Mobile Marketing. The Ad Agency New Business Goldmine

October 16, 2009

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Mobile marketing has an additive effect on other advertising and marketing efforts and can bridge the gap between digital and traditional campaigns. It is also flexible, lending itself to both direct response and brand reinforcement campaigns. (Source: eMarketer, June, 2009)

Despite the rising number of mobile users and their increasingly sophisticated habits and mobile devices, currently advertising and marketing dollars flowing to mobile lag behind consumer usage of the channel. This however is about to change and the change is going to be significant. According to eMarketer, mobile advertising spending is going to increase from a mere $416 million in 2009 to $1.560 billion in 2013.

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This increased growth will ultimately create a need for better creative. Up until now, marketers and their agencies have done a tremendous job of recycling and repurposing creative assets from other media and channels, in an attempt to make sure that as much of the budget as possible goes into working media.

This is an opportunity for agencies to step up to the plate and deliver a better quality product while demanding more fully funded mobile production budgets.  While most creative types currently believe that mobile environments have significant creative limitations, the reality is that this is indeed not the case. The problem is that most creatives are not aware of the technologies currently available and hence what is actually possible.

While there are currently some notable agencies out there leading the charge and creating excellent work, most seem to be overlooking the opportunity.





Social Media Fuels Land Grab Within Client Marketing Departments!

October 13, 2009

The exponential growth in social networking and popularity of social media, has created an incredible land grab within many internal client marketing departments. This can be both an opportunity and threat as it relates to the agency world.

In a June, 2009 survey by Zoomerang/StrongMail, marketers were asked the question, “Which marketing function owns social media within your organization?” The survey revealed that 29% of respondents said that it is shared by multiple functions. The majority of respondents however (36%) reported that direct marketing owns social media with only 9% saying that is was owned by PR and just 5% claiming to have a dedicated internal social media department.

A deeper look into what may be driving this revealed some very interesting facts. According to a recent eMarketer article, when marketing executives were asked what they perceived the benefits to be of social media, their responses were as follows:

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 81% of respondents stated that the major benefits were both brand building and CRM. 69% also believed that it was a viable recruitment tool too, with customer service close behind it at 64%.

Looking even deeper, here is how this same group of marketers answered the question, “For what reasons do you use social media?”

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For those respondents who claimed not to be using social media, here are the responses as to their reasons why not to.

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 It’s no wonder that social media responsibility is shared between departments for nearly a third of marketers and very clear to see what exactly is stopping the majority of the non-users from leveraging it. Depending on how you look at it, this can either be an opportunity or a threat, whether you are an incumbent agency or a competitive agency trying to win some new business.

NFL Type Special Teams Are Perfect For Ad Agency New Business

October 5, 2009

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Special teams have been used very successfully in the NFL for many years. While they may not be on the field all the time, team members with special skills are brought into the game when they are needed to help win that play. The same approach can be used very successfully for ad agency new business.

While most agencies have a specific area of expertise/experience for which they are known for, many of the agency staff members bring with them a much broader range of experience/expertise gained in other agency environments. Quite often this expertise is dissipated across the agency’s various departments and client teams, and never brought to bear in a cohesive and organized fashion. By not doing so, you may well be missing an excellent new business opportunity!

Over the years a number of agencies have been successful using this special teams approach to target and win additional new business. By bringing together in virtual teams’ staff members, who possess certain skills or experience, they were able to create a competitive offering in the marketplace. An excellent example is Leo Burnetts’ “Kid Leo” group. A virtual group of staff with specific expertise/experience marketing to kids. Other agency groups have built similar special teams focused around marketing to women.

Special teams are a great way to break into a new category. They allow you to leverage your existing resources without having to hire on new. They aggregate the collective expertise that already exists within the agency into a credible and saleable client offering. The special team provides additional job satisfaction to your staff by allowing them to showcase their past experience and gives them an additional challenge. Best of all, they open up new sources of revenue and new client opportunities for the agency.

The risk is relatively small. If it does not work out, at least you have not invested a huge amount of money and hired on overhead that you now have to let go. It’s a great way to prove out a concept and then bring on additional resources as required.

