Judith Jansen, Marketing Manager at Workbrands - A results-driven brand and marketing agency - proposes 10 things you should always ask your creative agency to get the best out of your brief.
We've picked some of the best bits from our client agency relationship survey report and turned it into a lovely infographic. Enjoy!
Jonas Klit Nielsen, Founder & CEO of Mindjumpers – A Social Media Management Company - addresses the key factors in building a successful client-agency relationship.
In an ideal world, clients would never need to hold an agency pitch, and agencies would never have to take part in one. In that world, we'd hear about the perfect agencies from a friend or colleague, and hand the work straight to them. Or perhaps, all agencies would be equally skilled at everything, and chemistry would never be an issue. Clients would pick their agency for eternity. We'd all get on, and all everything would simply work perfectly -- forever.
Day one in my role as the new business director at an up and coming digital agency started on a warm summer day. Not the best timing for new biz, but as the Head of New Business at a major global agency once told me; “New business never sleeps, is the last one to leave the party, is never idle and above all, never takes a summer holiday…”
Marketing agency tips from Marian Chapman works of marketing agency, Fusion Creative Marketing.
Marketing bombards us from all directions: radio and TV ads, press and magazine ads, text messages, email marketing and in the post, advertising on trucks, roadside hoardings, bus stops, posters in shop windows.
So, your company has chosen to improve customer experience presenting your business online more efficiently. But how do you go about selecting the right UX agency, asks Nicholas Del Conte, of digital marketing agency Digital White.
Low-cost TV advertising is evening out the field says John Alligan of Media Buying Agency, The Media Shop.
There's a myth going round that TV ads are really expensive, but they don't have to be. In fact, many an advertising agency would be pleasantly surprised by what can be achieved on a smaller budget.
Just about every day, someone asks us how we judge a marketing agency's relative quality and appropriateness to client briefs.
These are the qualities we look for when matching them to clients
Not everyone who works at a marketing agency is a copywriter.
Most of us might like to think of ourselves as a dab hand at the odd stanza or even a voracious reader with an OK vocabulary, but more often than not first drafts of creds decks and proposals are often cluttered with tired lines and clichés
Felicitas Betzl, Managing Director & Partner of SERPS Invaders Ltd., a full service digital marketing agency, shares her expertise from working both client and agency side for more than 16 years.
Here she offers her quick-fire tips for making the most out of your agency
In many ways, agency search and selection, such as choosing a PR firm, is a lot like selecting a life partner.
The key, we show, lies in selecting a firm you have confidence in to operate with good judgement as your proxy
Six months have passed since you began working with your new communications firm. And while they started out strong, they seem to be falling down from time to time on simple things. You’re starting to second-guess your decision and question whether you’ve selected the ‘right’ marketing agency for you.
What should you do?
The purpose of our marketing blog is to pull out the client/marketing agency trends that either help or hinder the agency search and selection process.
And when it comes to briefing, clients are often too blind to the impact excluding key details can have on those pitching for new biz
How can clients encourage marketing agencies to play fair? One of our matchmakers looks at what it takes to keep the agency-client relationship balanced
According to some counts of late, there are over 16,000 communications and marketing agencies in the UK.
And as people who spend most of every business day speaking with, reading about and selecting agencies as part of the search and selection process, our worker bees are continually disappointed by how many marketing agencies neglect marketing themselves
So, you’ve selected a marketing agency! After navigating through the chemistry checks and seeing your decade’s fill of Powerpoint inside two weeks, you’ve finally arrived at a decision. Champagne! Take a breath…and let the real work begin
Can you ever really completely rationalise the process of finding the right marketing agency? Dudley Masters, Account Director of marketing agency, Acumen Marketing Communications tries to make sense of it all, looking at the similarities between agency search and selection and dating.
We get calls for help from client-side marketers who have grown frustrated by hotshot marketing agencies that won’t answer their calls or emails during the agency search and selection process.
So, why do hotshot firms behave in this way?
We know that landing the pitch can be a cause for celebration in itself but there are many tools and tricks any marketing agency (or client) can use to strengthen their position and ensure they deliver the best meeting possible. With this in mind, we’ve put together our list of top tips
Creative marketing agency, True Story, share their unique ethos for developing happy and successful client-agency relationships
Agency life can be unpredictable and fast-changing, and much of this is driven by the needs of the client, both in terms of the workload and perceptions as to how the relationship is going.
When choosing a marketing agency, you're really hoping for a long-term relationship, not just a one night stand, says Sally Pritchett, Director of digital marketing agency, Something Big.
Plus, using a different agency for each campaign can mean you're less likely to build on your learnings
Finding that perfect agency partner is very similar to finding your perfect partner in life: there needs to be chemistry. Only you'll know when it feels right but there are a few things to look out for...
In continuation of our Secert Marketer series, we asked a New Biz Director at a leading whitelabel marketing agency to share his thoughts on where the agency-client gap really lies.
His answers may surprise you...
When it comes to the agency search and selection process, what do both clients and agencies expect from a chemistry meeting?
At FindGood we have been exploring this topic on both sides for many months. In that time we have noticed one size does not fit all, but first impressions still count.
Here, our head matchmaker Annabelle looks to bridge the gap between clients and agencies
Clients do like an agency to come to a meeting fully prepared (forgive us if this sounds obvious but you'd be surprised), but this entails more than knowing the full background of the business.
Daniel Henderson is the Client Service Director for innovative creative Digital Production and Marketing agency Here & Now. He has a decade working with blue chips clients to create innovative and multi-channel digital solutions.
How often do we ever take a step back and think about the relationship from the clients perspective? Probably not often enough.
Fiona Beauchamp, Director of Activation at marketing agency, Bray Leino explains how activation can master the crucial last yards of the customer journey, the point where the consumer assumes a hunter-gatherer mind-set and becomes the shopper
The thrill for me in working with challenger brands is tackling the unique obstacles they face, not only in breaking into the retail environment, but in staying there and remaining competitive against leading brands with existing retailer relationships and bigger marketing budgets.
Currently slogging it out in the agency search and selection process?
Hot from the desk of this anonymous Comms Director of a global business in the built environment sector, we bring you these top 10 tips for winning over in-house PR teams
Obviously, marketing agency search and selection is what our team does, day in, day out.
But we also help foster relationships and subsequently are asked by agency and client alike, what the secret to healthy, happy and productive partnerships really is.
We were digging about the annuls of WARC recently and found a useful article about assessing client/marketing agency relationships. You can read it immediately, here.
To the team at digital marketing agency, Pop Digital Ibiza, well-thought-out street marketing campaigns are a neat way of showing off your brand personality.
Here Liam O'Dowd shares his two (or is that four) cents on staying ahead
And while some of the bigger campaigns can be costly, there is potential to achieve great visibility and engagement even with a very limited budget, provided you’re willing to put the time in. Plus the ROI can be big.
We’re big fans of Street Marketing. It's an environment that is receptive to creative, eye catching campaigns that break the norms of traditional marketing. Here are four of the marketing agency trends we’ll be keeping a close eye on in 2014:
(1) Experiential Marketing
Alan Thorpe, of Digital Marketing Agency, Indicia, assesses the success of those who are and who are not taking a bite out of the social cherry. So, what's the cost of not being social?
When Carolyn Seaman of Marketing Agency, Net Media Planet came to us with her predictions for digital in 2014, we realised she might be on to something.
So, below you'll find her definitive list for what to expect in digital marketing in the year ahead, and how to prepare your business
The world of digital marketing -and certain how we work as a digital marketing agency- is fast changing and 2013 was clearly an eventful year. I expect 2014 to be no less action-packed. Here are my top 5 predictions to help brands take full advantage of the year ahead.
The marketing landscape has seen some big changes in the last year.
But both marketing agencies and clients need to understand C2C is here to stay, says Adrian Cory, Business Development Manager for the Clay Group
It appears ‘communications agency’ is a common misnomer these days.
Somewhat puzzling given the designation of a communications agency appears relatively straightforward: an organisation that offers valued clients the best possible routes to reach out, connect with an audience and begin (or continue) meaningful and long lasting relationships. Sounds simple enough, but the reality is a little different. The way we communicate has undergone the most radical change since a man named Bell asked a man named Watson to pop in and many brands still haven’t adapted despite the over-bearing attentions of ‘experienced’ communications agencies.
If design agency search and selection is on the cards for 2014, here is just one of the ways a new design team may help revitalise your brand: through the science of psychology- and colour
So. What does your brand logo say about your business?
By 2020 over £28 billion in UK online retail will come from international consumers, reveal paid search marketing agency, Net Media Planet.
This is the staggering figure predicted by recent research from OC&C Consultants and Google, says Marketing Manager, Carolyn Seaman
For UK businesses with strong brands and high export potential, expanding into new territories offers great potential for growth.
However there are many obstacles - to the point where my Paid Search and Display marketing agency decided to publish our very own Whitepaper on the subject.
In an era of lightening-speed craze creation, marketing agency trends can appear -and disappear- overnight.
However, some can be clearly mapped out, which is why we asked Simone Moretta, co-founder of IMS, a boutique marketing agency and incentive and prize promotion specialist, to get her Mystic Meg on and look ahead to 2014
2013 was the year twerking made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, Andy Murray was finally accepted as British following his Wimbledon win and Jennifer Lawrence found a place in everyone's hearts by getting a bit tequila happy for her Silver Linings Playbook post-Oscar interview.
To say 'Merry Christmas' from your favourite marketing agency search and selection team, we've created these clever (at least we think so) email one-liners, season-themed for your enjoyment.
Have a great holiday break and New Year from all of us here at FindGood!
What is a brand? And how important is the mojo behind it?
Andy Hunt, Managing Director of marketing agency, Quick Thinking aims to find out...
What is a brand?
Ask a sample of the average-Joes and most will reach for one of today’s star brand icons. They’ll probably google a Coca Cola logo. Or point to a Nike trainer flash. Or show you the shiny Apple adorning their i-phone. Of course, these are all correct answers, but only partly right. As any brand marketer will tell you, brands are really a subtle mix of ‘10% logo and 90% mojo’. The lion’s share of any brand sits not in its physical identity, but in the much fluffier and less tangible attributes that surround it. Its real value lies not in its appearance, but the associations and behaviours it excites in people.
That’s why a branding agency will invest so much time (and charge so much money) to understand the ‘mojo’ of a brand before crafting its brand bible. Without knowing the essential back-story it’s impossible to engineer an identity that fits the bill.
As we're always looking for the upcoming marketing agency trends set to shape the ways brands and consumers interact, we turned to Caroline Margolis, Marketing Director at digital creative agency, Somewhat_ for her predictions.
Here, she looks at IPS and at how smartphones are enabling greater connectivity, experiences and customer services for brands in 2014 and beyond
So what is IPS and why is it important?
