Tag Archives: agency marketing


August 22, 2013


In the world of new business and business development, your website is one of the key components that can really make or break your success. With it being the main point of contact for an individual who is unfamiliar with your agency, first impressions really do count. No matter how good your email, phone or face-to-face conversation, if your website doesn’t clearly communicate who you are, what you do and how you do it then it can be a stumbling block to say the least.

Agencies spend a remarkable amount of time debating the intricacies of their proposition and how to make themselves sound different and better than the rest; words like ‘creative’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘innovative’ are fast losing any sort of impact whatsoever. The golden rule, as with many things, is to keep it simple – avoid jargon and buzzwords like the plague (we’ve ranted about this previously and I’m sure we will again). A good example is Holler, here’s what they say about themselves:

“Holler are a creative agency that prioritises engagement over advertising. Put simply, we get people talking about your brand.”

Next, once you’ve nailed how to describe yourself, have a little think about how you present yourself. You can go for a big and glitzy website or a tried and tested method (the never-ending scroller seems to be the look du jour), but if in doubt, again, just keep it painfully simple.

Whatever form your website takes, there are really only 3 vital elements you need to include:

– a homepage (preferably with short, introductory video content)

– a clients / previous work page (including the challenge, solution, outcome format for each campaign or project)

– an ‘about us’ page (with something about your history, team and contact details)

Endless pages describing how you work are not necessary – let the work itself and the results do the talking for you. If you want a blog then go for it, but make sure it adds value.

That modern-day phenomenon, the fear of missing out, is pretty appropriate to what we’ll call ‘website overloading’. The fear of missing out any minute detail of your agency can result in a confused and text-heavy presentation – remember that most people really don’t care enough or have the time to read 5 pages about your approach to social media. Simplicity implies confidence.

So, in the interests of illustrating how to keep things simple, here’s all of the above in 3 bullet points…

– Define your proposition almost as if describing what you do to your mum (but not your gran – patronising is bad).

– Keep your website free of clutter and to the point – 3 or 4 key pages is really all you need.

– Use videos effectively as, when done correctly, they’re simply more engaging than text.

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Best creative agency twitter accounts

February 18, 2013


Twitter may not be a direct source of new business for agencies, but it’s a business development tool not to be ignored.


An agency’s social media output should be thought-provoking, original and insightful.


The agencies we feel are doing it best:



(23,939 followers. 3,752 tweets)



(1,797 followers. 1,329 tweets)



(927 followers. 516 tweets)


Others doing it well:



DLK Lowehttps://twitter.com/dlkwlowe


The Red Brick Roadhttps://twitter.com/TheRedBrickRd


Proximity Londonhttps://twitter.com/proximityLDN


Brave Londonhttps://twitter.com/BraveLondon







And how do they do it well? Their output is a mixture of industry news, intelligent insight and opinion, current affairs and humorous ponderings. The very best agency Twitter accounts have an aspect of unpredictability in what they say, which keeps an audience coming back to discover, and feel that they are in on something novel and forward-thinking- which is exactly how an agency should want to be perceived.


We focused on twitter accounts for the simple reason that output via Tweet is quick, concise and should be impactful and interesting.


Those doing it not so well


We found that a vast majority of agencies use social media, especially twitter, for pretty unsubtle self-promotion. Of course, that’s one of the functions of the medium, but pummeling followers with news of account wins, team news (“it’s Vicky’s birthday! #cakefun” “Jack has been wearing lots of pink this week! #questionable”) and employment opportunities might keep the team in the loop, but isn’t really going to engage a wider audience, and it is unlikely to generate much sharing/re-tweeting in the sphere.

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An agency proposition needn’t use jargon to be credible

January 29, 2013


Buzz words are a necessary evil in marketing… or are they? To be honest, I personally think it’s the fastest way to tell if someone is a bull sh**er or not. If you aren’t able to explain your agency proposition in a clear and concise way to your mum, then it needs work!

This niggle of mine has been studied by psychologists at New York University which found that “statements of the very same content were judged as more probably true when they were written in concrete language than when they were written in abstract language”. The study used a number of experiments to test the impact of linguistic concreteness on subjective truth.

One of the most successful agencies we have worked for was a design agency. They specialised in packaging design for alcoholic drinks. They were one of the most successful agencies internationally in their field. That is how we described them. We didn’t describe them as market leading cross-disciplined brand truth detectives, igniting purchase decisions by delivering the goose-bump factor and category disruption.

If the purpose of a proposition is to explain to someone what you do / what you offer, make sure yours delivers to the brief. This is no less important in business development, when you will be taking your agency proposition to people who do not know what you do. When the default response to a cold call might be “no thanks” you need to be sure you can elicit a “I need an agency that does that” as quickly as possible.

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Marketing awards calendar 2013 – entry deadlines

January 10, 2013


So here it is again! We’ve pulled together the top marketing, comms and creative awards into a nice and easy calendar of the deadlines you need to be aware of.

