Growth Marketing: forming deeper client partnerships
Launching a new direction for a business or redefining its purpose and positioning is a daunting prospect for any business stakeholder. Fortunately, we are quite experienced when it comes to trying a new thing or two at Space & Time.
Our roots stem from a small barn in Newdigate when we launched as a traditional media buying business with the sole focus of buying well, being creative and delighting clients. A simple concept, one might think, but we were exceptionally good at it. In fact, over the years the business grew YoY, retaining and attracting new clients in equal measure. Today, a significant proportion of our clients have worked with us for over 10 years!
In the years that followed, several agencies were guilty of the Groundhog Day approach and quickly fell foul to the emergence of digital, or mobile, or video, the recession or GDPR and most recently COVID, of-course.
Going back to my original point, quite fortuitously really, given the circumstances, we are no strangers to being progressive and like many businesses we sat on plenty of Zoom meetings in the early days of COVID, working out how best to respond to the unrelenting new announcements from government every evening, but also sitting up and smelling the roses. Now was the time to re-think, take stock, make sense of the situation, and set out a roadmap for the next 5 years. “Is being a ‘Media Agency’ representative of what we do now?” was the question we kept asking ourselves.
When considering the direction of a business, particularly one as long established as we are, it is essential that the principles of who we are; our culture and our values (the fundamentals of what clients love about working with us) must play an intrinsic role. For us, these are:
Understanding a client’s operation is one thing, but understanding the wider economical context in which they work, getting to grips with their world, their pain points, their challenges, and having a command of commerciality, enables us to work with clients to find solutions and exceed performance objectives.
We don’t see ourselves as a supplier, and in fact our 9.4 rating in The Drum’s Recommended Agency Register is testament that our clients don’t either. Forming a genuine extension of a client’s business is the only way we have ever worked, and we must continue to do so in the future.
This goes far deeper than just being ‘good value’. This is about long-term alignment – a strategic roadmap which places a client’s objectives and aspirations in parallel with the agency’s deliverables and agreed outcomes. To achieve this, we must be different to a conventional agency, focusing on full-funnel engagement and on post-purchase touchpoints, securing every opportunity to gain new and repeat custom, because that’s how our clients are thinking.
Ultimately these form the foundations for any conclusion we reach, although It’s not an entirely straightforward process to get there. Firstly, are we capable of fulfilling such a remit? Yes. Absolutely no question, but is it representative of what we do and where we are going? Our best and most relevant means of answering that question starts with the end customer and their own journey. As Google published several years ago in their 2011 ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ manifesto; “you are not behind your competition. You are not behind the technology. You are behind your consumer”. Curiously, COVID, and its influence on consumer behaviour supports this no end. Take share prices in Zoom; by the beginning of 2020, the business had been operating for 10 years and on the 13th March 2020 their price on the NASDAQ was $107.47. Just 6 months later this had more than quadrupled to $438.73. Even now, after a period of normalisation the share price today is still tracking at over 3 x what it was pre-pandemic, indicating a definite shift in behaviour that is here to stay. The lesson being, Zoom, like many online video communications platform did exist before COVID, the technology was there, but consumer change is what heralded the major shift. In order to be relevant, it is ultimately our ability to interact with and enhance every stage of the customer journey that will set us in the right direction, because where they go, we must go too.
Reassuringly, the way we have always worked with clients and the breadth of capability and expertise we provide does enable us to comprehensively engage with the end consumer, from awareness and activation, the typical battle ground for any media agency, through to purchase, retention and advocacy, where clients can really achieve the most value from their marketing and arguably is the primary source of attention for marketeers; in fact, Marketing Insider published a study in 2019 that suggested almost 90% of companies were now competing primarily on the basis of customer experience, compared to only 36% in 2010.
So, back to the original question. Is ‘Media Agency’ representative of what we do now? No. Which is why we are pioneering Growth Marketing. This term allows us to create a framework around our on-going pursuit of value and our ability to be a true growth partner with clients, driving growth marketing outcomes that go way beyond the remit of a typical media agency.
With Business empathy, Partnership and Value underpinning what we do and how we work, we have also established four distinct but agile business divisions that enable us to form a bridge for clients to reach their consumer, wherever they may be, and to provide best-in-class capabilities designed to unearth new opportunities that help clients realise the potential in their businesses. These are Media, Technology, Performance Creative and Training. Each one working to deliver Growth Marketing and we look forward to sharing more on each division in the days and weeks ahead.
So, in short, ‘Media Agency’ was not representative of what we do and indeed what we think businesses will be seeking in the future. Growth Marketing represents a new dawn for Space & Time and our clients. Interestingly though, this exciting new positioning and everything that comes with it, is based on the fundamental and proven principles of what we have always done.