What do clients want from their Communications partners?

Clients select agencies based on what they believe will be the ‘right fit’ with their business. They have specific sales and marketing objectives that must be met, and their communication partners exist solely to help them achieve them. Clients realise that, when buying into an agency relationship, they buy into the total package – account management, creative, strategy, digital, and the inherent costs associated with deploying those resources. It is expensive, but the need for functional efficacy is mandatory. Efficiency, however, is their genuine battleground – how to get more, for less, from their agency(s).
Agencies are a compromise.

The inherent problem with agencies is that they aren’t interested in the client’s need for efficiency. This does them no good at all. Agencies are already under cost pressures. What they are interested in is deploying all of their people all the time, on client projects, and demonstrating their efficacy – strategic and creative performance.


The problem is that Agency people are generalists. Agency staff must be able to wear many category-client hats. An agency can not just hire a brilliant car creative, if they also have food, finance, insurance, or packaged goods clients. Agency people must be, by default, generalists.


In short, clients recognise that Agencies build teams that are ‘fit for purpose’ not a perfect fit.


The opportunity

A client would love to be able to pick and choose world’s-best agency and creative talent available, and deploy skills that are a perfect fit for their business, on their key projects. Many already try to do so, and build agency rosters with diverse skill sets. The client then must manage multiple agency relationships, and the inherent budgetary issues that arise from deploying multiple businesses, the creative clashes and the lack and synergy on projects and brands. It is a case of too many people feeding on the one piece of pie, and remains a business problem CMO’s must begrudgingly manage.


But, what if the CMO or CEO could deploy the world’s-best people on a project basis, without any of the inherent management issues detailed above? And do so without the cost issues that make managing up to their C-Suite colleagues so difficult?


A Communications Company’s real opportunity:

Give the C-Suite the world’s-best people – what they want, when they want it – without the burden of incurring significant additional cost.



The Comms’ firm need to add value to Country Managers who help pay for the Global team, and demand value from it.


So why not build a world’s-best a team of brand strategists, creative leaders, digital strategist, technologists, and media strategists (whatever skill-set client’s need) and deploys them on client projects when required? More so, build this team around client needs. i.e. if Kellogg needs digital activation solutions, the Firm deploys the best people globally, on this project, on a fee basis.


Creating competitive advantage – efficiency

The key is that the Firm can recruit this talent from the freelance ranks. The people may be freelance, may be in consultancy, or may be working within a business. Regardless, pay them a project fee to execute brilliantly on clients project, and add world’s-best cleverness and creativity to the Firm’s offer.


Country Managers can choose to deploy this fluid global team or not.  But a Country Manger can never say, “Global doesn’t add value”.



  • Up-skilled teams without onerous fixed HR costs.
  • Visible added value for Country Managers.
  • Visible added value to clients.
  • The Firm provides a better, more focused service, for less than its mainstream competitors.
  • Delivering World’s-best skills costs nothing until it is deployed.


Customers know all they need to know to buy a cars Sales should foster this knowledge to enhance CS. Salespeople don’t care about data or tech, because it doesn’t empower them, or their customer. People will give you their business, if you give them value beyond price

There is an awful lot of digitally-dazzling marketing-speak swirling around car companies these days. It creates a haziness (can’t-see-the-wood-for-the-trees type of haziness) for time-poor executives who have to focus on understanding what the jargon means, before thinking through the benefits and analyzing the implications of using it, if at all.

All while doing their day job.

So why do marketers confuse new sales and marketing tools and technology with marketing-speak of never-ending complexity?

The reality for dealer staff should be, and is, simple, if they approach all this marketing gumph from their customer’s shoes. Customers don’t give a stuff about UX, CCP or Lead Tracker CRM integration software. They just want a good look at a car their boss, family or friends said was worth looking at. They want to be able to check it out. They want to be able to drive it. They want to be able to buy it, easily, with a deal in place that lets them boast to all that they bought a cracking car at a cracking good price.

And they will, most likely finance it.

With that reality top of mind, lets look at data, digital and tech’ from the salesperson’s perspective.

Salespeople wants to know if the inquiry they get from the website is real, the customer is coming in, a car will be available for test drive, and that they can meet and greet with confidence knowing they aren’t left talking crap about something they can’t demonstrate.

Again, pretty simple, isn’t it?

Perhaps what is needed is a simple bit of tech that meets both sides of this purchasing game? Like an app, on a smartphone, that shows the customer what’s inside and outside the car, what it goes like, what its like to drive (but encourages them to check it out for themselves) and where they can go and do just that. Also, best to be able to book a time with the salesperson that suits, so they and he/she know the car is ready for them.

The salesman benefits from this simple bit of smartphone tech because they know when the customer is coming in, and how warm they are thanks to a simple rating metric based on time spent on the website linked to CRM data. The salesperson also knows what car the customer wants, and can reserve said car for a test drive via a booking function with Reception to ensure its available for them to demonstrate.

This smartphone app uses readily available sources of data to provide an overview of where someone is at within their purchase process, built with simplicity in mind, for both customers and salespeople. Easy!

Oh, here are some supporting statistics that say this is a good idea:
• People visit 4.6 websites when thinking of buying*.
• 58% visit a dealership without informing the dealership that they are coming. (And why would they give their email or mobile number out, without getting anything in return?)
• 76% say they bought the car from the dealership because they were treated well. Hmmm.
• 80% buy after visiting a dealership.
• 66% buy elsewhere because the salesman wasn’t nice.
• 33% buy elsewhere because there was no test drive car available.
• 30% buy elsewhere because the salesperson lacked product knowledge.
• And, the stunner – only 25% bought because of price. (Can you believe that?)


But how to get the customer contact data I hear you shout.

Here is the rub. If a dealership provides the customer with personalised product information (perhaps incorporating video) and pricing in exchange for their mobile or email data, the salesman will know what the customer is looking for and can both prepare the car for test drive and swat-up on it versus the competitive models. And he or she is in with a real chance. 70% of people will provide contact data if given a good reason to do so. I know this to be the case, as it is a metric gained from 10 years experience with lead generation marketing in Automotive.

Lets go further. If the salesperson gets that customer information from the dealer website within an a few minutes, and can package up this personalised response to the customer within an hour, he or she has just given themselves a 40% better chance of closing the deal. Speed of response is crucial. And automating responses to sales inquiry is as old as the hills. At least 10 years old which is a lifetime and then some in the digital age.

Finance has its role to play as well. 74%# of people search finance options and monthly cost, before visiting the dealership. We better bolt on a finance calculator to our customer-specific customised product information. (Which could be an email, video, spec sheet, or best yet a simple link to a website that does all of the above.)

The end result is a salesperson with a brilliant chance to sell a car. More importantly, they will have created a relationship built on good service that will extend beyond this sale, because the customer will go and tell their boss, friends and family what a cracking car they bought, at a cracking price, from a cracking salesperson at a cracking dealership.

Now, where is this simple tech…

John O’Connor
CEO, Elemental.
+44 7541 253544
twitter: simplesttruths

* Nick King, Insight Director, Autotrader.
^ Carwow survey of 11,000 customers, 2015
# PwC 2015 Report.