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About FRWD

FRWD is a digital marketing agency designed to build client capability through a comprehensive approach to helping companies make the best digital marketing investments.

FRWD Headquarter Location

120 1st Ave N Suite 300

Minneapolis, Minnesota,

United States


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Bain & Co. has hired ad vets from Walmart and Dentsu to build a marketing practice, and it's the latest consultancy to take on traditional ad agencies

Nov 23, 2020

Business Insider An icon in the shape of a person's head and shoulders. It often indicates a user profile. Log In US Edition Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Good FRWD@Bain This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now. Bain & Co. has built out its marketing practice in recent years and claims its revenue has grown by double digits every year for the past five years. The management consultancy has built the practice by acquiring Minneapolis-based digital agency FRWD and data analytics firm Pyxis. It's also made big hires from the advertising world like Brian Dennehy, the former CMO of Nordstrom; and Silicon Valley Bank and former Walmart ad executive Nikhil Raj. Bain's push comes as marketers are prioritizing control over their customer data and messaging and consultancies are encroaching on ad agencies' turf. While Accenture and Deloitte have become increasingly entrenched in the advertising business, another consulting giant has been circling the ad industry. Bain & Co. has been building out its advertising services in recent years, and says its marketing practice's revenue has grown double-digits every year for the past five years. The push comes as marketers have been prioritizing data-driven marketing over flashy, traditional ads and consultancies have been encroaching on ad agencies' turf, even though not all are convinced. Bain's pitch is that it can grow brands' business by helping with their marketing and customer relationships. "Marketing has evolved from the 'Mad Men' era and become more data-driven and more consumer-centric," said Laura Beaudin, a Bain partner and head of its marketing practice. "That ties in perfectly with some of the capabilities that we already had, where we have the data to back up the decisions that companies make about their marketing." To that end, Bain acquired Minneapolis-based digital agency FRWD in mid-2018 and data analytics firm Pyxis in late 2019 to help clients get more data-centric, said John Grudnowski, partner at Bain and head of FRWD. The consulting giant has also hired marketing vets like Brian Dennehy, the former CMO of Nordstrom and Silicon Valley Bank; former Walmart ad executive Nikhil Raj; Sharona Sankar-King, formerly of BBDO and MEC; and most recently, Christine Removille, a former executive at ad holding companies Publicis and Dentsu. Bain helps clients with strategy and transformation while FRWD handles the data activation, marketing technology and analytics and insights. The firm claims it can help improve clients' marketing ROI by up to 25% and save them up to 15% in costs. Bain needs to catch up to other consulting firms if it wants to make a big play for advertising services, though, say experts like Greg Paull, co-founder and principal at consultancy R3. And as companies try to make their businesses more digital, competitors such as Cognizant, Capgemini and even the ad holding groups like WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis are making inroads in this area , said independent media analyst Alex DeGroote. But while it uses its existing relationships with Fortune 500 companies to pitch its marketing offering like other consultancies , Bain says it isn't trying to bypass CMOs or replicate agencies' creative services as other consulting firms like Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital have. It says it's trying to help CMOs and complement rather than compete with ad agencies, and cited a computer vision company called Hive.AI that it's working with to develop a measurement product for linear TV. "We are not going head to head with creative shops, because we don't want to be an ongoing agency of record for our clients," said Beaudin. "We want to build up their capabilities so they can sustain that on their own." Newsletter

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