According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, there are a number of elements that successful CSI initiatives have in common. These include a clear theory of change, quality and depth of information, concentrated effort and expert partnerships.
Sure you can paint, but that doesnt make you Picasso
At some point everyone can admit to thinking I can do that, especially when looking at a craft project, piece of furniture, cake recipe or photograph. Yes, you probably can, but what will the end result be?
Enter the social media Nailed it! memes, which show the before and after photos of peoples unsuccessful, and usually humorous, attempts to recreate a project. Can you really nail it or is it a better option to simply call in the professionals?
When it comes to marketing there are companies that implement in-house and do successfully get the job done, says Sylvia Schutte, managing director of integrated agency Stratitude. But, just as youd leave financial, legal and even maintenance tasks to the professionals, marketing should be treated in the same way. By hiring an experienced agency, you get markedly different results.
Its the job of an agency to know about the next big thing. We do this by attending local and international conferences and investing resources into learning about the latest techniques and the biggest trends, says Schutte.
What also makes the case for using an agency is the people who are hired. Strategic, creative, out-the-box thinkers are attracted to agencies and they bring a range of specialised skills to the team. From strategic thinkers, campaign planners and managers, and creative directors to talented designers and copywriters, an agency has a depth of resources dedicated to one purpose: achieving a clients business goals.
Fresh perspective. This is another advantage of hiring an agency as they see a product or service objectively, as a customer would. This viewpoint, combined with innovative thinking and the knowledge and skill that comes with an experienced agency, results in a cohesive, well thought-out campaign. When executed properly it can increase revenue and leads, provide explosive growth and virality, and successfully elevate a brand.
According to Schutte, Our role isnt simply to make something look pretty. Fundamentally its about strategy. We are exposed to more industries than a clients particular brand, and we use this knowledge to look at the bigger picture. We analyse the competition and the industry, and then we think, question, debate and think some more to come up with an effective campaign thats in line with a clients corporate strategy.
For example, everyone has the ability to upload a post onto Facebook, but for these to be effective they should not be done in isolation but should form part of an integrated strategy. This is where an agency comes in, as they provide the strategic thinking, consider targeted advertising, and then pick the best creative route using experienced designers and copywriters. Then the success of the campaign is measured, giving valuable insight into the campaign, and the information is used to improve future campaigns.
For projects to be successful there needs to be a collaborative relationship between the client and the agency. While the client sets the business objectives, the agency has the skill, creativity and experience to reach the target audience and achieve the business goals. Of course a company can look internally for their marketing needs, but theres a reason that agencies exist, they really do nail it, says Schutte.
As a strategist and ballroom dancer, I have had the unique and fortunate experience of living a life that (quite literally) straddles two worlds. Two ostensibly different worlds. Yet two worlds that, surprisingly, share a great deal in common with each other.
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