It all started when Atlanta natives Belsky and Belnick met for lunch at The Chastain coffee shop. Belnick wanted a new venture, and Belsky wanted to solve what he sees as a Faustian choice for marketers in digital—getting lost within big agencies or struggling to handle 10 specialist shops.
On the back of a napkin (yes, they really hung it on the wall) they sketched a unified house of services that would include e-commerce, search, social, advanced analytics, business intelligence and database management.
In short order, Acadia has combined five rooms in the house by acquiring Imagine Media (social); Techwood Digital (performance marketing); Nicely Built (e-commerce); Lift 361 (analytics, database and strategy); and most recently Bobsled Marketing, an Amazon and Walmart agency.
Now, Acadia can identify a brand’s best customers from its first-party data, recommend a complete approach from product to marketing, and deliver a media plan across digital and social channels. It also takes clients’ retail systems into account, from supply chain to media, and provides round-the-clock e-commerce management.
That’s attracted clients that include Greenlight, Bark, Natierra, Red Roof Inn and Alchemy Bikes.
To build its workforce, Acadia puts values such as curiosity and collaboration ahead of experience, then trains to close gaps. That’s meant hiring former teachers to run accounts and design functions and an Atlanta SWAT team member as a search-engine optimization specialist. And to keep them all, Acadia has made limiting turnover to a single-digit percentage the top key performance indicator for executives.