: ““We all felt like there was unfinished business and, having worked closely with some really exciting talent, it just seemed wrong these people weren’t getting the best briefs.”