Cost cutting, time pressures and bad briefing, collected from anonymous sources, including long term agency staff and those who have gone from client side to agency and back again this article is a no holds barred look into some of the consistent issues that arise between agencies and clients.

The reason for this article is that I feel marketers often get away with a bit too much blaming.

Client-side marketers are very quick to call for the beheading of their agencies, we see harsh comments made about effectiveness versus efficiency and the blame is so often landed at the revolving agency door. …


Marketing for small businesses is not about jumping straight into tactics. There is a sad belief that marketing properly is only possible for larger businesses, with huge budgets and departments but nothing could be further from the truth.

I would argue that small businesses and start ups, of any size are perfectly positioned to do great marketing, here is an example of one of my clients who is a one man band.

There is a belief that it’s incredibly expensive but that’s only the case if you jump into comms without making the value of marketing upfront in the other areas of business. …


I recently wrote an article for Econsultancy titled “Marketers, it’s time to grow up and talk to Finance.” You can read it here for context. This article is the full Q&A with Alastair Thompson, a Chief Financial Officer (Financial Director, UK) who works with businesses all over the UK. The questions put to Alastair were as follows:

1 — What are the biggest frustrations for CFOs when dealing with Marketers

2 — How can Marketers work with CFOs on marketing strategy?

3 — How can Marketers and CFOs work together to build measurements, KPIs and systems of metrics to improve outcomes? …


From 1st July to 18th November 1916 raged one of the bloodiest battles in human history resulting in the deaths and injuries of over one million men. Around five miles of enemy territory was gained at a shameful cost.

Enemy superiority is so great that we are not in a position either to fix their forces in position or to prevent them from launching an offensive elsewhere. We just do not have the troops…. We cannot prevail in a second battle of the Somme with our men; they cannot achieve that any more. (20 January 1917)[56]

Hermann von Kuhl

The purpose of this piece is not to negate or minimise the loss of life nor its historical importance. …


In the world of business and Marketing, we constantly hear about digital revolution. The world has changed. Everything that came before doesn’t apply anymore and we are going through a transition we have no control over. Here are some human reasons why this is wrong.

The digital revolution was over ten years ago.

The turning point was the rapid adoption of technology, which I believe was around 2008. That was when we started to see the rise of social media and smartphones. We now live in a world where the two are now indistinguishable. Even the poorest parts of the world have smartphones. It’s part of everyday human life and the point is, digital has blended with everything and if you open your eyes. …


It’s 6pm on a Friday evening, everyone is sat around a table at a nice restaurant in London. The head of Marketing from some big company is sitting down with his agency who invited him down from Nottingham to talk things over. They insist on paying the bill, it’s a casual thing they say. Just a chat about ideas.

Wine starts flowing and jokes too. Everyone has a good time.

Especially the agency, they just signed a new client retainer for £5,000 a month.

Easy pickings.

An often familiar scenario. Marketers are failing their clients and employers. Too often we see Marketers signing agency contracts because of a few casual chats, usually following some conference waffle sales pitch about how everything in Marketing is dead now and only they have the solutions in this “new world”. …


We’ve not come as far as we think in Marketing and in some ways, we’re still dealing with outdated notions of what is and isn’t important.

John has just started a new job, he’s got to stand on a street corner for eight hours a day. He’s enthusiastic and he points people to what he’s selling, used cars that are for sale just around the corner.

Sometimes people stop and talk to John, most the time they just walk past. Sometimes they walk towards the dealership.

Harry is a salesman, he meets and greets every customer that comes through that door. He shakes their hand, gets them coffee and makes them laugh. …


There is a persistent belief in the world of Marketing that consumers share Loyalty with certain brands. I do not believe this is true. For the most part.

The concept of Loyalty in Marketing is an understandable one. Brands and the products they serve are very important to us Marketers and Advertisers. They are the bread and butter of our careers. We truly care about our brands. But we aren’t normal people, except when we are.

Like all people, Marketers are normal when they are not at the office. They have habits and routines throughout the day that they simply do not think about. For example, the milk has run out. …


Marketing isn’t about social media or advertising; that’s part of Marketing but you need to start way further back than that. Otherwise, in the long run, you’ll fail.

It all starts with now.

What do I mean by now? I mean, what is your business, who are your customers, who are you and what is happening today.

You can’t plan for tomorrow if you don’t know today.

A few months ago an old school friend of mine dropped me a message, initially I thought it was just to catch up. I haven’t seen him in four years.

What he really needed was my help with his business idea, naturally I said yes. …


VR, Voice, AI, Blockchain, Split testing, Automation and Optimised content. It just goes on and on.

Out of the box software solutions will not give you out of the box thinking.

They are just tools, they have nothing to do with Marketing communications or creativity.

Creativity is human, machines are not. Creativity is thinking, machines just do.

Marketers who become too enamoured by the magic of technology will do their employers, agencies and clients a disservice. As a Marketer, you are there to help everyone in an organisation to make better decisions. …

About

Samuel Brealey

I'm a Marketing consultant. I help my clients make more money. Better Marketing means better business. https://samuelbrealey.co.uk/

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