Top 10 things to look for when choosing a content marketing agency

This post is by Fergus Stoddart, Managing Partner of Edge – A leading content marketing agency with offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

Everyone says they can do content nowadays.

Creative agencies have built out content arms, PR agencies are now “content marketing” agencies and most companies are looking to bring the skill in house.

So which way to go?

Content marketing agency

If you are ambitious about brand publishing and are looking at specialism around content and social, here’s how to find the right agency for you.

1. A Strong Publishing Mindset

The key to developing a long-term content-led, owned media strategy is having a strong publishing mindset. Companies need to think and act like a media owner/publisher. Companies should look for an agency that understands how to build media assets and audiences.

Look for ex-publishers among the team. People who can build an audience of opted in subscribers through a brought mix of channels and content variants. Video production teams or television media execs have not been bred to deliver incremental audiences but rather lead with campaign style content for reach.

2. Editorial Heritage

Look for an agency with editorial heritage. You need to find an organisation where layers of editorial staff work together to hone good-quality content for your brand. Look for editorial directors, editors and sub-editors, as well as staff members with new media content production expertise.

They must demonstrate an understanding of how to engage with varied audience types across different channels and be capable of producing everything from fun and engaging social content to heavily technical boardroom insights. Continue reading “Top 10 things to look for when choosing a content marketing agency”

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How to improve the agency pitch process: Stop pitching!

This post is by Rod Curtis, Managing Director of the T20 Group. He has been involved in the Australian advertising and marketing industry for over 40 years. T20 Group, established in 2003, has Consulting, Creative Services and New Technology divisions.

The roller-coaster life of advertising agencies is never more exaggerated than when The Pitch is on.

Firstly, you celebrate because you got on the (long or short) list in the first place. The troops are fired up. Every utterance by the client and/or their consultant, the media and pub gossip is examined in minutiae.

Agency Pitch Process

Then you have the guys in the agency who aren’t working on The Pitch and have to keep the rest of the business humming along when resources are being allocated to The Pitch.

Of course, if you are the new business client, this is not your concern. Until you become a client and then it is your concern because you will worry that your agency is chasing business and not doing your work.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to explain to incredulous new business clients that we don’t actually have people sitting around waiting for their pitch opportunity to walk in the door. Or, perhaps the agency then relies on freelancers to do The Pitch. Or worse still, do the work of your existing clients.

Maybe you work for a holding company agency group and you have a Pitch Budget and really, we all know about those sort of budgets… use it or lose it.

The inevitable result of all this is that the industry seems to understand that when an agency loses business, people follow. Does it stand to reason therefore that when you win business, you put people on? The answer, of course, is all about revenue.  

I’ve known agencies who have hired some of the team from the losing agency to work on the same piece of business at the new agency. Go figure.

OK… back to The Pitch.

Clients, do you really want a new agency? Agencies, do you really want the business?

Continue reading “How to improve the agency pitch process: Stop pitching!”

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Client agency relationships in advertising: 4 problems that cause breakdowns

This post is by Zena Churchill, a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Over the past 20 years, Zena has worked for some of the biggest international and national brands. Having worked both agency and client side, Zena has strong insight and experience across most facets of marketing, specialising in media, strategy and BTL.

When I first started out in marketing, we had a full service agency that handled all of our advertising and media needs; they were the true ‘one-stop’ shop and, at the time, it worked really well.

From the client perspective we only had one agency relationship to manage, and as a result we invested a lot of energy into making sure it ran smoothly. In our eyes, the agency was a true business partner, not just a supplier, and they were treated as such.

Client Agency Relationships in Advertising.

Over the past 20 years however, the advertising and marketing landscape has shifted dramatically; with new media, creative channels, a shift in the role of the consumer, speed to market and increased real-time performance accountability meaning there are few agencies who can offer the one-stop solution, and this means more agencies are now needed to deliver on a client’s business.

This causes issues at both ends of the spectrum, with both clients and agencies needing to manage multiple relationships per campaign, and rarely does this work.

Clients struggle to find the time needed to do this well and agencies grow resentful that agency B over there got a bigger slice of the budget, or they believe they could do a better job if only they could do it all.

During my career, I have had the privilege of working with what I thought were some of the best marketing and advertising teams around, both agency and client side. Unfortunately, I have also worked with some of the worst.

The teams that worked well together delivered great work, had a laugh whilst doing it and bandied together when the going got tough, usually ending the day at the pub or sitting in the corner of the agency boardroom swapping war stories and nursing a beer.

When they didn’t work, it was hell. Tempers flared, accusations flew and relationships that were put to the test often failed to survive the campaign. In the highly creative, energetic and volatile industry that is advertising, strong relationships built on trust, respect and honesty are vital in helping brands and agencies work together and grow.

