Tag Archive for Marketing

8 Tips That Will Make Ad Agency New Business Easier

Professional Guest post by Michael Gass, Business Development Consultant | Speaker |Author of Fuel Lines

Learn how to accelerate your agency’s positioning, inbound lead generation, network and referral business.

Since 2007, I’ve conducted over 200 new business workshops for agencies in North and South America and Europe. No matter what country, I find there are some common problems when it comes to business development that makes it harder than it needs to be.

Here are some practical tips I hope you find helpful to make new business easier:

  1. Personalize your agency.

For small to midsize agencies, the agency owner is a key component for new business. The agency owner should be the face of the agency. Why? New business isn’t built on ‘brick and mortar’, it’s built upon relationships. People want to work with other people that they know, trust and like. Using your personal social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and even Pinterest, can become effective networking tools. You can engage with dozens of prospects daily without having to rely upon interruption type tactics.

  1. Identify your best prospects.

This has been a major challenge, particularly for small to midsize agencies. This inability to clearly define their target audience has many agencies floundering when it comes to developing a lead generation pipeline and a consistent new business program. A considerable amount of time and effort is wasted chasing the wrong type of accounts. Learning when to say no is an important component to a successful new business program.

  1. Look for the decision makers, not just the companies.

To make the best use of social media marketing for agency new business, you should be mining the executives of the C-Suite, not their companies. Do the research to identify who they are, where they are online and begin to follow and engage with them personally by using your personal social media accounts.

  1. Create a differentiated positioning. 

Positioning is the foundation of any agency’s new business program. Without a differentiated position, ad agency new business is much harder than it needs to be. This is an area that the majority of agencies have not addressed because of procrastination or, more likely, their unwillingness to make the difficult business decisions. But, contrary to common belief, all agencies have pretty much the same basic capabilities, and processes. I know how difficult agency positioning can be but, I also know that a lack of positioning creates even more hardships.

Creating the right positioning is a lot like fishing. A successful fisherman fishes for a specific fish, using a specific bait. He knows where to find the fish and uses the best fishing tackle. He has also developed the expertise to land the real ly big trophies.

You can use social media to test and refine your positioning by “fishing away from the boat” and apart from your agency’s branded website. You can do this through a “niche blog” that lives offsite. It can become a gateway for new business to a much narrower target group than you have ever imagined. The narrower the focus, the faster you can build awareness and appeal to a specific target group.

  1. Shift from outbound tactics to inbound.

Inbound marketing techniques are rapidly becoming more important for agency new business. Over the past six years, I’ve seen a steady progression of agencies embracing social media as part of their new business program. This is primarily because of the way their prospective clients are now researching for their prospective agency partner. Traditional “outbound marketing” methods, such as cold calling, direct mail and email blasts, are becoming less and less effective.

My epiphany for a paradigm shift from outbound to inbound came in January of 2008. I was reading a CMO Study that stated, 80% of decision makers surveyed found their vendors, not the other way around. That stat impressed upon me the shifting importance from chasing new business to “getting found” by your target audience.

  1. Create a written marketing plan.

After you have defined your target audience and point of differentiation, you need to turn that into an executable strategy. It still amazes me that most advertising agencies do not have a written marketing plan.  I find this amazing. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you wont’ achieve what you want.

Having a plan makes new business easier and much more consistent with a plan, you have a program that only gets better with time because it is measurable . This allows you to refine and improve it.

 

  1. Hire a new business director/manager.

Someone needs to oversee your agency’s new business program. This person is like the ‘rudder of a ship’ who should keep everyone focused on new business, even when the agency is at its’ busiest. This person is responsible for executing your new business plan.  I’ve learned through experience, “if everyone” is responsible for your agency’s new business, in actuality, no one is. This doesn’t mean that others, particularly agency principals, aren’t involved in the process.

There’s an old saying that cobbler’s children have no shoes. It refers to the fact that a busy cobbler will be so busy making shoes for his customers, he has no time to make some for his own children. Agency’s are their own worst clients because the majority of their focus is servicing clients. A new business director or manager can help alleviate this problem. Their total focus should be on the agency’s business development. It isn’t a billable position, but it’s one of the most important positions within the agency.

