What Type of Agency Are You?

We are sometimes asked "What type of agency are you?" It's always a bit of an awkward moment, because often the person asking the question is not all that familiar with terms like "full-service marketing and advertising agency" or "digital marketing agency." Sometimes all they "know" about marketing and advertising agencies is what was reflected in Mad Men. Still, there are others that have a real sense of the attributes that differentiate agencies, and may even have a strong preference for one over another.

Through it all though, as a boutique agency, we've always been proud of the fact that, unlike some of the biggest agencies in the country—and in Metro Detroit for that matter—we are able to provide a special level of service that makes a big difference in our clients' businesses.

Here are some of the benefits you can experience with a boutique agency like Creative House:

  1. The folks you trusted at the time you signed the agreement are often the very same folks that will service your account.

  2. Direct access to the people that are actually doing the work rather than only your account manager.

  3. Access to and/or a relationship with the agency owner or CEO, whose passion and vision gave rise to the organization.

  4. Responsiveness to change and shifting priorities.

  5. stronger allegiance to getting the job done rather than following a rigid and inflexible set of internal procedures whose primary purpose is to protect the agency.

  6. Unlike bigger agencies with huge overhead, boutique agencies are more likely to be as concerned with YOUR bottom line, as they are their own.

  7. Smaller teams can often work faster and more efficiently.

  8. Boutiques cannot afford to support mediocre staff members, so you get consistently excellent talent.

  9. What may be considered an unacceptably meager marketing budget to a large firm may be seen as excellent to a smaller boutique firm.

If you are reading this, you are likely one of the following three types of people: 

  1. you represent a company looking for an agency and are exploring the potential benefits of hiring a boutique agency. If so, please give us a shout. We will do our best to impress and honor you with the above qualities.

  2. you represent a competitor (of sorts) that is researching boutique agencies and/or considering becoming more of a boutique. If so, you're likely headed in the right direction. But if you'd like to discuss with someone who has been there/done that, give us a shout. We'd be happy to talk with you.

  3. you are a student or prospective employee looking for a great place to work.

Don't let anyone fool you. Marketing is serious business. But it doesn't have to be mysterious or painfully hard to know if it's working. If you've had your fill of trying it on your own, or working with an agency that has more ego than solutions, we’re here to help.

Professional Marketing Is Essential

Marketing plays a crucial role in the success of your business. The information communicated to potential customers about who you are, what you stand for, what you’re selling, and why they should give your business a chance makes the difference in whether or not they walk through your doors, or they seek out a competitor. So, when it comes to marketing efforts there is no room for mediocrity or failure. In order to succeed your marketing must also succeed.

Currently, we live in a world where business owners will choose to go it alone on certain projects, taking more of a hands-on/DIY approach. That can certainly work if we’re talking about acting as your own interior designer, or seeking out local vendors to benefit your community, but it doesn’t work when we’re talking about marketing.

Marketing is a broad term that covers a range of services from advertising and promotion to social media and customer service, and marketing agencies exist to help you achieve your goals and help your business thrive. After all, if you’re putting the energy, effort, and money into being the best at what you do, don’t you want to hire someone who is the best at what they do in an effort to help your business succeed?

You may ask yourself if this is the right move for your business. You may wonder if hiring a marketing agency is within your budget or if you can hire someone in-house. These are relevant questions and concerns, and at the end of the day you have to make the decision that is best for you. But, before you rush into anything check out these benefits of hiring a marketing agency:

1. You will save money.

Outsourcing to a marketing agency is a huge money saver. When you begin working with an agency you will discuss your businesses needs and goals, right alongside your budget. In the end, your contract will be a fixed cost and you’ll know exactly what you’re spending before you sign on.

In comparison, hiring in-house means you’re out a salary and overhead, which is especially inefficient if you’re looking at a short-term marketing campaign. The only thing that’s worse? Making a bad hire, which can be an expensive mistake.