People do their best work when they are are standing on a solid foundation because they can take on anything that is thrown their way. When cracks appear in the foundations however, things can start to get a bit shaky pretty quickly.

Research consistently shows that trust is the key driver of successful relationships between agencies and clients and in 2014, research presented by RPA at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity showed that the importance of trust in the client/agency relationship was the only survey question both agencies and clients scored the same.

So, when relationships between agencies and clients break down, what causes the trust to disappear in the first place and what can be done about it?

4 things that will cause an agency/client breakdown:

Continue reading “Client agency relationships in advertising: 4 problems that cause breakdowns”

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Smarketing – The Death of the Marketing and Sales Divide

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.

This post is about Smarketing (apparently a term coined by HubSpot) – the need to align Marketing and Sales. It follows on from Part 1: The Death of the IT and Marketing Divide , where I looked at the challenges that Marketers (CMOs) and IT Managers (CIOs) are facing due to the technology revolution.

Smarketing for sales and marketing success.

“Marketing and Sales” or “Sales and Marketing”?

Before I get into it, you may be wondering why I wrote “Marketing and Sales” when most business people refer to it as “Sales and Marketing”?

I’m not saying that one is more important than the other, it’s simply because chronologically, from a customer’s perspective, marketing comes before sales in the communication process. People don’t buy things without first finding out about them.

Hence I don’t really like the buzzword Smarketing (as it should be Msales). But far be it for me to kill buzzwords with logic. But I do need your help to kill the divide.

Within organisations, many Sales Teams still think they rule the roost, as they are delivering the hard measure of revenue. Marketing tends to be viewed as a cost centre that can be cut at will, or viewed as the place where the wacky and creative types make ads and content. And the majority of CMOs have failed to make the leap to board level in Australia.

Whatever your view, in this post I would like to look at why the Marketing and Sales silos must be overhauled within organisations and how the divisive mentality needs to be killed.

Next best practice organisations have realised this and found ways to unite around common goals and create real value for their organisations.

I’d also like to pose a new definition of Marketing. Plus make the point that Sales is simply one part of the customer lifecycle, showing up at a variety of different touch points and stages. And therefore, should no longer be viewed myopically as a pipeline of leads to simply burn through and convert.

Not a new topic

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a new topic. There has been plenty written about it over the past few years. But despite all the writing, there has been little action here in Australia.

In the companies that we work with we see plenty of finger pointing, blame, and disparaging comments about each department. Whilst they co-exist, they don’t align effectively.

Why the divide?

Continue reading “Smarketing – The Death of the Marketing and Sales Divide”

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Managing Marketing – What is Transcreation and Why is it Important in a Global Market Village?

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Elliot Polak is the CEO of Textappeal and Newsroom, cross cultural marketing and a global transcreation and social media company. He talks with Darren on the importance of understanding cultural differences as a way of increasing effectiveness and change by using the clashes to raise awareness and engagement.

Elliot Polak

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on Soundcloud or iTunes

Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and this week we’re in London and I’m meeting with Elliot Polak, CEO of Textappeal and Newsroom, they’re a cross-cultural marketing consultancy that specialises in global trans-creation and social media.

Welcome Elliot.

Elliot:

Thank you very much Darren.

Darren:

Look Elliott, I think we ran into each other at a WFA conference many years ago, is that right?

Elliot:

I believe that’s correct Darren, you have a good memory.

Darren:

I was always fascinated by this idea of cross cultural because, having grown up in Asia Pacific, I think that’s for me, one of the most diverse cultural melting pots that you could possibly find.

But you’ve got something similar because you’re an American that grew up in Paris.

Elliot:

Yeah well I moved to Paris when I was 12 years old.  So I’m an American who went through culture shock moving to France when I was young.  I was told, “We’re now going to live in France” and I was a little bit concerned so a friend of the family said, “Don’t worry Elliott, everybody around the world is basically the same”.

When I arrived in Paris, I realised that’s not necessarily true and perhaps this is one of those Americans who’d never travelled outside of the country.

Darren:

Well I have to tell you my American in Paris story.  As an Australian in Paris, I was sitting there having a beer on the river and a big minivan pulled up with all these American tourists and I swear, one of them said, “That’s Notre Dame, the church they named after the university”.

Now, that’s a bad American accent, but I think you get my point.

Elliot:

Brilliant. But now when I go back to the United States, people say, “Elliott you have such a great accent.  You speak such great English for a European”.

Darren:

I can still hear your American accent, that’s the interesting thing.

Cultural clashes and the evolution of culture

Elliot:

So we lived between cultures and one of the things that I find the most interesting is not necessarily the traditions of one culture versus the traditions of another culture and how they are different. How some things are appropriate in one place and some things are not appropriate in another place, that’s interesting, but those traditions I don’t find the most interesting thing.

