Jo Sutherland leads mobile mission at Dentsu Aegis

Fetch boss is targeting new clients by putting mobile at the heart of its parent company's proposition.

When Dentsu Aegis Network bought Fetch in 2014, there was no doubt of the wider ambition: to establish mobile communications as a central service for the group’s clients; Fetch wouldn’t be a bolt-on but a core offering.

Two years on, Fetch has a new managing director and is on a mission to redefine the mobile opportunity (two years is a lifetime in mobile) for Dentsu Aegis clients. Jo Sutherland, former chief operating officer at Vizeum, has a brief to grow the business by showing new clients what mobile can do for their brand.

As mobile agencies go, Fetch – founded by James Connelly and Declan Reddington seven years ago – is something of a pioneer. By the time it sold to Dentsu Aegis for a rumoured £30m, Fetch had reported revenues of £35m, 70 people buying mobile across 99 countries and offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Today, it has 130 staff across eight offices.

And Fetch is soon to expand its London agency to accommodate a steady stream of new staff. It’s this depth of resource that separates the company from other agencies. "Often, media agencies might have one person that is the head of mobile; but having a bank of 150 people who live and breathe mobile takes you to a totally different place," Sutherland says, reeling off a client list that includes Facebook, Uber, Hulu, Expedia, eBay and Hotels.com.

Sutherland describes Fetch as a "purist" mobile company that aims "to use its specialism to help a broader array of business. Dentsu Aegis Network has myriad clients that need help in that space but doesn’t have the expertise to do it." She’s hoping to persuade Dentsu Aegis clients such as AutoTrader, Diageo, Burger King, Western Union and Arla Foods to tap into core competencies of media planning and buying, creative and data services in mobile.

Although Sutherland understands Dentsu Aegis inside out, having worked across the business for 16 years, she is relatively new to the mobile game. But she is determined not to let that hold her back: "The plan is to take these people [at Fetch] that have a different perspective and think about how they would approach the planning briefs and the business problems of some of the Dentsu Aegis clients."

Fetch’s transformation plans are clear and, with Sutherland’s media expertise, Dentsu Aegis’ proposition is only becoming stronger.

Sutherland’s five things you need to know about mobile

1. You need a mobile strategy to survive

More than 62% of marketers expect that 50%-plus of their traffic will come from mobile in the next year. However, only 20% of companies and 11% of agencies have even defined a 12-month mobile strategy.

2. TV ads won’t work in mobile

Portrait video works better: 98% of all users spend time in portrait mode, and you’ve got eight to ten seconds to get your message across.

3. Don’t risk a Kodak moment

Retailers optimising their mobile experiences will benefit from conversion rates that are 3% higher, plus apps will generate almost 50% of mobile transactions in this sector if prioritised.

4. Chatbots are here to stay

Consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with "human-less" interaction – 76% interact with brands via messaging apps, and Gartner has predicted a reduction in customer service interactions still needing a human intermediary by 2017.

5. Customers will come via mobile

Almost 40% of all digital traffic comes from mobile: any marketer not taking steps to put mobile at the heart of its strategy risks haemorrhaging customers.