  1. Use PR to create awareness and interest.

No other marketing tool replicates what PR can do when it comes to building trust with important audiences. PR greatly enhances your agency’s credibility. Strategic use of public relations can help small and midsized agencies level the playing field with larger competitors. Can you think of a better advantage over your competitors than being positioned by a credible third-party source as a leading expert in your field?

PR helps make your agency “discoverable” through local, regional, national or international consumer media coverage; niche industry trade publications, websites and blogs your prospects read.

If your agency is too busy to execute its own PR strategy, then hire a PR firm to do it for you. Wouldn’t it be fun to be the client for a change? It’s worth the cost to have a consistent PR effort.

 

Post by Michael Gass, Business Development Consultant | Speaker |Author of Fuel Lines

 

104 Facts You Don’t Know About Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing currently represents one of the newest forms of digital marketing present on the market. For those who do not know, it provides customers with personalised information, promoting services, goods and ideas. The technique has been regarded as any marketing activity that is conducted through a network that mobile users are constantly connected to.

Some of the main benefits associated with mobile marketing include the possibility to send location and time-sensitive pieces of information, via a wide variety of channels, including push notifications, app-based marketing, QR codes, SMS, MMS, Bluetooth, in-game mobile advertising, voice email and even through automated calls. As we live in the era of smartphones, mobile marketing carried out via push notifications is essential to promoting services, establishing brand loyalty, encouraging people to purchase products or services, but also making sure that existing customers return to buy more.

In this particular infographic compiled by the team behind Website Builder, you will be able to find 104 interesting facts that you don’t know about mobile marketing, including desktop vs. mobile comparisons, niches that work best, great mobile marketing techniques, but also usage, user friendliness, adoption, commerce, search and conversion stats.

mobile-marketing-final-with-logo

Professional Guest post by Website Builder WebsiteBuilder.org

5 tips to bring your global brand to a local audience

If your market is becoming increasingly saturated you might consider growing your business further afield. Take care though, what works in your native country might not always work in a foreign market.

Here are 5 tips to localise your global marketing campaigns.

  1. Think global – act human:
    A global company like Coca-Cola have their marketing campaigns revolve around people enjoying their products. The universal message used to frame this perceived emotion was ‘Always Coca-Cola’ which was then translated into different languages but the core message wasn’t the same. A more recent campaign was the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign which was first trialled in Australia and New Zealand in 2011 and saw a 7% increase in sales. This campaign was then subsequently rolled out globally. The message is simple and couldn’t possibly offend anyone.
  2. Research: When Proctor & Gamble first launched Pamper nappies in Japan it had a stork delivering a baby on the packaging. This packaging was effective in the U.S. but sales struggled in Japan as parents became confused by the image of the stork. It is recommended that you review your marketing collateral before launching your products in a foreign country.

    global

  1. Streamline content:
    To ensure your brand is visually consistent globally it is worth putting effort in creating assets, campaign resources and brand guidelines that can be used everywhere.
  2. Adapt to local marketing expectations:
    Expectations will vary per culture, for instance in the U.S. delivery is a key performance indicator and they prefer their goods to be delivered quickly, whereas France is much more focused on quality and delivery isn’t as much of an issue. Highlight these aspects in your communication.
  3. Global world: With social media messages spreading across the world much quicker – your cousin in the U.S., for instance, might complain about his level of service and you maybe based in the UK and this will still pop up on your time line. Customer service should be key and a global effort.

If you are looking to launch your campaign on a global level get in touch with your Comvort local agency partner today.

Professional Guest post by OWB-UK. (Agency Comvort Member since 2009).

International trade opens a world of opportunities and offers companies access to new customers, revenue and ideas

Interview with Teresa Gualtieri, UK Trade & Investment Manager who gives us an insight of the current state of the digital landscape and her advice for any businesses looking to maximise their digital outreach.

