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WHAT CAN INTER-AGENCY TEAMS LEARN FROM THE GREGGS SILO EFFECT?

We’ve all enjoyed the recent efforts of Greggs launching its new summer range at a hipster food fair under the clever guise of Gregory and Gregory – it was simple, humorous and delicious.

But was it well executed? Some think not. Last week this thought-provoking read popped up on my LinkedIn feed which reveals that despite a swathe of national news coverage (well done those PRs!) the campaign failed to penetrate Greggs other marketing channels, causing it to fall short for those who prefer to consume media outside of mainstream news channels.

The writer, Lawrence Alexander, a strategist from The Home Agency, reveals that there was zero mention of the campaign on Greggs website and locating the video on YouTube was a struggle. Eesh! I have to admit I cringed a bit.

Whenever the big dogs execute a gum-jabbingly good campaign like this, we believe it’s important to learn from their achievements and the inevitable dressing-down which occurs on the creative grapevine afterwards.

So that got me thinking – mainly about sausage rolls and Belgian buns, but also these two key quandaries:

 

  1. What marketing opportunities has Greggs missed out on by not activating its other marketing channels?

We pride ourselves on stepping out of our silo, asking the broader marketing questions and never delivering content for content’s sake. So, the thought of a campaign like this going live with complete disregard to maximising ROI across other highly relevant marketing channels makes me both uncomfortable and confused. To really understand the impact of the situation, I called on the expertise of digital industry heavyweight and fellow Greggs sausage roll fan, Marcus Miller from digital marketing agency, Bowler Hat. Here’s what he said:

“Why has no one looked at the bigger picture here? Without even digging beneath the surface, there are some crucial elements missing which would have maximised the success of this brilliant campaign.

“Here are the first five that spring to mind:

  • A microsite for Gregory & Gregory to build on the original concept
  • Owning the brand search for Gregory and Gregory – combined with the microsite this could be used to encourage viral sharing
  • The new Greggs Summer Menu should be online, to help tempt the many hipsters that state that they would never go in-store
  • Remarketing on search, social, YouTube and others after any of these first interactions to remind consumers about the new menu and to drive more footfall
  • The video should be easily discoverable for people to share – it’s mind-blowing that this hasn’t happened

“Ultimately, they have a successful campaign (the difficult bit) but have not followed it up with some easy win tactics to maximise results.

“The question of who is to blame is harder to answer here – and there is no definite answer. In my mind, the marketing strategist at Greggs should be thinking how this fits into the bigger picture. And the PR agency should be asking how Greggs is going to follow up on the campaign to maximise results. Then they should work with the digital guys to look at the search, social, video and any other tactics that could be used to amplify results. Then again, why haven’t the digital guys proactively kept up to speed with activity from their fellow agency partners?”

 

  1. What are my top tips to work seamlessly with other creative agencies?

Marcus has a point. There are multiple failings here on the part of the agencies and the in-house marketing pros at Greggs. We’ve worked with all sorts of agency partners, from the good, the bad, the ugly to the damn right exceptional; for clients both with and without an in-house marketing strategist. And no matter the makeup of the creative mix, building and maintaining these partnerships takes time – time that isn’t always billable, it isn’t always reciprocated and it isn’t always appreciated.

But in my view, it’s an essential part of any account. Delivering optimised cross-channel results for a client requires mutually beneficial agency relationships built on trust, respect and the desire to reach a common goal.

So, what about some top tips? Drawing on my own experiences over the last decade, here’s my quick-fire guide to collaborative working for the benefit of your client and the future of your account:

 

Identify the other agencies early on and make contact

Right at the start of any new client relationship, you should gather a comprehensive understanding of their full active marketing mix. What other agencies are they engaged with? How long have they worked with them? How’s it going? And most importantly, who’s their main contact there?

Shortly after the start of any new project or contract, make a point of getting in touch with each agency to introduce yourself. Get your client’s permission first and make sure your initial contact invites collaboration from the get-go.

 

Identify who is in charge of overall strategy

If your client has an in-house marketing team, the overall marketing strategy will most likely come from there, but if not, make sure you have these conversations early on to prevent finger pointing, confusion and marketing faux pas.

In the absence of a multi-agency strategy, involve your client in further discussions about how this crucial gap could be bridged.

 

Discover mutually beneficial ways of working

Work with your fellow agencies to set some ground rules for working together, from approval chains and the sharing of information or marketing assets, to facilitating multi-agency input into the generation and verification of campaign ideas.

If, when you start a new client relationship, things feel a little chaotic, don’t be afraid to appoint team members from each agency who are accountable for the collaborative processes. This can help keep things ship shape when your approaching a big launch or a key deliverance.

Speak regularly, preferably on the phone rather than just email. Not just about what’s on the activity chart, but about the inter-agency relationship as a whole to ensure nothing significant is going unsaid.

 

Share assets and maintain brand guidelines

This seems so obvious, but it rarely happens as often as it should. Share copy, share images, share design assets and most importantly, integrate them into your own work. Does your copy deliver the same brand experience as that advert? Does your design feel like part of the same brand as that blog?

Remember, the work you produce contractually belongs to your client and sharing it with other creatives will improve ROI and ultimately make you more popular.

Receiving work from other agencies can and absolutely should help you refine your work and spark new ideas for your team, so be ready to return the favour.

 

Meet at meetings and beyond

Encourage your client to hold inter-agency meetings where ideas and updates can be shared in the round. This not only saves time on updating numerous parties on the same thing, but can assist your own professional development. Is your client attending a workshop with their digital agency? Ask if you can tag along (free of charge) to improve your understanding of other marketing disciplines and how they work for your client – it’s some of the best training you can get and will cement your client relationship.

 

Shouldn’t all blogs end in a fun fact?

Probably not, but let’s go for it anyway. I owe thanks to Greggs, not just for curing over a decade of hangovers with hot pastry foodstuffs, but for drastically improving my mental arithmetic. Why? My first taste of employment at the tender age of 16 was at Greggs. Back in the days when the staff dressed like dinner ladies and the tills didn’t add anything up for you. I was paid three pound something per hour and always took a chocolate gateau home at the end of my shift.