Pointers for choosing the right marketing agency

Some pointers for choosing the right marketing agency

The secret of our success? We’re old school![hr]

Why being old fashioned is harming our competitors while being ‘old school’ is bringing business to our door

I never cease to be amazed by things I see on the Internet! Not so much the dancing rabbits and gurning goats—but what companies describing themselves as the right marketing agency are doing to attract business. Take this morning. I went online early to tie up a few loose ends before going on holiday. I contacted a number of people regarding working together in the future and then I had a quick flick through LinkedIn to see what my connections have been up to.

And I was amazed!

The first thing that caught my eye was the number of people looking for freelance designers and copywriters. As far as I’m concerned, this is great—it indicates growth in the industry, and shows that business are seeing more value in these essential skills. This is certainly in line with our own experience—this year we’re already looking at significant growth in both turnover and profit.

But the other thing that drew my attention was how out of date some of our “right marketing agency” competitors’ offerings appeared, particularly from the more established companies. For example, I saw a post from a marketing and advertising agency on whether your business card is eye-catching enough. It may depend on your business, but I actually don’t remember the last time I swapped business cards with anybody. And surely you don’t pick your agency on the strength of their business card designs? Well, I certainly wouldn’t! But good luck to them with that.

Another example—a small, local marketing agency put out a post about using short video in social networking. It may seem perfectly reasonable on the surface but think about it a bit more deeply. In my opinion, if you have to teach your clients something this basic, then you’ll find it challenging to make money out of them. Why? In my experience, if you need to explain basic principles to your clients, you’re already on the back foot with them. If they know so little about marketing, I’m afraid they’re probably the type of clients who don’t appreciate consultancy being a billable service.

You’re probably wondering why I’m launching this barrage of criticism. I’ll tell you—the fact is that I’m concerned that this is a standard that many companies view as acceptable. In my opinion, this sort of sloppy marketing effort devalues the expertise and knowledge of the individuals who work for these companies. I’ve worked with one of them and know that their team is incredibly talented and hard-working—and they can certainly deliver brilliant campaigns with quantifiable results.

I don’t think I missed anything radical or new in their posts such as business cards includig wearable technology or short films going holographic! No, these posts were old hat! Why would they do that? Have they misunderstood the purpose of blogging on social networks?

So what about us? Presumably we’re not using such old-fashioned articles to pitch our business to potential clients? Correct—we do things differently. I’ve pitched for new business many times and I’ve won many times. But not by suggesting business cards or short videos. In fact, our pitching is even more old school than that!

How do you know which marketing agency to choose?

What we do is begin by asking questions.

  • What are your goals?
  • What are you already doing?
  • What works for your business?
  • What doesn’t?
  • And many more…

Our questioning process lasts for a considerable time and allows us to get to know our clients’ businesses inside out. It gives us the information we need to make the marketing decisions required. It means our proposals are based on evidence and fact, with outcomes that can be measured.

Additionally, we don’t do all the pitch work involved for free.

Traditionally, many companies do but we favour a different approach. If clients have faith in our process and our strategy, they will be willing to pay for the work involved in creating a bespoke proposal. This gives us the reassurance that our time and effort is justified. In turn our clients can feel reassured that we are providing an individualized service rather than just passing them a standard proposal. Our initial investigation provides an evidential report that will determine a measurable forward strategy.

Old school hard graft beats old-fashioned marketing flannel every time!

Get in touch now.We'll even give you 30 minutes advice completely free[hr]

5 reasons why to use film in your marketing campaigns

Reasons you should use film in marketing campaigns are clear.

It has long been recognised that film and video are an excellent way to engage consumers. Our appetite globally for tv and moving picture through film and YouTube is staggering. Every marketer would love to be the driving force behind the ad campaign that everyone recognises world over.

What is overwhelmingly apparent in our world of today is that the ‘recipe’ for a global viral hit is not necessarily the same as you would have specified ten years ago. There are, as with any creative success, some guidelines and parameters which make the end result more likely to succeed. To coin a Stephen R. Covey phrase ‘start with the end in mind’. In simple terms, what is it what video / film can do for you and your business?

Here are 5 benefits of using film in marketing campaigns.