IPS (Indoor Positioning Systems) is similar to GPS, in that it uses location based services via smartphones to allow individuals to be located within a few meters accuracy and sometimes even less than that. However unlike GPS, IPS works indoors, without the needs for satellites, using wifi or bluetooth technologies.
Knowing where to look when it comes to SEO and Social Media advice can be a battle, but here, Richard O'flynn, Director of digital marketing agency, 201 Digital, offers his top professional tools and tricks to stay ahead...
Professional tools for SEO and social media Searching Google for ‘SEO tools’ offers almost 40 million hits, and looking for ‘social media tools’ gives you ‘approximately’ 677 million. If even Google can only be bothered to approximate, then that makes searching for the right SEO and social media tools for your business something of a tricky ask, right? Add to that the plethora of social networks that are around and it can be difficult to handle the social networks you choose that are best for your niche.
Fortunately, we’re here to help – here’s a list of some fantastic, essential tools that can really help boost the social media and SEO side of your business.
1. Staying contented
2013 has seen the rules shift for both marketing agencies and clients when creating brand comms campaigns.
Here, Shay Boyd, MD and Creative Director for communications and marketing agency, Clay Group provides us with a snapshot of how customers will be dictating the pace and rhythm for brand comms in 2014 and beyond
If you are starting to develop an agency brief or are about to embark on the agency search and selection process, you may want to consider how to navigate through the process effectively as the market place is continuing to evolve.
When it comes to rebranding, many businesses will search for a good branding agency. And rightly so. Simply put, re-branding can be tricky at the best of times, with too many examples of branding disasters to choose from. This infographic on the re-branding process however, should help
You only have to look at one of the many disastrous rebranding campaigns, like The Post Office for instance, which for a brief and nightmarish period became Consignia, or Tropicana, whose new packaging received such backlash it was swiftly abandoned, to know that without an effective strategy, your launch can very fall on their face.
Emailing marketing is still a hot marketing trend that when done right can transform the way your business attracts new business.
But if you don't have a marketing agency at your beck and call never fear, for we at FindGood have compiled this short guide to writing and planning effective email marketing campaigns
Who is it going to?
You don't need to be a marketing agency to know choosing the right audience for message is vital. Have they registered interest in your company are are you going in cold? Have you have previous contact or is this an introduction? Will they have a vested interest in what you're saying, i.e. is it relevant to them? All these things should be considered before moving forward, otherwise you are at risk at alienating warm leads.
This brilliant article from Thea Frost, of digital marketing agency, Somewhat, explores what impact digital is having on fashion and how brands can prepare for the year ahead.
Facebook’s well publicised initial public offering (IPO) transition has had it is ups and downs. But as Twitter files for IPO, will they be able to avoid the mistakes Facebook have made?
Here Shelley Martin of PR agency, Neo PR discusses what the move means for Twitter's biggest competitor, Facebook, as well as the businesses and PR agencies that use it
Facebook and Twitter are obvious rivals and with Twitter moving to their IPO, both companies will be competing even more publicly. The competition between the two is also hotting up in terms of the advertising with both companies growing their sites advertising functionality.
Facebook only last month increased the size of the images that can be included within their adverts and are aiming to increase ad clicks, with users now able to click on any part of an advert to reach an advertiser’s website opposed to the previous hyperlink method. Whereas an ex-Facebook executive was quoted saying that Twitter’s s $350 million acquisition of mobile ad company MoPub makes Twitter a superior product, potentially in terms of mobile advertising, so the war rages on.
Simone Moretta is the co-founder & new business director of IMS, a boutique marketing agency, incentive and prize promotion specialist. Here she explains how to find solutions to current marketing challenges.
“Did You Just Double Dip That Chip?”
Budget over Money Can’t Buy
After the stresses and strain of the past couple of years we now all know that double dip doesn’t just refer to a person popping a crudité into the sour cream more times than is strictly polite, but actually is the current economic buzz word describing a worldwide recession.
Clients more frequently want something to suit their specific budget whilst retaining that exciting and memorable experience. After over twelve years in the promotional marketing business and founder of my own promotional marketing agency, I can say with confidence it’s now more important than ever to maintain fantastic relationships with suppliers and a little (massive) black book chock-full of luxury contacts.
That is the key to the budget challenge and our personal secret weapon in the double dip society.
Despite what you may have heard, the high street is alive and kicking. In fact, 90% of all consumer purchases still take place in-store, according to a new white paper produced by Field Marketing Agency, Channel Advantage.
Their report, which reveals UK consumers will spend £88.4bn in Q4 2013 (£1.95bn more than 2012), explores how technology continues to shape modern consumer habits, and why brands must utilise the power of experiential practice to improve in-store shopping experiences and ultimately, continue to grow sales.
Do we still need shops?
To borrow Mark Twain's much beloved epitaph, “News of my death has been greatly exaggerated”.
Agency search and selection sure does keep us busy at FindGood towers, and while we're always working hard to find clients that perfect PR agency, or marketing agency, or design agency (we really could go on), Infographic Fridays* are slowly becoming our favourite day of the blogging week.
SEO is a tool that when combined with others, for example, PPC, PR, inbound or outbound marketing, etc, can blast a company wide open. However, some companies have both the firepower and expertise to rip most of us to shreads, in particular, these brand leaders, who have cornered the market on 'Single Letter SEO'. That means Google prompts searchers after just the first letter typed, helping the brands ramp up their traffic.
The PR industry sees some extreme highs and lows, and national boutique PR agency, The Tonic Communications, gives us its advice on how to cope in a crisis and how to manage a key campaign, product or news launch.
In the second of this two-part blog, director and co-founder Georgina Dunkley provides her top tips.
The PR industry sees some extreme highs and lows, and national boutique PR agency The Tonic Communications, which has offices in the North East and East Midlands, give us its advice on how to cope in a crisis and how to manage a key campaign, product or news launch.
In the first of this two part blog, director and co-founder Georgina Dunkley provides her advice on how to stay calm in the face of a media catastrophe.
Friday is our favourite day of the week here at FindGood Towers. And not because our busy worker bees are itching to get their weekend on. It's unofficially infographic day.
This week, after we found out Youtube is now the second largest search engine in the world (and after just 8 years no less), we thought we'd do some research (or pinch other people's) to reveal how the platform became the monster hit it is.
Google Hummingbird has got us all in a flutter and is set to change the way businesses and marketing agencies work but its now smarter and more holistic, says Farky Rafiq, Director of SEO marketing agency, Liquid Silver Marketing.
Have you ever had a really great idea that you wanted to turn into reality?
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites give small businesses and individuals a chance to turn those ideas into reality, without a marketing agency, says Chris Madden, Co-founder of US-based Digital Marketing Agency, Matchnode.
Kickstarter is a great platform for those who want to test their product on the market, solicit feedback from target customers, and if successful, generate funding often in the form of pre-sales to invest in production. They're especially helpful for those who don't have a marketing agency onboard.
As agency search and selection folk, we see a lot of marketing agencies make it -and break it- and know what it takes to get hired.
While some will inevitably fall at the first hurdle, others damage their chances with avoidable mistakes during the initial stages or even during their pitches.
We on the FindGood Marketing Blog want you to succeed in all your pitches, naturally, so here is what you shouldn't do, or perhaps some of the reasons you're not winning the work you should be. As always, let our little birds know what you think via Twitter or chat to our blog badgers via the comment section below.
In our final post with coverage from Inbound Marketing UK 2013 we get on to the hot topic of content.
Not you run of the mill content, but ‘home run’ content that will put your business on the digital map. Doug Kessler Creative and Content Strategies at Velocity Partners was our guide to this and, by golly did he have some inbound marketing wisdom to impart.
Kessler’s influence in the world of content marketing was clear as audience members waited with baited breath and notepads at the ready in anticipation of his talk. And what did he start with?
Crap, that’s what.
Brands using radio for advertising get almost eight times the ROI, according to new research.
But what does that actually mean, asks Sue Fernando of Media Buying Agency, The Media Shop.
As a Media Buying Agency our eyes are always glued to our calendars. That places us in good stead to tell you this month commercial radio celebrates its 40th birthday. (Those in the know will recall Capital Radio’s launch in London in October 1973.)
According to the first-ever analysis of cross-agency data by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), radio advertisers on average get their money back 7.7 times over, with automotive and retailer brands showing an even higher performance.
In our last post we talked about the joys of running an inbound marketing strategy for your business, guided by the wise words of HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan.
Your second installment from IMUK13 goes a little deeper in to the inbound marketing process with Twitter data tips from SEO Gadget’s Richard Baxter that will revolutionise your Tweeting habits.
Twitter is often considered a business luxury, overlooked and undervalued it can become an abused channel that is only used to send the odd tweet about the trails and tribulations of the daily commute. Interesting stuff… Wake-up folks, you are missing out an amazing inbound marketing opportunity here.
Richard Baxter lifts the veil on Twitter to reveal a mine of data waiting to be harvested. We now see Twitter through Baxter’s eyes – and it’s marketing friendly, full of graphs and charts. In this post you will learn how Baxter:
- Improves your SEO with Twitter
- Builds a Twitter data mine in Excel
- Targets influencers and builds SEO friendly relationships
Improve your SEO with Twitter
FindGood have the tid-bits, tips and most of all the marketing agencies’ quips that kept us entertained for a full day at HubSpot’s conference: ‘Inbound Marketing UK 2013’.
Welcome to part one of our series of blogs that we hope will enlighten you to the world of inbound marketing straight from the mouths of the 12 influential speakers (plus a little light conference comedy thrown in for good measure).
Your BIG IMUK13 takeaways:
- Brian Halligan (CEO of HubSpot) taught us that using your dog in a presentation is cool and Inbound is more about changing your attitude to business – including how you manage your staff.
- Doug Kessler (Creative and Content Strategist at Velocity) taught us that stealing is OK and to commit the crime shamelessly [content and ideas only guys, no tablets and smart phones]. FYI Doug, we plan to so, so watch-out. After the success of his recent book release ‘Crap’ we also learnt swear words are a great way to market yourself but we think that might be bullshit.
- SEO Gadget’s Richard Baxter gave us enough social stalking tools to start our own private investigation agency. But more importantly how to harness our Twitter data to reach influencers and make SEO friendly connections.
- Carrie Longton (Founder of Mumsnet.com) educated us on the Mummy market such as; don’t call Mums yummy and that they love to talk Politics. In general Carrie is a pro at understanding a market and how to enfranchise that market to support your brand.
Setting the inbound tone
For marketing agencies and businesses of all shapes and sizes, blogs can be a fantastic inbound marketing tool.
Here, Gemma Farmer, of PR agency Neo PR gives her 5 quintessential steps for building a fool-proof blog. We're listening, Gemma...
A blog (a contraction of the words web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web.
