Tag Archives: Agencies

What gives with the DMA’s new website?

As some of you may know, we’ve been toiling away for the past few months forging a new DMA website out of cutting-edge web technologies and the tears of developers. Testing emails have gone out, feedback has been gratefully received, and we are slowly honing in on a finished product.

But why are we doing this? For what purpose are we keeping a bunch of nerds locked in a basement with only Monster Energy drinks and Sainsbury’s Basics noodles for sustenance?

In case it wasn’t patently obvious, it’s partly for our own sadistic pleasure, but mostly for the benefit of you, the DMA members. We’ve been working – and hard – on creating a website that puts you firmly in the driver’s seat.

Here’s what you can expect:

Super-powered search
You’ll always find exactly what you’re looking for (and a whole lot of stuff you didn’t know you wanted), with the new super-smart search

Turbo tools
Customise your own personal content feed, clip articles to read later and connect directly to the people that matter. Submit the content you want to see and add to other people’s work.

Rough and ready responsive layout
Want to browse on an iPhone 5c? No problem. Samsung Galaxy? We’ve got you covered. Obscure space-age technology not yet discovered? Yep, the site will still look brilliant on that too.

And much, much more besides.

The whole thing has been built using masonry.js, with a suite of proprietary, custom-built technologies just for us and, by extension, you, because we’re all special. Once it’s up and running on our dedicated servers (and you better believe we’ve got a load balancer in there), the whole thing will be lightning fast. I’m talking roadrunner fast. Somewhere between Superman and the Flash kind of fast. That’s the good news.

But these things, much like a new series of Game of Thrones or my mum’s famous shredded-chicken lasagne, take time. “But we’ve already been waiting ages!” I hear you say, much to my surprise as this is a blog and we’re not actually having a two-way conversation while I type this.
We know. We understand.

And you’re not getting the site until it’s perfect. No, more than that; until it’s ruddy-bloody amazing.

So bear with us; watch your inbox for test emails (you lucky few), and feel free to ask questions. We’re nothing if not good listeners – tell us what you’d like to see on the site, what you’d find useful, and how amazing the season finale of GoT was. Am I right?! I can’t believe they brought that guy back from the dead! Twist!

By Mark Thomas, Digital Content Executive, The DMA


4 ways to boost your campaign results

Data can tell you what makes your customers respond to your marketing campaigns, whether it’s delivered by email, direct mail, or even telemarketing.
Why do so many people think marketing data analysis only works for online?

New media campaigns may sound cost-effective – sending a million emails or serving a million impressions may cost just a few pounds. But longer-established media like direct mail and telephone campaigns can deliver far higher response rates making the cost equation balance.

AdWords deals in single-digit click-throughs, while there are banner programmes where 0.1% counts as positive. Yet some direct mail campaigns can achieve an 18% response from a list of just 3,000. How are they doing it?

The answer’s not just about the numbers – but about the words, too.

Here are four ways to boost the performance of your marketing campaigns:

1. Be subjective: look at the first line everyone sees
Many campaigns focus on the mailer’s content. But marketing data analysis starts with the prime commercial property above it: the headline. Whether it’s the first line of your letter, the title on the envelope, or the subject line of your email.

There’s no secret as to why. It’s the first – sometimes the only – part of your marketing communication everyone sees. And it’s often critical to their decision whether to read on.

Marketing data analysis isn’t just “by the numbers”. It’s by the words.
So headlines deserve a lot of attention. What criteria can today’s marketing manager use to get a grip on what works?

2. Dig deep into your past campaigns
The first task is to look back at previous campaign reports. Not at what you thought was good, but what actually worked.

Make a list of all the headlines you used. Then rank them by the simplest metric: whether a recipient responded. (Whether that means opening the mailer, or recalling it when you follow up by phone.)

Then apply two more metrics: whether that recipient visited your website (you can put a unique URL in your letter to find out) and whether they went further down the sales funnel, such as providing their profile data at your squeeze page or landing page. Three valuable sets of data. And all came from an offline campaign.

3. Apply numerical metrics to words
Even without mapping the data into a visual chart (a data consultant can help you do this) you’ll see discrepancies between the best and worst headlines.

