My name is Tom Hadley and I founded Agency Interface after 15 years working for digital agencies in Hampshire and Dorset as a project manager, head of production and client services director. You might recognise some of them.
In that time I’ve overseen the design and build of hundreds of websites, planned and launched all kinds of campaigns and managed retained marketing contracts across all the paid, organic and social marketing channels.
I’ve done that for large corporates like Activision, Gatwick Airport, Trafigura and D-Link. I’ve delivered digital projects of huge scale for complex public sector organisations like the National Archives, Bournemouth Borough Council and the New Forest National Park Authority.
But I’ve probably been most in my element working with hungry, challenger brands with passion and a great story to tell. If you’re a cricket fan you might know the Ageas Bowl, chances are you’ve not yet discovered Kitchens InStyle or Ninety Thousand Hours, but these are savvy upcoming brands who’ve worked with me to harness the potential of digital to realise their ambitions.
Kerry Talbot-Jones, Senior Marketing Manager, Glenigan
The full service agency conundrum
I still have the same passion for digital as I did when I started but I’ve come to believe that there is a growing disconnect between the services digital agencies can provide and the needs and knowledge of their clients. The value I can add and the difference I can make as an expert don’t sit within the confines of a traditional digital agency model.
No agency can be all things to all people, not when they actually have to produce the work. If they try to be completely full service they dilute the focus and skills of their people, try to master too many of the plethora of software tools at their disposal and please no one. On the other hand, if they specialise, they’ll always have an agenda of wanting to fit the client’s brief to that specialisation, whether it be the marketing channels they know best, the CMS they use to build websites or a preference for tackling mobile via apps as opposed to responsive websites.
And herein lies the gap…
For brands, digital has never been a more challenging area of marketing than it is today. There are simply so many different ways of going about attracting the attention of your audience and so much competition for that attention.
But the fact is the objectives for brands haven’t changed, they’re still quite simple and for most businesses the classic AIDA model isn’t broken. Sure, we marketers have layered over it many trends and innovations which are useful to learn from and you should be selectively adopting some.
But ultimately the problem I see every day for most brands is that they just can’t figure out how to simplify digital into the basic criteria for business growth.
Digital agencies, the people who deliver services, often aren’t geared up to help you with that stage. They will ask for your brief and then tell you the ways in which they would solve the problem. But how do you know if those are the right ways? Only by having a clear sense of what you need to do and why. The agency can help you with how, but what and why isn’t really their primary problem to solve – unless you want to also pay the big fees their strategists charge.
The two mindset traps
When I speak to business owners about digital marketing I tend to get one of two types of general reply:
These are people who are marketing in hope. They have a website. They hope some people are looking at. They send out email newsletters and post on their Facebook page. They hope that’s doing some good too. The sad thing is that they don’t know whether these efforts are doing any good at all, whether other activity would work better or whether they have a weak link in their marketing funnel that is blocking a successful outcome. They just know that marketing is important and they should be doing some.
The other type are people who have decided they need to get into the detail of their digital marketing and not be a hopeful. Good attitude and they’re actually doing a lot of good things, like keeping their websites up to date with content, analysing their PPC or SEO reports for month-on month progress etc. But when I delve into all the things that they are doing, I often discover they’ve lost the sense of why they’re doing all this. Because these things take a lot of effort they’ve become consumed in the detail of delivering activity and disconnected from the bigger picture.
The bottom line is: Don’t become obsessed with output over outcomes.
The agency interface mission
So my mission is to solve this problem. My weapons are 15 years of digital experience, a love of simplifying things rather than complicating them and a determination to make working with agencies to deliver digital marketing an achievable, positive activity for brands – one that actually delivers a real return.
As I said above, the objectives for you as a brand are simple:
- Find me
- Get to know me
- Transact with me
- Remember me for next time
The method is to understand and choose the right mix of activity for:
- Being more visible online than your competitors
- Intriguing customers about your brand & product/service
- Achieving the primary digital action (buy or enquire)
- Staying digitally top of mind
If you recognise these types of issues within your business and you’d like to get some insight into solving them then you are in the right place. Chat to us or take a few minutes to understand more about how we do it.