Enero’s new focus: global acquisitions and local martech

Enero Group’s CEO Brent Scrimshaw and Nick Burton talk to Mumbrella’s Calum Jaspan about the global strategy, what areas are of focus in the local market, and how recently-hired Burton is going to execute what he was brought in to achieve.

On 1 July, the first day of the new financial year, Australian-owned and Sydney-based global agency group, Enero, announced the appointment of Nick Burton as group strategy and M&A director.

Burton’s hire comes a year on from Brent Scrimshaw’s appointment as CEO, which eventuated in a year of priming Enero for the next phase of its expansion, with Burton’s title a good indicator of what is to come.

A busy year has seen Enero scale up its strategy, and so far progress is exceeding Scrimshaw’s expectations. The group boss cites “world-class” work the agencies are creating for key clients such as Aldi, Hyundai, McAfee and Boehringer Ingelheim as the main driver. He would say that, of course, but he goes into more detail.

Brent Scrimshaw

“Despite 2020 being the most challenging year for almost every industry, Enero has embraced the uncertainty and is experiencing incredible momentum. In the last 12 months, a focus on scaling our core brands (BMF, Hotwire and Orchard), as well as adding significant digital capabilities across markets with a more integrated offering, is paying off.”

The disruption that the pandemic has brought has also provided an opportunity to fast-track some of the long-term transformations Enero is aiming to make in order to meet the needs of its clients.

Scrimshaw continued: “COVID-19 has simply accelerated the need for technology transformation across our clients’ businesses (and our own) and brought forward the need to deliver “tomorrow’s services” today. Combine this with the reshaping of a number of key roles in our leadership team and we’ve been able to reset the group to become even more nimble, progressive and relevant for the future.”

And moving forward, Enero’s focus on scaling up its established core agencies will see the strategy play out through upcoming mergers and acquisitions, a plan which both Burton and Scrimshaw made no secret about.

Burton said: “We have a portfolio of fantastic businesses which are performing strongly, and we are poised for future growth across geographies with a proactive M&A strategy. I have been working with Brent and the leaders of the group’s businesses to understand where our highest priority growth opportunities are. Enero will become more active in areas that either complement or accelerate our existing portfolio and expose our business to new high-growth areas. We will be far more active than we have been in recent years, but our M&A strategy is carefully considered to ensure the right commercial and cultural alignment.”

Nick Burton

“There will be more revealed soon at our FY22 results, but our clients and our people can definitely expect a more growth-oriented business moving forward.”

After posting a profit after Scrimshaw’s first half-year results in February, he said that a key contributor to the transformation Enero has gone through is down the talent in his executive leadership team.

In addition to Burton, recent additions to this talent have included Heather Kernahan as global CEO of Hotwire; Carla Webb-Sear as CFO, joining from Channel Ten/Viacom CBS and Cathy Hoyle as company secretary and group general counsel.

Burton says that since taking up his new role, he has been seeking out the thoughts of some of the top minds at Enero to best understand the right path forward in executing what he was brought on to do.

“Since joining Enero, I’ve prioritised listening to the expertise that sits within the Enero network in order to understand what capabilities we need to fill and where the best opportunities lie. I’m working collaboratively across the group to understand their needs and challenges, so we can crystallise their knowledge and capabilities into a clear, coherent strategy.”

The proactive M&A strategy will be focused on expanding the areas Enero is already strong in, according to Burton, to ensure the group builds on established success rather than taking any unnecessary risks.

New CFO, Carla Webb-Sear

Carrying on from that, Burton also says that the focus of Enero’s business and continued expansion will also continue to be ‘agency-led’, stating that the benefit of being part of a global group such as Enero is the support it can offer businesses, in talent, finance, IT and M&A.

This is not to say the businesses won’t have autonomy though, Burton adds: “We are small and nimble enough so that the agencies remain the masters of their own destiny, and are focused on delivering outstanding work for clients without ‘corporate overlords’ peering over their shoulder.”

Expanding on the global strategy that Scrimshaw spoke about on his appointment, Burton highlighted Enero’s successes beyond just the Australian market.

“More than half of our group’s revenue is generated in Europe and USA, so by that definition, we are definitely a global business. Therefore, our strategy considers where the best opportunities lie, not just in Australia, but across the world. We will continue to invest in businesses overseas, in the regions we already operate, such as the US and Europe, as well as exploring acquisitions here in Australia.”

“That said, there are clear opportunities for us in the US at the moment, so we will certainly be looking at high-growth and complementary businesses to acquire in that market over the next 12-18 months.”

Scrimshaw and Hotwire CEO Heather Kernahan

The first step in what is looking like being a year of increased market action for Enero was confirmed in April, when Enero acquired McDonald Butler Associates, a B2B sales and marketing agency based in the UK. Scrimshaw said this move was “a clear first step towards a more proactive M&A strategy for the broader group over the next few years”.

On the local plan, Burton says that over the next 12 months, there will be a specific focus on looking at marketing cloud and marketing automation businesses in Australia, “as we see this as an area where digitally-focused marketers are seeing increasing need for support”.

Finally, in order to ensure he makes his mark in the new role, Burton said that his job is to ensure Enero’s resources are being deployed in strategically sound and financially sustainable ways, through data-led and rigorous decision making. He says the strategy is ultimately a choice on “resource allocation (be that financial, time, effort or expertise)”, where he will be aiming to help the group determine where the highest ROI on those resources sits.

“My aim is to solidify myself as the group’s go-to strategic confidant. Not just to achieve our goals, but to help navigate and guide the group through a rapidly evolving industry.”


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