Epicosity expands with eye toward ‘agency of the future’

Dec. 4, 2018

When marketing firm Epicosity moved into its downtown office in 2016, the plan was to finish off extra space in about five years.

Two-and-a-half years later, the agency’s rapid growth has meant construction at 300 N. Main Ave. is needed sooner.

If he could, CEO Eric Sivertsen would structure the space – and the team inside it – as what he calls “the agency of the future.”

The catch, of course, is that he and countless others in the marketing field are still trying to determine what that looks like.

“It’s an interesting time for agencies,” said Sivertsen, who formed the agency in Sioux Falls one decade ago.

“One of our core values is embracing change, and we feel like there’s a change coming down the pipeline in the industry itself. The digital medium is still young, and it’s still got to grow.”

Epicosity has hit a growth spurt in recent years, reaching 30 employees and snagging a spot for four years on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

It’s what Sivertsen calls a full-service agency, while acknowledging the definition of that in marketing is no longer universal either. The core services are strategy, brand, digital and video.

Sivertsen credits the agency’s growth to its focus on targeted industries and a key partnership.

Epicosity has been focused in the verticals it has targeted, investing time with business development within those industries, including speaking and national conferences.

At one point, much of the business came from the firearms and outdoor industries. That has been balanced by work in higher education, government awareness campaigns and financial services, where Sivertsen said the company has doubled down in the past two years.

“It’s the backbone of the economy, and we started to staff for that. We hired people who were experts in the space,” he said. “We had Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union and Voyage Federal Credit Union as clients, and we had experience and enjoyed the space. We started making investments in national marketing, started to obtain speaking engagements at major financial conferences, plus we donated time to the North Dakota and South Dakota bankers associations.”

Finance is now the company’s fastest-growing segment, with 12 clients and a number of other prospects.

Epicosity also does work for SDSU, Cisco, Sprint and Omaha-based Valley Irrigation. Sixty percent of the agency’s work comes from outside the Sioux Falls market.

Growth also has been occurring because the agency was an early partner of HubSpot Inc., a developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales.

“We’re a HubSpot platinum partner, one of the few in the Midwest, and we really did that early, utilizing data from customer records and their online behaviors to make informed decisions about how to market and drive business objectives, which I think is the future,” Sivertsen said.

As someone who plans to be in the industry at least another couple of decades, Sivertsen is keeping the future of his industry top of mind. He stays on top of what’s being done in larger markets and by big brands.

“Everything we’re trying to figure out is how to leverage data to make better creative decisions,” he said. “We’re still trying to get people attracted to the brand, we’re trying to tell stories, and we’re trying to get people to take action. But we know a lot more about consumers, so the agency of the future undoubtedly will be able to leverage how to put the right message in front of the right person at the right time.”

To get there, Sivertsen said he and co-founder Justin Smorawske determined a new leadership structure was needed at the firm. Smorawske, who was chief marketing officer, is now chief growth officer. The rest of the new leadership team is:

  • Scott Ostman, vice president of creative service.
  • Heather Covrig, vice president of client services.
  • Chris Kappen, vice president of operations and innovation.
  • Sarah Kolbeck, vice president of finance and talent.

They lead a team of 33 people in an office with shades of Silicon Valley tech woven into the design.

An area with stadium seating includes a swing and is used for company meetings. Employees get to choose a personalized pillow for the spot when they’re hired.

A large break room becomes a bit of a bar for the agency’s tradition of craft beer Friday.

There’s also a popular miniature golf course built into the design, which will gain two more holes when the expansion is done early next year.

The new space will allow for up to 18 additional employees. Epicosity has a couple of remote workers and has tried to source from out of the market but found that to be a challenge. Locally, hiring hasn’t been as hard, Sivertsen said.

“Since we’ve invested in culture, we have a much easier road than most. Yes, we have a golf course– yes, we do craft beer Friday, but the culture here is more about what you want to accomplish. It’s not about me and Justin. It’s about staff, and they have a voice here – much more than I think they would at other agencies. I think our culture helps us a lot with recruitment of talent in a very, very tight labor pool.”


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Epicosity expands with eye toward ‘agency of the future’

Marketing firm Epicosity has been in its new downtown office for only a couple of years, and it’s expanding ahead of schedule.

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