Yakkazoo MD Mark Barrett discusses the agency’s growth in the digital space

Mark Barrett - Yakkazoo

• Barrett also spoke about the merger with Frontier Media and joining the IMAA

Yakkazoo was founded back in 2017 by Mark Barrett after he left The Imagination Group.

The agency began as a creative content agency that specialised in supporting integrated agencies from a creative strategy content point of view. The business was sold to the Venetian Media Group in 2019 and earlier this year, merged with Frontier Media.

Barrett spoke to Mediaweek about the merger, the agency’s growth in the digital space and joining the IMAA.

Barrett as managing director of Yakkazoo and the merger with Frontier Media

As the managing director, Barrett leads a team of 47 full-time staff and ten permalancers. He also oversees the business across its offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore.

“My role today is ensuring we’ve got the right team, right place, right clients in place, and delivering great work for our clients. I’m lucky enough to have one of the best teams in the industry with me, which is fantastic,” he said.

Barrett explained that the 2022 merger between Yakkazoo and Frontier Media made sense as they frequently collaborated on projects and shared clients.

“We were collaborating, and we knew each other. It made it a lot easier. So actually, we were one family. It just made more sense to streamline.

“Our clients also wanted one point of contact. Some of the clients we had Yakazoo, Frontier Media also had. But they had different sets of accounts staff. So, it was easy for the client to have one point of contact,” the managing director said.


Venetian Media Group CEO Michael Fishwick with Mark Barrett

The agency’s specialisations, key clients and wins

Yakkazoo prides itself on delivering integrated campaigns and media work, according to Barrett. He said: “I think some of our strongest work we’re doing right now is in the digital space. Moving into the 2022 to 2023 financial year, I think our core focus will be pushing and growing our digital offer across the business.”

Among those who benefitted from such integrated campaigns have been clients who also worked with Frontier Media for over 15 years. Barrett noted Badu Gili, a First Nations projection art instalment on the sails of the Sydney Opera House, has been one of their longest clients.

The managing director shared that Yakkazoo has a couple of strong clients with who they have been working on solidifying partnerships and their offers over many months. He said: “watch this space, but we will have some very strong client announcements soon.”


Challenges amid the pandemic

The past two years have been challenging for businesses, and Barrett admitted that it was tough for Yakkazoo.

Barrett said: “It was very hard to get new business. New business is built on relationships, and business is built on face-to-face meetings. With the Melbourne team being almost locked down for two years, it was a challenge. The Sydney team, as well, we’re in and out of lockdown. It was very hard to network.

“But we managed to get through that, we’ve got a number of we’ve got a number of wins off the back of that,” he shared.

The managing director revealed that they now have a very strong and steady business and evolved their offering to clients during Covid, particularly on the content side of the business.

“We managed to pivot and get through it, and we’re a stronger business today than we were pre-pandemic,” Barrett added.

The managing director also noted that the pandemic was a challenging time for the business’s culture and their team’s mental well-being.

Barrett said: “We worked together as a team. We’re very strong with the culture of our teams across Yakkazoo, and we got through it. We’re stronger business today.”

The year ahead for Yakkazoo

Looking to the year ahead, Barrett noted a significant growth area for the agency in the digital space. He said they are working with their clients to develop an E-commerce platform.

“I think that will be a strong point for us in the next 12 months and beyond. That’s something we’re all excited about pushing that digital offer,” the managing director added.

On the IMAA

Yakkazoo joined the IMAA earlier this year, and while they are relatively new members, Barrett said they are big fans of the industry.

The managing director said: “Being a small agency, it’s always great to be part of a bigger family of independence. We are huge fans of what they do, what they stand for and what they offer us.

“As independents, we need that networking, collaboration, structure, and service, where we can bounce ideas off each other. We’ve only joined this year, but it’s been a warm response from the team,” Barrett added.

Top image: Mark Barrett


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