Looney Featured in Forbes – 12 Agency Pros Share Their Favorite Ways To Surprise And Delight Their Clients

Agencies love to wow their clients. A delighted reaction is a sign of a job well-done—and as smart professionals know, delighted clients often give referrals that lead to future opportunities.

If you want to elicit this kind of response from your clients, you’ll have to earn it by going the extra mile. Not sure where to begin? Get inspired by the members of Forbes Agency Council, who share their favorite ways to surprise their prospects and clients below.

1. Anticipate Their Needs

If you’ve been working with a client for any amount of time, you pretty much know how they think and what they need. Anticipate that and also give them an example of what that might look like. For instance, if a client is considering an email campaign for lead generation, create one that is an actual representation of what they might send. - Francine CarbMarkitects, Inc.

2. Share Things That Aren’t On Their Radar

Showing clients that you are always thinking on their behalf (beyond your “scope of work”) exceeds expectations. This means sharing new things that aren’t on their radar, like a speaking gig or public relations opportunity. Sharing industry-specific news that affects marketing programs is also hard-hitting, as it shows that not only do we understand them, we are two steps ahead in our thinking. - Natalie NathansonMagnetude Consulting

3. Focus On The Details

I’ve worked with/for countless agencies that were never concerned with the details. I was shocked by the disorganization, lack of care and utter disregard for the nitty-gritty. Focusing on details is a core pillar of our value proposition, and clients always notice. From emails without typos and properly formatted documents to clean windows and straight gaff tape at events, the details do matter. - Lucas MillerMoment Creative

4. Address Their Goals With A Clear Strategy

It seems simple, but it’s often overlooked. In the strategies we build for new or potential clients, we always address the goals of the campaign. Sometimes clients come to us not knowing exactly what they want from their digital marketing efforts. Providing a clear outline of what we want to achieve and how we will get there shows that we know what we’re doing and have their best interests in mind. - Darian KovacsJelly Digital Marketing & PR

5. Align Your Team

Exploring the reasons your team is making a difference in a customer’s life unites them behind a strong purpose. This provides an organic framework for creating authentic “wows.” When your employees are bought in, they will follow up when it’s least expected, they will work with passion and they will offer the customers solutions they didn’t expect or even realize they needed. - Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing

6. Always Overdeliver

Our goal is to always overdeliver. If the customer expects a mood board, then we present it in at least three options. If the customer wants a logo, then we also show it animated. If the customer wants a new page, we will also make sure to complete research of the competitor’s similar feature. Our customer must always remain with the conclusion that they made the best choice. - Ally SpinuUSA Link System

7. Bring Value Without Selling

The best way to surprise and delight your customers is by sharing immense value for free and communicating with them without trying to sell anything. This attitude gives a human touch to the brand and keeps people engaged. Share educational and entertaining content on social media, send them personalized emails, deliver more than they expect—whatever makes them feel appreciated. - Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

8. Leave A Calling Card

As a hero brand and lovers of all things superheroes, when we go to new client meetings, send proposals or partner with someone new, we like to give out small hero-related tokens like LEGO superheroes or a Batman-branded USB. They are memorable and we find people enjoy it, often displaying our gifts on their work desks and thinking of Team KSA when they have a need. - Katie Schibler ConnKSA Marketing + Partnerships

9. Go The Extra Mile

We try to go the extra mile for each and every one of our clients. From bonus social posts during a launch to extra bells and whistles on a new video, we do everything we can to make our clients feel heard, understood and valued. At times, we’ll even develop custom projects beyond our normal scope, giving us an opportunity to innovate while providing a truly unique experience for our customers. - Bernard MayNational Positions

10. Have A Solution For Problems They Haven’t Encountered Yet

We solve the same problems over and over again for clients. But we often discover that certain clients haven’t yet encountered a problem that we know will be on their horizon at a later date. We plant seeds about our counsel before they encounter the problem—which they usually ignore. But then they remember our counsel and want to talk about the solution. That shows we’re thinking about them. - Randy ShattuckThe Shattuck Group

11. Show Them Metrics

Clients like seeing added value, media savings or better return on investment. We just showed a client how to reconfigure their media plan to improve their ROI by 19,000%. That was a fun meeting. I’ve never met a client who didn’t appreciate measurable expertise. I also love the appreciation from a client when we absolutely nail their strategy. That’s always a “wow” from a delighted client. It never gets old. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

12. Do Your Job

Getting a “wow” is as easy as delivering high-quality work, on time and with nuance. The agency-client relationship is a battle of expectations versus reality. When we do our job and do it well, we should be wowing our customers. If not, we aren’t doing our best. - Dan CohenFull Court Press Communications

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/04/29/12-agency-pros-share-their-favorite-ways-to-surprise-and-delight-their-clients/#27e40ccf53df

Looney Featured in Forbes — Don't Believe These 13 Myths About Partnering With An Agency

Any agency professional can tell you that it’s not always easy to onboard new clients, especially those who have never worked with an agency before. If they don’t understand the process of partnering with an agency, they may come into the relationship with unrealistic expectations.

