When MGC founder Marc Lefton took three weeks off his busy NYC ad agency job to travel to Southeast Asia for a much needed break, he discovered a hidden subculture of digital nomads who worked from anywhere and arbitraged living in cheaper locations with luxurious amenities. It was multiple times the backstory of someone living there was the same “I came here on vacation and never left.”
He didn’t want to go to that extreme, but after experiencing so many people enjoying such a fantastic work/life balance, returning to his hometown of New York was difficult. Faced with office politics, inefficient agency processes, and seeing dozens of friends leave town because of a skyrocketing cost of living, he started making plans to leave the city before another brutal winter arrived.
In the process, he began formulating the ingredients of what an agency of the future would look like. Inspired by the informal networks of talent that these digital nomads had created, he decided to tap into two trends he saw formulating: One was the fact that what he called “growth” clients were unwilling to pay extra for fancy big city agencies, whose biggest expenses are often their rent, and expensive full time staff whose own biggest expense was rent. Two, he saw the emerging digital nomad culture as the most talented and inspired people who were entrepreneurial leaders rather than employees who treated working at an agency as a job and nothing more.
From there, he moved to Florida to be closer to family and discovered an overlooked but up and coming city in Gainesville, Florida. He quickly became immersed in the burgeoning entrepreneurial scene and joined the board of a young professionals non-profit. A city that was quietly the second fastest growing one in the US last year, MGC is headquartered at the epicenter of fantastic talent coming out of the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, with a fantastic cost of living and quality of life. And the weather…
The concept of an agile marketing agency free with the exception of a small core, free from the burden of hiring redundant employees and overcharging clients and relying on a vast network of talent would not be possible if it wasn’t for relaunching Adholes, one of the first social networks ever that had been founded in 2004 by Lefton. A private, invite only network helps the agency build relationships that last with some of the best talent in the world, not matter where they are.
Finally, the idea of “Marketing General Contractors” helped the agency draw a line in the sand in terms of what clients would be accepted. Gone were the days where someone asking for a tactic like Facebook ads would be accepted — rather, MGC acts as the architects of the brand’s house, and only upon making an integrated strategic plan, begins to saw wood and hammer nails.
In just two years, the agency has launched and relaunched over a dozen brands around the world and has become a State of Florida approved vendor, partnering with Florida Health on several strategic initiatives.
We have a small core team of cross-trained marketers, and back-office essentials such as admins and project managers. In addition to our global talent network, we partner with small niche agencies in various disciplines that we manage from a strategic level, and are also in the process of building out our own micronetwork of owned agencies who operate independently of us on their core discipline. The first of many to come is our programmatic media planning and buying agency Programmagic Media, which has become an overnight success with some larger clients than MGC would normally engage with.