In the world of the marketing agency, 2013 won't just be the year of the Snake. It'll be the year the number of mobile devices exceeds the human population.
We thought we would inject a little light-hearted content into, what appears to be, a sea of negative commentaries on the Google Hummingbird update. Who needs Keywords when you can invent words for your marketing campaign?
Much to the annoyance of many SEO and content marketing agencies keywords are now predominantly ‘not provided’ in organic search analytics, making the SEO analysis of your website a cryptic puzzle.
As other marketing agencies shout their annoyance at this extra workload and plead the importance of keyword targeting, one agency, McCann Melbourne to be exact, have instead chosen to invent and market their own word. And the result is rather impressive.
McCann created an entire content marketing campaign based around a word that essentially does not exist – ‘Phubbing’. As extra evidence of their marketing feat the Australian agency even managed to hardly mention the product they were marketing (which just so happens to be a dictionary) until the final seconds of their video campaign.
The video they produced ‘Phubbing: A Word is Born’ is a factual and emotive story that explains the existence of a phenomenon that has no name. McCann, being McCann (the origin of viral hit Dumb Ways To Die) set out to fill this word void with a name. So let’s take a look at how they went about it.
It's a familiar tale to many a marketing agency. Your team is assembled, the caffeine is kicking in and the powerpoint is ready to roll... but still you lose the pitch.
In the words of one of our registered agency bods, in the marketing agency search and selection business, teams really do have to kiss a lot of frogs before winning that hard-earned brief. So why do marketing agencies lose pitches and what can they do to improve their chances?
According to this wonderfully detailed infographic on marketing agency trends for 2014, as found on Brand Republic, 93% of of all B2B marketing agencies are using Content Marketing, with 30% of all budgets being allocated on the discipline.
Further, 70% of marketing agencies are producing more content than they did last year.
LinkedIn and Twitter were the most popular platforms for marketers to use, while the biggest challenged cited by marketers for not doing more was a lack of time. Perhaps this correlates to the 86% of marketing agencies who report having someone in-house to oversee content marketing strategy.
At PR, social media and SEO agency, Punch Communications, they have, over the years, focused on how social media and search engine optimisation have altered the traditional PR landscape whilst encouraging their clients to view the three disciplines as one complementary solution.
This year the approach has been thrust into the spotlight, particularly as so much prominence has been placed on expert content placement and relevance, says Account Director, Keredy Andrews
Google has always remained firm on the fact that any content and links produced on websites needed to be appropriate and valuable, and that those abusing the system would be penalised. However, Google recently announced some changes to its webmaster guidelines which have impacted the way links should be best incorporated into content and also highlighted the worth of social sharing. This reiterates that relevancy and quality, as well as campaign integration, is here to stay and that anything written on-site or created off-site needs to adhere to these guidelines.
As the web of marketing agency disciplines slowly knits together, PR agencies are turning to storytelling to create brand identity.
But there's a big difference between storytelling and spin, says Senior Consultant at Cherish PR, Julie Thompson-Dredge.
As consumers and people who consume media become ever better at spotting a ‘blatant pitch’ or plug, marketing agencies and PR people have had to become cleverer at telling stories.
Know your buzzwords
Storytelling is very different from fabrication though. It’s often thought to be a subtle synonym for that much-maligned PR phrase, spin, but in fact a good PR agency will view storytelling as using a real-life trend or story to set a client’s product or service in a cultural context. It’s a way of making a brand relevant and authentic – which is the only way a journalist worth his or her salt is going to cover you.
At Cherish PR, we’ve told the story of erotic writing through erotic writing workshops we’ve held for journalists for our client Mills & Boon. A 150 year old romance brand, brought up to date, we tell the story of the history of erotica up to the modern day. This has resulted in first person articles by journalists which told a story, and brought the brand bang up to date.
A good marketing agency will use all the tools available to them. One media platform can often support another, which is why few PR agencies or marketing agencies overlook the enormity of social media and the power it has to lift campaigns and boost ROI.
It's difficult to fathom the fact that Twitter has been filling our screens and shaping our social sphere for 7 years. In that time 170 billion tweets have been posted by over 200m monthly active users. It's hard to gauge the success of one platform alone, yet these stats go some way:
There was once a time when Jez Furlong, Creative Director of Cleverducks (part of Cherryduck Productions), used to shudder on hearing the stock ‘all-under-one-roof’ and ‘one-stop-shop’ descriptions of marketing agencies.
Now, he's running one. So, what happened?
To me, a one-stop-shop always used to sound, well, cheap – a bit lazy, tacky, a bit… pound shop.
So what made me swap my comfortable existence as a Creative in a plush central London ad agency, for exactly one of those outfits?
Some marketing agency trends are more surprising than others. Last year the IAB posted some research that stated only 55% of businesses had adapted their business strategy to include social media. What do the PR agencies have to say? Gemma Farmer, from Neo PR tells all.
Marketing agency trends can be fickle and fleeting. But one that is still floating around (and not just in the cyberspace above us) is the notorious Big Data.
Yes that is right we are in the era of Big Data and marketing agencies are just warming up with their efforts to tap the marketing potential of this floating information source. Over 2.5 Exabytes of data are created everyday (1 billion GB to 1 Exabyte) and that number doubles every month. Most of this data is still drifting just out of marketing agencies’ reach, temping them with its juicy information, but quickly agencies are devising ways to reach new heights and tap the Big Data cloud.
As marketers learn more about Big Data new marketing agency trends are popping up with ways to utilise its potential. Over 90% of all data was created in the last two years, this offers brands an opportunity to grab their slice of the data pie and be one of the first to try new marketing approaches. Although over $500 billion is spent on Big Data marketing every year, 40% of that amount is wasted due to an inadequate use of Big Data.
So how should you use Big Data?
Marketing agency trends point to an integrated living experience where everything consumers do leads to another more informed advertising proposition. In this environment a simple activity such as placing your daily coffee order can help other brands to decide what time you will be the most susceptible to an additional promotion such as, what kind of products you might be interested in and the exact location to target you.
Many brands and businesses are already finding innovate uses for Big Data. Macy’s famously tap their Big Data mine to predict spending habits of their customers and please their investors.
But these trend leaders haven’t quite achieved the complete synergy that Big Data promises as the holy grail of marketing. Olgivy demonstrated a whole range of marketing agency trends for Big Data in their showreel of ‘A Day In The Life Of Big Data’:
Olgivy present an extreme and futuristic picture of life with Big Data but in many ways we are not far off from achieving this. Marketing agency trends for the source have lead to some concerned consumers voicing their objections on how it will impact on their daily lives.
Brands and businesses are quick to mine Big Data to beat their competitors and rake in as much revenue as possible from their customers. However the uses for Big Data don’t have to be invasive or promotional. In fact, many brands are not using Big Data to improve customer experience. One leader in this field is Amazon, despite their huge database and potential to utilise their data for promotions they have placed a large focus on their marketing efforts to improve customer experience as Fast Company describe in their blog post – How Companies Like Amazon Use Big Data To Make You Love Them:
“Last month, I talked to Amazon customer service about my malfunctioning Kindle, and it was great. Thirty seconds after putting in a service request on Amazon’s website, my phone rang, and the woman on the other end--let’s call her Barbara--greeted me by name and said, "I understand that you have a problem with your Kindle." We resolved my problem in under two minutes, we got to skip the part where I carefully spell out my last name and address, and she didn’t try to upsell me on anything. After nearly a decade of ordering stuff from Amazon, I never loved the company as much as I did at that moment.”
Customer service is an area where two popular marketing agency trends can join forces; Big Data and the evolution of brand to consumer relationships. A personalised consumer to brand experience can only come as the product of a well-informed interaction. Enter Big Data into the equation. With competition heating up amongst brands for loyal customers their focus is switching from acquisition to retention and a customer service informed by Big Data can provide this.
If you are looking for an agency to harness the power of Big Data for your company then get in contact with FindGood on @wefindgood or submit your brief now.
Influencer-led campaigns are quickly becoming one of the most coveted forms of marketing for brands says Pooja Sookur, Digital Account Manager at Integrated Marketing Agency whynot!.
But when it comes to building credibility, a strong marketing agency search and selection process will help clients secure the right team for the job.
Reaching consumers during the decision making process rather than after it is what makes this kind of marketing really valuable. Not just to drive sales but also to build strong and lasting brand awareness.
Brian Solis, in his book “What’s The Future Of Business?” introduces the ZMOT concept in relation to technology. ‘Zero Moment Of Truth’ he says it “is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone, or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying.” With a goal to get a head start at this point of the purchase cycle, many brands choose to pre-build credibility by asking people from the community to test, review and recommend products to their peers. Not surprising, since 70% consumers trust brand recommendations from family and friends, whereas only 10% trust advertising.
Who are the influencers?
Influencers are difficult people to define. A limited definition; they are people who have a measurable impact on the online communities they are a part of. Because of a steady output of reliable information from their end, people in the community trust them. The level of influence however, is more important. Do they influence people to just ‘follow’ the brand? Or do they actually influence people to take action? Make a purchase? Speak up and amplify the campaign’s impact?
For the purpose of this piece, let’s assume they are the latter and have the ability to generate an action out of someone else. For anyone who has reached this point of impact, it is a position they will not want to sully or damage. With that in mind, the parameters for brands shift from finding the right message to communicate, to finding the right people to communicate it and more importantly, the right marketing agency to convince them to come on board. Following that is the challenge of building a rewarding relationship with influencers without rewards. Using reward systems (coupons, freebies) the possibility of skewed results cannot be ignored. An organic exchange of product for feedback is the ideal situation. And to get to a point where you can expect that from influencers, you will have to find a marketing agency who has been cultivating these relationships already.
Marketing trends, like agency consolidation, are transforming the way the industry works, says Becky McKinlay, Managing Director of Marketing Comms Agency, Ambition Communications. Here, she outlays how the changes will affect mid-sized marketing agencies -- and their clients.
Where we are today: the latest marketing trends and the mid-sized marketing agency
As industry consolidation continues apace, the bigger marketing agency groups continue in their quest to dominate, increasing their reach across new territories and offering broader services and specialisations. Keen to satisfy their newly enlarged structures and resource levels, as well as impress shareholders and the City, they will concentrate on global clients and no doubt, service them extremely well. Those clients who require centralisation and economy of scale will continue to benefit from these new structures for the foreseeable future.
Recruitment. Now there is a boring word. The very idea is snore inducing. But when a marketing agency enters into the realm of recruitment it becomes a whole new ball game. It’s no surprise the ideas these creative brained agencies come up with are media attention grabbing and awe-inspiring examples of their skills. What better way to attract new troops?
Proving their bite is just as good as their bark marketing agencies have a knack for producing quirky and unforgettable job adverts that leave their mark on all that see them, regardless of whether they are applicants.