It’s important to dispel any misconceptions your new client may have right from the start so you can set them—and yourself—up for success. That’s why we asked Forbes Agency Council members to debunk some common misconceptions they’ve encountered when working with businesses that are new to agency partnerships. Here’s what they had to say.

1. ‘Results Will Happen Overnight’

There is a misconception that if an agency is retained, then results should be achieved tomorrow. Clients need to understand what it will take from their side for the partnership to be successful. Having the candid conversations early will validate whether this is the right partnership and whether both sides are willing to make the necessary investments to be successful. - Andrew AuIntercept Group

2. ‘Hiring An Agency Will Fix All Our Problems’

The most common misconception is that hiring an agency will fix everything. Often, there can be internal issues that affect marketing effectiveness. I’ve found it important to be as much a management consultant as an agency. Be transparent about what the process is and both parties’ expectations of your engagement. If it’s clear up front, it’s less likely the relationship declines. - Jennifer BarbeeDestination Innovate

3. ‘All Channels Will Start Improving At The Same Pace’

Addressing time-to-impact for different marketing channels is important. Some companies want leads flowing into the pipeline in weeks, which is possible with certain channels, but not with others. For example, the impact of digital advertising like LinkedIn or Google AdWords can take weeks, whereas SEO can take months. Set expectations early—some of the best programs take time. - Natalie NathansonMagnetude Consulting

4. ‘An Agency Will Get Us High-Profile Media Placements’

As a public relations firm, one of the biggest challenges we face with potential clients is a misconception about the type of media that will be interested in them. Most people think they’re primetime-ready; of course, GMA, the TODAY show or Ellen will want to interview them! We address this by educating them on the power of PR and also the work that’s involved for us and them to land their desired placements. - Drew GerberWasabi Publicity, Inc.

5. ‘An Agency Will Threaten Internal Roles’

A successful client-agency partnership is built on communication, trust and respect. Agencies provide expertise from a valuable outside perspective, leading to stronger and more comprehensive strategies. But on the client side, team members may feel threatened if roles are not clearly defined. In partnering with an agency, the client will not sacrifice authority but will, instead, gain support. - Nicole DorskindThirtyThree

6. ‘Our Agency Will Act As A Megaphone’

Often, when a company hasn’t previously worked with an agency, there is a misconception that the agency will simply be a megaphone. That’s not how to get the best results from a strategic agency. Similar to an attorney-client relationship, the client company must share the good, bad and ugly in confidence to empower the agency to give their best recommendations and execution. - Erik ClausenCG Life

7. ‘Earned Media Results Are Guaranteed’

In the world of PR, earned media is gold. And while working with an established PR agency with connections to media can increase the chances of earned exposure, it is never guaranteed. Hiring an agency takes the hustle off the client’s plate — however, that means that they often don’t see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at the agency to get earned media coverage. - Darian KovacsJelly Digital Marketing & PR

8. ‘Agencies Can Ask Google To Fix Our Search Rankings’

Many of our new small and midsized business clients think we can call Google to have them take down anything in the search results that they do not like. They also think we can ask Google to reorder the search results if a competitor of lower quality is appearing ahead of them. Explaining Google’s SEO ranking factors and algorithm to many businesses who rely on search ranking can be extremely difficult. - T. MaxwelleMaximize

9. ‘Our Work Is Done Once The Agency Takes Over’

I have found that some clients come in thinking that just because they are now working with an agency, their work is done and we will handle everything from there. Granted, we bring a lot to the table, but in order to have a successful relationship, the client and the agency need to work equally as hard together. - Zachary BinderBell + Ivy

10. ‘An Agency Is Just Another Vendor’

Occasionally we describe our services as “your outsourced director of marketing.” Most clients that see success without an agency are likely marketing in part-time mode, hiring creative production vendors for Web, video, etc. A good agency is not a vendor but a partner brought in to drive marketing full-time, syncing with leadership to write strategy and create sales for conversion and accountable for return on investment. - Patrick NyczNewPoint Marketing

11. ‘The Agency Will Adapt To Our Workplace Culture’

First-time clients will often superimpose their workplace culture onto the agency relationship. A key factor in success for both sides is to recognize that agencies have their own culture. Being open to these differences and talking about them openly at the start or when tension occurs can prevent a disaster down the road. - Dan CohenFull Court Press Communications

12. ‘Every Agency Is A Full-Service Marketing Firm’

The most common misconception we encounter with those new to the agency world and digital is the idea that all agencies are a one-stop shop. Many clients new to this world think that because you do websites really well, you can also do video production for them too, or digital ad buys, etc. It’s an issue that can be overcome with good partners and honest dialogue. - Paul E. BenninghovePhalanx Digital Inc.