There are over 50 awards bodies to pick from, including some new ones for this year. Perhaps the most interesting of which is Econsultancy and NMA’s new baby, The Digitals.

Click here to access the full calendar of awards and submissions deadlines. The are 4 major awards in Jan that it’s still not too late to go in for!

When you’ve picked out the awards you might like to enter, register on the relevant awards websites to be alerted of when the awards categories and criteria are announced.

Good luck with these and the rest of your business development & marketing plans in 2013.

Download here

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Pitching guidance on procurement-led pitches & e-auctions

August 23, 2012


As much as no one enjoys it, we’re seeing the agencies The Future Factory work with being confronted with e-auctions and procurement-led pitches more and more often.

Agency teams still seem to be finding their feet in whether to even enter into such pitches, and if they do, what to expect.

Helpfully, the IPA has released new guidance to agencies and clients regarding procurement-led pitches and, specifically, the use of e-auctions.

You can download the one pager here from the IPA’s website.

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Marketing Awards Calendar 2012

August 14, 2012


The Marketing awards season is coming up, but how many have your agency gone in for?

For a comprehensive list of the awards you should be considering, and the submissions deadlines, download The Future Factory’s recommended list and calendar of dates here.

A few of the key awards  have their entry deadlines for 2013, this side of Christmas, so get planning early if you want to make your agency famous next year, and make the job of new business that little bit easier.


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May 29, 2012


When The Future Factory first start working with a new agency we are primarily targeted to open doors with brands.

We are confident that the meetings we arrange are of a higher standard that other new business agencies (over 50% of our meetings are with Directors or Heads of Marketing / Comms / Digital) however at the end of the day, the longevity of our agency relationships is (understandably) determined by ROI.

So, whilst approximately one third of meetings lead to live opportunities, how can agencies ensure that they also convert longer term new business opportunities?

This is where lead generation becomes business development.

There should be a focused and ongoing effort to develop and ‘farm’ these long term relationships as, provided your new business strategy has ensured you have attended qualified meetings with brands relevant to your agency’s growth plans, there should be a high likelihood that each of those brands will  be spending sizeable budget on marketing support within the next 18 months.

It may not be enough just to be front of mind at the right time – this is a term used a lot in the agency world. Rapport and a relationship should be developed over time.

Agencies are prepared to do purely speculative marketing and profile raising techniques to get their names in trade press a handful of times a year. Although thought leadership, commentary and general PR are all very valuable tools, they are a relatively slow (and un-targeted) way to generate new business.

Instead, try focusing your marketing efforts on the brands you already have a profile with – the brands you have met face to face.

– Watch what that brand is doing over the course of a year and react to it. Don’t just rely on a generic phone call once every three months. Combine it with relevant information which shows you genuinely do care about and want to work with the brand.

– Invite the contacts you have met with to your new business events.

– Organise a round table with people you have met who have related challenges.

– Write a thought piece relating to the sector insights gathered through several new business meetings.

Of course the above can also be adapted and used to support cold approaches.

My main point and advice to agencies is not to use lead generation businesses to churn through brands, purely seeking immediate new business opportunities. These are definitely plentiful when you’re having a high volume of new business conversations every week, but when considering your agency marketing plans, a strategy which focuses on the relationships you already have is the smartest way to leverage your new business activity.

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100 Creative Collateral Ideas

May 4, 2012


As the saying goes  – you can always tell a cobbler by his shoes (because they have holes in the sole). Take note marketing agencies and your own promotion, especially when prospecting for new business.

We work in a creative industry, so whether you’re a digital, PR, marketing or design agency, your collateral and case studies should be presented in a creative and memorable way!

Although new business development largely relies on relationship building, along with strong case studies and relevant past experience, there’s no excuse for dull and formulaic collateral. Lead generation can be made easier if the prospect remembers your name, portfolio, branding or showreel.

We’ve collected 100 beautiful and creative examples of ways in which businesses have presented themselves – see the examples below, and more on our Pinterest – click here.

If you’d like to speak with any of our senior team about how we help agencies stand out and have new business success, give us a call.

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We’re speaking at Digital Shoreditch! Business Development tips for digital agencies.

May 3, 2012


Summit Day – Friday 1st June – 12.30

We’re speaking on the final (and best) day – Summit Day – 1st June. We’ll be on at 12.30 with a quick fire 5 minutes of top tips for winning new business, followed by a 1 hour Table Top Session between 1pm and 2pm which will be a more intimate Q&A session.

Open to anyone with tickets for the day. Digital Shoreditch is the festival celebrating the outstanding creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City. The festival runs from May 21st to June 1st 2012, includes talks, showcases, competitions, workshops, open studios, exhibitions and parties that will engage, inspire and celebrate the cream of the digital crop.

Over the two weeks the festival is bringing together outstanding local and international talent. With themes for each day covering a range of topics from what’s next in digital and play to funding, capital and brands to innovation, design and new ideas.

