Finally, an agency website that’s functional. CP+B (part 2)

OK, so they really weren’t lying.

My post went up this morning and in the 5hrs it’s been live over 30 people have been driven from Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s new website through to my blog. Reason being that the post appears on their home page (see details below).

CP+B home page - Dom Hind Collective reference

CP+B home page - Dom Hind Collective reference

CP+B home page - Dom Hind Collective reference (detail)

CP+B home page - Dom Hind Collective reference (detail)



Imagine if you were pitching against these guys and wrote a couple of articles about your agency vs Crispin. It could definitely be interesting.


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How can ad agencies survive the GFC? Rethink their approach – Agency Nil

This is a great idea from a US agency where the client has the ability to pay what they think the idea is worth. It’s a little risky, but a great way to tackle the GFC (global finance opportunity) and the lack of perceived value that clients have in agency’s work.

Agency Nil doesn’t show any of their work on the website, but their idea is a great. They have just updated the site to include a chat function too. They aren’t there at the time I’m writting this, but no doubt when it’s a weekday and normal hour there is someone there.

Agency Nil - home page

Agency Nil - home page

Agency Nil - How it works

Agency Nil - How it works

Agency Nil - The Deal

Agency Nil - The Deal

Agency Nil - Why?

Agency Nil - Why?

Agency Nil - Chat window

Agency Nil - Chat window


  1. Adapt to the environment – rather than let the economy get you down, you need to adapt to survive. If the recession takes your job, rethink the way you do things. Help turn the agency model from headhours into a value game.
  2. Gather like minds – like minds can help push you further and do things that you aren’t necessarily comfortable with.
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iSchool – Digital training for advertising agencies

The more people you can educate about your discipline, the more people you can encourage to do the selling for you.

My core discipline is digital and I love trying to teach as many people as possible about it. However, there are a lot of people within digital/online/interactive who think it is best to keep up the barriers and ensure digital is the mysterious black box it use to be.

While I was at Y&R Brands, I put together an 10 week digital training course to try and educate all traditional account service, creative and production people about digital – making sure that everything was easy to understand and translatable to traditional advertising speak.

Below is an overview of the 10 week course and the homework for each week.

iSchool loging screen

iSchool login screen

Week 1: Introduction to Digital Strategy

Learn the how’s and whys of the internet and how you can use various tools for branding, lead generation, acquisition, promotions, retention, distribution and customer service.

1. Find at least one interesting advertising/ interactive blog & subscribe to a blog aggregator. Submit links & comments to our blog.
2. Find a blog that might be relevant to your client’s industry & subscribe to it.

Week 2: The Internet Consumer
Who is the Australian digital consumer? What are people doing online and when? What does the global digital consumer look like? How does online compare to other forms of media consumption?

Learn the online demographics and segmentation and the different interactive environments and the marketing, media and targeting opportunities they present.

1. Find at least one article on Forrester’s Technographics and identify which segment you belong to.
2. Start thinking about how current campaigns can be segmented into smaller, tailored groups to communicate a more relevant message.

Week 3: The Digital Marketing Toolbox
What sites can I use to make me look like I understand online? What are the tricks to the statistics? Where do I find the “next big thing”?

New digital tools are becoming available all the time, and the secret is knowing how to use them.

Learn what you could do with tools like digital television, online sponsorship, rich media, classifieds, games, viral, blogging and podcasting. Then, how to integrate digital channels with other media and reap the benefits.

1. Set up your own blog & experiment with vlog, moblog & photolog techniques. Submit comments and the link to your blog on the iSchool blog below.
2. Start thinking about what online tools & applications could be relevant for your clients Upload ideas to the blog (reward for best ideas)
3. Log in to The Loop & After The Click. Investigate!

Week 4: Internet Campaign and Media Strategy
What is the process? How do I include interactive? How much does it cost? Understand all you need to integrate online into an overall strategy. What sort of planning tools and key metrics are used? What do they mean?

Learn to evaluate campaign effectiveness, return on investment and budget requirements and optimise campaign conversion. Explanation of After the Click®

1a. Have a look on an online advertising aggregate site & find your favourite rich media execution.
1b. Find an online advertising execution that has got it wrong. Submit links & comments to our blog.
2. Think about upcoming campaigns you have & where you could potentially be using a tailored & segmented email or online advertising campaign.

Week 5: Search Marketing
What is a keyword? What is search engine optimisation vs search engine marketing? Why did Google grow so quickly?

Search engine marketing is both an art and a science, and understanding it is crucial.

Discover how to optimise a site for better positioning in search databases and how to deploy, track and optimise search engine marketing campaigns. Understand the current and future trends in search marketing.

1. Pick one of our clients:
a) Think about 5 keywords that might be important to them.
b) Go to Google, Yahoo! & Sensis and do a search on all five words.
c) Note where our client appears on the blog & any observations about competitors or the client’s search engine activity. (paid vs natural) (brand vs keyword)
2. Ask your clients if they have registered their company details with Google.

Week 6: Creative Strategy: Being Creative Online
How can I push the boundary online? What is the latest and greatest creative? Did it actually work and deliver against the objectives?

