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Lament for Fox Parrack Singapour, a pioneering B2B agency | B2B Marketing

FPS was the last of the tech agency pioneers, and was instrumental in shaping what B2B marketing looks like today, not least the careers of numerous marketers (both client and agency side). Its sad demise represents the end of an era for B2B

I got the sad news a couple of weeks ago that specialist B2B agency Fox Parrack Singapour has recently ceased to trade, and I didn’t want to let this slip past without some kind of comment.

Anyone who has worked in marketing for any length of time knows that agencies come, and agencies go – there’s generally another new one just around the corner ready to burst forth and tell the world how amazing it is.

But the demise of FPS is significant (for me at least) because they were at the vanguard of the explosion in tech sector marketing which has driven acceleration in development in B2B over the past two decades. They were one of a small clutch of B2B agencies specialising in tech when we launched B2B Marketing 14 years ago, and who gave us faith that this sector had real momentum, and it was worth us betting the farm on launching a magazine to service it.

Of this clutch of pioneering agencies, FPS were the last men standing – at least in a form that was recognisable from what went before. Banner Corp was never the same when Rod Banner exited stage left (he was last seen sipping champagne on a yacht in Cannes) and was gradually assimilated in Mediacom. Gyro was merged with US-based HSR, and then ultimately purchased by Dentsu, and is a very different beast from what it was a decade ago (for better and worse), and Richards Perry and Glasson went to found Founded, and then sell that to Iris. Last but by no means least, Tidalwave split in two, with Paul Cash still zagging away at Rooster Punk and Julian Sowerby more recently re-emerging at Don’t be Shy.

End of a long road

FPS’s trajectory was never as explosive or erratic as these early competitors, but David and Tim and their teams stuck to their guns producing great marketing and doing great work for clients, always energetic, always enthusiastic, always charming to deal with. I guess ultimately they ran out of steam, and decided to move on to explore new opportunities – 25 years is a long time to be running one company.

But as an industry, we should pay our respects to what they achieved in that time – they will have been responsible for boosting the careers of a huge number of agency staff and customers who worked for and with them over the years, and thus have been extremely influential on the development of B2B. (Ahem, True Agency.) For that, we must all thank them and wish them well.

As the examples of individuals mentioned above suggest, good B2Bers rarely move on – they just reinvent themselves and re-emerge. So I doubt that we’ve seen the last of David or Tim – and I for one certainly hope that we haven’t.

Finally, it’s worth noting that tech agencies are ten-a-penny in the UK in 2018 – in fact, it’s hard to think of a B2B agency of any size or significance that doesn’t count a couple of tech clients within its roster. And that’s no surprise, because tech is where the money is in B2B, and because what we define as tech is broadening out to accommodate almost anything. But FPS, et al, spotted this opportunity before anyone else did. They weren’t jumping on the bandwagon, they were true pioneers for what B2B marketing (as an industry) has become. And for that, we salute them.

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