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April 2, 2012


I came across this article on Creative Boom posted by Katy Cowan and thought it would be worth sharing as I hear myself preaching allot of the same points.

Farming new business contacts is hugely important, especially when you have a regular or solid lead generation process. Many creative agencies find it hard to justify spending the time needed to keep front of mind with prospective brands. If you do invest and formalise this process you will reap the benefits. Check out Katy’s tips below…


Clients are like plants. You have to keep watering them if you want to see them grow. This means you have to ensure they’re happy and well-served by having regular contact with them.

As all good relationships are based on strong communication, it’s crucial you keep the contact chain open. Because if you don’t? Well, a client will feel neglected and is likely to take their business elsewhere.

But how do you stay in touch without becoming a stalker? How do you ensure you have a healthy relationship without hassling anyone? Here are my top tips on how to successfully keep in touch with clients…

Create a database

Before you do anything else, create a spreadsheet detailing all of your existing clients. Type in their names, phone numbers, email addresses, Twitter accounts… anything that will help you stay in touch. Add notes about how they like to be contacted, i.e. some might only like telephone communication while others might prefer email.

Get personal

When creating your database, throw in a little ‘intelligence’ about each person, i.e. listing what they like and something about their personal life… for example, Client A is married, has two children called Bertie and Matilda and on Sundays she goes running in the Peak District wearing nothing but a banana suit. This means that whenever you contact a client in future, you can ask about their families or outdoor pursuits to add a personal touch.

Go with your gut feeling

If you’ve not spoken to a client for some time and you get that gut feeling they might be thinking about you, pick up the phone and call them. Do it before you even get that gut feeling. Because if you sense that a client is wondering where the hell you are… you’ve probably left it too late.

Arrange meetings

Nothing beats face-to-face communication, so arrange regular meetings with clients to keep your relationship strong. Ensure your meeting etiquette is spot on, i.e. be punctual, smartly-dressed and professional. Greet clients with a firm handshake, smile and look them in the eye. If you’re having a lunch meeting, don’t rush your food and always remember table manners.

Have a blog

Blogging and writing about your own expertise is a great yet indirect way to stay in touch with clients. You’re showing your customers that you can solve business problems and that you know what you’re doing. Blog on a regular basis and then share your articles via regular e-newsletters or emails to keep in touch.

Send regular e-newsletters

Informing clients about your work, recent testimonials, case studies or even sharing blog posts through a regular e-newsletter or e-mailer is a great way to keep the contact chain open. Set something up through an online service like MailChimp and fire out campaigns on a weekly or monthly basis – whichever you feel is appropriate.

Leave comments on their blogs

Another great way to stay in touch without going overboard is to leave smart comments on your client’s blog or own articles. Make sure you use correct spelling and punctuation and say something really interesting. It will capture your client’s attention and impress them.

Make use of Twitter

You know that weekly #FF on Twitter where you recommend people to follow? Give a friendly recommendation to your clients, so they know you’re thinking of them. They’ll appreciate the support and you’ll stay well and truly on their radar.

Connect on Facebook

Most businesses have a Facebook Page these days, so make sure you ‘like’ your client’s and regularly stay in touch with them by responding to their updates. It will keep you in the loop.

Get in touch on LinkedIn

To continue strengthening your relationships, find your clients on LinkedIn and connect with them. Once connected, make sure you regularly update your own profile so clients can see what you’re doing. Add positive posts about your business and recent successful projects you’ve completed.

Show sincere appreciation

Whenever a customer hires you, gives you a referral or does something to help you overall, don’t forget to thank them and show your sincere appreciation for their generosity or custom. Your loyalty is just as important and acknowledging their business is the best way to keep a client relationship strong.

Send out the odd marketing tool

Last but not least, the most obvious way to stay in touch with clients is by sending out marketing things like postcards, Christmas cards or even gifts like key-rings or fridge magnets. However, not every client will appreciate this kind of approach, so use your discretion and try and come up with fresh and interesting ways to market yourself. For example, I got a free mug from Warrington design firm Future once and still use it today. I’m not one of their clients. They simple wanted some exposure on Creative Boom and it worked! Do the same with your own clients to successfully keep in touch.

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December 15, 2011


For agencies concerned about the proliferation of project work from brands rather than more stable retained business, try this angle when selling in your next campaign idea. PROJECTS NOT CAMPAIGNS from Contagious Magazine.


Case studies include a lovely and brave project by Patagonia, which was highlighted by their recent press ad simply stating “Do not buy this jacket”, and a lager brand that undertakes CSR projects every time someone drinks or tweets about drinking the brand.

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December 13, 2011


Stylist magazine has kindly asked The Future Factory’s Managing Director, Alex to take part in one of their Lunchtime Masterclasses on Friday 16th December at 1pm.

The class encourages budding entrepreneurs to take part in a Q&A session with successful business women. Everyone at The Future Factory is excited to be part of this and proud to have Alex’s face splattered allover the stylist.co.uk and the magazine itself.

Click here for a biog and what to expect.

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