Online offers even more creative opportunities to talk to the audience. Learn how to develop an internet strategy and how to integrate creative ideas on and offline.

1. Look at your clients’ microsites & see if there is anything you can improve from a usability perspective.
2. Review an email you received. What was good, bad & could be improved?

Week 7: Web 2.0
What is web 2.0? Why has there been a change from web 1.0? Learn more about new digital tools and social networking sites. Discuss how these can be relevant for your client and leverage business objectives.

1. Find a website that is using web 2.0 principles: What do you like about the website? What don’t you like about the website? How would you improve it?
2. Think about a client campaign & where some of the web 2.0 principles would be relevant. Customer communication & feedback
3. Sign up to Twitter & submit 4 posts.
4. Find a social network site & apply the honeycomb rule Outline what area you think it is focusing on

Week 8: Email Marketing
What can I track in an email? When is the best time of day to send an email? How do we segment an email? Understand when, how and who to deliver emails to, ensuring you have the right message for the right person at the right time – with extremely measurable success.

This lecture will detail eMarketing best practices as well as mandatory processes to follow when developing websites.

1. Go to Google & sit through the Google analytics video. Provide examples for your clients of where you could use it.
2. Identify where a website could be used for your client. Run through the 7 steps.
3. Subscribe to a number of different emails (retail, newsletters, product launches, etc) Write some common themes, your thoughts about messages, subject lines & offers.

Week 9: Mobile Marketing
How can mobile marketing build brand equity? What are the different types of mobile marketing? Is SMS all I can use? What is WAP?

Understand a brief history of mobile marketing and how we use it in the agency. Explore the future of mobile marketing and the possibilities for emerging technologies.

Revise everything!

Week 10: Pitch

Synopsis: Pitch to show understanding of the the last 9 weeks. There will be three guest judges (clients) who will award the winning team.


Campaign set-up vs maintenance: what’s a fair split?

As an industry we are stuck in the ‘set and forget’ mentality. As soon as a campaign goes live, we all quickly pat ourselves on the back and move on to the next campaign, only thinking about the campaign when there is downtime (not often) or the campaign is close to finishing. The reason for this is that often there is no consistent process or methodology behind implementing a continuous learning culture. Unless maintenance/optimisation is ingrained in the people working on the campaign, it really doesn’t happen.

To try and change this mentality (both within the client and internally at the agency), we have recently introduced a 80:20 split with our clients. From their overall campaign budget, 80% is dedicated to the initial set-up of the campaign and 20% is dedicated to the ongoing maintenance/optimisation. Ideally, the split should be 60:40, but until we can prove the benefits, 80:20 is a good start.

What’s included in campaign set-up? Set-up is the initial campaign creation. It’s the awareness generating elements (online advertising, offline advertising, 1-to-1 advertising, social networking) and the engagement elements (microsite, corporate landing pages, stores).

What’s included in campaign maintenance/optimisation? Maintenance/optimisation is any updates made to the campaign after launch. It’s the creative optimisation to the awareness elements (rotation and testing of all executions – online being easier and quicker to test and understand results) and results optimisation to the engagement elements (content structures based on search results – both externally and on the site, creative testing and rotation.


To make sure this is a success, the following need to be considered:

  1. Owner – there must be an owner within the agency to drive this. The best person to do that is either a Data Director or the Account Director. Equally, there needs to be an owner on the client side. Someone who understands the numbers (ROI, CPA, CPC) and the need for making campaigns a success.
  2. Benchmarks – initially, there must be some targets or benchmarks set. Over time these benchmarks will become more realistic after campaign data has been collected and analysed. During the first campaign period, it is critical to ensure that the benchmarks are revisited and molded to reflect the results.
  3. Consistency – all communications (reports, results) must be delivered in a consistent manner: same time frame, format, benchmarks and structure. This will help the client and agency to understand recommendation, requirements, improvements and work more seamlessly together.
  4. Relevance – any recommendations made within maintenance/optimisation must be relevant to the client and the campaign. The recommendations must also be achievable within the remaining budget.
  5. Budget – to ensure the maintenance/optimisation budget doesn’t disappear to fund additional media or other creative ideas, it must be included in the original estimate and signed off by the client. This ensures that the campaign will be remembered and not just put on the ‘set and forget’ shelf.


The set-up/maintenance strategy is extremely important, particularly now with the current economic downturn. The best and worst thing about interactive is it’s accountability and we can justify why we recommend doing things and what the direct impact is on our clients results.

Written by Dominique Hind.

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Think about the consumer – hero the search box

Google have trained us to be impatient. We go to a website and expect to find the information we want or something that will lead us to the results quickly. If we don’t get what we expect, we start to get annoyed and bounce off the site looking somewhere else for the information we need. More often than not, we bounce to a competitors website. If they have the information we need, we stay and research more. If not, we continue the search pattern until we find what we need.

As consumers, we know our own site behaviour and research habits, so why isn’t that influencing us in our website designs. Both agencies and clients get so caught up in making sure the site is pushing the best creative or as much copy as we can rather than thinking about the consumer. The consumer is the real reason we build sites and when they arrive at a site, normally, want to get in and get out of a site really quickly (with a better understanding about the product/service).

