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What You Need to Know About Your Business Before Searching for the Right Agency

What You Need to Know About Your Business Before Searching for the Right Agency

Posted on Mar 28, 2017 by

A strong relationship between client and agency is vital to creating the best possible work. In order to foster an honest, transparent working relationship, you should come to the table prepared and ready to discuss the needs and fundamental values that make up your brand.

In truly collaborative working relationships, no party is left in the dark. You should be made aware as new milestones are reached in the creative process, have opportunities to provide feedback, and have reasonable expectations set by the agency. In order to build long lasting relationships, there should be a healthy, back-and-forth flow of communication, with very little uncertainty. It is better to plainly explain what you mean again and again, than to assume you were understood.

Needs

You should first consider the scope of services you require. To list the basics, there are full-service agencies, creative boutiques, digital/interactive agencies, in-house agencies, and freelance consultants. Whether you require assistance with creative concept development, web-based marketing, media strategy, or simply seeking help from within your company, it is essential to understand what your goals are, and how close you can get within budget.

Value

You should be able to clearly articulate your brand’s values. If you can’t, you may need to back up and add branding to your list of needs. This will be the foundation for all marketing and business, so it is important to get it right. For this step, it can be helpful to think of your brand as someone you know, and describe their personality. For example, if your brand had a dog, what breed would they have? Would they hold the door for you? What are their weekend plans? It may feel silly, but being prepared with this information will usually save your budget from a lengthy discovery process, and may even make you better at your job.

Competition

Knowing how your brand stacks up in the marketplace is important information to give an agency. Different strategies apply to different situations, so it is crucial that you know where you stand. For instance, a long-time industry leader may choose to remind consumers why they’ve succeed where others have dwindled away, whereas a scrappy underdog might emphasize how they provide a more personalized service. In a time of extensive media clutter, it is not only important to be different, but to be authentic as well. A successful brand finds a position that only it can own, and embodies it. Can you think of yours?

Objectives

Play guidance counselor for a second, and ask your brand, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” If you have a solid answer for this, a thoughtful agency can likely begin laying some of the ground work for these goals. It is good practice to iterate your own goals now and again, while contemplating how you will achieve them. Short-term goals provide the agency with a to-do list, while long-term goals alert the agency to keep an eye out for opportunities to make the more subtle, fundamental changes which will keep the transition smooth and organic.

Audience

Understanding your target audience is a key requirement before reaching out to an agency. It is crucial for the agency to know what type of market they will be trying to attract before they can create anything of use. By focusing on a narrow market segment, the agency can more effectively craft messaging that resonates with the target audience.

Logistics

How are you going to reach your audience? In other words, you should know how and where they consume media. Identifying how to effectively position your message before them, at times when they are receptive, can be tricky. Beyond that, you should go in with a clear expectation that the majority of your budget will be put toward media. Air time, magazine spreads, digital display credits–it all adds up.

Marketing

There are two things you should understand about the relationship between advertising and marketing. First, advertising is only a small part of the sales promotion subset of marketing, yet the terms are commonly used interchangeably. Second, because advertising comes at the tail end of the process, every cut corner suddenly becomes painfully obvious. These insights are healthy, but not always easy to process.
When it comes to choosing the perfect agency–like the perfect hammer or screwdriver–there really isn’t one. However, with your newly articulated understanding of your brand and the challenges it faces, you should be sufficiently empowered to find the right one for the job. Now, don’t you have some homework to do? Good hunting!

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Is Advertising Becoming Too Invasive?

Is Advertising Becoming Too Invasive?

Posted on Mar 24, 2017 by

Living in a world with technology at our fingertips, mobile devices have given advertisers greater opportunity to reach further into consumers lives. However, to succeed in this ploy, they have needed to cleverly adapt. So we ask, with the average person constantly bombarded by advertisements, has it become too much?

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Austin’s Instagram Celebrities

Austin’s Instagram Celebrities

Posted on Mar 23, 2017 by

Austin, Texas is famous for its vibrant community of art, music, and culture with hip places like South Congress, Rainey Street, and nature’s finest trails. So it should come as no surprise that many Austinites have gravitated toward Instagram, as their mode of visually expressing the city’s self-described weirdness. Naturally, Austin is also home to many Instagram “celebrities” who remind their followers each and every day why this is the greatest place to live.

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SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

Posted on Mar 13, 2017 by

The world of marketing is ever-evolving, and though there is no universal marketing strategy that will “just work” for every type of company, some marketing professionals make it seem like they possess the secret formula. Now that digital marketing has taken over, there are many new aspects of marketing that we must take into consideration when creating our marketing strategies. I went to multiple masterclasses on digital marketing that were held during weekend one of SXSW, and I’m here to share my key takeaways on where to focus your efforts when creating your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing:

Lawrence O’Connor spoke on the fundamentals of marketing and shared in-depth, valuable information on how to understand your target market. While I found the entire masterclass extremely valuable, these are the key points I took away when focusing on digital marketing:

  1. Know your business. Ask yourself these questions: Why does my business exist? Why should anyone care? What am I not willing to compromise? What are my goals and how will I get there?
  2. Don’t skip testing and keep track of your data. Try both qualitative and quantitative testing. For qualitative you can focus on surveys and interviews and for quantitative focus on user engagement. When focusing on engagement, always pay attention to your analytics. If you are constantly recording your analytics, you will see what is working for you and what’s not.
  3. Recognize which platform your target market uses most. From your data, you will see trends emerge for where the most engagement is occurring. You can then increase your engagement with your core-users, through strategic interactions in social media.

Creating Your Social Media Strategy:

Vin Clancy, social media expert and owner of Traffic and Copy, shared his insight on how to grow your business using only social media. Through his in-depth presentation covering social media strategies, the main focal points that stuck out for me were:

  1. Add value. Bring your expertise to the table and offer your knowledge. Nothing beats staying genuine and true to who you are.
  2. Show up every day. Posting every single day on social media keeps you relevant, and people will create a connection with you. Keep your content fresh and relevant, and focused when engaging with your followers.
  3. Use content scheduling. There are multiple websites such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Spredfast that you can schedule content up to months in advance on multiple platforms at a time. These are great tools to use when you are trying to reach your audience through multiple platforms, on a daily basis.

Both of these masterclasses dug way deeper into these marketing strategies and covered topics of which I could only scratch the surface with this post. These key takeaways will help in understanding the basics of digital marketing, and are essential to the early development of your marketing strategies.

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What to Expect from SXSW

What to Expect from SXSW

Posted on Mar 10, 2017 by

Austin’s annual population spike returns for its 31st year today, March 10, 2017. South by Southwest (SXSW) is an event that people from all over the world come to enjoy. Featuring speakers, conferences, and entertainment–this week of festivities has something happening at all times, and something intriguing for everyone.

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Our Top 4 Brand & Marketing Panels at SXSW

Our Top 4 Brand & Marketing Panels at SXSW

Posted on Mar 09, 2017 by

Keeping up with target audiences can be a challenge in today’s world since social media was brought into the mix. This year, South by Southwest is hosting some of the most intelligent brand and marketing specialists. Technology is booming and more fast-paced than ever before, so the demand for insight and guidance has never been greater. At these four panels you will hear directly from industry leaders on how to build your brand, grab your target audience and keep their attention. These events range from beginner to intermediate, and are perfect if you want to delve deep into the newest marketing trends.

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