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B2B PR agency advice: A word to the creative wise – your clients want to know what you think

Written by Simpatico PR

Posted on 2023-08-01

It’s always nice when an observation you’ve been mulling over is affirmed by someone in a position authority.

I’ve been thinking for some time that generally speaking, agencies and vendors in the digital media and technology side of the marketing industry are far more proactive about their B2B marketing and brand building than those on the creative side.

My general impression has been that although many agencies are pumping out press releases about client wins and their work, that stuff generally goes to obvious and of course valuable trade press media.

But very few really push the boundaries of b2b agency pr. In that respect they seem to be neglecting themselves.

And then up pops a great article in Campaign magazine by Andy Nairn of Lucky Generals reminding us of the old saying “the shoemaker’s child always goes barefoot”.

Nairn argues: “The phenomenon is alive and well in our industry, where creative agencies neglect to build their own brands, while simultaneously adding huge value to their clients.”

This he says is at least partly due to a prevailing view amongst agencies that “the work should speak for itself” and agencies should be “empty vessels” focused solely on client’s needs.

Nairn points out that in an over-supplied market, agencies are expecting marketers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of who’s doing what work outside their own sectors.

Inevitably they don’t. And agencies are doing themselves a massive disservice.

I would go further.

There has been a distinct tendency over the last decade or so for agencies in the creative advertising, to talk to each other rather than the outside world.

Here’s the thing – it’s not all about your work.

It’s also about what your work does and how that sits in a world dominated by change.

I’ve always felt that an agency’s job is to advise clients on the future direction of consumer behaviour, markets, technology and other trends affecting audience engagement and sales.

This knowledge typically sits with the strategy team but can come from a range of specialists especially creative thinkers who usually know a lot about culture and people.

The best creative thought-leaders of the past understood this.

Technology and people are now in a state of continual flux with tech changing one cycle of human behaviour; people then taking ownership and in turn influencing the next cycle of tech evolution.

This has profound consequences for creative marketing, whether that’s the nature and form of an ad campaign, branding or a digital product or the wide customer experience a brand offers.

Creative agencies should be proactively targeting vertical industry media and wider business media as well core marketing trade.

There’s a danger they’ll slip off the strategic marketing high ground if they don’t.

Here’s a bit of B2B PR agency advice - a basic list of things any creative agency could be talking about:

• AI and the creative process

• AI and creative personalisation

• Creative automation and media

• Creative in the context of CX strategy

• Humour vs purpose

• Inclusion in the broadest sense

• Performance vs brand

• Social influence and brand creative

• Agency talent and client culture

• Tech build and creative marketing integration

• Ad format innovation

• Media, PR and creative fusion

• Etc.

I could go on, the list is long…

Ask yourself whether you have invested in your own marketing in a way that will enable you to really express your views, build awareness and your reputation.

As Nairn says, it’s time to make your own shoes and I’d add, it’s time to air your expertise.

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