Behind every good MD or CEO there is a great PA. Every successful sports team has an inspiring coach. In my case, it’s the Soapy team who allow us to raise the bar as a growing SME and for our clients.

So when looking at a TV show, an advert, a website or even a social media post, it’s only the final part of the creative journey you see. How often – apart from Marvel movies – have you sat through all the end titles of a film looking at the amount of people involved in making it? There is a preconception that the audio-visual part of what you see and hear is the pinnacle of that process, but you would be wrong.

In my defence!

Let’s get something clear before I go any further. I’m not saying that visual creatives are not as good as the rest of the chain involved in the creative marketing process. There is an opportunity here to look below the water at what goes into a marketing campaign. When you watch or look at marketing related content there so much more going on before what you see and hear as the finished product.

The marketing process starts with the who, what, when, where, why and how before any kind of design or production concept is thought about. Without going into a Simon Sinek ‘start with why’ presentation, I want to point out that he makes some really valid points that relate to marketing. What does the strategy need to achieve? What is it promoting? Who is it being promoted to? And why? Once this has been decided a strategy needs to be worked out followed closely by a creative brief. The strategy is the foundation of what you want and need to achieve.

The creative brief is turned into deliverables which are then analysed, and in most cases amended numerous times, before the final presentation to the client and implementation.

Numero uno?

Who is the most important link in this chain? For me, the answer is simple – the head of strategy for the project. Without this key element nothing can be researched, created and implemented. A great strategy is the difference between a good idea, service or product failing or succeeding. Digital marketing gives you the ability to also be fluid with your campaign, allowing strategists to monitor, report and refine as it goes along. By anaylising the data of your audience’s reaction, you can see quite quickly what is working and what is not. 

When you are looking for a marketing agency to partner with it is really important to look beyond the obvious of what you can see. Ask to look at examples of successful past strategies. The deliverables are important but the results of the campaigns will answer whether you would want to work with them more. Did the agency achieve the primary goals and KPIs? Finally get some testimonials from clients in their portfolio, don’t be afraid to approach them direct. You’ll soon get a reply either way as to whether the agency would be right for you.

It’s so beautiful…

I have had conversations with two new Yorkshire clients in the last six months about being blinded by the creative offering from prospective marketing agencies who gave an impressive sales pitch but simply didn’t deliver on the strategies. One of those clients was an original pitch we lost.

As with icebergs – it’s what you don’t see that has the biggest impact.