Republican consulting firm Axiom Strategies is announcing Monday it’s entering into a strategic partnership with The Prosper Group, a digital marketing agency.
For these two firms, which have worked together for over a decade, the partnership is an opportunity to increase efficiency and share political expertise.
For the political consulting world, it’s a sign the industry may be trending toward greater consolidation, especially with digital now commanding an ever larger share of the market.
Axiom currently has 52 clients in Congress, and now the two firms combined will represent 74 lawmakers. That’s a quarter of all Republicans in the House and Senate.
Axiom was founded in 2005 by Jeff Roe. A veteran of Missouri Rep. Sam Graves’political operation, he managed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. Kristen and Kurt Liudhardt, a husband and wife team, founded The Prosper Group out of Indianapolis in 2006. Their firm has worked with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, among others.
Consultants at Axiom and Propser would often refer each other to clients — Axiom would send clients to Prosper for digital services, while Prosper would point clients toward Axion for a general consultant, often just called “GC” in the campaign industry.
Watch: 3 Congressional Campaign Stories You Might Have Missed Last Week
Axiom already had its own digital team, but it didn’t have the resources to meet the exploding demand for digital services.
So now the two companies are formalizing their informal partnership, with joint assets and staff, while retaining the independence to still work autonomously with their own clients. They firms said they haven’t yet worked against each other in a primary.
The strategic value of the partnership, Roe said, is that general consultants who manage campaigns will now have more of a voice inside the digital teams of each campaign when they partner with Prosper.
“The GC spends a lot of time bringing the vendors up to speed on the strategy they’re trying to implement,” Roe said, comparing it to a game of elementary-school “telephone” where the strategy can sometimes get lost in translation among more and more digital vendors.
“You have conference calls that are so big now, that you can’t even get everyone on the call anymore,” Roe said.
“Content is king. But you have to understand how to deliver it in a smart way, and that responsibility falls on the GC. To have that person in the same room, and same company relationship — that’s an enormous advantage,” Roe said.
Integrating vendors is a model the Luidhardts have observed with Prosper’s corporate clients.
“There are still often silos between campaign components,” said Kristen Luidhardt, president of The Prosper Group.
All three consultants see that integration coming to the political world. Axiom has already moved in that direction with the introduction of a new public affairs firm and an in-house firms that do polling, media-buying and direct voter contact. Axiom also recently acquired several other consulting firms.
This particular partnership with The Prosper Group is an acknowledgement of the increasing demand for digital services, among both corporate and political clients.
“When we first started provided digital services to clients in 2006, we were kind of novel,” said Kurt Luidhardt, vice president of The Prosper Group.
Digital communication can be cheaper and often more efficient for House districts. It also offers the possibility to more highly target a campaign message to a specific audience.
“I often felt like the guy that people felt like they had to have in the room but wasn’t really a part of anything,” Kurt said. “But now we’re one of the first people in the room.”