13. ‘We Can Launch Right Into The Campaign Without A Clear Strategy’

Most new clients want to launch specific media—digital, TV, radio, etc. They’re more focused on the medium than their actual message or brand strategy. While it’s counter to agency profitability, we’ll always slow the process down and make sure they have a clear, differentiated brand platform before we allow them to waste money on media. It usually leads to great long-term relationships. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/04/29/dont-believe-these-13-myths-about-partnering-with-an-agency/#1ad6a0707b86

Looney Published on LinkedIn — To All The "Crazy" Women Out There

I’m sure most of you have seen or at least heard about the Nike spot that aired during the Oscars. If you didn’t, it’s worth viewing today in honor of International Women’s Day.

As a female entrepreneur, an advocate of fitness & wellness, and a mother, this spot really hits home. Powerful footage of badass female athletes flash upon the screen. Competing, sweating, fighting, crying, screaming, winning, leading. And then the powerful words to compliment….

“If we’re emotional, we’re called dramatic. "If we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational or just being crazy. "So, if they want to call us crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do”

Wow, they just put it out there. No apologies, no excuses, no shame. But rather pure pride. An idea so big and so inspiring that as a creative storyteller myself, I was filled with such awe (and slight jealousy!)

I was so moved by the spot that it took me a few seconds to come out of my female Zen. And as I looked at my 17 year old daughter athlete, who just committed to play Lacrosse at Stanford, I realized, from that moment on, she would have a totally different perspective of what crazy means.  If anyone was ever to call her crazy, she wouldn’t think it was an insult, but now a compliment. And that she wasn’t alone, but in a community of amazing, strong, smart, and confident women.

Thank you to Wieden & Kennedy for taking this stereotypical label “crazy” and making it a cool badge of honor for me, my daughter and for all women.

Looney Featured in Forbes — In-House Transparency: 13 Pros And Cons Of Full Disclosure

We’re all aware of the importance of transparency in marketing, especially when targeting younger demographics. People want to align not only with your company’s brand, but also your ethos and mission. Lately, the conversation about transparency has turned inward, with some agencies giving their team members full disclosure of the company’s financial well-being, such as revenue, profit and loss, and so on.

We asked 13 members of Forbes Agency Council to share their own transparency experiences, including if they have taken the transparency approach and are still implementing it or if they implemented it and then chose to stop. Read on for the pros and cons of how in-house transparency impacted their business and culture below.

1. There’s No Reason To Hide Profit

“Transparency” is too often a buzzword agencies say, but don’t honor. We are an open book. Every budget we send to clients has a line that says “Agency Profit.” Not only does our team have full disclosure on what we make, but so do our clients. There isn’t a business in the world that doesn’t exist to make money, so why hide it from anyone? Our clients love it, and our employees love it. There’s nothing to hide. - Lucas MillerShop Marketing and Creative Group

2. Open Communication Informs Better Decisions

We have found it important to provide a certain level of transparency to our employees when it comes to our financial success. We set targets at the beginning of the year, communicate them broadly to the employee base and then provide updates on a quarterly basis. This helps get everyone focused on owning the year with us and making decisions in the business from an informed perspective. - Chris CavanaughFreeman

3. Careful Consideration Is Needed

We have yet to implement this, but we’re thinking about it. Younger professionals appreciate openness and function better knowing how they fit into the business model. If finances are tight, the concern is that it may cause panic among good employees to jump ship. However, if profit is strong then it is easier for employees to understand their value and how they fit into that success. - Katie Schibler ConnKSA Marketing + Partnerships

4. Share What The Team Will Benefit From Knowing

We have practiced pretty radical transparency with our finances at times in the past. The result is that team members, particularly younger ones with less work experience, totally freaked out. It added stress to their lives. I’m the business owner, so I’m expected to lose sleep sometimes, but not everyone needs to join me. Now I just let them know what they need to know so there are no surprises. - Scott BaradellIdea Grove

5. Transparency Fosters Trust

Prioritizing transparency and integrity internally leads to growth, both because customers see they can trust you to help grow their business, but also because it leads to more engaged, productive and effective employees. We share our financial goals and progress monthly so that our entire team can rally around them. When everyone is aware, involved and invested it leads to success. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

6. Sharing Finances Means Sharing Impact

In 2018 we transitioned to greater financial transparency. We shared revenue and profitability goals at the company and team level. At the six-month update, people seemed gratified to witness the impact their work had made. After the meeting, a junior planner pulled me aside to tell me that seeing the numbers on the page really made her feel that her individual effort had made a big difference. - Joanne McKinneyBurns Group

