As the digital tsunami sweeps across the land mass that used to be called advertising, one of its most disruptive effects is on the nature of the relationship between client and agency with regard to software.
This is why we dedicate precious time to scanning the ever-changing software horizon for solutions that not only allow us to become better at deploying, measuring, optimizing and reporting on digital campaigns of various kinds – from social to search, display to email marketing – but that create a common work space in which the relative strengths of agency and client can be intelligently integrated to enhance joint productivity and marketing effectiveness.
Unlike the knee-jerk reaction of traditional agencies to ring-fence their arcane areas of expertise, we at Machete have embraced systems that allow both parties to input and access common data in order to co-create social campaigns, distill and articulate great content, and build databases of customers that move from automated marketing mechanisms to full-blown CRM systems.
Our view is that when properly implemented, with appropriate client training and clear role distinctions, such software can help to shift the role of the agency from interchangeable service provider to trusted business partner – turning a shop like Machete into a real extension of our clients’ marketing and strategic planning departments.
This mass email, database management and marketing automation system pulls together a variety of data sources such as website browsing history, email interactions, social media activity and links them through IP addresses to actual visitor identities. This allows for the deployment of highly sophisticated automated emailers, agent alerts, lead tracking and nurturing. A game-changer of note, and one that is closing the gap between marketing initiatives and sales results, between the agency’s creatives and the client’s sales team. So we get to see what is working, practically in real time, and can assess, optimize and improve the efficiencies of our campaigns, lowering lead acquisition costs as we go. And all of this data is pumped into a web-based CRM database that will form the foundation of our permission-based marketing campaigns into the foreseeable future.
Our weapon of choice when it comes to CMS web development systems. Having experimented with Drupal and Joomla, we took a decision seven years ago to concentrate on the WordPress platform, and haven’t looked back since. The enormous support it enjoys from a global team of developers has led to the creation of a huge variety of plug-ins that introduce specific functionality to websites, while the range of themes make for cost-effective web development with a wide variety of graphic interfaces.
Our self-hosted version of this wide-ranging project management and agency administration software has become the nervous system of our studio. It controls opening of jobs, allocation of tasks, sharing of information and digital assets, deadline management, time-tracking , quoting and invoicing – all from one robust, web-based interface. The fact that it also allows us to share selected aspects of these processes with tech-savvy clients is another big plus, building trust and accelerating briefing and reporting processes.
After implementing and working with HootSuite, Sendible and Buffer, we migrated to CoSchedule just over a year ago and have been exceptionally happy with the decision. On balance, this social media administration platform offers an excellent feature set and great value for money. The way it allows for client approval of posts is user-friendly and effective, as is its reporting, but for us the ‘killer app’ was the organisational advantage of the calendar interface. This offers a quick overview of the week’s posts in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ as well as non-digital campaign activity, with instant, editable drill-down to the detail of each one. Big picture, big pixel, big up! (The fact that CoSchedule was founded by a Saffer has nothing to do with it. Promise!)