Work 4 Rich - Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
One example that has exceeded its applicant quota is Rich Silverstein’s campaign to recruit a new Personal Assistant. The Work 4 Rich campaign has reached an applicant count of 3,055 on last count. Phew, a little too effective maybe. We can image the HR manager left to sift through those CVs is not a happy bunny.
The success of Work 4 Rich was entirely down to the all singing, all dancing full-blown extravaganza of advertising genius that was applied to the simple task of creating a job advert.
Let’s start from the top. Firstly we had a ‘Work 4 Rich’ Tweet emerging among the many Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Tweets in the familiar @GSP timeline. Then before we knew it there was a website with a rather catchy tagline: ‘Rich Silverstein answers to nobody… and that nobody could be you’.
Immediately you want to play and prove your worth and the marketing agency sure does deliver. The next step of the application is a series of gamified tasks to prove you are worthy to work with the apparently super organised, painfully busy and OCD suffering Rich Silverstein. The tasks included sorting pencils from blue to green (all of which appear a dull grey colour), deciding which explosion is the most ‘explosiony’ and arranging his meetings with Felix the cat, Kim Jong Un and others in order of priority.
The site provided such a funny and engaging experience that it attracted a universal audience of playful participants, not just job seeking applicants but also new found fans of the marketing agency.
The news of the site spread quickly thanks to a clever viral aspect that encourages applicants to Tweet about the job from their personal accounts. A stream of witty and whimsical responses filled the Twitter-sphere, gathering more attention to the site as the Work 4 Rich Twitter account replied with equally as sharp responses.
On September 5th the website was nominated for an FWA Award (Favourite Website Award) by the public with a 70% yes vote. Even if Rich doesn’t find his Personal Assistant it proved to be a great internal achievement for the marketing agency, showcasing their proficiency to clients and media.
For Branding Agency Mat Dolphin, the question that repeatedly comes up when they first start talking to potential clients is: “Where are you based?”. Creative Director, Tom Actman explains that the answer really doesn't have to be that complicated.
“Where are you based?”
It’s a completely reasonable thing to ask and it’s understandable that someone we’re working with would want to know where we are whilst doing the work.
Although often the question isn’t exactly about where we’re based, it’s actually about how close we are, geographically. For clients it would all see to be about the 3 L’s: Location, location, location.
Whilst we completely appreciate that someone might want the reassurance that we’re just down the road, it is something we feel is becoming less and less important. Whilst it’s by no means revelatory to point out that technology is making the tools we use to communicate more accessible and easier to use, it is something we can’t ignore. The requirement to be in the same room as the people a branding agency is working with is becoming less and less important.
Marketing Agencies, Marketing Agencies, where for art thou Marketing Agencies?
Do you know what your prospective client marketers are thinking? Do your assumptions match up with what they're looking for?
For example, these stats show nearly three quarters of client-side marketers think marketing agencies talk too much about themselves first. Further, while 59% of marketing agencies think referrals are the best way of attracting new business, 58% of client-side marketers actually first hear of an agency via the agency themselves.
Hi. I’m Sarah, Founder of Brand Experience Agency, Woof London.
I like tea. And biscuits, to dunk in my tea. If we met, I’d make you (probably) the best tea you’ve ever had. I’m confident about that. You’d enjoy the tea and we’d have a lovely chat.
The truth is, you just can’t beat the personal touch. Especially when it comes to your branding or marketing agency.
In an age when it’s getting harder and harder to make people feel anything at all, the personal touch still has the power to make anyone feel a little bit special.
That’s the thing I’ve always been interested in. It’s why I run a Brand Experience Agency that tries to do exactly that for our clients.
The rise of social media is undeniable with a growing body of statistics that is hard to ignore says Caroline Beswick, Managing Partner of Trinity Public Relations.
In 2012, 33 million adults used the internet daily, compared with 16 million in 2006 according to the Office of National Statistics. One of the most popular online activities in the UK is reading the news. Almost half of adults (48%) now use social networking sites and for the younger age group (16-24 year olds) this leaps to a massive 87%. While social networking is lower amongst the older generation – it is by no means an irrelevant figure with just one in ten over 65s using social networks. So, it would seem that social media use now spans generations, demographics and professions.
Don't undervalue PR's worth
Many leading brands across the world utilise social media extremely effectively and it’s fair to say that for most companies, social media is now a critical component of an effective marketing strategy. The potential audience reach is undoubtedly appealing, particularly if you’re heading up a new marketing drive for your company or appointing a PR or marketing agency and want to be able to attribute these types of figures to your campaign.
So, we’re agreed - social media does indeed give clients and marketing agencies a new “playground” to communicate in and the potential to reach – and crucially interact with - a huge audience. However one word of caution - it would be unwise to see social media as a total replacement for other PR and marketing tactics. In our experience, it is important to keep an “open mind” in particular at the brief and pitching stage and consider social media (networks such as Facebook and Twitter) as a package alongside so-called traditional communication routes (e.g. a double page spread in Good Housekeeping or the headline interview for the company spokesperson on Radio 4’s Today programme).
PR has long faired as the golden child of the marketing mix, but marketing agencies could take a pointer or two when it comes to their planned activity, says Victoria Evans, Account Director at Social Media, SEO and PR agency, Punch Communications.
Sometimes it can be challenging for brands to generate their own news content for a number of different reasons. These can range from budget to partner approval, to lack of relevant product or service news taking place, and therefore capitalising on external goings on is vital. A great PR tactic for marketing agencies to develop is to research what is going on in the wider world and piggyback on topical occurrences with comment and feature ideas.
As a marketing agency, there are certain pits falls you can fall into during the agency search and selection process.
It might seem like the right thing to do, but blowing one’s own trumpet really hard can often lead to disinterested prospects (and disenfranchised customers) says Ashley Carr of PR agency, Neo PR.
We say it over again. It’s not about you is it?
But therein lies the rub – we are taught in business from the very early years, that headline-grabbing figures of growth, size, and market domination are all good things. In fact, the City literally demands to know your quarter on quarter performance and woe betide those who underperform.
Jacob Reimann, Client Partner at digital tech agency, Engine6 says when it comes to briefing design and marketing agencies, the devil really is in the detail.
In our offices, we work direct with brands and with leading creative and marketing agencies to build a diverse range of websites and applications (we'll call them both sites for the sake of brevity), from simple sites like ours to complex web applications that do some pretty clever stuff.
We recently stumbled across a list of 9 steps for effective marketing agency search and selection on the Marketing Profs website and as somewhat expert in the agency search and selection process ourselves, we thought we'd weight in and give our thoughts on their definitive guide.
We were kindly sent this great infographic from creative web agency, Moove and thought it was too good not to share.
Wordpress is a content management system that can play an effective role in any company's marketing strategy. High-profile users include TED, Reutuers, Mashable, Forbes, Time and CNN. The CMS is being used by many a marketing agency to better their online strategy and streamline their online prescence. In fact, 92% of Wordpress users use the site as a full CMS.
What is all this about Google killing PR? If anything the Google Webmaster update has made it more important than ever for marketers to consider PR agency selection and recruitment to help boost SEO.
Shock, horror they have done it again. Google have put another stop to a loophole that cheeky techies have been using as an extra tactic to boost their website SEO.
In a continution of our effort to see what smaller marketing agencies are saying about the Publicis/Omnicom merger, we asked MD of marketing agency Incite, Kristian Gough what he thought about the upcoming move and how he saw it affecting the industry.
The Publicis Omnicom Group will boast a forecasted £23 billion in share value and 40% of the global advertising market if regulators approve it. Big deal.
However, the risks of the large merger are easily translated into advantages for independent advertising and marketing agencies. For example, the complicated process of orchestrating a merger can be a cause for concern for clients who will be anxious to avoid any negligence of their brand’s needs during the process. Incite found new business potential in the following problems:
Problem #1 – Bigger is not better
Ask the experts. See what the smaller marketing agencies are saying...
The merger between advertising agency giants Publicis and Omincom is one of the biggest happenings in the industry for decades. We asked three MDs of smaller marketing agencies what they thought the impact would be for clients and how the landscape could change.
Jamie Mollart, Director of Advertising and Marketing Agency, Rock Kitchen Harris, is calling all creative folk to arms in a world of cold, hard stats.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently; how does an advertising or marketing agency maintain the focus on creativity in a world of monitoring?
How do you go about briefing your marketing agency? Are you committing some deadly briefing sins? Improve your briefs with George Foster, who, as Founder and Creative Director of Integrated Design and Marketing Agency, Gravitas spills the beans.
People often ask me how to brief a design or marketing agency.
Experiential marketing has claimed its rightful place at the top table. This should be celebrated says Nick Adams, M.D of Experiential Marketing Agency of the Year, Sense London.
Just by looking at how certain industry awards are dominated by experiential campaigns, it’s clear to see how marketers from all sectors have embraced the once, relatively new, technique.
Whether as a marketing agency's lead discipline in an integrated plan, or vital supporting component, experiential can being applied at every key stage of a brand’s development.
Many positive characteristics have fuelled this growth, but two aspects are especially relevant in today’s trading conditions:
- The convergence of experiential with digital techniques is providing another means of ongoing consumer dialogue and further amplifying a live experience. This has in part, helped draw a line through the scepticism that experiential can’t reach the masses.
- The capability to be reactive, that is to say, getting impactful activities out to market in the shortest of lead times which in today’s trading environment has become increasingly important.
So all in all experiential marketing is in rude health and long may that continue.
But how? Will the steady growth in investment continue and how can we defend our position in a landscape which sees marketing agencies and marketers constantly bombarded with new and different consumer touch-points?
Education remains an ongoing priority and there’s still a real need to get brand owners to reappraise experiential’s role. All too often I hear about clients ignoring the most robust and impressive campaign results, in favour of a comfort factor provided by a more traditional, but less effective channel.
But a much broader challenge is how all experiential practitioners package our discipline in terms of what it can deliver, in an accessible way to brands and media planners alike, if it’s they who are recommending which channels will fulfil a client’s objectives.
Keeping it fresh
Let’s never lose the creativity and excitement of such a high energy and impactful discipline, but at the same time we must ensure we never trade on this alone and put tangible results at the forefront of how experiential is planned by marketing agencies and sold to clients.
Much like a catchy jingle doesn’t secure budget for a radio Ad, brand owners decision’s mustn’t be clouded by a desire to see their brand on the proverbial ‘live stage’, however bold, engaging and tempting the marketing agency’s presentation. I frequently meet or hear about brands excited about trying a new experiential strategy without fully understanding the commercial reasons for their decision. Tempting as it may be for agencies to spend the budget, long term growth of our sector has to come from agencies behaving with commercial responsibility and pragmatism in advising their clients.
Take a look at digital marketing’s exponential rise and some parallels can be drawn. It’s frequently debated as to whether brand owners are investing in social for the right reasons, based on clear objectives and measured KPI’s or a simple desire to marginally increase their Facebook likes.