2. You’ll be working with an experienced team of professionals.

Marketing is a deceivingly broad term, as we discussed above, and when you’re working with a marketing agency you will have access to graphic artists, social media experts, sound designers, copywriters, and more, depending on your needs. All of these people are skilled, passionate professionals who strive to deliver quality work to their clients, just like you do for yours. Finding those people is a task in and of itself, but trying to find such an expansive skill set rolled in to an in-house hire? It’s just not going to happen.

3. You will be able to invest more time in other areas of your business.

Namely, your current employees. When a company attempts to avoid working with a marketing agency or making an in-house hire they typically start relying on other employees to help fill in the gaps. Marketing tasks like social media and SEO should be left to the pros, not your 19-year-old cashier with a Snapchat addiction. Not only will your marketing lack in an obvious way to potential customers, but your employees’ actual job will suffer from the distraction. Instead, empower your current employees to excel at their current role and work toward improvements, successes, and achieving their own goals within your company.

4. Your marketing efforts will stay on trend.

Marketing agencies stay in the loop. If it’s trending in the marketing world, they know about it. If it’s something than can influence your marketing in a positive way and achieve results, they will be the first to share that information with you. After all, you have enough to handle, there is no reason to put the pressure on yourself to stay up-to-date on the marketing advances, trends, and changes. Leave it to your team.

5. By outsourcing you will reduce stress and increase productivity.

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing will be how much easier you sleep at night. Marketing sounds like such a simple word, but it’s not. Whether you’re combining several marketing strategies for an overall campaign or you’re looking for a complete overhaul on your branding, an agency can handle it will speed and resilience. The stress of what could be a major undertaking is removed from your plate and allows you to breath easier, and gives you the ability to become more focused and productive in other areas.

6. You will have access to technologies that you wouldn’t get from an in-house hire.

We already told you that marketing agencies can keep you on trend, they can also keep you up-to-date in other areas. Much like trends, marketers are constantly bombarded with new technology. When new products or software become available they can explore and determine if there is a necessity; will it serve a purpose for their business. When these technologies become part of their business, they also become part of yours.

Why You Should Hire Us Now

1. You will save money.

Outsourcing to a marketing agency is a huge money saver. When you begin working with an agency you will discuss your businesses needs and goals, right alongside your budget. In the end, your contract will be a fixed cost and you’ll know exactly what you’re spending before you sign on.

In comparison, hiring in-house means you’re out a salary and overhead, which is especially inefficient if you’re looking at a short-term marketing campaign. The only thing that’s worse? Making a bad hire, which can be an expensive mistake.

2. You’ll be working with an experienced team of professionals.

Marketing is a deceivingly broad term, as we discussed above, and when you’re working with a marketing agency you will have access to graphic artists, social media experts, sound designers, copywriters, and more, depending on your needs. All of these people are skilled, passionate professionals who strive to deliver quality work to their clients, just like you do for yours. Finding those people is a task in and of itself, but trying to find such an expansive skill set rolled in to an in-house hire? It’s just not going to happen.

3. You will be able to invest more time in other areas of your business.

Namely, your current employees. When a company attempts to avoid working with a marketing agency or making an in-house hire they typically start relying on other employees to help fill in the gaps. Marketing tasks like social media and SEO should be left to the pros, not your 19-year-old cashier with a Snapchat addiction. Not only will your marketing lack in an obvious way to potential customers, but your employees’ actual job will suffer from the distraction. Instead, empower your current employees to excel at their current role and work toward improvements, successes, and achieving their own goals within your company.

4. Your marketing efforts will stay on trend.

Marketing agencies stay in the loop. If it’s trending in the marketing world, they know about it. If it’s something than can influence your marketing in a positive way and achieve results, they will be the first to share that information with you. After all, you have enough to handle, there is no reason to put the pressure on yourself to stay up-to-date on the marketing advances, trends, and changes. Leave it to your team.