1. Get your point across quickly

The stats on how much quicker people absorb information from film are staggering. People have an appetite for fast information, everyone is busy, no one wants to wait too long for anything. Film enables you to quench this thirst, to tell a story and to deliver your message in the shortest possible time.

2. Leverage context

The context of the information you are sharing is important to the relevance to the viewer. Moving picture enables you to set context visually and aurally without relying so heavily on understanding, translation and imagination. Film makes it easier for you. To show the viewer that your message relates to them.

3. Stimulate emotion

Most, if not all, successful campaigns, films, books and music strike an emotive chord within people. The basic nature of film enables you to create suspense, drama, aspiration and many other emotions which you wish to associate with your product or brand. People buy because they are made to feel a certain way. Using film enables you to enhance that emotion in ways other media cannot.

4. Heighten engagement

Trying to pull the kids away from the TV is the easiest analogy to describe engagement brought about by film. Lifting ones head away from an engrossing book or magazine article is fairly easy by comparison. You can mark where you left off with the simple positioning of a thumb or finger, react to whatever has stimulated you and then revert back. Film’s different. Yes you can hit pause but you’re unlikely to do that in the middle of a scene. There’s a fear that you might miss something. Using film enables you to increase that engagement with your target audience.

5. Increase ‘share power’

Social media has brought about ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. Not only are these measures of the stickiness of your content but now they also affect your rank on search engines. You only need to look at your Facebook feed or which virals have been most successful to realise film is an intrinsic part of virality. It is also evidenced that film embedded into email marketing significantly increases click through rates.


It’s clear that video/film is an essential part of today’s marketing mix. What is less clear is how you should apportion budgets. We would recommend that you make as much budget as is physically available for film. Without it, your message and brand will get lost in the vast stocks of content available at the click of a button. Without film, you just won’t be as memorable as those who do use it. There’s a further point too.

If you are using or intend to use film in your marketing campaigns, you need to ensure the quality is reflective of the quality of your brand. Viewers will make judgements, both consciously and sub-consciously, about your products and brand based on the quality of your film. Put back those marginal improvements on other areas of your marketing mix and invest your budget in video. Do it right and you’ll never look back.

By Ryan Mullins

Successful content marketing: 5 rules of brilliant engaging content

Successful content marketing needs brilliant, engaging content.

Every single one of your competitors that takes their marketing seriously is now working on their content marketing strategy. As a result, the competition is hottin g up and you need to really get it right if you want to stand out from the rest. This blog post is here to help you to get it right with some simple steps.

Content marketing is recognised as being the way to draw traffic into your site. How do you make your content brilliant and engaging?

Content is the king of todays media world. Consumers crave information. The issue for businesses is creating content that their target audience wish to read. Emails get binned so very easily; but we all still read a few. We read articles when we need advice or we are referred by our peers. What is it that make she difference between a great article we share and all those we ignore?

1. Relevance

Why should your audience care? Does your content make any difference to them? If the answer is no or not sure, you’re missing something. It may be something as simple as an introduction that makes your content relevant. It may be that you need to educate your audience to make it relevant.

2. Attractiveness

So, going beyond relevance, this is the question of whether your audience really cares. Lets face it, even when we should care, sometimes we don’t. Part of that is the packaging. Whether it be the way a message is delivered, how it’s dressed up, what it looks like or even whether it is a path to eternal happiness. How attractive is your message? Remember, attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, what you consider attractive is not always the same as your target audience. Use focus groups, conduct market research and make sure you know what your audience desires before you begin. It will make the journey easier, less painful and more rewarding.

3. Emotion

Once you’ve caught the right people’s attention, you need to make sure your message is memorable. What makes memorable? For me, it’s inspiring emotion, it’s about making someone, the reader, feel. The emotion you inspire is important and fairly obviously it wants to be a positive message. In order to draw out emotion, you may need to provoke, you may need to cite examples or tell a story. Being brutally honest, if your content doesn’t inspire emotion, it will get lost among the world of mediocre. Take your time, tap into the nerve centre of your audience; you’ve worked hard to gain their attention, you just need to do enough to be remembered too. Be daring, be bold, gain criticism and most importantly, gain an audience who are touched by your message.