Try conducting a simple internal audit. Ask your staff to highlight any specific category, product or target segment expertise that they have. If you identify some interesting pockets, find out how broad or deep the expertise goes. They may even have existing client contacts that could be the targets of your initial new business approaches.

You never know, this may well be the start of something big!




Mobile Marketing…The New Frontier For Ad Agency New Business Growth

September 25, 2009



While advertising dollars allocated to mobile marketing currently lag behind increased consumer usage, spending on mobile marketing is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. The opportunity is now for agencies to take the leadership position with their clients.

eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spending will increase from $416 million in 2009, to $1.56 Billion by 2013, outpacing online ad-spending as a whole. While the overall complexity of the medium may make it appear daunting to agencies and marketers alike, overcoming these complexities can pay dividends.

According to eMarketer, mobile marketing has an additive effect on other advertising and marketing efforts, and can bridge the gap between digital and traditional campaigns. It is also flexible, lending itself to both Direct Response and Brand reinforcement campaigns. Based on this perspective, who better to champion the mobile revolution than the agencies that create these campaigns.

I recently came across what I consider to be a best practice example of mobile marketing that truly does bridge the gap between digital and traditional campaigns. Major League Baseball (MLB) is a market leader in this area.  Not only do they do an incredible job in both the traditional and digital worlds, their iPhone application is nothing less than incredible.

Fans no longer have to be at the game or seated in front a TV screen at home or at some other venue. They don’t even need a computer with a high speed internet connection. Now fans can watch their favorite teams’ game live on their iPhone, no matter where they are. This includes all pre-game coverage and all the other added value content around the game. By the way, the quality of the overall experience is amazing. Other games can be subsequently viewed for a mere 99c.

Everything MLB does is targeted at enhancing the fans experience with both their favorite team and MLB overall and they deliver that in spades.

Perhaps the next killer app in mobile marketing will come from your agency for one of your clients.


Forrester Research Identifies Significant Challenges For Integrated Agencies

September 23, 2009

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Integrated Marketing, 360 Degree or whatever you want to call it marketing, continues to be the topic de jour among agencies and marketers alike. Many agencies are clamoring to reposition themselves as “Fully Integrated and Media Neutral”, capable of delivering work across the full media spectrum. Forrester’s latest research suggests that most clients may not be ready for such an agency.

According to a recent survey, conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of Merkle, most marketers lack a holistic view of their customers and communicate with them in multiple silos. As a result, these marketers are unable to adopt a customer centric approach, supported by strategies focused on maximizing total customer value. A situation that is the antithesis of what most integrated agencies offer.

Organization and technology are the biggest barriers: Most marketers claim that they want to send relevant messages to customers and communicate with them in a way that improves the brand experience. More than half of the respondents reported the lack of a single owner of the customer experience, which resulted in silo’d, inconsistent approaches and misaligned goals within the organization. If such a situation exists internally, how could the marketer possibly engage effectively with an integrated agency?

Very few marketers use customer engagement as a primary factor in their communications: Only 11% of marketers said customer engagement was primary and 32% said it’s often a factor. For 20% of respondents, it is seldom or never a factor.

“We struggle to measure customer engagement. We don’t have a system to manage it, in part because nobody has a singular responsibility for managing it. Unfortunately, it’s just not a priority.” (Hi-tech company)

Only one-third employ a contact strategy:  Only 35% say that they have a contact strategy designed to deliver the right message through the right medium at the right time.

Measurement doesn’t drive budget allocation: Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) continue to allocate budgets across marketing disciplines based on historical spending, and 56% do so simply based on planned activity. Why? –  because that’s what they do. Media mix modeling – which allows marketers to understand the incremental impact of specific media and activity – is used by less than one-third of the respondents.

Marketers are missing the point more than half the time: When assigning credit for a sale or transaction, more than half attribute the activity to the most recent touch point. If a prospect saw a TV commercial, received a direct mail piece, three emails and then searched for an item and bought it from their company, the entire credit for the sale would be allocated to their SEM efforts. Less than a third of marketers calculate fractional attribution across all activity.