My own belief is that some social media investment is a result of the band wagon analogy but as the plethora of digital opportunities evolve, those succeeding long-term will be able to provide clear connections between consumer engagement online and hard, measurable commercial gains - offline.
Experiential marketing has to leverage its maturity and become more strategic in applying our trade, offering clients greater understanding of what a campaign will achieve and if and how this fits with brand challenges and objectives.
So from the experiential marketing agency perspective, there’s never been a more important time to scrutinise a brief and provide a quantifiable solution - that campaign X will drive Y incremental sales, increase key brand health scores by Y%, gain trial amongst X genuine new users, or whatever the hierarchy of objectives.
Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects are recording over a 450% increase in qualified leads, says Garry Davis of Digital Marketing Agency, Grow Online Marketing, specialists in Marketing Automation. Here he tells you all you need to know.
Marketing automation can bring a host of significant benefits to organisations keen to target their marketing more accurately – but too many companies don’t yet know about this exciting new technology.
What is the definition of marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a term for software that is used to capture the data of the people who interact with your brand online and then nurtures those leads until they are ready to be converted into sales.
The way marketing automation software works is to record the email addresses of everybody who fills out a form on your website and then by ‘tagging’ all their other activity, from the pages they look at on your website through to their engagement with your social media profiles. Using this technology, marketing automation software can build a more comprehensive picture than ever before of how people interact with your brand. It’s the next step that makes marketing automation software so exciting, however, because it sends follow-up content to those leads based on their individual habits.
For example: a travel agency sends an email to its database containing a pdf attachment of its latest brochure. Joe Smith is one of the recipients and clicks through to open the brochure. He’s interested in holidays in Greece, so he goes straight to that page. He has previously visited the travel agency’s Facebook page. The software has tracked all of this, and is able to send him automatic follow-up messages containing offers on holidays in Greece, and incentives to become a fan on Facebook. The travel agency is communicating with Joe based on his actions and preferences, thus achieving a unique balance between inbound and outbound marketing.
Are you one of the advertising or marketing agencies whose Adwords dashboard has been cluttered with notifications of the impending Google update?
Perhaps some of the 6 million already upgraded legacy campaigns (equating to almost 75% of all active campaigns) belonged to your advertising or marketing agency.
The marketing world has been shaken by a controversial debate with one question at the epicentre: Do marketing agencies place too much emphasis on creativity and not enough on achieving return on investment? According to 78% of CEOs, they don't...This comes as an aftermath from a report published by Fournaise Marketing Group stating that a majority of Chief Executives feel marketing agencies are too “inward looking”. The report went onto explain this was because there was little or no evidence to support agency claims that creativity in their marketing strategies guaranteed an improvement in ROI.
Since the report was published on July 11th there has been a backlash response from marketing agencies and other influential bodies in the industry slamming the claims. Their group disapproval is proof that not only marketing agencies but also CEOs believe that creativity and ROI is not an either or decision.
Truly creative and original concepts have little or no backing research to support the strategy pitch due to the experimental nature of the ideas. It is this detail that rings alarm bells for CEOs who are used to being reassured their investment will be well spent with a presentation of hard data and evidence to ensure an airtight profitable strategy.
As we march steadily forward into the digital age, the brands that are destined to survive are the ones that can embrace digital and use it to connect with consumers emotionally, says James Fuller of intergrated marketing agency, whynot!.
The popular path for digital at the moment seems to lie in experiential marketing, that is to say creating a memorable experience for consumers through interactive activities that ring an emotional chord. For Pringles, the latest adopter of this strategy, it’s about the fun and humorous connection with fans and with this new campaign- and we must admit they’re doing it rather well.
Making good use of digital yet again with their latest campaign ‘Last Can Standing’, the Pringles marketing team have had come up with giving their consumers the chance to create the world’s tallest virtual stack of Pringles.
Ask any digital marketer or marketing agency bod which discipline is first on the budget sheet, they're bound to answer 'search'. It stands to reason - although companies spend time, effort and money trying to tightly define their target audiences and deliver relevant messages at relevant times, a search audience is self-selecting.
Your ad is only served to those interested in your product or service as identified by the search phrase they enter into Google or Bing. By definition you've served the ad to the right audience at the right time.
Integrated Vs specialist: its the marketing agency debate that colours FindGood towers many an afternoon – but what should you base your marketing agency search and selection on and what do you need to consider?
There are many pros and cons for each side and naturally, the scales are constantly swaying.
This blog was penned by the team at Gutenberg, an international advertising production business specialising in decoupling advertising production
Is decoupling advertising production right for you?
There are a number of factors which influence whether decoupling production is right for your business. Before you embark on decoupling advertising production there are a number of factors to take into account. If you fall into one of the following structures you can almost certainly benefit.
Did you miss Marketing Week Live 2013? We've asked one resident of this year's 'Ask the Experts' Zone, Brett Sammels to give us the inside scoop.
Brett is Client Services Director at full service advertising and marketing agency, LAW Creative.
We were digging around the back catalogues the other day and found this arther provacative article, which made our eyebrows, and we're sure those of marketing agencies everywhere, raise a few inches. Kevin Roberts of Advertising Agency Saatchi & Saatchi makes four big claims in his article entitled ‘Marketing is dead’. These are:
- Strategy is dead
- Management is dead
- The big idea is dead
- Marketing as we know [it] is dead
It's quite a statement, but reading further, we find ourseves agreeing with Roberts’ support points. Cynically, however, we suppose, in true Saatchi style, his headline points were meant to provoke. The social movement has changed the face of marketing and of the marketing agency. As did the internet. TV. Radio. Moveable type, etc.
If Roberts’ goal was to shock and generate discussion around the change that the industry is experiencing; he succeeded.
But, it’s our view that brands will continue to engage with audiences in order to drive sales and as the industry fragments further, moving from one to many communications toward one to one interactions, the role of the marketing agency and advertising agency will become more important. While the current marketing landscape and social tools allow the top 10% of brands and products to generate organic awareness and interest, this won’t be the case for the majority of firms and products. Most will still look to specialist firms to save themselves the learning curve of implementing full marketing programmes internally.
What do you think? Is marketing dead? How do you think the role of the marketing agency change in the years to come?
Read what CEO UK and Ireland of Branding Agency, The Brand Union, Toby Southgate has to say about 'Experience' and how a holistic marketing approach could fix your brand-consumer comms.
Daniel Bradley is an Account Manager at Monitor, a full service marketing agency based in Manchester.
The reports are clear. Mobile internet traffic is set to overtake desktop traffic by 2014. Are you ready? Here are 5 good reasons why you need to develop a mobile strategy so you don’t get left behind.
- Mobile internet use is rising dramatically
The world has gone mobile. Mobile and tablet device sales are incredibly strong and as a result mobile Internet usage is increasing rapidly. Websites are seeing a dramatic increase in mobile traffic. If forecasts are to be believed, by the end of 2013 and start of 2014, we’ll all be accessing the internet on the move rather than from our desks.
- Social media is driving mobile expectations
Along with email, social media is the most popular activity on mobile devices. The major social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are all optimised for mobile. When you develop your mobile strategy by sure to bear in mind that users of social media networks now expect this from social media sites as a standard and it’s only a matter of time before they expect it from every website.
- Most website mobile traffic grew by over 50% in 2012
The increase in smartphone and tablet sales means many more mobile Internet users. This number is likely to grow even more in 2013 as smartphones and tablets continue to saturate the market. We’re seeing the figures reflecting the change. A number of websites we currently manage have seen their mobile traffic increase over 500% since 2011 after developing a mobile strategy.
- Your competitors are going mobile
Going mobile is a hot topic of conversation at the moment whether it’s about creating mobile websites or dedicated mobile apps. Even if you’re not planning to focus on mobile soon, or develop a mobile strategy, chances are your competitors will be.
- There are more devices connected to the Internet than there are people on Earth.
An astonishing statistic that says it all. And it’s going in one direction given the influx of smartphones, tablet devices and the increasingly popular Smart TV.
Key Steps to Starting Your Mobile Strategy
Know your audience
What are your customers looking for on their mobile devices? You need to find out so you can create features they find valuable – features they can’t live without. Review your analytics, filter the mobile traffic and see what sort of content mobile users are looking for on your site.
Know your starting point
Take a look at your current online presence on a mobile and tablet device. How does it look? Is your web experience fully optimised across all devices?
Know your competition
Take a look at your competition online. Do they have a mobile strategy with mobile-optimised messages and apps? Set clear goals Once you understand where you are now and what your customers are looking for from their mobile devices, the next step is to focus on your core goals. Don’t make the mistake of changing your business to become mobile. Mould a mobile strategy to fit your goals and make the move to mobile work for you.
Gary Stringer is the Digital Marketing Manager of AccuraCast, a Digital Marketing Agency focussed on web traffic and customer engage engagement.
People ask me a lot, how can I tweet effectively and what are your best tips for using twitter?
Phil Wright is the Director of creative comms agency WrightObara.
By definition the term ‘social currency’ suggests it has an implicit value. But as with everything in life, to realise this value takes effort. But how can a business start to create - and benefit from - social currency?
It’s my experience that businesses know that they should be engaging in social media, but most aren’t sure why or how to go about it. Up until recently most social engagement has been an extension of a brand’s above the line campaign, a drive to collect ‘likes’ or an attempt to go ‘viral’ with a humorous but ultimately juvenile stunt. This isn’t social currency.
Pass it on
This article was written by Ryan Hickling, Head of Email at Digital Marketing Agency, TMW.
One question I’m often asked is, “What email marketing tips do you have/ how can I make my emails stand out from the crowd and what are the latest cool/sexy techniques that I can build into my email campaigns?”
Email marketing tips and best practices
From an implementation point of view there’s a huge variety of different methods you can use to engage your audience and I’ll briefly cover off a couple of ideas under Cool Functionality below.
However, people continually overlook the basics of great email content like those seen within the Copy and Design sections in this post. Regardless of the type of email campaign or subject matter, you need to be thinking of the following when going into the design and copywriting phase of your email build. Here are a couple of basic email marketing tips to help you get started:
Julia Start is the Marketing Director at events agency Bray Leino Events, part of the marketing agency group Bray Leino.
How to leverage conference marketing and exhibition strategy for your brand: Part ONE
Need to give your new-business strategy a kick? Got some budget for event marketing? Ironed your networking trousers and polished your comfortable shoes? Sounds like you’re ready to take on an industry exhibition.
Event marketing trends show large and small brands across B2B and B2C sectors, from oil and gas to fashion and retail, expending increasing amounts of time and effort on these large-scale networking jamborees; building stands, strategy, and industry profile.