5. By outsourcing you will reduce stress and increase productivity.

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing will be how much easier you sleep at night. Marketing sounds like such a simple word, but it’s not. Whether you’re combining several marketing strategies for an overall campaign or you’re looking for a complete overhaul on your branding, an agency can handle it will speed and resilience. The stress of what could be a major undertaking is removed from your plate and allows you to breath easier, and gives you the ability to become more focused and productive in other areas.

6. You will have access to technologies that you wouldn’t get from an in-house hire.

We already told you that marketing agencies can keep you on trend, they can also keep you up-to-date in other areas. Much like trends, marketers are constantly bombarded with new technology. When new products or software become available they can explore and determine if there is a necessity; will it serve a purpose for their business. When these technologies become part of their business, they also become part of yours.

7. We can grow your business.

Last but most certainly not least.

Life Is Short. Do Something Amazing Now.

This might end up being more of a list. Or, it might be an actual article.
 
Who knows?
 
Let’s see.
 
First.
Indeed, life is so very short. 
 
Second.
Working long hours can be crushing.


So what shall we get out of it all? A sore back, a hangover and indignation at some wasted effort? May I suggest something amazing for your day, your night, your week, your month, your year, your whole life?
 
If you’re a so-called “creative” professional, these should mostly be easy.
 
Mostly.

  1. Do the wrong thing. Write or design against type, fashion, or ego. Try hard to be so wrong it’s amazing. Worst typos, letter spacing, layout, grammar, etc., and at the end, see if you can notice  something worth the world’s interest and time. I bet you can.
     

  2. Sing while you work, until somebody at the next desk or next door begs you to stop. Be sure to sing something you love so much it’s worth singing at the top of your voice.
     

  3. Hug somebody – ASAP. And hey gentlemen, hug without that back slapping, punching. Just hold — and hold long, even longer than you think you should. Get completely uncomfortable.
     

  4. Like to listen to music while you work? Find some new, scary music (research a site you’ve never been on) and work to something experimental and totally out of your comfort zone and genre preferences.
     

  5. Sit perfectly still, relax your body, and breathe from your belly (inhale, hold and release) to a count of 5, 5, 5 and do three sets. Then increase to 6, 6, 6 and then 7, 7, 7… Repeat as necessary to recharge, calm, and relax yourself. 

Yes, I’ll get to some actual creative, branding ideas now for you, too.

  1. Ask the client/agency exactly what they’d like and follow it — to the letter. And see if at some point they pass out or actually ask what you’d prefer to do.
     

  2. Run for political office. Do your own Facebook page, minisite, donation funnel, and yes! You can finally stand out as much as you want — because at long last, you’ll be the client and the agency. Be and do something important that serves others. Shake things up. Make this a better world.
     

  3. Offer to do the next client campaign by you going door to door, or walk the street with a sandwich board. Put yourself out there for real, vulnerable, and quickly find out how much you believe in what you’re working on.
     

  4. Say, write, design something or take a photograph of something really vulnerable. Personally, branding, business, anything. Go to the very heart, naked, exposed, fragile, dangerous, personal, scary, and be the truth. Let it all hang out…And see how the public responds.
     

  5. Stop reading this right now and tell someone how amazing, smart, beautiful, wonderful, talented and loveable they are. And hang up, walk away…don’t wait for a response. How did that feel?

How is your work going now?
 
At this point, I feel pretty sure you’re getting the idea. If work isn’t letting you push the envelope, play or stretch enough, do it anyway. In your own world, in your own life.
 
Do something amazing, all the time.
However, “amazing” doesn’t have to be big or world-changing. It can be quiet, simple, and change a single moment, like a smile, a hug, or serving food to a loved one or friend.
 
Just thinking amazing every day is a good idea. Up your game, light up the world around you, make yourself feel like more, create the impression of increase with everyone you meet.
 
Last, never stop learning how to learn. Ever.

Who's Your Competition? Everything.