Some campaigns had low responses… but high recall when you followed up. Counterintuitive? No. It means the headline wasn’t intriguing, but the content was. (Another reason to pay a lot of attention to headlines.)

And then there are high-interest mailings – where everybody opened the envelope, but nobody typed in the URL or dialled your number. Perhaps the promise of the envelope copy wasn’t paid off by the content inside. Or the content gave away too much, rather than interesting your reader in taking action.

And then there are the campaigns with high numbers, but for only for a subset of your audience. If so, think again about segmentation in your marketing data analysis. It’s probably worth targeting that content to different people, even if it’s only a change of title.

4. Cast a critical eye over every sentence
When you’ve got a list of successful opening lines, it’s time to take it to the next level. With your audience in mind, what common traits do those sentences share? Here are some ideas:

  • Nouns. Are they concrete and snappy, creating instant pictures in your reader’s mind?
  • Verbs. Are they active and alive, giving the impression something interesting is happening?
  • Adjectives. Do you have too many? (Answer: yes.)
  • Length. Both sentence length (word count) and character count. Imagine you’re reading email on your phone’s tiny screen – what do you like to see?

Of course, this doesn’t just teach you about your campaign success; it teaches you about your customers. And because so many people concentrate on email these days, thinking again about offline campaigns can give you a huge competitive edge.

So if you want to raise your numbers… try looking at your words.

By DMA guest blogger Julie Knight, Marketing Director, Marketscan

Brands – think before you jump on the World Cup RTM bandwagon

We’ve seen a plethora of brands jump on the real-time marketing (RTM) bandwagon this summer already – fuelled by string of cultural and sporting events. The World Cup has a lot to answer for!

Wafflegate, aka USA vs Belgium, saw brand after brand say pretty much the same dumb thing. The Suarez Bite sparked an RTM frenzy with anyone and everyone attempting a witty response. Common sense, good taste (no pun intended) and brand principles all seemed to take the day off. Some brands clearly stretched themselves to get in on the act…but why?

Everyone ended up making the same lame joke. Instead of rising above the noise… they just created more of it. Some of them should have taken a leaf out of Oreo’s book and “gone dark”.

But perhaps, one of the worst RTM judgement calls of the World Cup so far has been KLM’s Adios Amigos tweet minutes after Netherlands knocked Mexico out. KLM have since apologised for causing offence – but it will take more than a tweet to undo the damage.

So what’s the learning? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When brands attempt to be culturally significant – at speed and in the moment – they must not do it at the expense of being strategic. Brands must know how far they are willing to go… and be prepared to stick to their guns when a tempting, but irrelevant, opportunity comes along.

For marketers, this requires an intrinsic understanding of your brand, confidence and empowerment to make tough decisions quickly and stamina. RTM isn’t really about supporting cultural or sporting events. It’s about being culturally relevant every day. That’s 24/7 365 days a year. That’s where you will find the right opportunities that work for your brand rather than competing against every other brand.

It means a dedicated, cross-functional and tightly knit team. It means a new operational approach and environment. It means opening up new partnerships and media opportunities (to help cut through some of that noise. It means having 24/7 access to the right insight, tools and data. It means taking chances (on the good bets) and a relentless commitment to moving the needle (on engagement) every day.

Some say RTM has already peaked, but it’s going to be around for a while (perhaps becoming the future status quo?) and we collectively need to get better at it!

By DMA guest blogger Pipa Unsworth, Chief Product Officer, Digitas LBi and DMA Agencies Council chair

We’ll explore these aspects of Real time marketing at our event in September. Come and find out from brands and agencies who are pioneering and leading the way. They’ll share their success, watch-outs and insights. It’s one event you shouldn’t miss.

Winning brands focus on the goal at FIFA 2014

There is much talk around major Championships about which brands ‘win’, and inevitably league tables are produced with non-sponsor brands usurping official partners.  It’s an easy story but with little depth. 

From a sponsorship perspective, what matters is whether those brands that have invested in the FIFA World Cup, or the Olympics for that matter, have achieved their own specified objectives.  Their opportunity is so much greater.

