The shift comes after Equifax selected Publicis Groupe's Digitas as its lead agency in August 2011. 360i will focus on direct-to-consumer integrated marketing efforts for the brand's credit and identity protection services.
Said Digitas in a statement: "We have mutually agreed to part ways after two years of partnership. We have high hopes that success will continue to follow both companies and we wish each other the very best."
Equifax doesn't have a traditional creative or media agency, so 360i will be responsible for communications strategy, creative, consumer insights, media planning and buying, search marketing and cross-channel analytics. The move signals a strategic change for the marketer, which is trying to best to utilize data to strengthen its relationships with consumers.
Terry Griffin, senior marketing officer for Equifax Personal Solutions, said: "We'd done a good job of putting a strong digital foundation in place. We optimized performance and built out a database and an infrastructure. But as we scaled the digital investment, the gains we were getting started to flatten out. We needed to accelerate our growth and we needed to partner with someone who would advance the strategy for acquiring valuable long-term customers."
"We were focused on cost-per-acquisition [measurements] up until now. It's a significant shift to say we need to really worry about the value and tenure of customers we're bringing in as well," she added. "We need to advance our analytics capabilities."
More specifically, the agency will help the brand promote its new identity theft protection site, IdentityProtection.com, and figure out how best to create synergies between its well established credit brands and its less well known identity products. The shop's first order of business will be to develop and execute a data-driven strategy for Equifax's Personal Solutions business unit, which includes Equifax.com and IdentityProtection.com.
Ms. Griffin said the agency will help it set up a new data-management-platform -- via a partnership with Bluekai -- through which it will aggregate all of its data and turn its attention to analyzing audiences. One of the most attractive things about 360i, said Ms. Griffin, was the automated reporting element of its home-grown tech stack, as well as its "expertise in analytics and data-driven insights."
"Being able to bring all of our data, online and offline, and action it quickly will give us not just that CPA insight, but let us see how [consumers] are shopping where they're shopping. Their ability to automate and quickly scenario-plan will be very helpful for my team because we're so small."
With the renewed focus on data and analytics, she said that she foresees a boost in marketing spending in the near future. According to Kantar Media, in 2012 the company spent about $15 million on measured media in the U.S.