Our new competition is, literally, anything. Now, anything that distracts from your next sale is your competition. Any small piece of content on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, a mobile app or a competitor’s website is your competition. It all competes for your consumer’s attention. 

This change came without warning. It’s no longer our given right to purchase effective advertising reach. We can't simply buy our way to mass market awareness. Mass media doesn’t reach the masses anymore, and paid media is slipping or "skipping" from our grasp. Paid or unpaid, it’s all becoming earned media now.We also face a higher bar on what we can consider “compelling.” An ocean of highly engaging content is aimed at your listeners. The noise of it shouts more loudly than you could ever shout. It all compels your audience to ignore you. If your content isn't more entertaining than the outrageous cat video with 50 million likes, then your content will get missed. Lost. Wasted. 

We need to get resourceful. We need to use whatever we’ve got — to bring lift to our brand. Find your rooftop and shout from it. Do something to get your consumer’s attention. Do anything. Step out of your comfort zone. Innovation can be messy. That's OK. This is new territory. There is no class or booklet on how to lead into the future. 

Be unconventional. Don't be afraid of trying long shots. Look for anything that can float in this turbulent environment. Find entertaining content your brand can climb onto and ride it. Surf that silly cat video. Blow up a pizza with dynamite (Be careful. We did that once, and the police didn't like that very much). But, do something to stand out among this sea of content.

Advertisers are now competing in a world of entertainers. It makes sense, therefore, that if you can’t beat them, join them. In the next Golden Age of advertising, advertisers won’t just be the interruption, they will be the featured event — if they want any attention at all. We need to get the permission of our viewers to engage them, because they don’t have to listen to our stories anymore.

We have to earn our way back into the hearts of our consumers. The art of storytelling will evolve as it has always done. It will cleverly find its way into the new media as inventive new storytellers apply the ancient principles that will always define the next evolution of storytelling. (Dan)

– Excerpt from: Surfing The Black Wave: Brand Leadership in a Digital Age

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, LOVE IS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR FOR CONSUMERS

There are brands that consumers trust and there are brands that consumers love. Love is not easy to achieve. It requires a certain tipping point of positive stimulus in the consumer brain. We are mistaken if we believe a brand can be loved by meeting the personal preferences of its consumers. There is no measure of contribution a brand can make to achieve love by satisfying consumer preferences in relation to self-interest. 

That’s because the human emotion of love is not associated with self-interest. Love is more closely associated with selflessness. The old model built on self-interest was never able to fully explain why people would choose to have children, or why they would sacrifice so much for them. Love is an unconscious motivator that moves the human condition past the base motivators of self-interest toward social awareness, or even preference toward others. 

In Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton’s hypothesis on Identity Economics, they questioned the original concept of behavioral economics. They found that belonging and values of community are core to human identity. That’s why values are often the most powerful force of influence in consumer behavior, or any behavior for that matter. Indeed, they wrote about the rules for behavior saying modern scholars “agree on the importance of anxiety that a person experiences when she violates her internalized rules.”

That means the consumer brain feel less anxiety over choices about features and benefits than they do when they make choices that might violate their core purpose or values. These core values are tied directly to the most powerful motivator in the consumer brain: love. 

Perhaps you think it’s silly for a brand to promise selfless love to its consumers, but consider Subaru. It wasn’t flattering to show a car smashed in a commercial about Subaru. In the commercial titled “I’m Sorry,” after a teenager gets in a car accident, the mom says, “You’re OK? That’s all that matters.” 

When Subaru demonstrated safety as a selfless value owned by the brand, they earned the right to say, “Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” They were able to tie crash safety features to emotionally charged values of self-sacrifice that Subaru demonstrated by showing its vehicle smashed.

Values such as love are verified by action. That’s because the evolved consumer brain is acutely perceptive. It possesses an authenticity barometer that will test your values to be sure they are true. Before the consumer brain assigns love to your brand, your brand will need to demonstrate love first.

Dan Cobb – Excerpt from: Surfing The Black Wave: Brand Leadership in a Digital Age

Is FOMO Clouding Your Judgement?

