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I attended the Marketing Week Live, Online Marketing Show ’09 at Olympia London and was surprised with the improvements made from last year’s Exhibition. I sat in on quite a few interesting discussions and presentations which were, I think, of great use to us as a business. I’ll try and write more about this as I get the time.

In my opinion, the best of talk of the day was given by Worldwide CEO of M&C Saatchi, Moray MacLennan, who gave a talk on ‘How agencies can better address the world for clients; what they need to do to keep up with the changing needs of clients. I think for anyone who works for an agency like mine it proved to be very interesting and definitely provided some food for thought.

He talked about how the role of brands nowadays is changing; they are becoming more open and changing with society to be more than ‘just a brand’. The main thing for agencies to get out of this is that, with changing ‘brand’ attributes and roles in everyday life, there are new hurdles for brands to conquer. So, agencies need to become a strong & positive part of the solution to the new challenges which arise because of these changes in brands in today’s ever changing fast markets.

Moray talked in depth about 5 things that agencies need to do to work correctly and symbiotically with clients. To the best of my scribbled notes and memory these were:

1. Noble Purpose – This speaks to the client and their thoughts about their business. All brands need to know and understand their ‘Noble Purpose’ (what they are here to do, what they want to achieve and where they want to go – not how much they make) in society to become a strong brand. Being a money focused and revenue driven entirety will not be doing this. Agencies need to remind clients of what their noble purposes is so that they are not entirely focused on the monetary gain 100% of the time. If a company needs to understand its customers and what they think, want and what attributes the brand will have to fit with that. Doing marketing which will speak to this and may not have a direct connection to ROI could be the biggest long term strategy to making the company successful. Companies should not loose site of their noble purpose by being to focused on the quick returns and high ROI’s.

2. Alex Ferguson – Now this one confused me slightly before he explained it but it makes sense when the explanation followed. Moray Reminded the audience of how Alex Ferguson famously said to Ryan Giggs, ‘I would rather you be AMAZING at one thing and practice and mould that into your best attribute than be ok or mediocre at everything’ (now I’m sure I have paraphrased slightly but I’m trying to get the point across) This is very important for agencies who may want to get their fingers in all the pies and not necessarily have the time to be amazing at everything. In the long run most clients like to go for a company for a specific purpose because they are the best at what they do in that field, rather than go with an agency that does everything but not extremely well. This brings us on to the next point…

3. Central Brain – every agency should have a central brain, a core product or offering which they are known for and are good at with most emphasis on this and then use this as a central brain to connect all the other smaller specialism’s to. So in the respect of an SEO company, SEO should be their Main meal, with side dishes which complement the main meal (e.g. PPC, Link Building, Social Media etc) which then work all together and don’t get separated or segmented so they got lost or lose control.

4. Asset management – This goes back to communication and keeping in the mindset and up to date with the client and their brand. Brands need to think about Brand identity, brand relationships, brand platforms, brand relationships etc in todays changing markets and need to hit all the avenues correctly and properly so the agency needs to be aware of all these factors in relation to their client/s so that they are able to evaluate where the client is not performing well and where current and future marketing can work to fill these gaps so that the brands are strong and not being overlooked from one place or another.

5. Open Source Marketing – This was the most Social of all the ideas where an agency should give marketing ideas which can be open source. By this I mean (and I will use Moray’s Example) Change for Life – Childhood obesity campaign; this campaign started out with advertisements to raise awareness and was taken further by the public where they used the catch phrase and brand for their own similar activities that they did in schools etc. This is the power of this ‘noble purpose’ marketing ploy where the client didn’t forget what they actually wanted to achieve and used an accessible subject and content which people could use and become their own brand advocates for and take on this marketing and make it accessible to everyone in a word of mouth progression from the traditional marketing.

All in all I think the talk was very useful and should be useful to all of us working in an agency who sometimes think, “What else can we do?”, “how can we solve problems” especially for the clients to keep them communicating with us and keep us as their agency without moving on to a different agency who will offer those ideas and strategies.