4. Convenience

With the modern world being the way that it is, consumers want everything ‘on demand’. People have less and less patience, they want to be able to access information on their terms, in their time, at their convenience. Remember, this is not about you, it is not about what you are able to provide, it’s about your target audience, it’s about their routines, their convenience. If your audience wants film and you release hard backed books, take a guess at the outcome. If, however, you provide relevant, attractive and emotive content to your consumers convenience, you have a much greater chance of success. If your target audience prefers SMS once a week, that’s what you should deliver! Make it easy, deliver it in the way they want it and they expect it. Anything less and you may be wasting your efforts entirely. Do the very best you can!

5. Shareability

If you’ve managed to achieve the success of getting someone to read and digest your content, the supreme success comes in getting them to recommend it to others by sharing. Remember, people won’t joust share anything. Even recommending a holiday read can be challenging so recommending content that may make a professional difference to someone needs to be well founded. Assuming you’ve achieved the first 4 points, it may be as simple as having ‘share this’ buttons, you may need to ask for a referral. Whatever you need to do to get the referral, do it, there is nothing as successful in conversion as personal testimonials. Another thought to leave you with is the use of incentives to gain the referral. Be creative, stimulate desire and gain recommendations from your target audience. Achieve these and you’ll be we’ll on your way to a rewarding sales channel with high conversion ratios.

Finally, remember your call to action!

What do you want your recipients to do? Contact you? Share with a friend? Comment?
Make sure you tell them!

If you follow these simple steps for creating more successful content marketing you’re likely to stay a step ahead of your competition and convert more of those all important subscribers.

By Ryan Mullins

Google hack – how to achieve page 1 ranking

How do you get your website onto page 1 on google and other search engines?

The secret to achieving a Google page 1 ranking

Achieving a Google search page 1 ranking has swiftly become the Holy Grail for online businesses—after all, how many punters ever bother to go onto the second page of a search? And reaching this nirvana has spawned a whole new industry of SEO consultants and experts who would have you believe there is some arcane and complex magic for nudging your way up the search results.

But…getting onto page 1 for a Google search isn’t difficult at all!

Yes—that’s true, despite what SEO and internet gurus might have you believe. It’s simply a matter of following a specific formula and being mindful of competition for the phrases you want to rank for. And we’re willing to share the secret with you, so you can reconfigure your pages to achieve the Google, Bing or Yahoo search ranking you want.

Just a word before you start…

Take this example: a local insurance broker approached us and said, “We want to appear on page 1 of Google.”

We asked them what search term they wanted to achieve page 1 for.

“Insurance!” they said, naturally enough.

We had to ask, “How deep are your pockets?”

With the pressure of online competition, not deep enough! And this is the root of the problem. This company, by wanting to rank on page 1 for “insurance” was setting itself up in competition with all the hundreds of thousands of other insurance companies all over the world. And although “insurance” is an applicable search term for this small local business, it does nothing to set them apart from the rest of the competition.

The problem is, how do you rank on page 1 without diluting your message?

It’s all to do with the search terms you choose. If you pick a high competition key phrase that attracts a huge volume of searches, you’ll find it nigh on impossible to achieve a page 1 rank on Google or any of the other search engines. Not totally impossible—but if you do get to the top, your competitors will be snapping at your heels and you’ll find it incredibly difficult to maintain your position.

So how can you achieve a page 1 ranking?

Here’s our guide to raising your page up the search engine ranks.

  1. Research your keywords to differentiate your business. For example, if you’re an insurance broker in Bedford, specialising in commercial risks, don’t attempt to be page 1 for “insurance”. You’ll be better served by ranking for “commercial insurance Bedford”.
  2. Understand search volumes. Once you’ve identified some possible search phrases for your business, you need to be mindful of how many people are using them. After all, being number 1 for a phrase that nobody is using isn’t going to make you particularly discoverable.
  3. Identify your site’s key pages. There will be certain pages on your site that are valuable to you and your customers. You need to know which pages these are and what information your visitors are looking for. Use analytics to identify your top ranking pages.
  4. Optimise your site to make it easier for Google to read. Google isn’t human and it needs information to be configured in a specific way in order to find it. If you leave out what it’s looking for, your pages won’t rank.  Every single page needs to contain the following information:
  • Key phrases that are specific to the page
  • META Title – this needs to contain the key phrase(s)
  • URL – must contain the key phrase(s)
  • META Description – also needs to contain the key phrase(s)
  • The first, second and final paragraphs must all feature the key phrase(s)

If this still seems a little daunting or if you simply haven’t the time to review all the pages on your site, we can help you to gain a page 1 ranking for Google and other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo. Our first step is to assess your site and make a recommendation on how much work will be required. Then you can decide whether you’d like us to transform your search engine rankings.

