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April 24, 2024 - By Barron Rosborough

Beyond the Numbers: Hawke Media’s Human-Centric Approach to M&A

In the competitive landscape of digital marketing, Hawke Media distinguishes itself through a meticulous and forward-thinking approach to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Here, we explore the strategy that fuels Hawke Media’s expansion, blending ambition with a keen sense for strategic partnerships, all while nurturing the unique cultures and capabilities of the companies it brings into its fold.

Setting the Stage for Growth

The journey begins with Josh Springer, Head of Corporate Development/M&A and a pivotal figure at Hawke Media, who outlines the company’s ambitious M&A trajectory. “We’ve successfully completed twelve acquisitions to date, with several more currently in process.” He states, underscoring the aggressive yet strategic pace of Hawke Media’s expansion efforts. The company’s M&A strategy is not merely about increasing numbers; it’s about forging partnerships that align with Hawke Media’s ethos and growth ambitions. With additional letters of intent on the horizon, Springer reveals the blueprint for dramatically scaling their M&A endeavors, illustrating a vision that extends beyond mere expansion to encompass a holistic growth philosophy. “The M&A ecosystem in the digital space is at a particularly unique crossroad, with a lot of strong founders struggling to get their organization to the next level and with limited transition options. Our strategy provides the resources, consolidation, and growth opportunities to far surpass previously achievable metrics.” 

Strategic Acquisitions: More Than Just Expansion

The acquisition of SimplyBe. exemplifies Hawke Media’s strategic approach to M&A. Springer discusses the two-year conversation leading up to the acquisition, highlighting the deliberate and thoughtful process behind integrating SimplyBe. into Hawke Media’s ecosystem. This move wasn’t just about expanding services; it was about embracing an entity that excelled in personal branding, thereby addressing a gap in Hawke Media’s portfolio and introducing a complementary skill set along with a robust client list and stellar reputation.


Similarly, the acquisition of Lone Fir Creative showcases Hawke Media’s strategic aim to penetrate new markets and geographic locations, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to growth that is both purposeful and synergistic. Springer reflects on the shared growth mindset with Lone Fir’s founder, emphasizing the strategic alignment and mutual ambition that made the acquisition a natural fit for Hawke Media’s expanding operations.

The Core Principles of Hawke Media’s M&A Strategy

Hawke Media’s M&A strategy is anchored in three foundational principles: location, opportunity, and access. Each acquisition is a carefully considered step towards enhancing the company’s geographical reach, diversifying its service offerings, and accessing new talent and market opportunities. Springer eloquently discusses the excitement surrounding geographic expansion and the importance of integrating supplemental service lines and complementary services that align with Hawke Media’s overarching goals.

A Human-Centric Approach to Integration

At the heart of Hawke Media’s M&A philosophy lies a deep respect for the cultures and teams of the companies it acquires. “We pride ourselves on hardly, if ever, letting go of employees through a transaction,” Springer remarks, highlighting the emphasis on preserving the integrity and essence of the acquired companies. “We recognize this space is only as strong as the people in it, and altering an agency’s culture in such a way often does far more harm than good.” This human-centric approach ensures a smoother integration process, fostering an environment of trust and loyalty among the teams and clients involved.

Guided by Metrics, Inspired by Potential

Hawke Media’s M&A decisions are informed by clear metrics and KPIs, ultimately ensuring the prospective agencies are in model with Hawke’s core business, or have the ability to get there through integration. . Yet, it’s the company’s openness to potential and flexibility in its criteria that truly sets its strategy apart. Springer shares insights into the company’s willingness to support companies that show promise, even if they don’t meet every metric perfectly, reflecting a commitment to strategic growth and long-term potential over immediate gains.

Looking Ahead: Amplifying Growth Through Strategic M&A

As Hawke Media eyes the future, its M&A activities are poised to play a central role in the company’s growth strategy. With plans to significantly increase the volume and quality of acquisitions, Hawke Media is not just looking to expand its footprint but to redefine the digital marketing landscape through strategic, growth-oriented partnerships.

In weaving together the strategic underpinnings and human-centric philosophy of Hawke Media’s M&A strategy, this narrative highlights the deliberate, thoughtful approach that has propelled the company to new heights. Through strategic acquisitions that align with its core principles and growth ambitions, Hawke Media continues to forge a path of innovation, integration, and expansion in the digital marketing arena.