7. Transparency Goes Two Ways

We subscribe to full transparency and commit to the highest level of trust with the entire team. Giving that level of trust results in getting that same level of trust and respect back. When that kind of trust is inherent to your culture, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. And you can more effectively deal with the challenges when everyone is aware and working together toward the common goal. - Lori PaikinNaviStone®

8. Employees Earn Their Way Inside

We incentivize employees with a 10% net bonus on any new business they personally secure. If they bring in an account they get to see all expenses related to running that business, so when we write them the big year-end bonus check they know the amount is legit. Writing a fat check to someone who deserves it is my favorite thing in this business. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. Profits Are Better When Everyone Shares In Them

We are a fully transparent company. I believe it’s one of the reasons we’ve grown so quickly. Our internal mission is to be the best-paying boutique agency for the information technology industry. When everyone knows the revenue and profit targets they can see that when they are hit, they get better pay and it gets us closer to achieving our internal mission. Profits and work quality have never been better. - Giovanni SanguilyTRIdigital Marketing

10. Complete Accountability Fosters Communication And Ownership

When companies make the change and open themselves to complete communication and accountability it changes the way that people communicate as well as the attention that they pay to their jobs. What it means is that there is a complete change in the way that companies relate to employees, and employees act like owners and not like those who simply work there. It is also a way to start a dialog. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

11. Sharing Gets You Rowing In The Same Direction

Sharing financials and company goals is important to ensure everyone is aligned and sets their sights on the same targets. If all don’t have access, you won’t be rowing in the same direction. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

12. Sharing Opens A Channel To Address Concerns

The executive board hosts a companywide meeting at the beginning of every month to review numbers, goals, problems and successes. During this time of transparency, we talk through any questions or concerns our team may have, providing the response direct from the source and limiting any false speculation. This practice leads to a greater understanding of the business and minimal water cooler talk. - Jason KulpaUE.co

13. Tie Your Company’s Financial Goals To Employee Bonuses

About three years ago we started sharing our financial goals, our profits and our “numbers” as often as possible with our employees. That was a deliberate, and critical, shift. We tied our company’s financial goals to individual employees’ bonuses, so our goals are now their goals. When we win, they win. The result? We’re all moving in the same direction. - Matt MooreOH Partners

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/31/in-house-transparency-13-pros-and-cons-of-full-disclosure/#4ab2d175438d

Looney Featured in Forbes — Planning A Publicity Campaign? Here Are Six Things To Consider First

How your business is perceived by the public has a major impact on sales and customer retention. A well-planned public relations campaign can rally brand supporters together and promote a positive public image. However, a poorly executed publicity stunt can destroy your business’ reputation.

If you’re itching to make a PR move in the near future, consider these tips from Forbes Agency Council before you plan and launch your campaign.

1. Ask Yourself If It’s Worth The Risk

Start by asking yourself two questions. What is the overall intent of your publicity stunt? Awareness? Happiness? Shock and awe? This needs to be considered first and foremost. Second, if your “stunt” goes sideways and backfires, is it worth the risk? Not all press is good press, and in the age of social media, a “stunt gone bad” can spread and tarnish your reputation quickly. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Make Sure It’s Relevant To Your Brand

A publicity stunt can be costly and would have to fit the company’s budget. One thing to consider before planning a stunt is to plan well and make the stunt relevant to your brand—it has to make sense in context and not be completely misunderstood. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

3. Educate Your Client On What’s Involved

Stunts are live, so you have to prep even more. Most importantly, what’s the client’s appetite for risk? You have to factor in their brand tone and culture and look at all the possible outcomes. In addition to budget to pull off the event, they need proper funds to seed social and PR as well. An educated, vested client is the most important element for a successful publicity stunt or campaign. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

4. Consider All Possible Interpretations

Before embarking on any type of publicity stunt, stop and consider what people might think about it. Could it possibly offend a segment of society? Could it be taken out of context by the public? Bring in a variety of demographics from your company, regardless of title, and ask them what they think about it. They may see something that you don’t. - Rebecca KowalewiczClearbridge Branding Agency

5. Aim For A Solely Positive Outcome

If you want to be viral, it is quite possible. It is very important to ensure that your stunt, whatever it is, will trend and get the attention that you want without any negative connotations. You need to think about your industry and find what it is that you are going to be able to get attention with in a positive way. When you are working through this you will see there are all kinds of options. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

6. Think About The Long-Term Impact On Your Reputation

Make sure your campaign is something that won’t live in perpetuity as your top Google search if things go wrong. Keep your head down and just do good work—don’t get caught up in the noise or whirlwind. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/05/planning-a-publicity-campaign-here-are-six-things-to-consider-first/#302c6e931797

Looney Featured in Forbes — Working With Freelancers? Here Are Nine Tips For A Successful Partnership

If you’re searching for help or insight on your business but don’t have the resources to hire full-time staff members, contract employees are a great alternative. This type of work arrangement is on the rise today, and many professionals are even pursuing freelance gigs as their main source of income.