Has the alignment with football helped the brand, humanising an otherwise corporate giant in the eyes of its consumers, customers, employees and key stakeholders?  Has the opportunity for engagement driven brand growth and advocacy? Has the business grown and comparative sales increased against the same period the previous year?  Has the partnership helped the business launch new products or enter new markets?  Has the investment been profitable?

These are the things that matter.  I’m sure Castrol couldn’t care less where they rank against McDonald’s or Adidas, or Nike or KFC in a social media buzz chart.  It’s guaranteed that brand comparisons are made across categories and between sponsors and non-sponsors with the challenge against the value for money of a FIFA sponsorship.

The major Championships provide a wonderful focus for us all and, as such, brands take up the challenge to be creative, meaningful and entertaining.  There are some wonderful examples of brands’ creativity and storytelling around the FIFA World Cup, and some less good (you know the ones, usually with top footballers in them trying to act).  Here are just a few to choose from, my personal favourite is the emotive film for Beats by Dre, what’s yours?

Beats by Dre:            

Nike ‘Risk Everything’:                                

Adidas ‘All In or Nothing’:              



McDonald’s ‘Gol’:     



Paddy Power:                       

Carlsberg ‘Fan Squad’:        

Budweiser ‘Believe as one’:

Banco de Chile:         


There are countless more films and ads from brands trying to align themselves with the football, as there will be in 2016, 2018 and beyond.

The more complex and bigger challenge is to maintain the creativity and connection away from the major Championships.  Can brands hold the attention and continue to be meaningful irrespective of whether they are sponsors or not? Let’s see what happens after July 2014.

By DMA guest blogger Rob Mitchell, Sponsorship and Marketing Consultant, RJM Consulting and DMA Brand Activation Council member


Cannes 2014 – the brave tame Lions

I was only in Cannes for 48 hours this year – but it was still long enough – long enough to see some amazing work and (just) long enough to avoid liver failure.

While Cannes made headlines this year for attracting a list of A-list guest speakers – from Kanye West to Bono, my rosé-tinted eyes were most interested in seeing the best creativity in the World that took home coveted Lions.

Something I found encouraging was the bravery in the work that won awards – hopefully something clients will take note of.  I was also pleased to see the UK faring so well too. So what were the picks? Here are a couple of brilliant winning pieces of work that are both brave and from our shores.

OgilvyOne London’s superb digital billboard for British Airways, which saw a child stand up and point as a BA flight went over, deservedly won the Grand Prix in Direct and Innovation. You can see the campaign here:

Adam & Eve DDB won big with ‘Sorry I Spent it on Myself’ – an audacious Christmas campaign created for high-end retailer Harvey Nichols. This hilarious campaign consisted of a series of awful presents such as a door stop and Lincolnshire gravel which could be purchased after you had spent all your money on yourself at Harvey Nichols. The campaign won a Grand Prix in Film, Integrated, Press and Promo and Activation.

Often we hear people complaining that it’s difficult to get away with brave work in the UK – the two campaigns above prove this theory wrong. Cannes we kick it? Yes we Cannes!

By DMA guest blogger Richard Dutton, Business Development Director, Arc Worldwide and DMA Brand Activation Council Chair

Does Snapchat have a role in your engagement strategy?

It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s frivolous. But is it sensible to sprinkle a pinch of Snapchat magic into your marketing mix? It’s definitely worth investigating.

Snapchat posts hold the user’s attention with (at maximum) 10 second ‘self-destructing’ posts. So why should brands use Snapchat? In short, it’s light, it’s self-organising for users and, most importantly, it provides brands with a cash-light way to engage with the audience.

The fleeting nature of the posts is one of its main strengths. Think of the recipient. The Snapchat arrives. It needs to be actively opened. Its lifespan is tantalisingly short. This means there is a higher level of concentration and engagement. Ultimately, it forces the person consuming the content to actually give it the valuable seconds of attention it deserves − far more so compared with posting on a scrolling, passive newsfeed as experienced on Facebook or its photo-sharing cousin, Instagram. Snapchat gives you the opportunity to gain someone’s attention in a very noisy world.