So, your company has chosen to improve customer experience presenting your business online more efficiently. Whether it’s a website or an app, in recent years the knowledge and expertise of how to create better online products has evolved considerably and is now considered a science more than an art. But how do we go about selecting the right UX agency for us?
Agency search and selection
James Jesse Garrett, a User Experience designer awarded by Wired magazine, recently told Mashable that “it has been interesting to watch the evolution of user experience”. In the course of 10 years user experience has become an essential part of product strategy and one of the factors to attribute to this change, according to Garrett, is Apple’s success. The Cupertino company is, in essence, a UX company, “they imagine experiences and then work out what are the right technologies to leverage to create the experience they want to deliver” says Garrett.
Experiential Marketing in Festivals FMCG’s biggest opportunity or just another shopping centre?As answered by Stephanie Whitaker, Managing Director of ignis
Experiential marketing in festivals
Over the past decade, festivals have become a core part of our cultural currency. The number of festivals across the UK has boomed; there are now more than 500 music festivals alone (compared to 20 back in 1998), and what festivals offer has changed dramatically – they are now less about the music and more about the entire experience they offer.
However, despite the evolution of the format of the festival itself, many FMCG brands have failed to shift their approach to festivals accordingly and see fill the experiential marketing gap. This is surprising as, arguably, it is the FMCG industry that is best placed to capitalise on the shift.
In my last blog, 'What is decoupling in marketing and advertising?' I dealt with the history and context of decoupling in marketing and advertising. I now want to focus on some of the benefits.
Writing a brief for potential marketing agencies doesn't have to be a drama.
While there are many tools, templates and tips available to help you when writing a brief on our website, we understand that starting with a blank white sheet of paper can be a bit daunting.
Are you selecting an agency? Many regional corporates (large and small) choose large advertising network agencies, but are they the best choice?
How do you keep up with branding trends, stay new and stand out? 'New' may not be the answer for your developing brand strategy, argues Max Wright, Strategy Director at Kindred.
When it comes to brand identity development and creating a brand strategy, the concept of 'Newism' is hard to ignore. I suspect that this thrill of the new is driven by seeking standout at all costs or the ego-centric view that our audiences are just as obsessed with the new as we are.
Content marketing is the creation and publication of interesting content (such as blog articles, comment pieces or multimedia shares) with the objective of driving traffic to your site and promoting your brand. Having a good content marketing strategy is essential for anyone looking to keep up with their competitors, foster consumer relationships and get the attention of potential consumers.
Key types of marketing content:
- Viral: Content that is designed to spread and be shared across social platforms. This content marketing strategy has a short lifespan and is predominately designed as a quick-fix, that is, to entertain, provoke (often emotional) reactions and to provide the 'wow' factor. It's great for growth and getting your name out there but doesn't offer the reader much in terms of substance. Examples of viral content marketing include infographics, videos, stats and picture galleries.
- Lead gen: Marketing content that aims to point out a problem or gap in the reader's knowledge and to then provide a solution (solved by opting in or signing up). This is a popular content marketing strategy encompassing all aspects of marketing, PR and brand journalism. It is designed to spark some kind of call to action.
- Sales gen: As above but with the objective of triggering a sale rather than a sign up.
- Discussion: As you would expect, this type of content is designed to create conversation and promote interaction between not only the reader and publisher but the readers themselves. This kind of community-focused thought-leadership is best characterised by comment or reaction pieces, industry overviews, insider/insight articles or instructional pieces, for example Do's and Don'ts (just like this!).
So, with that out the way, here are our very own Do's and Don'ts, to help you develop your content marketing strategy.
DO: Offer the reader something
Viral content marketing aside, each piece of content should help the reader in some way. This could be through educating, advising, entertaining or offering some kind of solution. Yes, at the end of the day Content Marketing is just that, marketing, but it should ultimately lead the reader to some kind of goal rather than just be self-serving. It should aim to encourage contribution and engagement while positioning your brand as a go-to thought leader or expert.
DON'T: Regurgitate old content
In the real world recycling may be great, but online there's nothing worse. Your content marketing strategy should be inventive and reactionary, incorporating developments in the industry, the latest viral trends and consistently offer your readers something new, fresh and engaging.
DO: Make it search-friendly
All marketing content strategies should be SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation)-friendly. That means when generating your content you need to take into account what your audience is looking for and what is likely to draw attention. With Google's updated algorthyms now kicking in it can be hard to stay ahead of the system, but SEO Moz is a great place to start. Also make sure you are monitoring your social footprint and the traffic your content generates. This way you'll know what is working and what isn't, as well as identifying room for growth.
Video marketing, be it viral or social is a great way bolster brand leverage, flex your online muscle and boost consumer engagement.
As consumer attention is increasingly drawn online, video marketing is becoming the norm for marketing departments looking to differentiate their brand from their competitors- with some thinking more outside the box than others.
Here, we've compiled a list of some of our favourite and most effective video marketing campaigns, including offerings from the likes of Coke, T-Mobile and Red Bull.
Video marketing campaign #1: KLM and Personal Space
Video is a great tool that allows brands to visually demonstrate a USP or concept whilst simultaneously promoting an ethos. KLM have identified their target audience and found an enjoyable way to communicate their message. It's also cringe-worthingly fun to watch.
Video marketing campaign #2: VW target San Paolo with SM
Here VW have proved that video marketing can be used for more than just comms but as a demonstration of social media strategy too. Often video is the glue that ties many channels together- this is a clear example of this 'coming together' of digital media.
Video marketing campaign #3: The Coca-Cola Happiness Truck
This is as much an example of experiential marketing as it is video marketing, but along with their Coke Friendship Machine, Coca-Cola are consistent in their use of video to propagate the 'brand experience'. Their video content is designed to evoke emotion, thus keeping consumers loyal via experiences that are memorable, encourage customer participation and offer personally relevant, credible and memorable encounters.
Video marketing campaign #4: Spanair & the Christmas Conveyer Belt
Another campaign designed to tug at the heart strings, this video marketing example shows how with a little innovation, brands can overcome the rigidity of their industry's image. While BA and AA opt for the concept of luxury or Easyjet for value, Spanair decided to travel the path less trodden: that of brand experience, with a 'behind the scenes' look at how they work to make their customers happy.
Video marketing campaign #5: Red Bull snowboarding
Any Red Bull campaign could make this list; their team has pioneered the use of video to create a brand identity (their Space Jump smashed viral records). Red Bull's content is always visually appealing, uniquely thrilling and has transcended the limits imposed by the product itself.
Video marketing campaign #6: T-Mobile Traffic Wardens
It's possible that when it comes to video marketing nobody does it better that T-Mobile. From their Liverpool Street Station Flashmob - 37m views and counting- to this, their lesser known but arguably better Traffic Warden campaign, the T-Mobile team have become experts in tying interesting, enjoyable and most importantly shareable ideas to their business model.
Many marketers are tasked with doing more with static or shrinking budgets. The answer to this, is often ‘ to decouple’ production.
Despite the potential benefits, many marketers only have a limited understanding of what decoupling in advertising and marketing actually is, how to decouple and who it is suitable for.
This post, from Gutenberg CEO Simon Steel, the first in a series, looks at the history of decoupling in advertising and marketing and provides a clear explanation of what decoupling is.
The history of decoupling and advertising and marketing
The full service advertising agency had a privileged relationship with advertisers. They often acted as consultant, procurement department, media buying agency, promotional and direct marketing agency rolled into one. Production was craft and many specialists were employed to realise the creative idea, such as specialist typesetters. Production was expensive, time consuming and arms-length from the advertiser. Suppliers such as printers and re-pro houses were managed by the agency and prices marked up.
Gradually this model split and fragmented. Media buying went into specialists, as did direct marketing, promotional marketing and web, all splintering again into the fragmented market we see today, leaving creative agencies with the creative idea and the execution and production of that creative idea. At the same time technology made the execution, delivery and production of campaign material easier and clients, led by specialist procurers started to look at their agency invoices and wonder if things couldn’t be done a bit more efficiently.
This set the scene for decoupling.
Single integrated or specialist agencies tend to make significant margin on the production of marketing material. They are often high overhead businesses, with large fixed operating costs. By decoupling the production of marketing assets and centralising the procurement of printed material, clients tend to save upward of 20% from their overall marketing budget.
Consumers are seeking authentic brands. Brands with soul. Soul needs to be baked into your brand identity.
Gone are the days when marketing was about having the biggest, shoutiest brand, being 'revolutionary' or being the first to launch stuff into space.
To today’s hype-weary consumer, flash brand strategies, such as celebrity endorsements and high-budget campaigns are seen as the swan song of desperate 'me too' brands trying to eek out market share. They're often a clear sign that the products behind them are lacking in quality and most importantly, soul.
A brand identity with soul thrives on popularity, admiration, trust and is confided in by their consumers. Brands rack up clout scores on how many of the public and stakeholders literally ‘like’ them.
It’s not news that social media has changed the lines of communication. The trick is to extend the brand personality in an intelligent and human way. After all, friends know when to stop talking shop. A friend would know what to post in your Facebook newsfeed to transport you into a more light-hearted and engaged frame of mind.
Ben and Jerry’s understood this during Occupy Wall Street when they set up live coverage on their website with the title ‘We Stand by the 99%’. They were listening to their audience and they weren’t afraid of openly empathising. Just like a thoughtful human. Just like a friend. They were 'with' us, not 'instructing' us. A vital shift in the relationship between sellers and buyers.
The modern brand identity
It’s all very well quoting text book case studies so here’s one closer to home for brand soul (or a shameless plug for one I launched myself).
In partnership with the BBC and property developer TCN we brought the Ugli Creative Campus in White City, West London to life- a thriving community for 650 creative folk and a brand based on wholesome honesty. Not only were we 12 months ahead of lease capacity, we have a still-growing waiting list.
What was the secret? Fundamentally, we just created a very open, honest and human brand. A brand with soul. A likeable brand identity that was based on what it did and how it acted, looking to support, help and incubate creative talent. Our philosophy, brand strategy and indeed our URL, is ‘lovely inside’, for it's about what all brands should be: People. Community. Engagement. Sharing. Honesty. Fun. Creativity.
As written by Nick Pearce, Co-Owner of JP Creative and Co-Founder of Ugli Creative Campus.
Is it a leap forward helping the world to run smoothly on exabytes of unstructured, unprecedented levels of data? Or, asks Bill Portlock, Head of Marketing at Marketing Metrix, is Big Data a new buzz-word used by sales and marketing to frighten organisations into purchasing multimillion dollar IT platforms?
Big Data: history repeating itself?
History is certainly repeating itself. I’m old enough to remember the birth of CRM (customer relationship management) and how the industry was split between IT companies and their solve-it-all £multimillion databases, and the pointy heads claiming it was their domain. CRM turned out to be data driven marketing using IT as a tool, and eventually became the buzz-word of the '90s.
