One of the problems for businesses is the great unknown about advertising, especially online advertising where the technology continues to move and move and move.
Wouldn’t it be great to hear from one of the experts on what you as a business need to know about any current or future advertising partner?
Well that is what we are doing right here in this interview with Brad Guthrie, General Manager at Search Republic.
We start by asking Brad about some background on Search Republic and what they trying to achieve for their clients.
Brad: Search Republic was started almost 6 1/5 years ago. The founder of Online Republic and a few others wanted to start an agency in the digital space to leverage the expertise of their advertising and marketing team. Clients in NZ would be able to get the experience of some really highly skilled people, plus Online Republic would be able to grow the team responsible for their revenue.
I joined the team as Search Republic employee number 1.
I feel what makes us different is that we practice on our own money first. We spend about 13 million on Adwords and Bing each year on just those two channels. Alongside that we do a lot of optimisation on our sites to get the best performance we can.
We learn a lot about having almost a million dollars a day transacted for our clients. Large traffic, a lot of conversions and importantly a lot of revision and testing to make sure we are performing to our best.
What does the typical client of Search Republic look like?
Brad: We kind of don’t have one. We have big clients like ASB, Air New Zealand & Trust Power. We’ve got medium and some smaller sized clients that most people would never have heard of. The one thing they have in common is they have a strong belief in online marketing. They also want to work with a partner that has ecommerce experience and can help them get the best measurable return for their dollar.
In terms of a specific niche, industry or size, no. We go across them all.
In summary would it be fair to say those clients know what the internet can provide and are looking for expertise?
Are there any themes or approaches you have as a result of the big data and performance learnings?
Brad: Understand the client, understand the client’s business model, understand their goals and understand what is important to them. If we don’t we’ll never provide the best result for them.
We start with understanding their business model, then if not already present existing marketing goals. Sometimes this means helping them set those up.
As a result our actions in the actual work can be measured against those goals. Hopefully businesses using a marketing partner has the clear measurement plus the commitment to understanding the business of the client and becoming an extension of that marketing team.
For any business working with a marketing or advertising partner, what would be the danger signs to look for? How do they make sure they are getting value for money?
Brad: You should have an agency that has invested time up front. You as the business owner shouldn’t be leading everything, your agency should be coming up to you with recommendations on how to improve performance.
If all you hear from your agency is a computer generated report without commentary or insight into what is happening. That is a definite danger sign.
They should be looking at your industry, your competitors and confirm the strategy is sound.
You should feel confident that you are getting return on investment.
Looking forward, online advertising is always in a state of change. If you have to compare the current state versus what a business should be thinking about in the near future to stay competitive.
Brad: Businesses always have to do the doing, the work that satisfies their customers today. However they always need to be looking at what is new and coming up. Standing still now is really going backwards.
The big thing is to work on the customer experience at all touch points that the customer has with your brand and product. Fortunately and unfortunately everyone compares the experience they had with Amazon, their smartphone or big tech giants like Facebook. Companies with massive resources for customer experience. Peoples expectations have been increased.
You need a fast website that works on all device types. You need to show that you know when customers interact with you. That interaction needs to be integrated offline and online and anyone in your company should be able to pick up from the last point with the customer with ease.
To close off our interview here, these are our key takeaways for businesses looking to make sure their advertising partner is delivering value.
Takeaway #1:Your agency understands your business model.
Takeaway #2:Your agency is providing you insight and recommendations, not just invoices.
Takeaway #3:Your customer experience is your greatest advertising weapon.