Creative News

Recently, I’ve been reading the book The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. I find it fascinating how much sales has changed over the years.

My personal style of selling has always been to create a relationship of trust—by listening to a client’s needs, then providing ideas and solutions to help them exceed their goals. This is very similar to Dixon and Adamson’s model.

A person who uses the key attributes of the challenger sale will:
1. Offer the customer unique perspectives.
2. Use strong 2-way communication skills.
3. Know the individual customer’s value drivers.
4. Identify the economic drivers of the customer’s business.
5. Be comfortable discussing money.
6. Take control of the situation.

These attributes are also very relevant to the agency-client relationship. Honestly, isn’t this what every agency should be doing for their client?
Recently I had lunch with a friend, the Director of Marketing for a local financial institution. She had just completed an agency review the previous year.

“How is the new agency going?” I asked.

“Somewhat disappointing,” she said, adding that the new agency, known to be one of the most creative in the region, wasn’t much better than the agency they had used for the 3 previous years. Unfortunately, they had selected this agency specifically for their creative talent.

I was shocked. I’m very familiar with both agencies. The old agency is strong in research, data, media, and customer service—and has what I would call “good” creative. But the new agency is incredibly creative, and one of the hottest in the region.

I asked my friend what she thought the problem was. She answered, “The agency seemed to have great creative initially, but the execution was weak.”
So I asked her the tough question: Is it the agency…or is it you? This company hired an agency because of great creative—but in the end, they lacked the 2-way communication with the agency. In turn, the agency lacked the guts to stand up and take charge of what was best for the client. They ended up with weak execution of a great idea.

Ideally, a Challenger Agency should push and make the client a little uncomfortable. They are not hired to tell the client what they want to hear. A Challenger Agency must do a deep dive into the industry, company, and competition to uncover what the client may be afraid to hear—and then provide ideas and unique solutions to help them to succeed.
If you’re the agency…do you do what the client tells you, because you’re afraid to stand against them, even if it’s the right thing to do for the brand? Or do you take control and challenge the client, because it’s exactly what they need?

If you’re the client…do you have the guts to succeed? That means—succeeding by doing something a little different, and maybe giving up some control to your agency partner, which may make you feel uncomfortable?Do you listen to—and respect—the agency that you hired, rather than fighting against them, to exceed the goals of the brand and company?

Any agency can be a “full-service” agency. Research shows that there are approximately 560,000 others like you in the U.S. Or you can use your God-given talent to be a Challenger Agency, and push your client and their brand to be the best it can be.

If you are looking for a Challenger Agency, check out Fervor, VI Marketing and Proof. These are all highly talented professional firms, focused on results with great brand-building, research, and creative.
ROCK Creative Network represents Challenger agencies, and connects marketing executives and agency leaders with talented, passionate, creative and digital resources to help grow and get results. If you want to win more—and grow your business—call George Weyrauch II at (816) 305-4728 or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

In the 30 years that I have been in the wonderful world of creative—advertising, design, public relations, digital, and social—it drove me crazy to hear agencies say, “We can do everything a client needs…all under one roof.”

No, you can’t.

All I could think was, “Seriously? You cannot be great at everything.” But sadly, clients bought into this idea, which ended up with buyer’s remorse—and poor results.

Think about it. Just because you are a “full service” agency with 550 employees, it does NOT mean that you are better—or more creative—than a small boutique shop of 45 employees that does a few specific things GREAT.

In fact, I would take a top 5 boutique shop over a top 5 big agency any day. Many boutique firms do killer work.

Over the past few years, CMOs and marketing leaders no longer accept the “norm.” They are challenging their agency partners to provide greater results—while still expecting killer creative. These marketing leaders are being held to a higher expectation by their CEOs and shareholders to show a return on investment.

We’re not just talking about awards. We’re talking about real results.

The world of advertising has changed in a major way. And we will probably never go back to the days when a single agency took care of a client’s every need for strategic planning, marketing, advertising, creative, communication, and digital.

