The contract on my mobile phone has recently come up for renewal and as a result the phone calls from O2 have started, offering me an ‘exclusive deal’ on a new phone. I’m pretty happy with O2, their coverage and service is good, particularly in our home village which is now 4G enabled, pleasing me immensely – small things. But this influx of calls has annoyed me, not only has it continued despite my asking them to stop, it has also broken the spell that their marketing weaves – reassuring me they’re my friend and are here to help – instead they have kicked the door in and are trying to flog me a new phone and juicy contract for themselves.
This reminded me of the discussion during the client panel at Insights Marketing Day (IMD) run by GreenBook recently in New York. IMD itself provided a wealth of marketing knowledge for marketing insights and market research agencies – but one thing that really stood out for me was the client panel at the end of the day. It was so valuable to get feedback on what clients think of the way they are marketed to. There were several key themes that came through.
ONE – Don’t ring me!
Going back to my O2 story, the first is pretty much common sense if you think about it. Don’t ring me! Clients already get numerous calls and emails throughout the day and having a market research company ring them, or even worse an agency’s sales representative, is annoying and intrusive. Also if you are going to send emails make sure they look professional – well designed/coded and excluding any MailChimp free service icons. It should also contain interesting and relevant content! I’m afraid photos of your team away day do not cut it, however much you enjoyed it.
TWO – Differentiate
Tell us about the interesting things you are doing, what makes you different and better – what differentiates you from all the other agencies that contact them or connect with them at conferences. Clients are always interested in and looking for new techniques and approaches, particularly the insights teams at larger companies.
THREE – Update your website
The third theme surprised me at the time but on reflection should not have. Out of date websites are a real turn off – the panel said that seeing a scrappy and visually out of date site would mean they will bounce (leave the site without exploring further). An out of date site, they felt, was indicative of the sloppiness of the agency and did not suggest use of cutting-edge techniques and methodologies.
I thought that this was quite unfair – after all it’s rather like judging the book by its cover, but then thinking further clients are making decisions in exactly the same way we do when making purchases ourselves. Fundamentally the design side of marketing comes down to packaging and presentation, and the underlying belief that if care is taken over visual design then there is a very good chance a similar level of care has be taken on the product itself. For example, if you went to purchase a car and had this choice…
Intrinsically you know you are going to get a better level of service at the second dealership than you will at Dills Used Cars. The care, consideration and presentation is not superficial, it is just the visual embodiment of service at Advantage Autoworks.
Your website is your shopfront (or dealership), so care must be taken over the design and content of your website because a well-packaged company is indicative of a company that cares and clients will want to work with.
Those were the three key takeaways from the client-side panel at IMD NY. Next up, we’re off to IMD Chicago to experience the deep-dish pizzas and Chicago style hotdogs.