This higher level of concentration required means it’s an ideal space for showcasing new products and deals. This is an opportunity that agile, early adopting brands have realised − giving rise to frequent ‘Snapchatting’ of discount codes, new products and offer deals.

Others have capitalised on Snapchat’s ephemeral nature that permits the ability to give posts a sense of exclusivity. MTV’s Geordie Shore showcased ‘exclusive’ highlights, both in picture and video form, of the upcoming 6th series – all the while reminding them to tune in to the upcoming series.

The main negative of the app, for marketing purposes, is the difficulty in tracking engagement from your posts. Currently, the app is yet to have an official way to manage and track users’ activity. Of course, you can still track engagement through the uptake of unique promotional codes.

The recent addition of Snapchat Stories has added more possibilities. It offers, in sporting parlance, extra time − 24 hours of viewing time to be precise. Now, through a series of posts, you can deepen your audience’s experience. There’s a tale to be told. A connection to be made. Suddenly Snapchat doesn’t seem so throwaway.

Stop press: Slingshot vs Snapchat
With news of Slingshot, Facebook’s own ephemeral app, launching this week. What does this mean for Snapchat and more widely, brands using instant photo-sharing platforms for marketing? Possibly quite a lot as at first glance.

Whereas Snapchat is more focused on 1-2-1 engagement, Slingshot isn’t. It encourages participation by only allowing you to view a message by sending one back, leading to a higher level of engagement that you have with Snapchats.

Also from a brand point of view it addresses a massive issue users have when sending to mass audience on Snapchat – it has a ‘select all’ button.

Watch this space.

By DMA guest blogger Ben Peachell, Marketing Executive, Indicia

This an edited version of a blog that first appeared on the Indicia website

Why performance delivery means so much more in today’s media environment

When I attended a speaker panel at the Media360 event a couple of weeks ago, there was a lot of talk from clients about not being transparent about our remuneration and the need to understand how media agencies are delivering for them.

I strongly believe that we in media agencies are best-placed among our marketing agency counterparts to deliver this. We already have direct attribution for online sales, and increasingly we are developing attribution models to define the offline effect for both on online sales and, where relevant, offline retail sales.

Last week, AdConnection relaunched its positioning as The Performance Agency – leading the way in performance-led delivery. We strongly believe that not only should all campaigns be measured and their performance assessed, but that part of our remuneration should be based on this.

Although this has been done for some time by PPC/SEO teams, both benefiting from the last point in the purchase cycle, benefiting from often millions of pounds spent on TV, outdoor, display digital etc., the challenge is defining it and measuring it for more of the “trigger media” not directly measurable to sales, but very much contributing some or the majority of the effect.

Performance measures
Performance can mean and deliver so much more than the end sales. In a different context, if you go to a performance, whether it is the cinema, theatre, a gig or a football match, you could define a successful performance if the organisers make money and the paying public go home feeling they have got value for money.

But when the audience are really engaged all the way through, go home feeling amazing, creating an emotional response, whether that is laughter, tears or joy, and then tell all their friends how brilliant the performance was and remember it for weeks, months or years after – that is truly a successful performance. That is what we will deliver in media terms for our clients.

So performance is as much the route to get to the end result as the final plan. It is how it is delivered, how it cuts through for the client as competitive activity increases, how the client service and proactivity is delivered, and all the components of a service-level agreement set out between agency and client.

Successful businesses are driven by performance. Getting the most unique and best insights to deliver optimal strategies will deliver the best outcomes. That’s why and how performance matters.

Which media perform?
At the Media360 event and in recent conversations with clients and media owners, there has been a concern that agency models do not fairly attribute all media in the same way. Thinkbox’s Lindsey Clay quite rightly expressed concern in the discussion at Media360 that TV would not get the same share of funds if agencies did not get the same fees from TV that they got from online.

In AdConnection’s performance-based model, only media that deliver along the purchase funnel will get further investments. Although not all media or indeed media formats are equal.

Our sophisticated attribution models increase the effect of a video watched all the way through (where there is an emotional as well as sales message across audio and visual), versus a quick view of a static online banner, which may not have even been viewed following analysis of eye-tracking movements.