About 5 years ago, Advertising Age made a brilliant move—by founding the annual Small Agency Conference and Awards. This event spotlights how big brands like Kia Motor, Chobani, the NHL, Mondelēz International, and AOL no longer use a single agency to do everything. Instead, they have a small roster of agencies that each do 1 specific thing great, and play well together in the sandbox. The focus? Killer creative that gets results. Period.

Bigger is no longer better. Instead, you need to be great at something, and collaborate with others to provide a service that will get killer results for clients. That strategy also helps you continue growing your agency, but without getting bigger.

For an example of an award-winning national branding and design shop with less than 30 incredible people, look at TOKY in St. Louis.

Need a digital marketing team that can tie your email marketing, social media, mobile, surveys, and online forms together to capture data? You don’t need to spend your entire marketing budget. emfluence in Kansas City already has the platform—and more importantly, they have the people.

Bottom line? There are incredibly talented shops, agencies, and marketing firms out there that get it. They have become GREAT at something that marketers need. But they don’t pretend to be great at everything. Instead, they partner, play well with others, do killer creative, build brand awareness, and give their clients measureable results.

ROCK Creative Network connects marketing executives and agency leaders with incredibly talented and passionate creative and digital resources to grow and get results. If you want to win more business, get better creative and better results from your existing budget, call George Weyrauch at ROCK Creative Network at (816) 305-4728 or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

Beach picture - B&WIn the old days, CMOs hired “One Big Agency” to do everything: marketing, graphic design, copywriting, web. The agency with the most bodies on staff won.

But today, things are different. CMOs are being held to the same performance standards as the CIO and CEO. They are now pressured to show a return on investment. And the problem is—that One Big Agency may not be the best in town at SEO, or apps, or even social networking.

Rather than find One Big Agency to do everything, CMOs today prefer to hire one general agency of record—then find a roster of the best “small players” with niche specialties who play well together in the sandbox. They use the agency of record to help determine a general marketing strategy—then hire separate agencies for digital services, SEO, and analytics that can all work together to build the brand and get results that meet (or exceed) their performance objectives in a measurable way.

In fact, many of the CMOs that I meet on a daily basis no longer trust the One Big Agency who claims to do “everything.” There is a strong perception today that agencies with 200 employees are beefing up their rosters with junior staff who have little (or no) experience.

CMOs today don’t want quantity. They want quality. They want ROI—measured in clicks, subscribers, page visits, traffic, and increased sales. And they’re willing to pay for it.
The good news? If you are that One Big Agency, relax. You don’t need to try to do everything anymore. Just do this:

1. Focus on what you do best.
2. Find niche specialists to collaborate with.
3. Play well with other firms.

Once you find partners who specialize in the areas your clients demand, you can grow your business without the stress of hiring more full-time employees. Better yet, you’ll enjoy higher margins, greater flexibility, and more depth.

Don’t have the time or resources to find the right partners? ROCK Creative Network can help you find vetted, relevant partners that help you grow—today.

ROCK Creative Network helps agencies find best-in-class niche marketing firms that grow your business—in everything from app development, to SEO, to digital, video, and web. For more information, contact George Weyrauch at 816-305-4728, or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

If you’re focusing on your blog posts and LinkedIn articles, congratulations—you’re doing exactly what you should be.

But in the “new world” of marketing with social networking, it’s easy to get lazy and lean too heavily on inbound calls and email requests. What happens when those incoming calls dry up?

There is still a place for traditional outbound marketing—or what I like to call “dialing and smiling,” where you pick up the phone and simply call people.

Many people avoid outbound calling like the plague. Usually, it’s because they don’t know how to do it correctly—or how effective it can be. They’re not comfortable picking up the phone and saying, “Hi. I’m good at XYZ. How can I help you?”

That’s because most people don’t realize that you should never cold call—and that the important thing is to do your homework on the company and industry before you call. Also, you should always be respectful of the person you’re calling, be relevant, and be helpful without selling.

At the end of the day, you’re never going to close 100% of your deals through a blog or a LinkedIn post. Even in the simplest online transactions, people still need a “human touch.”