All that being said, it would appear that clients, especially the larger clients are not structured in the optimum way to be able to easily engage with an integrated agency. Their internal structures tend to support the ongoing use of independent specialists focused on supporting each of the silos.

That’s probably why everyone has been chasing the Holy Grail of marketing for years now, and the chase will probably continue for years to come.




Call To Arms, No More Ad Agency RFP’s!

September 3, 2009

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Is now the time to fix the RFP process? Historically ad agencies have always done their level best to scratch each others’ eyes out as they give away the farm competing for a new account. In this tough economy it’s only getting worse.

I and so many others have written about this subject over the years. The AAAA’s tried some time back to entrench a set of best practices that no one paid any attention to. The whole process remains a free for all where anything goes and in the current economy the larger agencies are even fighting over scraps they would not even have sniffed at two years ago.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of work continue to be given away for free by agencies while clients continue to pay only for the chosen agency’s work and then leverage the euphoria of the win to negotiate a bottom dollar compensation agreement with the agency. The agency costs incurred during the pitch are most often ignored resulting in the agency having to dig itself out of a financial whole at the outset of the relationship.

For those agencies that did not prevail, the pitch becomes just another “investment” that adds to their overall new business strain and has to be funded by either existing clients, reduced agency profitability or a combination of the two. If agencies on average have a success rate of 3/10, that leaves seven lost pitches that have to be funded. It’s an unsustainable model.

Joseph Jaffe, Chief Interrupter at Crayon, recently wrote an article for Adweek entitled “No More RFP’s”. In his article he lists what he calls “10 points or calls to action…Arguably even calls to arms”.





What Babies Can Teach Ad Agency New Business Executives About Prospecting.

September 1, 2009

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Guest post by Lisa Colantuono, Managing Partner, AAR Partners & Co-Founder, Access Confidential. “Cracking The Clutter”, what babies can teach ad agency new business executives about prospecting.

 Many new business executives in the industry know that I’m in love with a two-foot, 26lb little guy…yes, my nephew.  And if you want to see my little love, every Saturday I post a new photo of him on Facebook.  So besides getting a real work-out once a week during my babysitting session with him, I realized he also exemplified how new business executives should think about prospecting.  How?  Let me explain.

 There isn’t an agency that meets with AAR Partners that doesn’t start or end with one of the following questions, “What are successful agencies doing to crack the clutter or how do agencies attract clients’ attention?”  We often hear their answer is strictly setting objectives, developing pitch lists, determining goals and being extremely focused on categories or target markets where the agency has knee-deep experience.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inaccurate with this approach but the value of exemplifying unexpected results is often forgotten!

 Babies (like my favorites nephew) are captivated by the most unexpected results.  Adults, on the other hand, focus on the outcomes that are the most relevant to their goals.  They focus on objects and objectives that will be most useful to them.  But babies play with objects that will teach them the most!  The key…they draw on anything new, unexpected or informative.

 At AAR Partners, we receive hundreds of letters, mailers, emails, credential and collateral pieces that seem well…rather programmed, “more about me and less about you” and simply expected.  The element of surprise (or the value of exemplifying unexpected results), isn’t usually communicated.  Agencies fall into the same pattern of churning out information about the agency and often forget to be informative.  They forget to teach their prospect something of value

 Babies are captivated by unexpected results…just like CMO’s!  They need to see the value, something new or be surprised by unexpected results.  They need to know that their brand is going to attract consumers by pulling them, rather than pushing them along.  Crystallize how your agency has demonstrated unexpected and exceptional results for clients’ business, make it relevant to the specific advertiser you’re speaking to and in turn, captivate the prospect. 

 So the next time you see a baby captivated by something unexpected (or informative), remember, that’s the concept of how an agency could crack the clutter.  And the results can be rewarding for everyone.

 (AAR Partners has been managing agency reviews for the past three decades.  Access Confidential is the comprehensive new business database, putting science behind the art of new business.)