With this in mind, it’s vital that we monitor how the Big Data debate develops and monitor how it will impact on our industry. But there are some cautionary steps that must be taken. Some companies are rushing to buy expensive machines to capture what is in many cases vast amounts of ephemeral data without giving thought to how it will be of value to them in the long run. Others are burying their heads in the sand as they find Big Data to be too overwhelming and are still stuck with figuring out whether or not Social Media is worth it (it is!).
Big Data Analytics
One can throw enormous volumes of data into a mega machine costing a fortune and it will come out with all sorts of interesting figures, but are these details useful or (more importantly) even usable? Is a machine really better at understanding how human data can be used?
The most effective way to approach Big Data is to combine the entirety of a company’s data collateral, and then decide where to look within the Social Media plane. The data is not thrown into some black box, but analysed by humans using IT tools and software. It’s the creative interpretation of the data which will do most to drive the bottom line.
This is doable, scalable and most importantly actionable. But the most important question to ask an organisation, before embarking on any ‘Big Data’ project is what they want to get out of it! Essentially, despite the hype and fanatical strategies surrounding Big Data, it’s not difficult or confusing; it's just about asking the right questions.
What's your stance on the Big Data Debate? Were you sold the same story in the 90s? Let us know!
Second screen society and second screen viewing
Second screen is now an everyday reality - from tweeting comments about BBC’s Question Time to Facebooking during Britain’s Got Talent. About 60% of UK viewers go online while watching TV at least twice a week and one in three does so every day, according to research by TV advertising trade body Thinkbox.
Brands are increasingly looking to build on this phenomenon and some believe that interacting with live TV on a companion device is the next great frontier for social media. According to a study by Brandwatch, 61% of brands are already regularly tweeting before, during and after TV programmes - hoping to improve their brand image by engaging with their followers in current and topical conversations.
Second screen and social media for brands
Twitter’s TV Book which was released earlier this year breaks down the tweeting habits of TV viewers and tells us that of the 10 million active Twitter users in the UK, 60% tweet whilst watching TV and 40% of them mention what they are watching in some way or other. That’s a big social audience – and if a brand can get it right, they can soon increase their social voice and their followers. According to Brandwatch, 17% of the people surveyed said that they felt more connected to brands seen on social networking sites.
- Dual-screen social TV initiatives are the next great frontier for social media, according to some agencies.
- 60% of viewers concurrently watch TV and go online two to three times a week. One in three (37%) do so every day.
- Some doubt dual screening will become mainstream because people often watch TV to relax rather than engage with it. Understanding programme types and content is as essential as understanding audiences. (Source: http://econsultancy.com)
This is clearly not a daunting prospect for a new fashion show on Channel 4’s T4, funded by high street chain New Look, which plans to go further still in its efforts to tap into dual screening. During ‘New Look Style Nation’, which launches on 4th June, viewers will be able to dress virtual models and submit their own designs on a dedicated website, to compete for a job styling the retailer’s ad campaigns. The show will appeal to the chain’s strong youth following (it currently has 100,000 fans on Facebook). The website will also link to the New Look ecommerce site where viewers can buy styles featured in the programme.
Second screen: games, apps and TV
It’s true to say that Social TV is in its early stages and brands are still experimenting with second screen formats, but the idea undoubtedly has a role to play in reinvigorating live TV events and allowing brands to tap into the opportunities therein. While it appeals strongly to a hardcore of users, it remains to be seen how far mainstream viewers will interact with programmes and brands through second screen games and more advanced applications. It’s unlikely that you’ll see your granddad racing online against the Countdown clock whilst tweeting the benefits of a bottle of WKD Blue anytime soon – but you might find him guessing the value of a painting on his Antique’s Roadshow app, even if he doesn’t know how to tweet the nation with the result.
Channel Marketing Definition: The management of the routes or 'channels' your product takes to reach its end consumer, and the cultivating of the relationships these journeys entail in order to maximise your sales and brand awareness.
There has never been a more critical time for brands to engage their channel partners as effectively as possible. A long time seen as the ‘poor relation’ within the marketing mix, Channel Marketing is now proving itself as an essential element in a brand’s journey.
Here he puts together a list of effective B2B marketing comms tools or ‘formulae’ you might want to bear in mind when communicating with the B2B community.
(B ≠ Boring)
'B' really does not have to stand for ‘Boring’. I can’t see the ‘B2B’ acronym on a brief without mentally adding a word before it and translating it as “(Don’t) Be Too Boring”. Make your B2B marketing communications interesting and fun, even if the subject matter proves a challenge.
(B = Bright)
When I’m in work mode, the more things that brighten my day the better. Choose a strategy, theme and design that encourage positive communication and doesn't make your audience feel blue. In fact, many B2B marketing agencies favour the colour blue, but unless it’s one of your core brand colours, you might want to try to avoid it altogether!
(B ≠ Buzzwords)
Avoid using marketing industry buzzwords in your B2B communications, even if you think that using them will show that you ‘speak the same language’ as your audience. A large percentage of your B2B audience probably don’t use those buzzwords, so why alienate any of them by using language they don’t like, or possibly even understand?
(B = Busy)
It's likely you're trying to encourage communication with your B2B audience when they are at work, so it's probable that they're quite busy. Do tell them a story, (engage them), but do it quickly… treat the key message like a roadside billboard (you really haven’t got much more than a few seconds for your message to register).
(B ≠ Bragging)
Unless you really are ‘the best’ and can prove it, it might be best to avoid over-stating your skill… at best you’ll just get lost in the mass over-claimers, at worst someone will find you out. But don’t be shy when communicating to a B2B audience– try to provide evidence of how your product/service has positively impacted on someone’s business… And remember that if it’s true, it’s not really ‘bragging’ at all.
(B = C)
One of our creative directors at here at marketing comms agency, Clinic regularly trots out the line that “a B is just a C at work”. I don’t know whether it’s his own line or whether he just ‘borrowed’ it, but I don’t really care, it really is the key thing to remember when developing trade brand comms materials. Any B2B audience, whatever the content/context of the message, needs to be ‘engaged’ in order to take it in - you’re unlikely to be engaging the B2B community or putting out good marketing communications if you're boring your audience to death, right?
Example of a creative B2B marketing campaign
A good example of how using these tools can lead to successful B2B marketing communication is the CBS Outdoor ‘Look for Longer’ campaign. Clinic developed and created the stunningly eye-catching and attention-grabbing (it’s not bragging if it's true!) cross-track 48-sheet posters which appeared all over the London Underground, enabling our client to reach and engage consumer and media trade audiences and demonstrate extended engagement via mobile and other digital media.
It’s definitely a B2B communication, but through using massive ‘consumer’ engagement to prove the science of the ‘business’ product/service, it’s selling too. And look at the interest it generated: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdfafZihRUM
Clinic is an independent, full service creative agency based in Farringdon, London EC1, developing and producing consumer and trade brand communications for clients including Barclays Bank, Network Rail, Arsenal FC, Madame Tussauds and CBS Outdoor.
FindGood helps companies of all sizes to select the ‘right’ agency. And while we’d love an opportunity to help anyone in need, we realise that some would prefer to undertake the onerous task alone.
If you aim to select a PR Agency this year, download our complimentary Guide to Selecting a PR Agency here. Of course, the agency you choose is an important decision and the process necessary to find the right one is a lengthy one. So, if you decide to reach out for help, we’d love to be the first ones to receive your call…click here to submit your brief.
At times, we get calls for help from client-side marketers who have grown frustrated by hotshot agencies which won’t answer their calls or emails during the agency search and selection process. These client-side marketers will have started out by consulting the various agency award show winner listings when making up their agency shortlist, become enthusiastic about 5-10 of the regularly applauded firms and then subsequently have made contact only to then be disappointed when the award-winning firm(s) went silent.
We ran across this story in the Guardian yesterday which highlights that Tesco have bought into a new coffee shop concept chain which some feel is misleadingly branded as if it’s an independent. This struck us as particularly interesting as since starting up last year, we have received briefs from both small upstarts which are hoping to pass themselves off as more established brands, as well as larger corporate ones who are spinning off ‘independent concepts’ and selecting branding and design firms outside their normal stable so that no essence of their existing brands will taint the new firm’s.
This leads us to question which is the greater sin: appearing to be more, or less ‘corporate’ than in reality? Or is either mission sinful at all?
Like most firms, every day, we answer the question ‘Who are you; what do you do; what makes you different?’ And, of course, we have our elevator pitch prepped and ready to go. But, it always comes out slightly differently depending on who is speaking, whom they’re speaking to and what else is our minds. I suppose we have this in common with most other companies around.
So, just in case you were wondering and have landed on this page:
Back in 2000-01, I was working agency-side and just about every new brief was for a website pitch. At the time, we’d go into the client’s offices (or invite them into ours) and discuss our methodology for developing a great website, gather their brief, show them relevant examples of our work for others and provide a proposal and estimate thereafter. As ours was a small boutique creative agency and the average site build was less than $30,000, this was most often adequate to win the website pitch.
Now, in 2012, things have changed–obviously. As surfers today, our online behaviour patterns are ingrained and we now have access to much more sophisticated analytical tools to assess user’s actions. So then, why do so many small, boutique digital and integrated agencies still pitch in much the same way?
I recently read a thought-provoking article by Andrew Marr entitled ‘Can Good Design Save The Economy’. Upon reading the article, I was proud to be creative industry as the central premise of the article is that the thinkers and creators who play in the creative/design industry may drive the UK’s economy in the future. Apparently, the design/creative industry contributes roughly the same amount to the UK’s GDP as Financial Services. But the article goes further to state that the number of individuals working in the Creative and Design Industries is nearly double that of the Financial Services. To my mind, the natural assumption which flows from these stats is that those working in Design are less business savvy than those working in the financial services industry.
If we really take a moment to think, the central message within the article is common sense. It’s been well articulated by others much wiser than I that our future economy (ie the world’s) will be fuelled by thinkers, professionals doing and creating new things of value which serve a worthwhile purpose and command a fair price from consumers.
In many ways, selecting a PR firm is a lot like selecting a life partner. Companies must select a firm in which they have confidence to operate with good judgement as their proxy.
The typical marketing procurement manager within a big, global corporation faces many challenges. And in speaking with them, we’re regularly reminded of how tough their job can be. So, our aim here is to take a bit of a journey in their shoes.
Taking a step back for those unfamiliar, marketing procurement professionals work within large corporate firms. These individuals, if working for a firm which adopts an agency roster, may manage the selection of marketing and communications agencies full time. However, other marketing procurement professionals arent afforded the luxury of focus. Instead, they may be sourcing an accountancy firm one day (or worse, toilet roll!) and a marketing agency the next. So, the primary challenge of non-dedicated marketing procurement folks is lack of focus. And this lack of focus means that in many cases, procurers will have to start fresh in re-educating themselves on the industry whenever a new firm or agency network is required, as selection may occur just once ever three or more years. Of course, they’ll have their network of internal marketers’ ears whenever they need help or advice, but it can be a lonely world as they are in some cases feared (if not unpopular) amongst agency management.