I find it’s what’s changing very quickly because of cultural clashes, because of the two cultures touching each other and then you see evolution and then you see much less defined lines between what’s right and what’s wrong in culture.

These are the things that I find really interesting for brands because if you can understand the edge of culture, then you can perhaps make a difference and have more impact in your message. Continue reading “Managing Marketing – What is Transcreation and Why is it Important in a Global Market Village?”

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The Death of the IT and Marketing Divide

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.

This is part one of an ongoing series of posts being released by Anton Buchner and TrinityP3 on the ‘big divides’ facing the marketing community.

“How will this model fit with Sitecore’s built-in capability of automatically assigning personas based on previous historical data?”

IT and Marketing divide

This was an intriguing question from a senior IT manager that I was recently working with, when discussing a single customer view model.

With regard to this particular question there was limited understanding by the IT manager of the integration of offline data.

And despite all the literature, white papers, posts and other content being written about the transformation of traditional IT teams in the digital era, and strategic partnership approaches between IT and Marketing, it was concerning to me that this IT team was not skilled in asking the right questions.

So it got me thinking

There is still a massive divide between most IT and marketing teams in Australia. Primarily due to skillset, clashing KPIs and budget ownership.

On the one hand, IT teams are heavily skilled in enterprise wide solutions, hardware and software, and large-scale infrastructure. However they tend to lack knowledge in emerging technologies (software-as-a-service) as well as customer centric marketing principles.

And on the other hand, marketers lack the necessary technical knowledge to effectively assess technology pros and cons.

Senior marketers often say to me that they are simply overwhelmed by the technology revolution that has hit marketing. You may be nodding your head in agreement here. And I totally empathise with you. It has (and continues) to be a wild new world.   Continue reading “The Death of the IT and Marketing Divide”

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Why every agency village usually has an idiot

This post is by Nathan HodgesTrinityP3‘s General Manager. Nathan applies his knowledge and creativity to the specific challenges of marketing management, with a particular focus on team dynamics and behavioural change.

For many marketing organisations, a diversified roster of specialist agencies can be an extremely effective and appropriate model. Particularly at the moment, it would seem.

It’s easy to understand why.

Agency Village

Advantages of the multi-agency approach

With channels, data opportunities and technological options developing as fast as they have over the last few years, specialists are sometimes what you need. When marketers feel that they need to move faster, cheaper, and more flexibly, specialist agencies can often help them achieve that.

Clients can start with a clean slate with a new agency for each new initiative. When working with individual roster agencies clients are fronted by a team of discipline enthusiasts working on a single, focused channel brief.

It’s such a change from the usual approach of the lead agency with the generalist account team trafficking every piece of work, noticing every missed deadline and changed brief and sharing (or arguing about) guardianship of the brand.

Marketers also get the benefit of new perspectives on their business from directions they had never thought of before. In an environment where a piece of technology can quickly move from communications tactic to consumer utility to an element of business strategy, many marketers feel they can’t miss the chance to get that extra perspective.

In many cases, the fear of missing out can drive roster expansion as much as anything else.

So as you can see, there are some clear advantages to the multi-agency approach for the marketer.

And for the specialist agency too, there are some terrific upsides.

It’s a chance to get onto some big, prestigious rosters and work on some famous brands – often with the potential for demonstrable results. And it’s a way to work on the things you enjoy doing and become expert in doing them.

So, what’s the problem?

Continue reading “Why every agency village usually has an idiot”

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Why hybrid content creation makes marketing sense

This post is by Rakhal Ebeli. An award-winning journalist and presenter, Rakhal founded content marketing and brand journalism agency, Newsmodo in 2012.  He also hosts The Brand Storytelling Podcast

Everyone loves content. Content is great. Content is king. Content will improve ROI and build customer loyalty. And it’s true. Content does do all those things. Content is the future of marketing.

But in this discussion, one very important factor is often missed.  The industry is so busy, so overwhelmed with enthusiasm that a crucial question is overlooked – how do you create content?

Hybrid Content Creation

Agencies and marketers do not need more reasons why they need content marketing.

What they need is a formula for effective, efficient content creation.

But as with anything, there are lots of formulas and strategies. Content creation depends on many factors – your brand’s needs, size and resources. And it will probably change in time in response to different technologies and trends.

Here’s the good news – there is a way that works. It may not be a magic, one-size fits all formula but I see it as the closest thing to a Goldilocks solution. I call this hybrid content creation.

What is hybrid content creation?

Hybrid content creation combines the vision and direction of an internal marketing team with the scale and storytelling skills of an outsourced creative team.

One side sets the brief, parameters and overall concept. The other researches, plans and executes the project.

The basic premise is simple – nobody knows a brand better than a brand manager. And nobody knows how to write better than a professional writer.

