Tag Archives: review

Aardvark Marketing | Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

For many business managers, if you mention the words ‘marketing agency’ they’ll run a mile. We have a fearsome reputation akin to estate agents, investment bankers and salespeople. We’re expensive. We don’t generate leads. We beat unsuspecting business people into submission by using unfamiliar jargon about social media, google analytics, blogs, landing pages, automation, SEO etc. Sounds familiar?
At the same time, most busy business owners recognise that they don’t have the resources to run consistently good marketing activity. We may be well intentioned and start the new year with a plan and a resolution to turn over a new leaf but then reality takes over. We get bogged down with the daily challenges of delivering products or services to our customers. Occasionally we deal with an urgent and important sales lead and have a proposal or a tender to write, which always seems to take up far more of our time then we had bargained for. Then there are staff to deal with, IT issues, telephone calls and emails to answer, the VAT return to submit and before we know it the marketing activity has been moved back. Yet again.
Typically, it’s at this point, when the MD is at the end of his/her tether and cannot cope with time pressure any longer that an agency gets appointed to ‘take care of all that marketing stuff for me’. Initially it’s such a relief that they don’t have to deal with this that the monthly bill isn’t an issue. After all, we’ve done what our business mentor or coach has been urging us to do for ages – we’ve delegated it, saved ourselves a whole load of time and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved.
The agency come in with some attractive images for new websites, a re-branding, a beautiful sales presenter or a spreadsheet showing how many tweets they’ve sent out or how much they’ve spent on pay per click advertising and away they go. A few months later, when we’re sat in the management meeting looking at the sales pipeline figures or reviewing the year with our accountant, there can be a shock. We’ve not delegated our marketing activity so much as abdicated responsibility for it.
By not controlling the agenda for review meetings (or even having them regularly) with agencies we allow them to set their agenda in its place. Some marketing companies are quite happy to continue producing creative work without a proper brief or without rigorous measuring of results in place.
Sometimes when we start work with a new customer they express satisfaction with their agency. But not always. We’ve heard stories of agencies that have generated no new sales leads in 18 months. Website companies that quote £15,000 for an e-commerce website when a realistic price was under £5,000. ‘Lovely’ ladies who will manage your Twitter account for you for a few hundred pounds a month but who haven’t produced a single prospect after 12 months. How about an agency that charge you £60 per hour for a junior team member to produce a timesheet to justify their invoice?
Or the opposite can happen, when the activity appears to be very effective. For example, a new telemarketing company who have generated plenty of ‘leads’ but, after a very time-consuming process of writing a detailed proposal or going to a meeting with the prospect, they turn out to be prospects who haven’t a sufficient large budget to engage your services. A website company that tells you how much more traffic has gone to your website but neglect to inform you that the bounce rate for these visitors is over 90% because they are searching for the wrong keywords?
That’s where a part-time marketing director can help. Someone who is wholly ‘on your side’ when it comes to managing your agency. Someone who can set out the right strategy, prevent you wasting time and money on the wrong activities, negotiate a great deal from newspapers and magazines for PR and advertorial without resorting to expensive advertising. Someone who understands that your precious marketing budget needs to be invested properly to generate quality and well as quantity from your sales leads. Someone who can manage that creative agency to get the best from their talents.
If you’d like to have a confidential chat about how to get better results from managing your agency then call us on 0121 222 5743, or email us here.

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Aardvark Marketing | How to celebrate a successful project

How to celebrate a successful project

How to celebrate a successful project

After nearly 2 years of working with the lovely team at Argenta, it was sad to come to the end of their Growth Accelerator sales and marketing project but there was plenty of success to celebrate at the same time.  I sat down with Chris Woodhams, their MD, to review the successes, challenges and the lessons we learned from our work together as we completed our Project Closure Report.

It’s always a great idea for management to review the progress is made from the start of the project to its completion. Both Chris and I are very busy people. We each run our own businesses. We have to cope with the daily juggling act of different tasks, different people and delivering great work for customers whilst keeping an eye on the finances and the admin tasks. Taking time out for refection is precious and valuable.

Why?
It’s difficult in the hurly burly of modern business to remember how far we’ve progressed from our starting point. It’s important to realise that issues that seemed enormously challenging 2 years ago are now resolved. It gives us a sense of purpose in our business and a sense of personal achievement.
Success should be shared with our support team. In our example other people, some newly recruited into the business, had made progress with new systems and processes. They learned to be a little bolder with their prospective customers, they acquired new skills in the use of websites, social media and PR. Together we set up a whole series of regional events for peers and apprentices from different companies to share ideas about new technology. They learned how to get a creative agency to deliver a brief or had the confidence to address a regional industry business conference. The whole team had learned to work together in new ways so that they delivered on their project. That teamwork and mastering of new skills should be applauded and recognised.
Finally it’s good to think about the issues that arose that we didn’t expect. As with most events that go wrong in life, these are the lessons we are least likely to forget or repeat in the future but they need to be acknowledged.

I’ll finish with some questions to ask yourself and your team.
What projects are due to be reviewed in your business?
Are you going to give yourself a pat on the back for mastering something new or achieving something that looked challenging at the start? If so, what’s the reward?
In what ways has your team moved forwards?
Are you rewarding those of your employees or peers that embrace change and improve the business?
What lessons have you learned that will make life smoother and more successful into the future?
Don’t forget to celebrate your successes!

Gill

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