These systems and tools are not the result of a huge amount of data being input into a large system with generic, vanilla averages being poured out and used for all campaigns. It is about smart inputting and employing the brightest experts to step back from the data and see what it is really telling us, often differentiating or challenging the norms and averages to deliver cut through solutions for clients.

In this context, the client and indeed media agencies are best placed to objectively determine the relative effect of different creative messages based on both influence and sales ability, beyond a simple click. After all, I cannot remember the last time I clicked on a banner, and the majority of the effect of these ads is to generate a future search once the consumer is in the market to research or buy.

Performance beyond advertising
With attribution and ultimately econometric modelling, media agencies are increasingly looking at factors beyond just the creative and media for contribution, including weather, pricing, brand standout, ability of the product to deliver, and even factors such as quality of the client sales team.

These factors are even more important to identify once we are remunerated partly on performance, and indeed have more need and authority to critique critique a client’s website, creative, product or even campaign timing based on wanting all factors to work.

Performance with passion
Finally, we need to deliver media performance to the client in the most compelling way – both how we present the rationale and solutions of the media plan, as well as nurturing our people to deliver in an intuitive, bold and vibrant way, so our clients enjoy working with us and are compelled and persuaded to buy our creative and standout communication solutions.

The successful media agencies of the future will be those that have a full overview of performance across strategy, content and delivery.

And successful businesses will not be the big media owners, clients or agencies with clout, but those with smart people and a focus on performance with the best optimisation, tools and experts with a passion to think differently and deliver a truly memorable and successful campaign for months and years to come.

By DMA guest blogger Catherine Becker, Chief executive, AdConnection

This is blog first appeared on Campaign and Media Week.

The secret of long-lasting client-agency relationships

Every relationship needs attention to keep it going. If a client doesn’t feel they are getting enough out of the relationship or communication breaks down, it’s only a matter of time before they stray.

So, why it is important to build a long-term relationship with agencies? The simple answer is that your agency is an extension of your marketing team and capability. A marketer’s ability to deliver for their business is therefore intrinsically linked to the quality of the work the agency produce. Quality work is, in turn, linked to the quality of the client-agency relationship and, in my experience, longer-term relationships tend to be higher quality relationships.

Businesses shy away from changing agencies
Luckily, businesses don’t take the decision to change agencies lightly – they have to have good reason because changing agencies is a risky, stressful and labour-intensive process. It puts reputations at risk and often means that aspects of the marketing agenda have to slow down or even stop while you work through selecting, appointing and on-boarding a new agency partner.

There’s also an emotional wrench involved in moving agencies. Agency-client relationships are different to the usual transactional relationships businesses have with their suppliers. The nature of the work often means that you develop close emotional bonds. As such, ending a relationship with one agency and beginning anew with someone else can be very emotionally draining.

What would motivate a business to change their agency?
Often it is driven by necessity because there has been a change in strategy within the business. Sometimes there’s a breakdown of the relationship so calling for a pitch represents a chance to reset the dial on the relationship or, if the situation cannot be improved, to find a new partner that you can work with. Finally, sometimes changing an agency is driven purely by the need to reduce cost within the business.

We recently appointed a new media agency, Vizeum. We used intermediary Oystercatchers to help appoint our new media agency. In total it took about six months to go from kicking off the process to integrating Vizeum into the business. This is really quick in my experience and is thanks to a huge amount of hard work and focus from my team, the agency and Oystercatchers.

We have been working with our creative agency VCCP for around four years now, and our business has benefited from nurturing this relationship. Most obviously, we’ve benefited through the delivery of impactful creative that has helped deliver our campaign objectives. As our relationship has developed, we have also been able to leverage a wider range of services that VCCP have within their partnership. Finally, our close working relationship has allowed us to weather some challenging times in our market. They have been a great support to us and been there when we needed them. That is the true benefit of long-term partnership in my view.

By DMA guest blogger Dominic Grounsell, Personal Marketing Director, RSA Group

Dominic will be talking at Stage Real Life at Marketing Week Live 2014 about taking the transience out of client-agency relationships.