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Northern Lights Relaunches with Holistic Approach to Performance Marketing

Now known as GainShare, the company brings a range of services under one roof to solve for increasingly complex customer journeys.

Northern Lights Direct relaunched as GainShare Performance Marketing last week, combining its creative capabilities, channel expertise and data analysis all under one roof.

The move reflects the company’s commitment to improving the performance around the media buying and creative process, and connect all the dots along the path to purchase.

Northern Lights Direct started 35 years ago as a direct response creative agency. Fifteen years ago, the company added media buying to its list of services and added operations in the U.S. Ten years ago, it started a digital practice in both Canada and the U.S.

Each layer the company added on spoke to continued attempts to solve for increasingly complicated paths to purchase, Bryan Walkey, CEO of GainShare, tells MiC from the company’s Toronto head office. Adding to the complexity is the fact that GainShare also works across industries such as telecom, healthcare and financial services, verticals that can have very complicated customer journeys.

As a result, GainShare needed to get out from the bottom of the sales funnel. Managing just the conversion points wasn’t enough – instead, the company needed to get better at analyzing every customer touchpoint.

“You see a commercial for a product that pushes you online to register,” Walkey explains. “And then you might have to go offline again to connect with a call centre. And then back online again for fulfillment, or customer care and billing.”

It’s a fitting example, as Walkey says many GainShare clients incorporate call centres into the conversion process, and the company added a call centre consulting practice to optimize for that. “If you get a bunch of leads from a commercial that pile up in the call centre, how is that effective?” Walkey asks. Knowing how to optimize that channel is a huge advantage.

“It’s difficult to orchestrate cross-channel targeting and performance measurement, especially when you’ve employed multiple different agencies and channels,” Cass Baker, EVP, head of strategy and digital, tells MiC from Chicago. “You need someone who is going to collectively work with you with an audience-first approach.”

GainShare’s core offering also includes direct response and media planning services in linear TV, CTV and digital video media, as well as auditing, optimization, audience segmentation and predictive scoring. This allows GainShare to see what performance looks like at the beginning, middle and end of a campaign.

“In a world where the future of addressability is unclear with constant changes in targeting and regulations, we’ve been able to deliver revenue at the level of linear TV and Nielsen Ratings down to individual prospect targeting,” Baker adds.

According to Walkey, one of GainShare’s key competitive advantages is the company’s strong video background and its cross-border team split between Chicago and Canada, which will have new senior hires added to it soon.

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