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15 Tips Agency Pros Gleaned From Memorable Campaigns

With countless advertisements bombarding us every day, the success of any marketing campaign depends on how well it captures consumer attention. To cut through the noise, businesses often hire professional marketing agencies to conceptualize and execute those campaigns. However, as every agency professional knows, some campaigns are more memorable than others, for better or worse.

Our founder and managing partner, Terry Tateossian, gives her take on the subject as well. You could read her opinion under number 4. Don’t Try To Replicate Industry Giants

Whether they were surprisingly successful or extremely challenging, the members of Forbes Agency Council have experienced their fair share of working on unusual campaigns. Below, 15 of them relay the most memorable client campaigns they’ve worked on and the lessons they took away from those experiences.

1. Adapt Campaigns To External Circumstances

On a campaign for a regional hospital system, production was first delayed due to Covid-19, and then later reevaluated to avoid having to film on location. We adapted the concept to have the testimonial from the family member be delivered via an “email” that is shown on the screen with photos and video of their loved ones. We pivoted, and yet the concept remained compelling and touching. – Michelle Abdow, Market Mentors, LLC

2. Speak The Audience’s And The Platform’s Language

Progressive clients need unusual angles, creative ideas and well-thought-out strategies. One of the campaigns that stood out for us was for Gymshark. We worked on an influencer-driven campaign to help the company launch its first lifestyle collection. Our approach: Creating campaigns that speak the audience’s as well as the platform’s language. – Elias Vides, Moonbase – Germany’s hottest Social-First agency

3. Make Alliances Across The Company

Being asked to fix corporate culture with a branding exercise seems to be a popular one for us! While that’s not what branding does, we’ve found that making alliances across the company and being transparent are both key to bringing it all together. What did we learn? Our limitations. – David Farinella, Farinella LLC

4. Don’t Try To Replicate Industry Giants

My personal “favorite” (not) campaigns are when clients ask us to “replicate Apple or Google.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I want my website to look like the Apple website.” Regretfully, these are usually projects we turn down, as it shows that the prospect does not understand their position in the market, and that the learning curve for bringing them back down to earth will be too steep. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media

5. Understand The Moment You’re In

At the onset of Covid-19, the world was turned upside-down. In real estate, showings and open houses came to a screeching halt. We were challenged to quickly pivot marketing to focus on virtual tours and stood up a campaign that promoted this new way of doing business. It was obviously a unique time to source media and to make sure we had the right message. It’s essential to understand the moment. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

6. Tweak Variables To Maximize Effective Marketing 

We ran a targeted ad campaign for a product brand to help generate sales and combined it with a coupon code to track. The campaign yielded three times return on ad spend, which was great; however, it could have yielded nine times ROAS, but a lot of consumers abandoned cart. We saw that this was caused by issues on the brand’s website. Even when marketing is effective, there are variables a brand can tweak to maximize further. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

7. Always Demonstrate Results

The most challenging campaigns I’ve worked on include those that touch on sensitive material, specifically those in the healthcare industry where HIPAA compliance is critical. How can you demonstrate the value of the product in a targeted way without crossing the line into sensitive data? Use imagery that demonstrates the result of the product rather than speaking directly to the product itself. – Lori Paikin, NaviStone®

8. Incorporate Mixed Media For Incredible Results

A tech consulting client asked us to create a truly unique direct mailer, one that would incorporate a podcast into the deliverable. The press of a button played a message directing recipients to a landing page with full episodes. Setting and keeping an appointment meant receiving a free pair of AirPods. Our campaign generated 696 downloads, seven leads and potential revenue of more than $500,000. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

9. Build Something Relatable Not Based On Stereotypes

With several clients in the legal industry, we’ve been asked on a few occasions to market to people accused of serious or violent crimes. It requires extra caution in every element of the design, from word choice and images to the font and color scheme, to build something that is relatable but not based on stereotypes or biases. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

10. One-Off Projects Are Not Scalable

Years ago we took on a project with a timeshare brand promoting a vacation package in Las Vegas. We saw it as a terrific challenge. After several months and a half dozen automation tools, we found success, but we were underwater in terms of time (i.e., profitability). Building “one-off” projects such as this is just not scalable. Today, we are much more selective with our time, attention and campaigns. – Bernard May, National Positions

11. Trust Each Other’s Strengths

It’s always challenging when clients seek your expertise, but then have strong opinions about the strategic and creative direction of a campaign. However, more often than not, reaching a sweet spot between the client’s knowledge of their own business and your expertise in a certain area will lead to the best results. The lesson is that both parties have to trust each other’s strengths. – Maddie Raedts, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency

12. Know Your Value Proposition

A multinational corporation requested that we work on a men’s hygiene brand. We declined to move forward. Know your value proposition. There is no point in working with a company or on a campaign just for the “sake of doing it” because that is not effective management of client expectations. Usually, these sorts of unique client experiences end in diminished client expectations. – Janét Aizenstros, Ahava Digital Group

13. Be Proactive When The Market Demands A Shift

Covid-19 has presented challenging situations for a variety of industries. Helping a client pivot services quickly to satisfy a shift in market demand is critical. Direct conversations about risks and opportunities are also critical, and they must happen quickly. When the market demands a shift, you must proactively provide information, ideas and strategies to help set a new course with confidence. – Katie Harris, Spot On Solutions

14. Align PR Around Core Business Issues

When we began working with a large air medical company, there was negative media sentiment about the industry due to something called “surprise billing.” Our client was already proactively addressing this issue internally, which helped us turn the PR sentiment positive. The lesson is that, in order to succeed, the PR and the core business issues often need simultaneous alignment. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

15. Utilize Frank Dialogue

We launched a strategic alliance between our client and a major publisher in the financial services industry. Leaders from different companies came to the alliance with differing motives. Finding ways to give everyone what they wanted was challenging. We learned the power of frank dialogue. The alliance elevated our client’s brand name, but it was not an easy lift. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group