Outbound marketing is not hard. Here is an easy guideline for making it work:

    1. Pick 3-5 vertical markets that you’re good at.
    2. Research the needs of 5 companies in each vertical.
    3. Find the right person to talk to at each company.
    4. Pick up the phone.
    5. Ask for permission: “Is this a good time to talk?”
    6. Say, “I’m good at XYZ. How can I help you?”

The key to success with outbound marketing? Serve—don’t sell. By offering assistance and asking questions, you can quickly find the contact who needs something. There’s not a CMO, VP of Marketing, of Director of Marketing in the world who already has everything they need to do business.

Follow up with an email that includes a link to your web page. Later, you can use Google Analytics to see if your contacts visited your website—and then you’ll know if your efforts are working.

In this day and age of social networking marketing, it’s important to strike a balance between inbound and outbound marketing. You still need both to survive. And if the outbound marketing is still too intimidating, try using an outbound marketing service that can do the “heavy lifting” for you.

George Weyrauch is the Principal at ROCK Creative Network, which helps marketing agencies find new clients through direct outbound marketing. He can be reached at 816-305-4728, or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

 

Q: How many marketing agencies ask for sales teams to come to the table?

A: They don’t. And that’s a problem.

 

As creative partners, we need to ask for sales to come to the table. These are the folks who are out on the front lines, working directly with the customers. They understand what those customers want and need.

But we don’t do that.

Isn’t the goal of marketing to educate customers—and generate leads for the sales team?

Marketing is no longer about making pretty presentations and brochures. More and more CMOs now want to see their return on investment. In hard numbers.

Here is a classic example. I’ve seen companies spend $50,000 or $100,000 on a digital trade show booth with all the bells and whistles–only to have the sales staff show up and say, “This isn’t what I need.” And later, the marketing department has no idea of what happens to the leads—or whether those leads are any good.

Sound familiar?

Somewhere along the way, a divisive wall has sprung up between sales and marketing. It’s time to knock down that wall—and begin building trust. We need to work together on leads, get feedback from each other, and continually improve the process of obtaining new business.

How do we do that? Here are 4 solutions that work:

  1. Set joint goals and incentives for marketing and sales. Then reward them for working together.
  2. Create a CSO position. Lots of companies have a CMO, but not a Chief Sales Officer. Why not have a C-level sales stakeholder, too?
  3. Put marketing and sales into regular communications. Bring sales staff into marketing meetings to discuss what works and what doesn’t. And vice-versa.
  4. Get better reporting. Create analytics that accurately measure which marketing campaigns work, and which do not.

Need help bringing your sales and marketing teams together? Collaboration works. We have marketing resources that can help get you started—and make your sales and marketing relationship stronger.

 

George Weyrauch is the Principal at ROCK Creative Network, which helps marketing departments and agencies find new partner resources—so they can grow without hiring new full-time staff. He can be reached at 816-305-4728, or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

If you’re a marketing agency who wants to grow in the next 3 years, I have good news and bad news for you.

Bad news first. If you can’t provide digital and data services to your clients, you’re in trouble.

Here’s how it works. No matter what size agency you are—whether you have 3, or 30, or 300 employees—CMOs today are more focused than ever on ROI. They expect that you can handle:

  • Data analytics
  • SEO
  • Responsive web design
  • Mobile app development
  • E-commerce
  • Content
  • Lead tracking
  • Research

Now for the good news: it’s not that hard to do. The fastest, easiest way to do it? Find a partner—or several partners—in each specialty to handle it for you.

Right now, the smartest agencies—including your competitors—are proactively finding strategic partners who can provide all of the services listed above. Rather than hiring 5-6 more full-time staff members, they’re busy locating and vetting niche specialty providers who can bring digital and data experience to the table to round out their suite of offerings.

So keep your Creative Director, Copywriter, Graphic Designer, and Web Designer. But now is the time to also find your Mobile App Designer, Digital Data Analyst, and SEO Wizard. Set up a strategic partnership with them. Try them out on 1-2 small projects. Figure out how to incorporate them into your proposal process.

And do it now, before the opportunity to bid on the “Big Client” slips away. Because your competitors have already done it.

