The Jolt! from ckwrites 03.12.2014

Here’s early best wishes for a very green St. Paddy’s.

And here’s The Jolt! from ckwrites


Do your prospects know that you’re different?

As you know, lots of research says that clients can’t differentiate between competing agency offerings. I know this is like a broken-record. So skip if you want to, but do so at your own peril.

Michael Gass writing in Fuel Lines focuses on ad agencies but his observations are every bit as true for event and experiential agencies – and branding and social media and…

Contrary to common belief, all agencies have pretty much the same basic capabilities, and processes. They all claim to have proprietary tools, and they may have different labels for what they do, but the approach is essentially the same at big or small agencies.” – Avi Dan, Forbes contributor who has 30 years of leadership experience with top global Madison Avenue agencies.

Michael offers up an excellent two-part analysis.

First he details 8 problems created by a lack of positioning. Among them:

  • Without positioning and a clear target audience, agencies lack focus in everyday tasks such as who to hire, what to read, what events to attend, etc.
  • Expertise is the only true differentiator. Without a differentiated positioning of expertise, agencies are treated as vendors and abdicate control of the client/agency relationship.

Than he addresses 8 benefits that come from doing the work and developing unique positioning. Among them:

  • It allows agencies to control the client/agency relationship from the onset.
  • It leads to a better pitch-n-win ratio and more often winning new business without having to pitch. New client accounts will be more profitable from the beginning.
  • Agencies that are well positioned are not forced to chase new business and therefore, more of their time and effort can be given toward deepening their expertise.

No matter where in the food chain you play, that’s a huge return for investing the time in this very difficult process.


How does an agency learn enough to write content for a client?

The article offers up a good 5 step process and perhaps the making of some marketing materials as well. I don’t agree with all of it and say so where appropriate.

Learn from the clients customers – in this case by doing original research.

Dig into their targets – by which I assume they mean the personas. I would do this first.

Understand their current situation and position in the market – the one clue that I can offer is that you need to talk to senior people to get this right.

Evaluate new business opportunities – this represents the next round of opportunities for your agency. I would do this last.

Do a thorough review of competitors’ activities – there are subtle reasons to do this and obvious ones – the most obvious is to not pitch stuff a competitor uses… Yeah, really… it’s embarrassing.

The Big AHA!

What does an event agency creative team have in common with Google developers?

Pretty simple. We’ve all got to keep the hits, breakthroughs and innovations coming. The Eight Pillars Of Innovation At Google looks at how they do it, and offers some ideas and practices that are equally relevant to our industry.

Here are two you can use:

Strive for continual innovation, not instant perfection. Use “do overs” to learn – this strategy works best when you are rigorous about observing how people are reacting to your tools and messaging so you can focus on specific incremental improvements.

Share everything. This is silo-busting and internal alignment in its purest form.

By sharing everything, you encourage the discussion, exchange and re-interpretation of ideas, which can lead to unexpected and innovative outcomes. We try to facilitate this by working in small, crowded teams in open cube arrangements, rather than individual offices.

Metrics & ROI

Do you have a last-click crutch?

Bet that raised a few eyebrows… =)

Last-click refers to the very human tendency to assign (attribute) a result to the last interaction.

If the last marketing tactic in a campaign produced a sale, we gave it 100% of the credit – even though we all knew a mix of campaigns and as many as five touch points preceded that sale.

I bring this up because it points to the difficulty of assigning credit to an event or experience for a sale that happens after the event is over. It’s an extension of the problem of calculating event ROI.

Marketing 501

True Or False? You should align and manage everything in your organization around a Brand’s Big Idea.

OK, the truth is that those of us who create events and experiences don’t impact the client’s entire organization – fine with me, we have enough to do as it is. We could of course align our own…

This article by Graham Robertson lays out how you might approach the task using a series of crisp diagrams that take you from “here” the need to the 5 connectors that create the bond with the consumer.

The 5 connectors are:

Promise – how well does the brand benefit connect to the consumer?




Experience – how well does the brand experience live up to and deliver the promise?

Well worth studying in my opinion to get some ideas about how to more effectively present your programs.

The challenge I have for you is that if the best brands eventually evolve to defining a Big Idea for their brand, then why not just start there? You should figure out your brand’s Big Idea and then everything in the company should feed off the Brand’s Big Idea.

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