However, hiring contractors requires a bit of homework on your part. The members of Forbes Agency Council are familiar with managing workers in the gig economy and have a few important tips for ensuring a successful partnership. Based on their advice, here’s how you can make sure freelancers and contractors understand the goals of your agency and/or project.

1. Vet Them Thoroughly

Proper vetting is crucial. Ask potential freelancers about their processes, values and vision to ensure that they align with your own. This starts your working relationship off on the right foot. When you have found a close match, send them an example so they have a clear understanding of your goals and what you expect. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Show Them Your Passion And Guide Them

It’s all about passion. If the employee is passionate about what they do, they will do their best to try and understand the goals of your agency. The best tip is to truly show them your passion and guide them in the process. No one will completely understand your goal, but the best thing to do is to guide them. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

3. Offer Incentives For Outstanding Performance

Articulating the role, the project and the opportunity for future work and engagement is critical to reinforcement. Get to know your freelancer’s priorities as they perform for you and incentivize them when they exceed your expectations. - Matthew AbenantePorter, LeVay & Rose, Inc.

4. Give Them The Proper Background And Context

Freelancers are totally blind to the client’s preferred tone, goals and personality. We don’t like anyone operating at a deficit at our company. After they sign a non-disclosure agreement, we add as much color as we can to the brief so they understand the details and nuances of each project and brand path. In the end, we get much better work, waste less time and align each talented person more with the team. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

5. Involve Them Early And Frequently

My top tip for working with freelance or contract employees is to involve them early and involve them frequently. Keep the lines of communication open, and give these employees a chance to meet all of the principals of your firm and the client for whom they are working. Having a freelancer meet the client does a better job of vesting him or her in a project while they get to know the personalities. - April Joy RudinThe Rudin Group

6. Follow The Same Hiring Process You Use For Regular Employees

Put the same rigor around hiring freelancers as you would a full-time employee and aim to develop a relationship with them that goes beyond a one-project engagement. Treating them as a part of your team fosters trust and a commitment from them and a better understanding of your business and client needs, and it will yield efficiencies in communication with the rest of your team. - Keri WitmanCleriti

7. Set Clear Expectations

When working with freelancers, it’s important to give them as many details as possible about the project in the beginning. This will not only help set them up for success, but also reduce the back-and-forth, question-and-answer that may happen if it’s unclear what’s expected of them. - Matt BowmanThrive Internet Marketing Agency

8. Over-Communicate

You can’t over-communicate timelines, expectations or needs with freelance and contract employees. Many times, freelance and contract employees are task- and tactics-oriented. Guidelines provide the structure and accountability they need to accomplish specific tasks for projects in which they aren’t responsible for producing the end results associated with overall strategy. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

9. Keep Them Engaged

Often, agencies treat freelance resources as if they live behind a curtain, keeping them at arm’s length from both internal teams and clients. I’ve always taken the opposite approach, with full engagement during assignments and full transparency and involvement with clients. This has driven better work that is far more connected to the overall agency ideas and executions. - Scott ElserDigital Current

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/04/working-with-freelancers-here-are-nine-tips-for-a-successful-partnership/#25caa6e156b9

Looney Featured in Forbes – How -- And Where -- To Maximize Your Advertising Dollars In 2019

Advertising usually takes up a large percentage of companies’ budgets each year. To stay relevant, businesses cannot solely rely on what they’ve done in the past; they must also utilize up-and-coming platforms and strategies or risk getting lost in the shuffle. This new year is sure to be no exception, with new advertising tools and platforms trending  throughout the year.

1. Utilize Digital Testing Technology For Higher ROI

We believe that advertising dollars in the coming year are best spent in the digital and social spaces. Google’s machine learning technology allows experts to test more ad variations much faster than ever before. Faster testing leads to faster optimization of ads and, therefore, higher positive return on investment. Social ads also continue to present a huge opportunity with fantastic targeting capabilities. - Bernard MayNational Positions

2. Understand And Adapt To Digital Outlets And Audiences

What we definitely know and understand is that digital and social outlets are not going anywhere anytime soon. At this point, these outlets are bridging the gap between all ages and will continue to dominate the game. Agencies need to understand these outlets and their audience more and adapt these techniques through social and digital media platforms in a more clear and creative way. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

3. Take A Holistic Approach

Online and offline need to continue to work together, not apart from each other. Offline still has the largest reach but pushes people to online or brick-and-mortar locations. The key is carefully watching the data and sales to pull the appropriate levers and drive the best consumer engagement and action. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

