Apply Digital launches GoodScout

The Vancouver-based studio grows beyond digital product expertise with the launch of its new marketing agency.

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In 2018, Vancouver’s Apply Digital launched an incubator program, called Apply Ventures, giving startups access to digital product expertise and strategy.

Now, the digital product studio (which expanded to Toronto late last year) is looking to reach larger and growing mid-sized B2B and B2C companies with the launch of GoodScout, a marketing agency that offers strategy, brand positioning, digital product marketing and customer journey mapping.

While working independently, GoodScout will complement Apply Digital’s portfolio of North American clients in satellite offices in Toronto, Vancouver, New York and San Francisco.

GoodScout’s managing partner Frank Pedersen, who joined Vancouver-based Apply Digital in 2018, says the agency was primarily focused on digital product. He tells strategy that it became apparent, however, that a lot of the clients in the mid-market and startup space were asking for help with more than just designing and building products.

GoodScout was founded to help those same clients, while being a separate entity. So Apply Digital clients can choose to work with GoodScout to help with their go-to-market efforts. Pedersen says that some larger businesses don’t necessary want to manage a roster of different agencies over time, but would prefer to deal with one or two to deliver immediate needs, which makes GoodScout an interesting proposition.

Pedersen says GoodScout partners with media agencies to help its clients be smarter with data and execute paid campaigns, and he says the organization has forged a strong relationship with a number of other agency partners, including Noise Digital in Vancouver and Toronto.

“A lot of companies make investment in digital platforms,” Pedersen says, “but it’s not necessarily validated in a business case or customer journey.”

And this boils down to understanding the end-user, regardless of organization size.

Pedersen says GoodScout works with clients in traditional industries like manufacturing, healthcare and insurance, many of which have never owned their customer relationships, relying instead on dealers, brokers and other intermediaries. GoodScout is focused on offering a customer journey map to help those clients better own the customer relationship through data and research, and by going direct-to-consumer via digital.

“What’s happening is the direct-to-consumer proposition is becoming real,” he says, citing the Unilever buyout of Dollar Shave Club, which analysts say was a long-term strategic move by the multinational, to leverage the latter’s ecommerce clients and offer more of its own CPG products to its subscribers (and potentially even cut out pharmacy chain intermediaries in the bathroom products sector).

When it comes to GoodScout’s organizational goals, Pedersen says he hopes to expand the new agency along the West Coast as well as the East, along with Apply, and to grow its client roster, which now includes Elastic Path, Ag Growth International and ConstructConnect.