By Jim Mitte

Are you afraid that your online marketing is missing out on valuable customers? Certain companies - such as that yellow directory periodically delivered to your home - prey on your FOMO or fear of missing out. The right marketing company doesn't need to use scare tactics, they work with you to ensure your advertising money is bringing in reliable, quality leads that help you grow your business. Let us ease your FOMO. 

Their Print Directory Scare Tactic: "If you don't act now, you are missing out on customers and crucial listing opportunities, this could be the last book!"

  • Obsolete Marketing Solution: Within their sales pitch they are admitting this platform doesn't work. If it was generating sales and leads, this wouldn't be their last book. 

  • The Reality:  The truth is, for many of the yellow directory customers, they have already received their last book. Using an internal algorithm, they predict which houses are most likely to utilize their print directory and only deliver to those locations. They use this system because there just isn't enough money to deliver everywhere. This is an outdated style of marketing that even they are phasing out.  

Their Website / App Marketing Scare Tactic: "If you don't pay for our advertising, you will not be found by customers searching for your business on our proprietary website and app!"

  • The Reality: When was the last time you downloaded an app or typed in a web address to search a directory? Most customers are typing their inquiries directly into the Google search bar.

Alleviate Your FOMO
A good marketing company does not need to use your fear of missing out as a sales tactic. These are the practices of a company that has fallen behind on the times.

How To Win As A Brand

We believe the brand that contributes the most value to society wins

Advertising is an exchange. Let’s not fool ourselves. People don’t line up to hear about products and services. People line up to get something of value. The best advertising gives the audience a gift. We give them entertainment, a promotional offer or an emotional experience in exchange for their attention or consideration.

Leading brands earn “Share of Heart”

Millennials and “aspirationals” have disrupted the traditional marketing funnel with new measurables. Today’s fastest growing brands are earning emotional connections by contributing their influence to make the world a better place – as an advocate for your family, your values or your cause. We can’t ignore this consumer impact. We must quantify it.

Brands are like people

Like people, brands are never received well when they only talk about themselves and ask for things. Rather than first thinking about how we can extract value from our customers, let’s look for new ways to add value. It might sound counter-intuitive, but it works. When your brand gives value to your customer first, they will promote you much better than you can promote yourself.

D. Brian

Why Utilize Us?

1. You will save money.

Outsourcing to a marketing agency is a huge money saver. When you begin working with an agency you will discuss your businesses needs and goals, right alongside your budget. In the end, your contract will be a fixed cost and you’ll know exactly what you’re spending before you sign on.

In comparison, hiring in-house means you’re out a salary and overhead, which is especially inefficient if you’re looking at a short-term marketing campaign. The only thing that’s worse? Making a bad hire, which can be an expensive mistake.

2. You’ll be working with an experienced team of professionals.

Marketing is a deceivingly broad term, as we discussed above, and when you’re working with a marketing agency you will have access to graphic artists, social media experts, sound designers, copywriters, and more, depending on your needs. All of these people are skilled, passionate professionals who strive to deliver quality work to their clients, just like you do for yours. Finding those people is a task in and of itself, but trying to find such an expansive skill set rolled in to an in-house hire? It’s just not going to happen.

3. You will be able to invest more time in other areas of your business.

Namely, your current employees. When a company attempts to avoid working with a marketing agency or making an in-house hire they typically start relying on other employees to help fill in the gaps. Marketing tasks like social media and SEO should be left to the pros, not your 19-year-old cashier with a Snapchat addiction. Not only will your marketing lack in an obvious way to potential customers, but your employees’ actual job will suffer from the distraction. Instead, empower your current employees to excel at their current role and work toward improvements, successes, and achieving their own goals within your company.

4. Your marketing efforts will stay on trend.

Marketing agencies stay in the loop. If it’s trending in the marketing world, they know about it. If it’s something than can influence your marketing in a positive way and achieve results, they will be the first to share that information with you. After all, you have enough to handle, there is no reason to put the pressure on yourself to stay up-to-date on the marketing advances, trends, and changes. Leave it to your team.