4. Start Mapping The Customer Experience

The best investment this year is in tying all of your marketing efforts and measurements together to start mapping and measuring the customer experience (CX). Agencies can start by investing in journey mapping exercises and learning about CX measurement tools. - Greg KihlströmYes& Agency

5. Find And Target Your Relevant Audience

In 2019, I expect clients to continue to invest heavily in digital tactics, including targeted digital display with geotargeting, geofencing and lookalike audiences, as well paid and organic social media placements. Audio buying, including Pandora, i-Heart radio and Spotify, as well as over-the-top streaming video ads, will be hot as well, since they effectively deliver messages to relevant audiences. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

6. Choose The Media That’s Best For Your Brand

No one medium is the silver bullet for all ad campaigns. A specialist will always tell you their specialty. Ultimately it depends on the target, strategy, competition and cultural trends. For John Lewis, TV is wildly effective. Nerf and Dude Perfect were great social media partners. We made smart viral reccos for Blue Man experiential. Each brand’s DNA and media choice should always be different. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/01/how-and-where-to-maximize-your-advertising-dollars-in-2019/#3f9890a02893

Looney Featured in Forbes – How Seven Agency Pros Will Apply The Lessons They Learned in 2018

You know the saying: “New year, new me.” While it might be an overused idiom, there’s some insight behind the phrase, especially when it comes to managing your business.

1. Focusing On The Details

Every year we learn something new and every year we try to improve our strategies within the work sphere. The main thing each agency should do is focus. Focusing on pitches, proposals and work is the key to success. Once the focus aspect drifts, the work will drift as well. - Cagan Sean YukselGRAFX CO.

2. Showing How We’re Different

Customers and clients care about your company culture now more than ever. Often, we talk about culture as being an internal practice, but moving into 2019, we aim to shine a light on the unique culture we’ve built. Showing how we’re different, strategically and culturally, will help us build even greater trust. Come on inside—we’re all family in here! - Bernard MayNational Positions

3. Saying ‘No’ More Often

We’re very polite with all prospects and try to help as many people as we can, but we are going to be more efficient in weeding out those not sophisticated enough to allocate marketing budgets early in the process, who are looking to poach ideas with no real intention of actually hiring a marketing partner, as well as small projects with no real creative potential. We just don’t have the time to waste. Ever. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

4. Staying Ahead Of The Marketing Curve

It is very important for all of the lessons that were learned in 2018 to be applied to marketing. What that means is that I want to make sure that I am staying ahead of the curve and learning all of the new applications as they come to market. I want to make sure that I am staying ahead of the curve and am always involved in learning new ways to be able to communicate with audiences. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

5. Investing In Ourselves

In 2019, we’re committing to investing in ourselves. Thinking it’s acceptable for the “cobbler’s children to have no shoes” only gets you so far. We write, publish, win awards and host events every day to achieve thought leadership for our clients, so a major goal for our firm this year will be to invest that same dedication in our own agency as well. - Leslie LicanoBeyond Fifteen Communications Inc.

6. Taking My Time

I relearned a valuable lesson in 2018, and that is that most decisions don’t have to be made in the moment. Taking a day or longer for many decisions improves the quality and outcome and gives me time to get advice. My natural tendency is to decide and keep moving. Sleeping on most decisions leads to better outcomes. - Don Neal360 Live Media, Inc.

7. Practicing A Value-First Mentality

Companies cannot provide value without making a profit in return. True value is met when two entities exchange equally. Last year we served without carefully measuring our own returns. This year we are creating freedom by growing as much value into our agency as we give out. This isn’t a turn from our long-standing, value-first mentality, but rather a step toward sustainable future value trades. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/01/how-seven-agency-pros-will-apply-the-lessons-they-learned-in-2018/#db3d3d04641b

Looney Featured in Forbes – 15 Challenges Marketers Faced In 2018 (And What They Learned)

The marketing landscape is ever-changing, and it can be difficult to keep up. Even if you’ve been in the industry for years, there are always new trends emerging and and methods evolving.

Those who continue learning and growing will never fall too far behind, but that doesn't mean they won’t face obstacles along the way. Below, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council share the biggest industry challenges they’ve faced this past year and how they plan to use that knowledge moving forward.

1. A Changing Corporate Climate

The biggest challenge as a marketing agency that has developed over the past year is watching as corporate positions fill up the digital marketing organization spaces that we dominated as agencies in the previous decade. We believe the opportunity that we’ve had in the past five years will be gone. Rather than fighting this change, we are positioning our firm to assist digital officers as a resource. - Evangeline SuttonRegenerative Marketing LLC

2. The Impact Of Influencers

We have worked with journalists who were bound by the ethics of journalism to tell both sides of a story for nearly 30 years. Now we are working with influencers with large audiences on social media. The problem in evaluating influencers is who they are being paid by, whether they expect to be paid by our clients and what the deliverables will be if they share our clients’ stories and photos. - Nancy MarshallMarshall Communications

3. Greater Demand For Personalization

The desire for brands to get more personal in communications continues to grow and presents new challenges. In our business, where email marketing is a big part of what we do, we plan to facilitate more personalization through partnerships with companies such as Conversica, which offers an AI attendant that assists in engaging, qualifying and converting more leads for our clients. - Paula ChiocchiOutward Media, Inc.