Teresa Gualtieri

Teresa Gualtieri, UK Trade & Investment Manager.

 

What advice would you give to companies looking to trade internationally?
International trade opens a world of opportunities and offers companies access to new customers, revenue and ideas that can boost a company’s profile, credibility and bottom line. Like any other major business project, research and planning are absolutely crucial to success, as well as pulling together the essential know-how, resources and team of professionals. The experience and expertise gained in the domestic market is also invaluable and the passionate belief in your product or service is no less important.

Is there anything you need to bear in mind with cross-border e-commerce?
Every country has its own tax system, covering issues such as sales tax. As you export, it’s critical that you understand these rules and comply. Similarly, you need to know what your legal obligations will be in the new market you’re entering. This includes local laws, product standards and regulations. For example in some countries you may need to modify your product, packaging or even get your goods inspected and approved before they can be sold there.

Also, it’s critical that you have an understanding of how Intellectual Property Rights vary across your markets to protect your brand and ideas.

Have there been any recent developments that you’ve been made aware of?
Yes of course, regulations change quite often, especially in the e-commerce sector. For example, the US has recently expanded the dollar limit under which shipments can be admitted to the US with no duty, fee or tax and with a bare minimum of customs formalities.

The limit had been set at $200 for over twenty years but the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 was signed into law by President Obama last February.  The most comprehensive customs legislation in over twenty years, the Act sets a new limit at $800. Another example is the ‘positive’ list for 1,142 commodities permissible to be sold through cross border e-commerce in China which was released last month. The list partially or completely prohibits importation of infant formula milk, health foods, food for special medical benefits, fresh foods, and others. Or – always regarding the Chinese cross border e-commerce – the new duty rates for items sent directly through the postal system and through free trade zones have been in place since April 8th 2016.

What are your expectations for future digital trading?
The combination of technology and the services it enables is stimulating consumer activity as society spends more and more time online. Mobile devices have driven this change with sales of smartphones and tablets surpassing laptops and desktops in recent years. Activity on social media platforms reflect this transition to an “always-on” culture and for many brands mobile is the strategic growth channel amongst the range of channels they operate. If mobile devices have already changed the way consumers shop, wearable technology will reinforce the ability of consumers to buy anywhere and do so when and how it suits them. When the consumer is “always on” and the market consists of multiple touch points for display and others for sell-through, the market is literally everywhere. Brands will need to stand out and be destinations that consumers want to spend time with during and outside of the buying cycle. Without this they will be lost as more and more companies of all types compete for screen time with consumers. Brand owners will need to adopt the mentality of media companies, invest strategically in content and understand the best channels to distribute it, by optimising the mix of owned media, earned media and paid‐for media.

How can you optimise your website for an international audience?
I would start from planning an international domain strategy and decide whether to use a Top Level Domain or a country code Top Level Domain. There is an interesting article by MOZ that I always recommend my clients to read because it sheds light on some important technical elements that not all businesses are aware of – The Guide to International Website Expansion.

Keyword Analysis is vital. If you create one keyword list and assume it will serve your SEO purposes across all the countries you target, you definitely won’t be targeting your audience in those countries effectively. Different keywords may cater to different audiences depending on location, so you need to identify which keywords are most popular in each country you’re targeting, and optimize the pages on that country’s website accordingly. In addition, remember that even a correct and accurate translation of a keyword or term may not be what people actually use to search for a product or service locally.

Speaking of translations, they are also a key element if you target markets where English is not the first language spoken. Definitely stay away from machine translations. They often sound robotic, unnatural, and sometimes, completely nonsensical to anyone who speaks the language natively. Publishing poor quality content on your website can undermine your company’s credibility to an international audience. Get help instead from someone who is fluent in the language you’re creating content for, ideally someone who is not just a translator but also a copywriter, or someone with some technical knowledge who understands your products or services clearly.

Localise content to each market. Currency, contact details, sizes, measurements, visual elements (images and what’s pictured in them), characters accepted in contact forms, tone of voice (formal vs. informal), page layout (some languages take 25% more space than English), dates and times, payment and shipping options, customer service in the local language…this list could go on and on!

