Industry: Digital Marketing
Challenge: Enable agency growth while evolving to meet the unique needs of the Nordics.
Results: Markant and its sister company Robust Media continue to achieve consistent agency growth and more easily win and retain clients by combining brand and development expertise with WP Engine’s industry-leading infrastructure, security, and support.
Markant is a data-driven digital agency that provides enterprise organizations with smart solutions through analysis and a deep understanding of specific business challenges. With a holistic focus across channels and platforms—not just digital—Markant facilitates strong experiences that build relationships and enthusiasm regardless of where people are.
Robust Media is a digital marketing agency that helps growing businesses build powerful websites and effective strategies for increased engagement and revenue. The agency offers everything from website maintenance packages and new site creation to graphic design and logo/branding support.
“Client requirements in the Nordics often run the gamut from site speed and security, which are shared by many organizations around the world, to more localized issues including sustainability and GDPR. As a WP Engine Agency Partner, we're able to provide clients with the best possible solutions for both sets of needs.”
—Frank Petter Larsen, CEO, Markant
Adapting to Global Trends, Locally
Changing global dynamics don’t always mean wholesale change, especially as specific trends play out differently alongside regional realities.
While the Covid-19 pandemic sparked widespread digital acceleration around the world, tech innovation and adoption have differed on a more granular, regional scale, with businesses racing to adapt their digital channels and at the same time navigate local or regional constraints.
Digital agencies continue to play a vital role in this equation, serving as the “local guide” that understands both the regional landscape as well as larger digital trends.
Such has been the case for Bergen, Norway-based digital agency Markant, which continues to meet the evolving needs of the Nordics market head-on with a trusted partner in WP Engine.
Markant, along with its sister company Robust Media, has been part of WP Engine’s Agency Partner Program for more than eight years. Over that time, CEO Frank Petter Larsen has scaled both agencies alongside economic ups and downs, evolving digital preferences, and the constant need to be more effective with fewer resources.
“It’s hard to tell our growth story without noting WP Engine’s role,” Larsen said. “While we do some of the best creative work I’ve seen at any agency, our ability to provide that creative expertise together with industry-leading performance and security, is a result of our partnership with WP Engine.”
While Markant serves large enterprises and focuses on complex development projects, Robust works with growing businesses and brands. Both agencies are deeply connected to the unique challenges businesses face in the Nordics as well as the larger digital trends affecting them.
Across both agencies, Larsen relies on WP Engine’s WordPress-optimized infrastructure to ensure clients benefit from industry-leading performance and speed and the most effective products and pricing to accommodate different budgets.
Meeting the Needs of the Nordics
The last few years have seen widespread digital changes around the globe, but businesses in the Nordics have grappled with a number of specific issues, including data privacy requirements that are unique to Europe as well as environmental considerations that are quintessentially Scandanavian.
“Sustainability and renewable energy remain some of the largest issues for businesses based in the Nordics, and it’s often the first topic of conversation when exploring new projects,” Larsen said.
Indeed, Nordic countries have long been leaders in renewable energy—Norway is one of the largest clean energy producers in the world—and ensuring both Markant and Robust Media can provide clients with exceptional service and a low carbon footprint is crucial for continued growth.
“With WP Engine, we run on carbon-neutral Google Cloud servers that are fast and reliable, allowing us to build sites that load quickly and require less energy on the client-side,” Larsen said.
In addition to peace of mind around how sites will be powered, Larsen said his clients are also keenly focused on security and compliance, with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continuing to loom large over new and existing web projects.
“While GDPR had positive intentions, it continues to cause a lot of confusion,” Larsen said, pointing to a recent decision by the Austrian Data Protection Authority that found the use of Google Analytics was in violation of GDPR—creating a cloud of uncertainty around the continued use of the popular analytics tool in Europe.
“This has generated a lot of questions from our clients who want assurances around other analytics solutions and backup tools, and rightfully so,” Larsen said. “As GDPR continues to evolve, working hand-in-hand with WP Engine allows us to assuage our clients’ concerns around security and compliance.”
Since launching both agencies, Larsen has been able to provide added value to his clients both as a WP Engine Agency Partner, as well as through WP Engine’s wide list of products and features, which support his teams’ development workflows and the creation of high-performing websites.
The numbers speak for themselves. Today, the combined revenue for both Markant and Robust has grown to NOK 28M (~$3M / € 2.9M) with the addition of new projects as well as ongoing maintenance and support.
“We’re able to offer each client exactly what they need, with solutions tailor-made to meet their challenges,” Larsen said. “Combining our strategic vision with WP Engine’s offerings allows us to present our clients with the best possible solutions, from site speed and performance to security.”
“This was a great example of a client who approached us for help building their brand and infusing their website with that identity,” Larsen said.
“We were able to focus on capturing the character of the region—the fjord, the farms, the local cider, and the food—while WP Engine provided us with the platform to build it on.”
The collaboration has paid off, Larsen noted, as all three Fjordtind Hotel locations have seen exponential growth in bookings, directly through the website.
After the first of the new hotels saw its website go live in 2019, it experienced a staggering 382% increase in unpaid traffic (unique users) the following holiday season (May through August 2020).
Additionally, the site’s average page load was effectively cut by more than half, decreasing from 3.5 to 1.5 seconds.
In the time since that initial launch, the hotel chain has continued to thrive, posting its best year yet in 2021, despite the lingering effects of a global pandemic.
“The end result of this project is the type of work we pride ourselves on and is a testament to the freedom to create that WP Engine provides,” Larsen said. “We were able to execute on our vision without having to worry about speed, scalability, or security.”
In addition to completing a SOC 2 Type II examination for Security and Availability Trust Services, WP Engine's standard security environment, which is extended to all customer sites, includes disk write protection and limitations, disallowed plugins, a proprietary firewall, and increased user protection.
For advanced security solutions, WP Engine also provides Smart Plugin Manager, which keeps plugins automatically updated to protect against security vulnerabilities, as well as Global Edge Security, which comes with a managed WAF and advanced DDoS protection.
Both solutions allow agency owners like Larsen to provide their clients with a wide range of options for secure, high-performing sites.
“WP Engine makes it easy to meet the needs of our clients on the infrastructure side, and that makes it easier for me and my teams to provide our clients with the bespoke support they need to succeed in today’s changing digital world.”
—Frank Petter Larsen, CEO, Markant