Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Like any project, marketing campaigns and activities face the three major constraints of cost, schedule and scope. The goal of every marketing agency is to present a compelling pitch that shows the client that they can deliver the campaign on time, under budget and surpass the scope of the client.
By the time the client is preparing a brief, they usually have an idea of what they expect done and key things that they want to hear. The biggest challenge as an agency is that very often, clients tend not to consider audience behavior as a science driven by data. Behavior trends and patterns are usually not analyzed and therefore do not feed into the brief. Instead, they make assumptions about their audience persona(s) - who their audience is, how they consume information and what converts them etc. The assumptions are normally based on their personal interactions with people in their circles who may not necessarily fit the target audience profile.
As marketers, we go into pitches hoping that the client is a clean slate waiting to blown away by our pitch. This is often not the case. The clients’ assumptions and opinions are usually the basis for the briefs and cloud their vision with regard to our campaign proposal and campaign activities. The client knows exactly what the campaign should look like and these become strong suggestions and recommendations by the client. The pitch therefore becomes merely a formality. The client expectation therefore is to incorporate their suggestions and recommendations, and run with their assumptions making them bigger, bolder and better, all under budget.
Without data leading the way, everything is an opinion. The beginning of every campaign should begin with the validation of assumptions and opinions with data.
Here’s a summary of elements that I feel are important but usually get neglected when it comes to inviting agency proposals for activations:
Not everyone understands your business as deeply as you do: When you invite proposals for activations, it is always important to introduce your business as well as your industry, where possible. This is IN ADDITION to introducing the project/activation. The cost of poor or wrong content is a lot higher than doing nothing!
You are not the target audience: The marketing tactics you would respond to are not necessarily what your target audience would respond to. Map out the audience journey and audience persona then design an activation that targets them, not you.
Do not do things the same way and expect different results: The biggest challenge I have observed with companies is that they really want to do things differently on the surface, but at the core, they will probably end up doing the same thing and wonder why the results are not any different. An example of this is when you hire a new agency because all your past campaigns did not yield fruit. You still do not introduce your business. You constantly remind them how you used to do things and provide them with strong suggestions without a basis founded on data. Remember, change is the only constant. The business playing field is changing – your audience is constantly evolving, technology is changing…you either need to move or be moved.
The client is not always right: This statement may stir up some controversy, but to err is human. Sometimes a client needs to be steered onto the best path for their brand. Let data be your guide. Many times, clients’ strong suggestions are implemented even though they are not healthy for the brand. We believe that where there’s doubt, validate it with data. Failures can be very expensive.
Bigger, bolder and better is subject to your budget: In marketing, you reap what you sow. If you want big results, you need to be ready to put in more resources.