If you’re going to export successfully – whether it is through your website or not – you need to understand the language, traditions and ways of doing business in your new market. Then your website should reflect these. By making this a central part of your strategic approach to exporting, you can help to build your new customers’ trust and confidence in your company.

What are the benefits of being part of an international marketing network like Comvort?
Easy access to key information and contacts are definitely the top two advantages of being part of an international network like Comvort. If you are looking to export to the UK please get in touch with UK Trade and Investment as there are professional advisers in more than 100 countries.

Professional Guest post by OWB-UK. (Agency Comvort Member since 2009).

*On behalf the Comvort Group, many thanks OWB and UKTI for the time in giving our members and readers all these interesting tips.

Business books for 2016 – take your game to the next level

Thousands of business books are published every year. Many of them are a good read, but only some are really worth your while. Unfortunately, the daily entrepreneur is an extremely busy individual. Among all those employees and daily business responsibilities, finding time to read is nearly impossible. The key to success in today’s cut-throat business environment is all about motivation. There’s time for everything; all you need to do is stay organized. The following business books will offer you the drive you need to make a change and really take your company to new heights.

Lean Business Planning, by Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder of bplans.com and Palo Alto Software. He’s an outstanding entrepreneur and a guru of everything business related. In his book, Berry tries to make its readers understand that a business plan is NOT the key to success. It’s all about the planning itself and about the journey. Rather than focus all your attention on a single master plan for your start-up, consider a manageable plan that’s adaptable and easy to understand by your team.

Elon

Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance

This book about the mind of a pioneer named Elon Musk, the founder of the famous SpaceX, PayPal and Tesla Motors. The author lets readers enter his genius mind, get inspired from his innovative ideas, and find a way to take their businesses to the next level too. In Elon Musk you’ll read about what it really takes for someone to become rich, and how far is one willing to go to make a change and have an impact on the future.

Mindsharing, by Lior Zoref

Mindsharing is an interesting business book about collective intelligence. It explores the idea of brainstorming and teamwork, and it emphasizes on the importance of working with a crowd to yield positive results. Why rely solely on your abilities when you can put together more than one brilliant brain to attain great success in business? According to the author, there’s an astounding amount of power in mind sharing. It can help you progress on both a personal and professional level; that’s because you’re constantly learning new things.

Work Rules, by Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock is the head of People Operations at Google. In this book, readers are taught about the great importance of hiring the best people for your business. Work Rules relies on data and research on the matter, and it attempts to prove that open-space work environments and happy employees are the key to a better company culture. If you think your employees need some motivation, or that you need some advice on how to be a better leader for your people, then you should definitely make time to check it out.

Work Rules Comvort

The Digital Marketer, by Larry Weber

Is your business operating in the advertising and marketing domain? Are you running out of ideas when it comes to developing new campaigns and retaining new customers? Well then you’re in luck. The Digital Marketer is a great book for business. It reveals some amazing tips about marketing strategies, and it offers a clear perspective of today’s most effective trends. Stop focusing on your brand and start centering your attention more on your customers. Find a way to pique their attention and they’ll want to know more your business too.

Boss Life, by Paul Downs

There are thousands of books out there “teaching” people how to make millions. Entrepreneurship is more than just about making money, living a glamorous life and giving commands. In Boss Life readers will learn that running a business is tough; and that the only way to success is honesty. The secret to having an efficient company is directly linked to an owner’s employees. The closer you are to your people, the better chances you have to thrive. Show them that you’re humane and they won’t hesitate to commit to you and your company.

Comvort reading reccomendations

Some books are life-changing, particularly those in the business domain. That’s because the best ones can really motivate us. They can persuade us to do more for yourselves and for your companies without useless compromises or bossy attitudes. The more open minded you are, the better chances you have to be heard, supported and listened to. Teamwork makes companies thrive, and thriving companies make good money. It’s a win-win!

Professional Guest post by Comvort collaborator Jason Phillips (LoveReading.co.uk!)