April 10, 2014

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Advertising and Marketing

Discussion moderated by Paul Dishman, Ph.D., chair of Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business.

April 10, 2014

So what do you suggest? What’s the alternative?      

PENNA: A few dates. Bring us into your business. Let us ask questions. Let us hang out. They can do their own research online to see who they should invite to the dance, who has the kind of experience that they are looking for. Narrow it down and then bring in the people and take the time to get to know them.

JONES: Ultimately, after strategy and planning, it’s all about on time, on target and on budget. That’s what our clients tell us over and over again. It doesn’t matter how cool we are, what our client roster looks like. We have to stay committed to that goal, whether we are on the front end of their strategy or whether we are at full-blown execution. It’s the only thing that keeps us in clients year after year.

ROXBURY: Find an agency that is willing to take a risk with you. Find an agency that is willing to put skin in the game, someone that is so confident in what they do they are willing to put some of their own money on the table. Ninety-nine percent of our business is that way. It’s not just about clicks, it’s about revenue and sales and actual performance. Pretty much everything is trackable, so why not start moving in that direction?

ROCKWOOD: Clients are always coming in saying, “How much is this going to cost? How much is that going to cost?” It’s an RFP. They want you to give a budget for this imaginary project or campaign that you have thrown out there. And it’s nonsense. I don’t know how much it’s going to cost yet. We haven’t figured it all out yet. What you should be asking is, “What is my opportunity? What are the kinds of things that I can be doing here?”

Talk to me about where I should be spending my money, what kinds of media, what kinds of tactics I should be using.

What scares you the most? What do you lose sleep over?

ROCKWOOD: The next big project. I sometimes lay awake in fear that I have used up all my ideas. In all honesty, I usually am able to come up with another idea. But just as a creative guy, it’s that blank sheet of paper that I find the most terrifying thing.

BLACK: Fear that growth will negatively affect company culture. If you are a boutique, you can kind of control the scenarios. As you grow, it’s harder. But a close sister of that would be can we provide the same experience to client one as client 10 as client 30. Do I have the systems in place to give everyone a raving experience?

FELD: Losing our best people. I mean, it’s a talent business. There’s a group of people that we just rely on so heavily because they are so smart, so capable, that losing them would be disastrous at times.

MINK: Honestly, fear isn’t a bad thing. It gets you ready to perform. One of the things that we always have a big eye on is what Google is going to do next. It’s not like a paralyzing fear. It’s a good fear to just constantly be watching and be diligent about where are things going and to do everything we can to be ahead of the curve.

ROXBURY: Anybody that has a digital agency as part of our business should be afraid of Google becoming a super agency. Google could take on a lot of the media spend that is out there today. They are starting to move in that direction and there’s signs that they might start to become an agency. So we should watch and keep a close eye on what Google does.

JONES: We work with a lot of highly skilled technology pros as well as creative pros. And it’s not just about talent acquisition. Because the agency is so diverse, it’s about mapping your talent acquisition to client demand. And that scares me every single day. It’s a constant top-of-mind topic for me.

PENNA: The speed at which we work. There used to be an adage in our business: we would tell the client, “Speed, quality, price. You pick two, we get one.” A CMO said, “I want it faster, cheaper, faster.” These new technologies—if you look at how much time we used to do things, the speed at which we are now working, and you still have to be smart.

CHASE: We are on the line more than ever before with tracking and with being able to prove ourselves to clients: “Here is your cost per acquisition. Here is the ROI in this investment that we call marketing.” With that, a fear is that we would let a client down; that they will trust in us and they will say, “Here’s my investment. Make me proud,” and that we would come back and fail them.

SORENSON: Being in a smaller market like St. George in Southern Utah, most or the majority of our billings are out of state. So we have to remain as competitive as a Las Vegas or Salt Lake firm, in St. George. We recruit exclusively out of Vegas or Salt Lake, because we haven’t been able to find the talent pool. We are working on that with the university and a few other things to try to breed talent locally, but a real fear for me is not being able to rapidly grow staff the right way, because of where we are regionally.      

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