The past year has seen a huge growth in marketing agencies and with it the marketing agency trade body the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) has expanded outside of London for the first time ever, choosing Bath as its newest hub in the search for innovative new agencies to support.

And it’s no surprise as, with the boom in tech businesses and startups in the South West, many new marketing agencies have burst onto the tech scene to support increasing demand for marketing expertise.

Already with a fast-growing member base in the region, we were keen to find out more. So, we caught up with the Director of Digital and Regional Innovation and SPARKies 2016 judge Mette Davies (pictured below) who joined MAA in September 2015 to head its expansion into the South West.

TechSPARK: What is MAA and why was it set up?

Mette: The Marketing Agencies Association is the UK’s leading trade body for forward-looking agencies in Britain. As well as bringing together a co-operative of the best in British agencies, we exist to support, promote and defend the interests of nearly 100 member agencies through comprehensive core services and platforms.

It was originally set up to represent agencies that didn’t fit under the traditional advertising or media agency umbrella, but over the years we have extended our remit to represent the agency sector.

“We recognised that the South West is a thriving hub for creativity, technology and innovation”


TS: Who’s the MAA for and what’s your role in the South West as Director of Digital and Regional Innovation?

MD: The MAA exists to support, promote and defend the interests of agencies of all shapes and sizes, offering a wide range of services.

I recently moved to the South West to launch the MAA here. Not only am I responsible for developing services and tools for agency members down here, but we’ll also be running groups, events and training.

TS: The member’s hub you’re launching is the first for the MAA outside of London, is that right? 

MD: We recognised that the South West is a thriving hub for creativity, technology and innovation. It’s buzzing with startups and agencies and we believe that traditional industry bodies have thus far failed to represent their needs and ambitions. The industry can learn a huge amount from what’s happening in the area, and vice versa. My job is to bring it all together.

“The room was filled with energy and positivity at our first Agency of the Future event in Bristol”


TS: What are your biggest successes so far?

MD: We hosted our first Agency of the Future panel event at the end of November at the Real Adventure Unlimited.  It was a roaring success with nearly 60 attendees.

The room was filled with energy and positivity, and everyone there was very excited about what’s coming in 2016.

Expert panel: Speakers at the Agency of the Future event
discussed strategies to help agencies to work better
with their clients [Image Credit: Timothy J Ward]

TS: What are your latest projects and events in the South West?

MD: The Agency of the Future panel debate is the most recent event we have hosted here. We explored the five key pillars for the agency of the future, and provided tips for agencies and clients moving forward.

2016 will be a big year for us. Now I have a better understanding of what agencies want, we will be focusing our efforts in a few key areas which I will share at the beginning of next year. Exciting times!

“We hope to learn a lot from the agencies in the South West, already recognising the huge impact they have on the industry”


TS: Can anyone get involved in projects or events, if so how?

MD: There is a lot of benefit to be gleaned from getting involved in our events and projects, some of which are only open to members. Others events can be attended by non-members too, such as Agency of the Future – which will be big next year.

TS: So, how can you become a member of the MAA and what are the benefits?

MD: It’s easy to become a member. Speak to me, and we agree the fee which is based on a small percentage of profit reported in the agency’s previous year’s financial reporting.

Benefits include:

  • Your own column in the Guardian, and unlimited articles on our media hub on the Guardian website
  • Various consultancy services including an Agency MOT, Employee Satisfaction, New Business MOT and Digital Pit-Stop
  • Reports including the growth driver report, new business census, salary and rate-card benchmarking
  • Discounted training
  • Pitch protection services and legal advice
  • Group leadership meetings and project participation, including the Digital and Marketing Innovation group, Agency of the Future and retail projects

TS: What do you hope the MAA will bring to the SW?

MD: The MAA will bring a great deal to the South West, delivering services and events that are meaningful to industry professionals in the area, as well as representing their specific needs on any agency issues. We also hope to learn a lot from the agencies here, already recognising the huge impact they have on the industry, and what others can learn from the great work being done here.

Many thanks to Mette for taking the time to answer our questions. Want to find out more? You can email her at: You can also stay in the loop with MAA’s events by following them on Twitter: @MAA.