Today you often see marketing teams scrambling to write blogs, organise editorial calendars and think of new, interesting, creative article ideas. This puts a lot of pressure on the team. Not only do they have more work, they are being pushed out of their comfort zone and area of expertise.

The idea behind hybrid content creation is to take advantage of people’s specific skills and expertise. In other words, don’t squeeze a brand manager into the role of a writer or editor.

While it’s great to encourage people to diversify their skills, you don’t want them to feel their real talents are going to waste. I’m sure for instance Roger Federer is also really good at golf – but why would he train for a sport that is not his passion or does not make best use of his natural skills? Continue reading “Why hybrid content creation makes marketing sense”

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Did the CFO set Procurement up for failure in Marketing?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

The news last year that Pepsico had disbanded its Marketing Procurement function has been met with mixed reactions. The ANA was quick to explain that this was not evidence of the failure of Procurement in marketing, which they said from their polling “was here to stay”.

Procurement and Marketing

Likewise the WFA said that the Pepsico move was evidence of the need for a more responsive and customer centric focus to their strategy. And while, unlike a number of anonymous agency comments, I do not believe this is the end, it does concern me that in the past 15 years since I founded TrinityP3 there are a number of examples which suggest procurement has often been set up for failure when it comes to marketing.

I believe the person responsible is usually the Chief Financial Officer. The CFO is, after all, responsible for the financial management of any organisation and is often the C-suite executive the procurement team report to.

Not the first marketing procurement function to disappear

While the Pepsico decision is the most high profile example of a marketing procurement function disappearing, it is not the first, and likely not to be the last. During 2007 we were working with a procurement team of a food company, who were recruiting to build a specialist marketing procurement function within procurement.

The team of three were very successful in the first year of engaging with marketing and identifying a number of major projects that resulted in significant savings including packaging design and print, media and agency fees.

In the second year the team delivered only moderate savings as their focus shifted to process optimisation and risk mitigation as further cost cutting alone was agreed to be potentially detrimental to marketing effectiveness.

In the third year they were disbanded. The reason given was the projected savings did not justify the cost of maintaining the procurement team.

The short termism of a savings focus strategy

I remember one of our procurement clients providing me with their contract that they were intending to use with the successful agency of the tender they were managing. They asked us to review the contract to see if it was suitable. I noticed that there was a clause that the agency was responsible for identifying and delivering a 5% improvement in efficiency each year of the contract with a corresponding reduction in fees and costs.

When I bought this to their attention and the fact that the efficiency of the process depended on the brand team as well, considering it was a co-creation process, they looked quizzical. They explained that this was a fairly standard manufacturing clause and wasn’t the agency manufacturing advertising? Continue reading “Did the CFO set Procurement up for failure in Marketing?”

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25 client and agency personality types that will influence relationships

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

In advertising, marketing and media there is a lot of discussion on the management and optimisation of the client / agency relationship. In fact any Google search of the term yields many millions of hits from the sublime to the often ridiculous. But it is clearly a hot and important topic. The marketing and advertising process is an iterative one, with input from a significant number of stakeholders within an organisation and outside suppliers.

Throughout my career a common phrase has always been “It is a people business” and therefore developing the right people relationships is important to achieving productive relationships. So the question is; “Is there an ideal client / agency relationship?”

The dictionary definition of a relationship is “a connection, association, or involvement, an emotional or other connection between people”, therefore is there an ideal version of this or are there actually a vast number of relationships that provide productive working outcomes?

Client agency personality types.The team at TrinityP3 has extensive experience both working in these relationships and working independently of these relationships in their role as Marketing Management Consultants. I asked them to identify some of the classic personality types which affect client / agency relationships that they have observed.

While the list is by no means exhaustive, it is reasonably comprehensive. We encourage you to add additional types in the comments below.

1. The Planet-Sized Brain Client

This senior client changes the brief on the spot (although not the timing or the deliverables) after weeks of agency work simply because ‘no-one sees it like they do’.

Instinctive and emotional, they usually come with an adoring team of yes-marketers and a fabled success or two somewhere in their careers (although even a stopped clock is right twice a day). Ask them to justify their thinking, write anything down or tie anything into research, insights or data and you’ll get extremely short shrift and a new set of barked orders.

2. The Incredible Disappearing Client

This mid-level client will go to ground as soon as any decision needs to be made, as soon as anything gets tough or – particularly – as a presentation to senior stakeholders looms.

Emails, texts, phone calls, messages – nothing gets through for days at a time, and so the agency team ends up having to make the calls. Don’t worry though – you’ll see them at the presentation, either smiling and claiming credit if everything goes well or shaking their heads and blaming the agency if it doesn’t. Continue reading “25 client and agency personality types that will influence relationships”

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