5. By outsourcing you will reduce stress and increase productivity.

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing will be how much easier you sleep at night. Marketing sounds like such a simple word, but it’s not. Whether you’re combining several marketing strategies for an overall campaign or you’re looking for a complete overhaul on your branding, an agency can handle it will speed and resilience. The stress of what could be a major undertaking is removed from your plate and allows you to breath easier, and gives you the ability to become more focused and productive in other areas.

6. You will have access to technologies that you wouldn’t get from an in-house hire.

We already told you that marketing agencies can keep you on trend, they can also keep you up-to-date in other areas. Much like trends, marketers are constantly bombarded with new technology. When new products or software become available they can explore and determine if there is a necessity; will it serve a purpose for their business. When these technologies become part of their business, they also become part of yours.

Why Choose Us?

When it comes to the best marketing firms, many believe a boutique agency is the provider of choice. Quite a few associate the word boutique with a small clothing store that sells exclusive items, yet it actually refers to any business that serves a specialized or sophisticated niche. This type of agency tends to be smaller than its competitors, offers more personalized service, and is more cost-effective for the client.

Remember the movie Jerry McGuire? This film is about a boutique sports agency, with Tom Cruise serving in the role as the agent. He offered personalized service, one client at a time, and that’s what a marketing firm of this type strives to do.

The marketing industry continues to grow in ways most people never imagined. Twenty years ago, people never would have envisioned smart phones being in the hands of the majority of adult Americans, yet this is where the majority of consumers turn when they wish to obtain information about a product or service. As a result, businesses need to find new ways to market to consumers, making use of cutting-edge techniques such as Google AdWords  or SEO campaigns.

As each brand is unique, every marketing campaign must distinguish itself from the crowd. Doing so can be difficult, as consumers are bombarded with ads and information everywhere they go. The boutique marketing firm works to overcome this, using unique strategies to attract attention for their client. A boutique firm develops these strategies, never making use of a cookie-cutter approach.

A Boutique Marketing Agency is the Perfect Size

One reason many business owners state they choose to go with a big agency is they feel a larger group has more resources to assist them. In actuality, these companies are often characterized by inflexibility and inefficiency. When a problem arises, a client may not know who they are supposed to contact because so many people play a role in developing a campaign. In addition, receiving an answer to a question or concern can take longer when working with a large agency, as they are dealing with multiple clients simultaneously. The sheer volume of accounts handled by each individual in the firm can lead to delays, which should be of concern to any business owner.

Boutique firms, in contrast, are recognized for their quick turnaround. When fewer people work on any campaign, it’s easier to know who to contact with a question or concern, and campaigns are usually launched in less time, as there aren’t as many individuals working on the campaign. The approval process for any campaign is easier also, and a campaign can be quickly adapted if it isn’t producing the desired results.

Another benefit of choosing a boutique firm is the client has more control over the services used. With a large company, predetermined packages are typically offered, and a client must choose between these packages, paying for items they don’t need or sacrificing items they do to save money. This isn’t a concern with a boutique marketing agency, as they offer more flexibility in the selection of services.

One major advantage of boutique firms is the low overhead. Big agencies must be fully staffed to meet the needs of their clients, and they must provide benefits to keep good workers. Rent tends to be expensive on the large offices used by these firms, and their utility costs can be very high. These aren’t issues when a company chooses to make use of a boutique firm.

Employees of the boutique firm work from their own home a majority of the time. For those companies that do maintain office space, the rent tends to be lower, as fewer people need to be accommodated. Many clients are surprised to learn they are speaking to the CEO when they call in to a firm of this type, as these companies often do without the support staff seen with bigger providers. Any savings achieved can then be passed on to the client.

So what are you waiting for? Call a boutique agency today. If you need a referral, I know someone...