Soshal launches new ad agency

Everything old is new again, as Ottawa-based digital agency Soshal announced the launch of Soshal Demand, an autonomous online ad agency, which will focus more on the company’s roots.

Soshal began a mere four years ago as a social media agency but has since grown to a full-service user experience agency with 22 employees and satellite offices in Calgary and Toronto.

Earlier this year, OBJ named it the city’s second fastest growing company, with revenue growth of more than 1,300 per cent over the last three years.

There are risks associated with fast growth though, according to Soshal Demand’s director of growth, Alexandra Reid.

“So what we want to do is avoid becoming a bloated user experience agency,” she said. “What ends up happening a lot in larger agencies in Toronto for example – they end up just adding on services as their clients need them, but they don’t really specialize in those services.”

Soshal Demand will specialize on what the company calls the “click-to-customer” model.

Ms. Reid said very few online advertising agencies track customers after they end up on a website.

“Most media agencies focus on what we like to call vanity metrics,” she said. They make us feel really good at the end of the day, and it’s what Google charges you for, which are clicks, right? Clicks and impressions, but really they don’t mean anything to a business’ bottom line.”

Ms. Reid said Soshal Demand will focus on the full customer lifecycle.

“What happens when somebody gets on to a landing page? What action provokes them to take the next step – to buy, to sign up, to download, to share? We track all the way from click to customer and we only count success when the action is taken.”

Ms. Reid said the word “Demand” started floating around Soshal’s Westboro office a little over a year ago.

“We really started to put gas into the engine about five months ago. We’re extremely excited and proud that we have hit launch day,” she said.

Soshal Demand, right now, is Ms. Reid and director of strategy Marissa Gagnier, but they hope to grow as quickly as their parent company did.

“We are aggressively hiring new people,” said Ms. Reid, adding they are hoping to hire as locally as possible for the positions of account manager and online media coordinator.

She said they will likely begin filling the coordinator positions first and the positions will soon be posted on the company's website. 

“This is a great job for people coming out of Algonquin College, for example, out of a marketing specific program. We’re going to be actively pursuing people with those skills,” she said, while the account manager would be a more senior position.

Those people will be hired for the Ottawa office, but Ms. Reid says they will soon start hiring people to work out of the satellite office in Toronto as well.

Soshal Demand is looking for multiple people in both those positions but Ms. Reid could not say exactly how many.

“Our goal by the end of the (fiscal) year is to secure 100 paying clients so how ever many people we need to support that capacity,” she said.

It now has six clients, but Ms. Reid adds they are pretty proud to have that many in just their second day of operations.

She said the fledgling company is also actively seeking partners to help with its growth.