If you’ve ever wondered how content marketing works on a corporate scale, you’re not alone. As it turns out, many of the agencies hired to deliver creative content for some of the world’s biggest brands and companies also have a tough time figuring it out. This situation led content production marketplace StudioNow to launch Octerra, a standalone marketing procurement SaaS platform created to improve the ecosystem of content production.
Based in Nashville and run by former StudioNow president and COO David Corts, Octerra is a software platform that provides a transparent bidding process for brands, agencies, and vendors related to content procurement. This increases efficiency, identifies value, and reveals true ROI, which can be tricky to measure correctly.
“We use our software to give them visibility,” Corts tells Hypepotamus. “That process of the agency bidding to companies has been offline forever, meaning there’s no data capture on where that money is going, or a fair and transparent process.” He also adds, “There’s all sorts of conflicts of interest.”
Once owned by AOL, StudioNow is a content production marketplace that works with giant corporations like Coca-Cola, Netflix, McDonald’s and others. Corts tells Hypepotamus that the new company, which came to exist as a solution for one of its major clients, Proctor & Gamble, complements but completely differs from what StudioNow is doing.
“They spend hundreds of millions on content creations, and were trying to reduce those non-working media costs: ad agencies hiring production companies, producers, directors and so forth.” He says this helped StudioNow see an opportunity to build a SaaS procurement platform, so they pitched P&G, who decided to licence the technology and onboard its agency vendors. “That’s the genesis,” Corts says.
Three years into development, Octerra is now being used by other premier global brands, such as Mastercard and AB InBev. “If Budweiser is going to make a TV commercial or digital campaign,” Corts explains, “they would go to one of their 20 North American agencies. The agency doesn’t have Clydesdales and puppies.
“The majority is the agency acting like a general contractor to go out and hire. They get on the phone and say “Hey, director, we’d like to use you.” They call three of those and say, ‘Everybody give us your bid,’ and the agency director looks at the bids, which are usually hundreds of line items, over email. They come in idiosyncratically, they get lost in the inboxes, and brands have no insight.”
With Octerra, Corts says, Budweiser’s agencies log into a system that houses their vendors for commercial production, and send out RFPs. Vendors then log in and send bids, with everything captured in one database. Results of this centralized workflow management system include boosted productivity, faster contract finalization, and even better supplier diversity.
“It’s consolidation of spending data, which they haven’t had historically,” Corts adds. “People are pretty good at buying the aluminum that goes into Budweiser cans, but people have less visibility into experiential campaigns and stuff. These agencies are spending tens of millions on their clients’ behalf — it’s nice to have a record of who, what, when, where and why.”
Corts also says Octerra helped “a very large financial services company” see “north of 40-percent cost savings in production, year-to-date.”
Corts says Octerra is well into the fundraising process, and says presenting at the 2019 Venture Atlanta conference produced several “meaningful conversations.” He says the potential for Octerra goes beyond content, and says the “agnostic” software platform is useful to anyone involved in complex buying of goods and services, specifically indirect marketing expenditures.
“At the end of the day, it’s much bigger than video production,” he clarifies. “We help people buy things better, and we don’t necessarily care what it is. We’re focusing on areas where there’s a very acute need, and production is one of those.”