There’s an old, trite saying which goes ‘there’s no such thing as a silly question’. However, in the case of the agency pitch process, I beg to differ. Questions, which drive a discussion forward are well appreciated by everyone, of course, but other questions which show ignorance are obviously best avoided.
As an agency intermediary, we chat with clients and marketing agencies daily in an effort to properly match firms to appropriate briefs. So, it’s not at all strange for us to be the conduit for questions and answers. Many of those questions are worthwhile and important. But, sadly, others are time-wasters and hurt rather than help the agency’s impression in the eyes of the client contact.
Too often today, project briefs start with prescribing a solution. ’Mobile application to connect with youth’, ‘in-store graphics and POP display appropriate for high-traffic retail outlets’….the list goes on and on.
So, we can’t help but ask ourselves who has their eye on solving the Business Problem? In the old days, clients would sign up with an agency they trust and give them a bit of money to think about achieving their business objectives. The agency would go off and spend the time their clients’ funds allowed figuring out how to achieve the business objectives while spending as little as possible (keeping the remaining funds for themselves as profit). The model certainly had its flaws. But, it allowed agencies to think and kept them aligned toward achieving business objectives.
Day in, day out we meet with client-side and agency-side marketers. And while agency-side hours and strong personalities can be a challenge to manage, client-side marketers don’t have an easy time, either.
Increasingly squeezed to perform and achieve the same results while coping with reduced marketing budgets and lower internal head counts, many client-side marketers are stretched too thin. They haven’t made it to the bottom of their inbox for days. They don’t have time to do the work that’s agreed within all the meetings which command a majority of their working day. And between the meetings and the inbox, there’s little to no time left for client-side folks to clear their minds, or even rush out for a proper lunch.
According to a resent ISBA presentation by Aprais, a client/agency relationship specialist, “Successful marketing clients:
- are professional, disciplined, well organised
- understand and respect their agencies’ contributions
- know what they want, are demanding
- are committed to quality, expect to pay for it
- are honest and fair
- regard their agencies as partners, not just suppliers”
Recognising that not all clients are created equal, we always encourage agencies which are shortlisted for our clients’ briefs to be equally as selective as clients in making a choice at every stage of the pitch process. And while most of us who have worked in the industry for a while would self-volunteer most of these aspects if asked to describe the perfect client, perhaps it’s worth at least this brief reminder of those aspects which are markers for the most successful client-side marketers.
If you’re a UK marketing agency and haven’t yet registered for our database. What are you waiting for?! It’s easy….we promise.
Six months have passed since you began working with your new communications firm. And while they started out strong, they seem to be falling down from time to time on simple things. You’re starting to second-guess your decision and question whether you’ve selected the ‘right’ firm.
What should you do?
Imagine…you’re one of 4 children. You’re constantly on edge because your mom or dad continually compare and contrast what you do over and above your siblings (and vice versa). Their expressed love, approval and financial support depends wholly on how you’re perceived within the family. Would you ‘play fair’ as a child in this household, or seek every opportunity to self-promote and also detract attention and accolades from your siblings? Human nature would say that the later would be true.
This is also true of clients wishing to retain multiple agencies. For marketing agencies to ‘play fair’ toward a collectively shared integrated campaign goal and step away from selfish posturing, clients must first foster an environment which promotes it. Rules must be set upfront and client-side marketers must be unified and consistent in disciplining and rewarding agencies toward enforcing the rules. Insecurity and perceived untapped opportunity motivate marketing and communications firms to posture for a larger slice of a client’s budget.
Since 2004, every agency that I’ve worked for/with was in the midst of developing their own bespoke client asset management library. They’ve had various bells and whistles and each worked in different ways, but all with the same basic purpose: to efficiently share out brand assets (logos, etc), guidelines, etc. And there have been loads of software development firms who offered this type of package to big brands, as well (SmartPath being just one example), but with big annual subscription and/or customisation charges to match. Loads of marketing agencies and marketing departments spent major money on building their own asset management systems or on customisations for off the shelf solutions. And many of the systems weren’t the most intuitive.
Now, we’re excited to see a new UK start-up on the job. Brand Regard is a seemingly simple cloud-based solution. But it, and other cloud-based brand asset libraries like it, will make it much easier for smaller brands to keep their multiple agencies, partners and employees ‘in the know’ and using the latest marks, copy, photos, etc. As we’ve seen lots of brands move toward a roster approach and away from single integrated firms, this could be the ‘basecamp solution’ for asset management for marketing departments within SMEs.
Over the past few months, we’ve been questioned many times regarding what’s an appropriate answer for the ‘corporate tone’ ask as part of our project brief template. Given the frequency of the question, we thought others may find our long-form answer helpful. This is the third of a three-part series written by our resident copywriter Danielle, outlining our pointers for capturing your corporate tone. If you haven’t yet caught the first or second instalments, of course, link to those first.
Over the past few months, we’ve been questioned many times regarding what’s an appropriate answer for the ‘corporate tone’ ask as part of our project brief template. Given the frequency of the question, we thought others may find our long-form answer helpful. This is the second of a three-part series written by our resident copywriter Danielle, outlining our pointers for capturing your corporate tone. If you haven’t yet caught the first instalment, please find it here.
In this series we focus on how to create a successful brand profile. You can find the first three steps in our previous entry below.
As a Search and Selection Agency, we get asked a lot how to create a corporate tone of voice, as part of our project brief template. Given the frequency of the question, we thought others may find our long-form answer helpful. This is the first of a three-part series written by our resident Copywriter and Content Editor, Danielle Stagg, outlining our pointers for capturing your corporate tone.
A friend makes the best cupcakes in the world. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating…but I’ve certainly sampled my share of these golden and delicious pillows of goodness and consider myself of discerning taste. Hers are incredible cupcakes. And they’re just as beautiful as they are delicious. So, chatting with her a few days ago, I was surprised to learn that she’s struggling to sell her covetable cakes.
This conversation with my friend made me again realise a lesson I’ve learned over and over again (though sometimes, even I, choose to ignore). Start-ups must be brave in asking for help when they need it.
Many brands that we speak with are suffering overwhelm. Social media has changed the way they need to operate. They’ve previously hired interns to handle social media, but have found that social media’s such an important aspect that they need someone with a bit more worldly perspective to generate good, worthwhile content. Meanwhile, loads of journalist friends are finding themselves in a new world. No longer employed by news outlets, they’re having to find jobs in the business world and suffering a bit as they don’t feel that they can be as objective and independent as they were once able to be.
Increasingly, we’re seeing journalists take (oftentimes invent) posts as client-side social media content developers; a perfect marriage which fruits impressive results. And, what’s more, this client-side role is easily done as a freelancer, allowing journalists near-complete autonomy. A recent post floated up on Stumble Upon along this theme.
According to some counts of late, there are over 16,000 marketing and communications agencies in the UK. And as someone who spends most of every business day speaking with, reading about and selecting agencies to be put forward for client briefs, I’m continually disappointed by how many marketing agencies neglect marketing themselves.
I find myself in conversations with clients daily to the tune of ‘Believe me, they’re a good marketing firm with talented people onboard…they just aren’t great at marketing themselves.’ How sad.
by Pete Goold
Our view is that it’s best to take some measure of risk when selecting a marketing agency.
In ~75% of cases, clients ask that the agencies we longlist for their brief:
- Have prior industry experience
- Be located within an hours’ drive or train ride
Average account longevity stands at a very low 2.5 years. Just about every client we speak with asks that we find them an agency ‘partner’. But what is a partnership? And what steps are necessary for a communications agency or client to form a partnership?
According to one commonly accepted definition of partnership, two firms or partners establish a formal component of shared financial risk or an actual joint venture in which the success or failure of either greatly impacts the other. At times, the clients we work with are generally seeking this type of arrangement—a pay for performance model, but this isn’t universally true. So, what is it that clients and agencies really want to see in one another when speaking of a ‘partnership’?
Predictions for the year ahead signal a positive future for all aspects of social media, but equally a general misunderstanding of what the industry actually entails and the huge effect it can have on a marketing strategy.
Agency folks, ever wished to be a fly on a client’s wall when filling in your quarterly forecast? And client-side friends, are you wondering if your peers’ social media or mobile spend will go up for down?
If so, well, we may just have some insights that will interest you.
You’ve submitted your proposal (or RFP response, chemistry check, presentation, etc.) and you’re waiting to hear back from the client firm or intermediary on whether you’ll progress.
A) Call or email the main contact 2-3 times a week
I’m not a copywriter. Though a voracious reader (or so I like to think) with an OK vocabulary, my first drafts are often cluttered with tired lines and clichés. And despite drastic editing, one or two trite phrases always seem to creep into my final drafts.
Arguably however, it’s worse for time poor agency-side staff, who write pitch presentations and case studies while suffering from the same problem.
While some of our clients boast decades’ experience, some are new to the industry and unsure of the traditional agency pitch process, or what level of bespoke effort is appropriate to ask of agencies in responding to their brief.
The traditional formal pitch process may look something like this:
- Request for Information (RFI) to Longlist Agencies: We recommend limiting RFI’s to include clients’ 5 most pressing questions,. Limiting the number of questions will increase the chances that agencies will respond personally rather than providing templated responses.
- Credentials (creds) meeting: Ideally a discussion of the client’s needs; agencies should avoid the temptation to speak too much about themselves and instead ask good questions, which demonstrate their ability to listen and truly understand their clients.
- Chemistry check: Whether purely social, or a working session to explore an element of the brief together, this portion of the pitch is to test personality fit. As such, the people who will actually work together on the business (not execs and new biz folks) must attend.
- Briefing: By this point, the number of agencies is trimmed to 3 (+ the incumbent in some cases). At a minimum, client briefs should include a clear statement of the business problem, measurable objectives, a clear budget and timeline. The best briefings will be done in person and allow adequate time for questions.
- Tissue meeting: This is mid-way review of agencies’ progress in responding to the client brief. Ideas are rough, unpolished and are shared only to gain early feedback from the client
- The pitch: Competing agencies present their final responses to the client brief face to face, allowing time for discussion thereafter.
As with the dating world, there are always key characteristics to look for. These will boost the chance of a positive and successful match and increase your ROI.
Measurement is no longer new. So, any agency worth its weight will be able to handle a candid discussion around measurement during the pitch process. Many even welcome it and take it as their opportunity to impress.
As we discussed in our previous post, which you can catch here, the mobile market is a rapidly growing industry, with 58 per cent of Britons are accessing content via apps and/or the mobile web each month (Comscore). In response, many brands and agencies are now turning to mobile agencies.