3 tips to choosing the right film production company

Choosing the right film production company can be challenging.

With film now being so popular as a marketing resource, there’s a mass influx of professional film production companies. Determining which film production companies are professionals and which ones simply call themselves professionals may not be the easiest so here are some tips to help you avoid costly lessons.

Film is one of those areas of marketing, even more so if you are new to it, that it is essential to choose the right company to work with. Professional filming doesn’t come cheap and the last thing you would want is buyer’s remorse from simply not going through the correct selection criteria.

When choosing any new supplier, you want to ensure that their criteria matches yours. It’s important for a number of reasons, probably the greatest being the synergy of expectations and results as you move forward.

Let’s face it, if you’ve decided film is the way forward for you, you want to make every penny count! That’s why all of the top brands of the world invest so much into it. When executed well, it just works.

Here are 3 things to evaluate when you’re choosing your film production company.

1. Heritage

You need to know that the supplier you choose can (and more importantly will) deliver. It would be wise to look for a company / team who have invested the man hours to have all the necessary experience. Malcolm Gladwell cites 10,000 hours as being the yard stick by which to measure peoples’ level of expertise. Once past 10,000 hrs they can be categorised as ‘expert’.

2. Value

Ensuring that you gain value from your production company means that they should be taking a very keen interest in your needs. It may be that your budget and expectations are mis-aligned but a brilliant production company will not only talk you through this but they’ll also discuss with you how you will be able to make your budget work all be it if it’s not the Spielbergesque feature film you had first imagined.

3. Professionalism

Before you’ve worked with a company, you may think it difficult to measure their professionalism but there are a number of ways you can check their credentials in this vital aspect of your decision making process. The first thing you can do is speak with their existing customers. A good company will always have happy customers who are pleased to speak with you. You should perhaps think about asking them about things that have gone wrong and how they’ve been resolved. Accidents do happen and in actual fact, how a company deals with these mini crises is a very good measure of their overall professionalism. You should also ask to see risk assessments and method statements. If these aren’t present, this is a very clear warning signal. Finally, how comprehensive is their insurance? You need to know that all the liabilities are covered and no-one, particularly you, will end up out of pocket as a result of some unforeseen circumstance.

In summary

The hand held domestic video footage of baby biting other baby’s fingers is not the future of video on-line.

Many of the top brands have come to the realisation that if they have a clear enough “call to action” to drive enough traffic to their web-site, those brands are now able to consider themselves in the same way as a genuine TV channel. But this position carries responsibility. Your “viewers” have expectations about the quality of the video they watch on-line, and if other competitors have video on their site at genuine TV quality, they will expect the same from you.

With the BBC’s iPlayer and other on-demand broadcast domains, the consumer can now watch the same TV quality via a digital source as they expect via their satellite dish or digital aerial. So your on-line offering needs to be produced at that TV standard, and the quality must be conveyed through to the viewer by maximising playback and data rates, which are still considered a “black-art” by some, but not by our chosen partner.

The camera’s, lights and all the other kit plus operators MUST be the best, not kids just out of film school with a handy-cam coupled with a cheap piece of plastic on the front masquerading as a lens and then some basic software to edit on. The director needs to be able to write a script, if called for, so the edit has depth and tells a story. That’s how you elevate a basic edit into a short film. The producer and the director need a proper TV background and plenty of practical familiarity and experience, not just cutting the family’s holiday video’s. And for those clients who do not have any professional TV or video production experience it can be extremely hard to ascertain who out there is experienced and will bring gold standards to the table, and those that have only the basis of an understanding of how to make a strong, striking and effective film.

Choosing the right film production company is imperative to maintain control over your costs and satisfy the quality needs of your company.

By Ryan Mullins