Need help? We help agencies and CMOs find vetted, qualified talent every day—in all of the niches listed above. Contact us today, and we can help you provide a stronger digital service offering, without the hassle of hiring additional staff.

 

George Weyrauch is the Principal at ROCK Creative Network, which helps marketing departments and agencies find new partner resources—so they can grow without hiring new full-time staff. He can be reached at 816-305-4728, or george@rockcreativenetwork.com.

‘When you work with an ad agency for a long time you may not always be hearing the freshest ideas or have access to the most specialized resources, we reached out to ROCK Creative Network to expand our reach of creative and look for fresh ideas and new perspective for an important digital assignment. George took the time to understand our needs, identify and vet the professional that would be the best resource for our needs and they delivered with an incredible level of professionalism and business saavy. Our project exceeded expectations for quality of work, new ideas and the experience was great. When you are ready to ‘upgrade’ your marketing effort, or add capabilities and resources without adding staff or incurring big agency costs or hassle, call George – ROCK Creative Network delivers!’

Jeffrey Ramsey
Marketing Manager at Lathrop & Gage LLP

Posted on Fri, Jul. 12, 2013
By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star

It’s a classic problem for freelancers and small businesses: Prospecting for business can take as much time as actually doing the business.

And if you’re, say, a webpage designer, you should be designing webpages, not spending time doing something you’re not good at.

After 25 years in the advertising and marketing industry, Kansas Citian George Weyrauch knew that even professionals in that promotional industry have trouble – or can’t spend enough time – selling themselves. So he started doing it for them with a small startup, rockcreativenetwork.com.

“It seems like nobody, large or small, likes or knows how to beat the bushes,” he told me. “Nobody wants to take the time to call, send emails, ask for business. Part of it is the rejection. Some people can’t handle it. Part of it is that people have other things they’re responsible for.”

So Weyrauch carved out a niche in the industry he knows well. On behalf of advertising, marketing, design and branding shop clients, he’ll knock on doors, make product pitches, arrange meetings and then step out of the way to let the clients strut their stuff.

At least in the Kansas City area, he says he hasn’t run across anyone else doing the exact kind of business prospecting he’s doing independently in that industry. But he thinks it’s a great example for professionals in other industries.

That’s why I’m sharing his story — not to advertise his services but to suggest that other professionals who are sales and marketing people at heart might find opportunities in the industries they know well.

A former air-conditioning repairman, for example, who loved the people part of his job? Maybe there’s contract work for you to help such service companies sell themselves in a more personal way than call center cold calling. The industry possibilities are endless.

Imagine finding a business partner to fill a particular need at just the right time. And what if you could secure these partners with minimal effort yet discover they help win business and keep clients happy?

This is not a fantasy. My business, Rock Creative Network, exists to connect companies with Kansas City area professionals in branding, design, digital, marketing, SEM, research, public relations and other specialties essential to business growth.

Many agencies or companies, large and small, lack on-staff expertise to take on a certain project or round out an RFP. What are their options at that point? They could hire someone, who may not be kept busy long-term. That is not cost-effective. How about out-sourcing? That requires a lot of time looking for just the right fit.

That’s where I come in. One call to me at Rock Creative Network will put you quickly on the path to collaborating with just the right professional. I combine a passion for people with 25 years experience in new business development and branding. Think of me as your Evangelist – your voice in the search for winning business relationships.

Success in business is all about collaboration. Some of the most forward-thinking CMOs are touting collaboration as the best way to enhance ROI. They will tell you that tapping the best talent at the just the right time keeps overhead low while putting companies in a position to compete with anybody for important business.

My partners, posted on my website with links to websites of their own, have track records of creativity and efficiency. They will work on a single project or for a contracted period of time – at rates negotiated between you and them. My role is to bring you together, and I don’t charge you a dime.

Collaboration is an avenue to growth. Putting the best people on your side makes sense. Please visit my website, rockcreativenetwork.com, or give me call at 816-305-4728.

Be Great Today,

George

Overstock.com has hired Johnny Lightning Strikes Again to provide a creative and consultative services to help advance their mobile experiences (mobile site, iPhone app, iPad app, and Android app).

Read more at JLSA.com