4. Maintaining Our Buying Power

We made many systematic changes in 2018 to welcome industry changes. In the planning stages, we updated our systems and training materials. We didn’t, however, fully prepare for the level of attention required to regulate our relationships with suppliers as we grow. When picking suppliers, we learned to check for cues that can help us identify those who can grow and meet our changing priorities. - Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing

5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR was a big industry growing pain; however, having the operations and processes in place to adhere to this regulation make the California Consumer Privacy Act less daunting. It has also opened up a healthy dialog about data, privacy and useful customization across a variety of sectors. - Kieley TaylorGroupM

6. Standing Out From Our Competitors

Our industry is legal marketing and website design. In our area, we have seen lots of competition come into the market. We plan to face this challenge by producing more educational documents and continuing to set our firm out as industry thought leaders. - Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

7. Balancing Personalization With Data Privacy

Creating a truly personalized experience while adhering to data privacy and industry regulations proves to be a challenge, like trying to hit a moving target. As we go forward we will be leveraging journey orchestration technology to deliver more relevant customer experiences and a deeper level of personalization than ever before, treating privacy laws as an opportunity to build trust along the way. - Justin Grossmanmeltmedia

8. Facebook’s Sponsored Content Changes

At the start of 2018 Facebook once again changed their rules on sponsored content, dramatically shifting how we did business for our clients. We pivoted and ended up with a solution that is exceeding results from before the change. While we’re thrilled with this outcome, we know that we will need to continue to be agile when it comes to 2019, as major platform updates seem to be the new normal. - Danielle WileySway Group

9. Educating Clients On New Trends

Influencers have become our clients’ nirvana, even though they most often don’t understand how this new “species” works. We have been educating them and pondering their expectations so they know what they can get and how, and what the difference is between an editor, a blogger and an influencer. Parts of our request for proposal now will be dedicated to some education about it. - Sarah HamonS2H Communication

10. Addressing The Industry’s Fraud Issue

Transparency continues to be a critical need as the advertising industry recovers from digital ad fraud. We’re heading off potential distrust from clients by being up front about our commitment to fostering an ethical culture at our agency. After applying for and winning an Integrity award from the Better Business Bureau, we now have an independent third party confirming that commitment. - Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

11. Keeping Up With Emerging Platforms

One of the biggest issues out there is making sure that we know about all of the most recent changes to platforms and to content that needs to be made and consumed. One of the most important things is finding the right content and the right platform. That means that it is very important to ensure that you are using the right platform for the right age group that you are working with. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

12. Casting A Wider Net

In 2018, we found that the long-term retainer model didn’t work well for certain smaller startup clients, so we developed a project-based program to allow younger brands to experience our services without committing to a long-term relationship. The program has proven a great success and has given companies the opportunity to achieve public relations and social media goals without an ongoing commitment. - Leslie LicanoBeyond Fifteen Communications Inc.

13. Collecting And Analyzing Data

The amount of data continues to expand exponentially. Programming technology and analytics with a machine learning/artificial intelligence component is and will continue to be key because it will become too much for humans to process in a timely or cost-effective way. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

14. Ensuring Consumer Data Safety And Privacy

Changes in privacy regulations such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are impacting how marketing is done. Consumers expect to know what data is collected and to be able to choose what solutions can and can’t collect their data. Marketers must now be diligent at ensuring safety and giving customers the privacy they deserve while delivering meaningful and optimal customer experience. - Alex YastrebenetskyInfoTrust

15. Finding The Right Media Tracking Tools

Our media team did a complete analysis of all optimization and tracking tools on the market to confirm best-in-category practices and results. It was an important, but time-consuming, process. We found some brand-new assets in some niche pockets that will help our clients even more. We now need to tell that story in the year ahead in a simple way without giving away the store up front. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/28/15-challenges-marketers-faced-in-2018-and-what-they-learned/#7d1891bb6252

Looney Featured in Forbes - 13 Things To Consider When Investing In A Digital Media Platform

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat is experiencing a steady decline in daily users, and its situation isn’t expected to improve any time soon. While Snapchat is certainly far from “dead” – there are still 186 million active daily users, according to Statista — many brands may opt to wait and see if engagement stabilizes before spending precious advertising dollars on the platform.

