How to Build a Business That Lasts

Arcane news Post

How to Build a Business That Lasts

How to Build a Business That Lasts

Evolve or perish.

It’s more than just a catchy saying (or Darwinian theory).

Marketing is an ever-changing beast of an industry. New tactics, approaches, and technologies are introduced so fast, you could blink and be too late.

And if you’re not willing to get on for the ride, you won’t go far.

Looking back at the last 10 years of Arcane, it’s clear that Darwin was onto something.

The Art of Evolution

Way back in 2011, when Arcane’s founders were just a couple of dudes at a campfire, the marketing industry was on the cusp of a revolution. After the dust settled from the economic downturn in 2008, the shift to digital slowly opened the doors to measurable marketing and accountable results. 

The proverbial ROI bell had been rung. And Arcane was founded to answer the call.

“Arcane was founded to help brands sell more,” explained Bryan Taylor, Founding Partner. “For too long, marketing activity had been thought of as an expense, but our approach helped marketers transition to a mindset of predictable growth and transparent ROI.”

The goal was to stop the wastage of marketing spend — which traditionally held no accountability to results and was riddled with subjectivity — and move to an ROI-focused approach full of objective data decisions.

We achieved rapid success early on by building our business around growing our clients’ businesses.

And the results were spectacular.

But eventually, the industry evolved to a point where ROI was no longer the exception — it was the rule. Smart marketing leaders demanded results from their agency partners and had the tools and technology to ask it of anyone. The demand for breadth and depth of team knowledge was greater than ever.

ROI became table stakes.

Our mission evolved.

“Disruption is happening at lightning speed,” explained Eric Vardon, Founding Partner. “For us to keep up and be a disruptor, we need to innovate constantly.”

That was a common theme throughout Arcane’s existence. 

The only thing constant was change.

For the Good of Change

So what’s the point of building a business just to change it?

Well, 10 years ago, we set out on a mission, and 10 years later, that mission remains the same. But how we achieve it is a moving target that keeps us growing and striving for more.

“It’s our ability never to stay the same that allows us to keep doing the same thing: change the perception of the marketing industry, year-in, year-out,” said Scott Hartley, VP, Client Services.

This sounds strikingly similar to an equally relevant, but far older, quote from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

We strive for excellence in everything we do, and so far, we’ve been pretty good at it, but the bar is constantly moving. What once worked may not be the best solution anymore. At the same time, new data and technologies are constantly changing the game.

We’ve made a significant impact on hundreds of businesses because we refused to settle.

We’ve helped drive success for new brands. We’ve watched as Arcanites got married, bought houses, and started families. We’ve grown something that matters because we never stopped pivoting.

So yeah, the business we built 10 years ago looked a lot different than the business we are today.

“There’s an important distinction between holding onto the past and embracing the change we need for the future,” explained Tyler Power, VP, Performance Marketing.

It’s like the small-town kid that made it big. He’s known on the world stage, but he never forgot where he came from. The industry was changing, and we had to evolve, but we still took stock of what was working for us in the first place.

“We are, and will always be, that scrappy, underdog agency — no matter how big we get or how much we evolve,” said Lindsay Schneider, CEO. “Because our people are the guardians of our mission.”

Say It Again for the People in the Back

Your people are your business.

In an industry that is constantly evolving, our team is our lighthouse.

“The marketing landscape will always ebb and flow. There will be new technologies and new data points to support why marketing matters. But one thing that never changes is the inherent value we place on the people within our agency,” says Amina Mattern, VP, Digital Strategy.

You can have a great product, business model, and clients, but it’s all moot if you don’t have the people and culture to support them. You can evolve as much as you want, but you won’t grow without a team that has your back.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve changed our office three times. We’ve grown, scaled back, and risen again. We’ve evolved our approach. But we’ve always put our people first.

And we’ve refused to perish.

“Our founders were ahead of the curve when they started Arcane, and we’ve never wavered from their vision” said Lindsay Schneider, CEO. “10 years is a great accomplishment, particularly in this industry and this era, but it’s still just the beginning for us.”

