Having set up shop in Australia in 2021, performance marketing agency NP Digital has been quietly carving its own productive niche. After shoring up the marketing strategies for a raft of clients, in 2024 the business is aiming to broaden its horizons locally.
You could be excused for drawing a blank when the name Neil Patel comes up. The US-based founder of performance marketing agency NP Digital doesn’t quite have the cachet of celebrity marketers like Mark Ritson in these parts – although that may be about to change.
L-R: Guy Jarvie (GM ANZ), Manuel Denoual (MD Singapore), Dan Kalinski (MD APAC), Gary Cheung (GM Hong Kong and Taiwan), Melissa Cheng (CM Malaysia)
Patel certainly packs a punch in his native country, where he’s both a New York Times bestselling author on business and someone the Wall Street Journal has labelled “one of the world’s most influential marketers”.
Locally, the agency that bears his name is ticking along smoothly since its doors swung open in 2021. It’s part of a rapidly expanding global network that in just six years has built a workforce of over 750 across 20 countries, 13 of which opened their first offices in 2023.
“When launching the agency, Neil was solely focused on creating new net value in the ecosystem. He didn’t want to launch just another agency. So he started off by asking what kind of agency would get him excited to work with. And so an idea of a performance agency built by marketers, for marketers, was born,” says NP Digital’s APAC Managing Director, Dan Kalinski.
“NP Digital is essentially a realisation of Neil’s vision for how marketing in the digital age should be done. It’s not just the right capabilities and the experience of your teams. It’s proprietary technology, plus structure built for agility and speed, powered by a culture focused on excellence and driving clients’ business results,” he adds.
Kalinski’s Australian team, which has grown by over 25 staff in the past 15 months alone, is one marker of the agency’s health.
Another is global marketing consultancy R3’s new business win table. It revealed NP Digital ranked 9th in the APAC region in October – making it the only independent agency in the top 10 – and putting it ahead of local heavy hitters like OMD, PHD, Dentsu and Universal McCann1.
“We’ve had steady growth in our first few years in the local market,” Kalinski says, “and in 2024 we’re on track to build even further.”
Guy Jarvie, general manager ANZ, says that the agency’s growth has been powered by an increasing need from clients to hone their marketing strategies in light of challenging economic conditions.
It’s no secret that along with strained consumer purse strings, businesses are also feeling the pinch. Marketing budgets across the region are under the blowtorch and a slew of large media and tech companies are making substantial cuts to their headcounts.
“The upshot is that there’s a need to maximise the ROI on marketing spend, and that’s where top tier performance marketing businesses are proving their worth. We understand that success means making every dollar our clients spend as effective as possible,” says Jarvie.
In NP Digital’s case, growth has been driven by a team of experienced practitioners and a sizable proprietary tech stack. Since its foundation, a hallmark of the agency has been its willingness to invest heavily in technology, both in-house and by way of acquisitions.
In its stable are an array of platforms that help businesses make the most of their digital presence. Ubersuggest is a free-to-use search intelligence tool, while AnswerThePublic helps marketers refine their content strategy.
Also in NP Digital’s stack is CrazyEgg, which provides key insights on online visitor behaviour, and Ads Grader, which analyses Google Ad accounts, allowing clients to maximise their paid campaigns and sharpen ad efficiency.
Marketers are now taking notice, with UberSuggest notching up over 3.3 million active users last year, in the process dealing with over 600 million queries each month.
Notable also is that many of these platforms can be used free of charge. The trick, of course, is knowing how to maximise their effectiveness.
“We’re a genuine partner in that we aren’t simply providing our tools for a fee,” says Kalinski.
“Instead, we’re guiding clients and providing them with technology and resources to demystify the world of performance marketing. If we’re making their jobs easier and saving them money, then we’re benefitting their businesses and giving ourselves a pathway to further growth,” he adds.
“Without question, technology is a big part of who we are,” says Jarvie, “however at the end of the day the agency’s core focus is on client retention, employee satisfaction, incremental growth and that old fashioned notion of being really great people to work with.”
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