[Updated for 2021]
As the economy tightens, it’s not surprising that Gartner’s 2020 CMO Spend study reported that CMOs are shifting 32% of their budget from agencies to in-house resources. That same study also cautions CMOs that “pursuing in-housing can turn into futile effort … and involves more financial risk than relying on a contracted partner.” So, before you shift your creative services in-house, perhaps you just need to consider a more cost-effective partner, one that you may not have heard of but one that can significantly outperform any in-house team.
To aid B2B CMOs in this process, we offer 5 of the best B2B marketing agencies in New York City that you’ve probably never heard of. The list provided is based on the input we’ve gained from countless CMO interviews and, not too surprisingly, it includes our own agency. We did not hesitate to put Renegade LLC on this list because we’re understandably proud of the work we do and have a track record of success that rivals any of our worthy competitors. And heck, it is our list after all!
In June 2020, 40-year-old National Instruments became NI, and the agency behind this major rebranding effort was Gretel. As Carla Piñeyro Sublett noted in her Renegade Thinkers Unite interview, “Gretel had a very unique process where we did not touch or look at creative until the final mile—we spent a solid six months on brand strategy and messaging before we fell in love with a creative concept.”
In addition to a new logo and brand color, the introductory campaign for NI featured human-centric ads that are a huge departure for a category which usually is more about tech specs and functionality. According to Sublett, NI’s new positioning is “actually a big bold step into the future.”
#2 Renegade, LLC
Renegade is one marketing agency NYC isn’t soon to forget. It’s award-winning and comprehensive work (rebranding, website, social media, direct mail, collateral, and more) for Case Paper shows the power of having a simple and memorable story statement (“On the Case”) and a category-busting archetype.
In his Renegade Thinkers Unite episode, Case Paper’s CMO Simon Schaffer Goldman explains it this way, “It not only encompasses the big things we do for customers, but it really encompasses all the little things that it means to be on the case.”
Focused on radically simplifying B2B marketing, Renegade’s work for Case Paper is a shining example of this approach. Concludes Schaffer Goldman about the powerful purpose statement: “It really summed everything up in three simple words.”
#3 The Rise Agency
Though technically not based in NYC (they’re in nearby Matawan, NJ), The Rise Agency is on our list due to the strength of the work they’ve done with White Ops, the fast-growing cybersecurity company.
Dan Lowden, the CMO at HUMAN (formerly known as White Ops), is notably proud of their “Keep It Human” campaign. It subtly calls attention to the company’s service, which helps advertising fight bot fraud.
Lowden sees this as more than a campaign, explaining in his Renegade Thinkers Unite episode that “all of our customers want to wear the “human” shirt because they want to be a part of this movement.”
Adds Lowden, “We’ve featured all employees in the company on our website and it’s turned into much more than that as over 200 customers that have joined in on the fight. It’s exciting because it’s different.” Kudos to Rise for keeping it human, too.
#4 SMA NYC
SMA NYC has produced outstanding B2B marketing for over two decades in NYC. Calling themselves “an integrated all-media agency specializing in B2B sellers and buyers,” SMA’s current B2B clients include Kyocera and BDO.
Led by agency-veteran Bob Rose, SMA NYC recommends that every B2B product or service find a way to be essential in the current economic climate. As Rose notes on SMA’s blog, “Pivotal Purchases are indispensable B2B services that make your customer’s business sing… [They’ve] defined buyer dynamics and a reliable set of buying behaviors.”
Because of this, Rose recommends, “It is vitally important for marketers to understand these in order to construct programs that produce consistently strong results.”
CMO Rebecca Biestman brought Character to our attention in her episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, all about how Reputation.com dropped the “.com” and carried out a complete brand refresh in 2021 (By the way, how perfect it is to be called Reputation and hire a firm called Character? Love it.)
Describing them as a “fantastic branding agency,” Rebecca has worked with the NY and San Francisco-based agency in multiple roles, which really speaks to the high quality of Character’s work.
If you have other agencies to add to our list, please let us know. For a list of marketing agencies in other cities, check out DesignRush’s Top Branding Agencies of 2020 or Top Digital Marketing Agencies of 2020.