The majority of sites are developed to sell something or provide information so consumers can make an informed decision about a product/service, however, we (agency and client) try to push the information we think consumers want rather than understanding their mindset or purpose for visiting the site. One of my favourite examples of how this has been flipped on its head is with the VW UK website.

This site really thinks about the consumer and why they have come to the site. It understands the mindset and the reasons they have visited. It provides clear reference links through to deeper content that is relevant to different audiences. Those five statements show that VW understands its audience.

VW UK website as at 17 September 2008

VW UK website as at 17 September 2008

VW website audience statements as at 17 September 2008

VW website audience statements as at 17 September 2008

Another company that gets its online audience is ZAAZ. This has been one of my favourite websites since it launched last year. It is applying the Google principle that audience control (consumer control) is key when visiting a site. As soon as the site loads, you have the option of surfing through the navigation available or asking a question that will immediately take you to the search results you are looking for.

ZAAZ home page

ZAAZ home page

On the home page, I typed in what is data smog. The response to this question is in the screen grab below. It provided a brief overview and links to areas of the site that can provide more information. I love it because it means you can get in and out of a site really quickly without wasting time looking for content that you think would be easy to find.

ZAAZ home page response

ZAAZ home page response


How can we apply this to our clients? Quite easily.

  • When you get a brief for a website (even if it is just a refresh), think about why someone is visiting the site. Break it down into five key areas and see if there is a question or a statement that summarises it and would make it easy for the consumer.
  • Make the search box a hero on the site. Consumers are comfortable with search, so take advantage of it. Not only is it a great way for consumers to get the information they need quickly, but it’s also a good research tool for companies: What content is important? How can we highlight that information? Is there a campaign we can create around that content?

Key theme: think about the audience.

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Transition management & knowledge acceleration

People churn is extremely costly to any business. There are the costs associated with knowledge loss, information transfer and getting new people up to speed with company structures, clients, operations, expectations, etc. So why don’t more companies invest more time and effort to get new people up to speed quicker?

A lot of companies think they do have an induction program, but not many deliver it or continue to intergate it. I know that throughout my career, I gave lip service to an induction program, but have never really received or invested enough time in new people.

When I read The First 90 Days, it got me thinking about the transitions I have made throughout my career, and that I should have invested more time in putting together a structured set of questions/knowledge transfer to help guide me through any transition (ie I should have invested in my career rather than expect other people to do it for me). Companies expect you to hit the ground running, but it is hard when you don’t have all of the information (or you haven’t prepared anything).

I realised that I didn’t go into any of my new jobs with a plan or with a list of questions that I should have asked to get me up to speed quicker. Watch out Burnett’s. I have already questions for the different departments within the agency: finance, HR, clients, creative, digital, strategy, production, management, etc.

As a sneak peak, here are 10 generic questions I want to know about each of the client groups:

  1. Who is our primary client? Who is the supporting client/s? Who are the client partners we work with?
  2. What is the clients’ marketshare?
  3. Who are the major competitors? When was the last competitive review?
  4. What is their annual spend? Media? Production/agency?
  5. What is their typical activity? How open are they to doing new things?
  6. What are the clients expectations?
  7. What is working for clients within digital? Are they using any other digital providers? What are they getting from those companies that they aren’t getting from Leo’s?
  8. What services have organically grown with the client?
  9. Where are client details stored? Is there a central location?
  10. Does every client have a client plan?

The more time and effort spent in the first three months, from both employer and employee, the quicker the new employee (or me) reaches the break even point.


There are three key learnings to take out from this:

  1. Read ‘The First 90 Days’ by
  2. Think about what you know about your current role: How much of the information/knowledge is going to be the same? What else do you need to know?
  3. Put together the list of questions that you need answered in the first week, first month and first three months. You don’t need to go through these question by question, but it can be a checklist of questions you need answered in conversations.
  4. Refine your questions over time based on information you have received.
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Nobody can guarantee your job, except customers

After eight beautiful nights in The Maldives, I’m very much back into Sydney life. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and provided an opportunity for me to disconnect from the digital world (no laptop but connected phone), read books (five in eight days) and have a wonderful break with my husband.

One of the books I read referred management writer, Peter Drucker, and his views on the customer, their expetations and how to manage the customer. There were a few quotes that I thought very interesting, particularly with the economic downturn noise, predictions for budget reductions and need for advertising campaigns to work harder. See quotes below:

  • ‘Nobody can guarantee your job, only customer can guarantee your job’
  • ‘The best companies don’t create customers, they create fans’
  • ‘Customers behave rationally in terms of their own realities and own situation’

My take out from these quotes is that our customers (or clients) are more important now than ever and we need to make sure we are invaluable to them. How do you make yourself invaluable? Think about what will:

  • Make your client a star in their company (through campaign success or awards)
  • Keep them from being made redundant
  • Present a proactive idea that will answer a business problem
  • Provide them research (or articles) and synopsis
  • Get your clients to their next step, role or position.


The common theme underlying them all is to ‘think about everything from the clients perspective’ and make sure you are researching to keep on top of their industry.

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