Snapchat’s downward trend may well prompt second thoughts for many brands that were considering marketing on a digital mediaplatform, including whether to move forward and, if they do, what the best strategy will be. Below, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council share their thoughts on investing in a digital media platform.

1. Positive Return On Investment (ROI) Should Happen Within Two Weeks

Determine your reach and frequency first. How many consumers are you really reaching via Snapchat? Then calculate your ROI on your ad spend. If you are not seeing a positive ROI within one to two weeks, remove the media and allocate the past spend to a testing budget, but do not continue on the medium. - Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHAWTHORNE LLC

2. Timing Is Critical

The unsuccessful Facebook purchase of Snapchat was the pivot point. The acquisition was the preferred but not the only means for Facebook to provide the same or better offer, and it has the user data to edge out the competition with better personalization options. Snapchat made some investors money who saw that writing on the wall and got out quickly, so it is as much a matter of when to invest as in what. - Elizabeth Jean PostonHelios Interactive, A Freeman Company

3. Consider The Platform’s Unique Audience

Snapchat offers a very addressable audience and, in some cases, an audience that is relatively tough to find in other places. What is most important for you to consider is if your target audience has sufficient scale and delivers performance above a point of diminishing returns. - Kieley TaylorGroupM

4. Take A Holistic View Of Customer Trends

Just because the overall Snapchat user base is changing does not mean that their core users have migrated to another channel. As a brand, it is crucial to have an always-on understanding of customers, including their device and social preferences. When brands invest in a customer data platform, it gives them a holistic view of their customers’ actions, which can enable data-driven investment. - Preethy VaidyanathanTapad

5. What Matters Is Where Your Brand’s Audience Is

Before worrying about a platform that feels like a media “ought to,” brands should first step back and determine if their target is even engaging there. Snapchat may have been a trend darling, but if a brand’s consumers aren’t interacting there, there’s no point in chasing it in the first place. If they are spending time on the platform, the dip in numbers doesn’t matter anyway. - Mimi LettunichTwenty Four 7

6. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term, Viability

When there is a decrease in revenue in a tool and an application like Snapchat, it is very important to make sure that all of the long-term viability assessments of the tool have been looked at. What that means is that before you are putting your money into an application, you want to know that it is going to make a recovery. - Jon JamesIgnited Results

7. If It’s Working For You, Stick With It

An “investment” really has nothing to do with the number of daily users, it has to do with the change in key performance indicators for your brand. While growing and massive social media platforms provide a wide audience, they also add the challenge of competition and cost. If Snapchat continues to build awareness, engagement, growth and a return on investment, by all means, continue to use it! - Douglas KarrDK New Media

8. The Audience Is Waiting — Build A Smart Package

Snap reported 191 million users earlier this year. Instagram has hit 1 billion. There’s no need to wait on either platform. The eyeballs are there. You just have to get a pulse on the best way to engage on each, then develop smart creative and negotiate the best package. There’s a certain amount of parity between both, but one group is way more ad-friendly. - Sean LooneyLooney Advertising & Branding

9. Ignore Industry Panic

Snapchat has gone through waves of popularity and waves of decline. Although ROI should be your chief metric, be sure that you’re not jumping too fast in the natural cycles of popular social media platforms. If Snapchat comes out with a new feature or method of organization that brings users back in droves relatively quickly, you might feel silly for panicking too early. - Brandon StapperNonstop Signs

10. There Is No Silver Bullet

Many people believe that marketers know the silver bullet. In actuality, the best marketers seek to understand their audience well and fire 10 arrows all in the same direction, knowing only a couple will hit the target. Channels come and go. Facebook is already losing its golden-child status. Don’t be surprised, do what good marketers do: Seek to understand your audience and be flexible. - Jesse MarbleMagneti

11. It Might Be A Great Opportunity To Reach Young Consumers

There is still a strong user base on Snapchat that is desirable (Gen Z and younger millennials). You might be able to get a better deal and reach your ideal, hard-to-reach young consumers. - Tom LaVecchia, MBAX Factor Media

12. Move Around Media Dollars To Find What’s Effective

It’s not about whether a platform is in growth or decline, but whether it provides the best opportunities for your brand to reach your audience. You may leverage that platform while it’s trending, but decide if it’s the most effective medium. Because you can easily move your strategy with media dollars, brands aren’t committed to platforms long term and have the freedom to move to new channels. - Danny FritzSBX Group

13. Favor Steady Engagement Over Swift Monetary Return

As long as you’re seeing engagement and a strong following that’s not disassembling your budget, then it’s always worth it to keep investing in a platform. It’s important to remember that with digital media platforms, your monetary return takes time to establish. - Jordan EdelsonAppetizer Mobile LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/01/04/13-things-to-consider-when-investing-in-a-digital-media-platform/#42b5b04749fb