Here’s to 10 years more.


A Q&A with Some of Our Founders and Leaders

Arcane is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. We’d like to know how you’ve seen the business evolve in that time. Specifically, how has the meaning behind our mission and vision evolved as the industry has changed?

Matt Bergmann, VP, Strategic Partnerships

The most significant change I see is how we position ourselves and structure our team. Really, the shift from ROI-based messaging to goals-oriented messaging — and the fact that many agencies have lost sight of what matters… the goals and growth of the client.

Tyler Power, VP, Performance Marketing

For the longest time, Arcane was on the leading edge of our industry. We pioneered the charge on ROI-based marketing and aligned with our vision of changing marketing perception truly. Over the years, the industry caught up to us, and our “special sauce” started to see competition. We’ve been forced to change our approach and product offering and have continued to evolve with the industry. But, as we look forward to the coming years, it will be key that we hold onto what has made Arcane unique and remember our roots.

Scott Hartley, VP, Client Services

In the beginning, it was simply good enough to be able to be predictive, to prove the value of a dollar put into the marketing machine. Brands hadn’t learned how to do that on a broad scale yet. Today, it means understanding all the channels, mediums, and moments in the customer journey — not just to make more money but to build and protect the brand.

What are the key “lightbulb moments” you’ve experienced as a leader over the past 10 years?

David Bunce, COO

I have learned how important it is to create an environment where everyone is knowledgeable and appreciative of all disciplines’ work in the agency. I think we are just starting down this journey, but I wish we had pushed for it sooner.  

Eric Vardon, Founding Partner

There have been many things I’ve learned, but I would say that a good culture with talented people who live the values day in and day out is KING! It really is the foundation of success.

Tony Crncich, Founding Partner

The disruption of a once service-plagued industry full of subjectivity will be met with deeper analytics and data where the numbers will drive and measure success and where creativity can flourish without borders.

Where do you see the industry, our mission, and our business going in the next 10 years?

Lindsay Schneider, CEO

With continued ecommerce growth comes the increased need for integrated services, especially as automation reduces the amount of in-platform work needed. It will be key for us to connect all aspects of the ecosystem together for the best possible results for our clients.

Scott Hartley, VP, Client Services

We’re going to continue to use technology to meet the changing dynamics of the marketplace and keep us evolving. By doing so, we’ll continue to help excellent brands reach their huge dreams without all the wasted time and money of massive agencies.

Tyler Power, VP, Performance Marketing

As automation, data, and results-driven marketing become less of a trend and more of the norm, the want and need for meaningful and emotive creative will come in to balance the landscape. The blend of innovation and the human experience will need to find a neutral ground to play in the sandbox together.

The call for social and ethically responsible brands will pave the way for different combinations of media and channel mixes that will be more based on individual experiences. Mass marketing will never go the way of the dinosaur, but how we communicate within the segments and audiences within those masses will.

I think I envision a space where we can make more profound, more meaningful connections with our clients and consumers while still delivering performance and results.

Amina Mattern, VP, Digital Strategy

There’s a greater emphasis on the measurability of marketing efforts towards driving a client’s revenue goals. The ROI of marketing is essential, but we should never lose sight of the importance that brand love plays in attracting and retaining a customer base! 

What do you want the world to know about this anniversary?

Tyler Power, VP, Performance Marketing

I want the world to know we are here to stay. That 10 years is only the beginning for Arcane. We have played the challenger underdog agency for too long, and our best years are still ahead of us. I want the world to recognize the amazingly talented people we get to work with every day and understand how special this place truly is. I want us to shed this cloak of mystery that we have been veiled by for the last 10 years and show our industry who we indeed are. I think the hard work, commitment and dedication of our people and the fantastic thing we’ve built here need to be celebrated. 

Lindsay Schneider, CEO

Our people and culture are the foundation of our success. Over the last 10 years, we’ve always kept our values as the compass in how we lead and show up for our team members and clients. 10 years strong, and we’re just getting started. There is so much more Arcane is going to accomplish — we continue to have a bright future!

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