Blog : Digital

Smaller brands do it better?

Smaller brands do it better?

Big businesses can learn from smaller companies who are proving that a dedication to digital can provide big returns. HBT Agency’s Luke Kelly spoke to CMO Magazine about the lessons SME’s can teach big business – from getting the basics right, to sophisticated lead generation programmes.


Writes CMO:

‘HBT Agency’s Digital Director, Luke Kelly, agrees smaller companies are more willing to embrace digital from the get-go. “It’s a lower cost entry point and SME’s are able to gain market share through a cost effective means,” he explained. “For brands with a smaller budget, owning a keyword is more accessible than a TVC or outdoor campaign.”

‘In comparison, he notes the biggest challenge for bigger brands is challenging conventional thinking. “It’s difficult to be confident to roll out an innovative marketing campaign when a brands history is so rich.

“Smaller brands do this exceptionally well. Because of this, they enjoy higher returns from digital spend – purely because they know more about their online customer purchasing habits, and target their communications accordingly.

“Online communication, email marketing, digital targeting are just some of the ways brands can make customers feel valued.”

Click here to read the in depth article.

Getting the best results from your Digital Agency


Too often, we see Marketers overwhelmed by information.

The explosion of digital has seen the marketing mix now span strategy, creative, ATL, media buy, BTL, content marketing, digital, social, paid and earned media, not to mention influencer and reputation management.

It’s enough to make your head spin.
At HBT, we know that if you don’t understand why you are investing in an activity, it makes it virtually impossible to sell it into your internal stakeholders, let alone reach customers in an effective way.

Marketers need to know how to get the best value from their agency and the right questions to ask.

Find providers that speak ‘user’

Digital is simple. It’s about getting a user to understand or purchase a product and to generate a sale or enquiry.

You don’t need to speak ‘tech’ or ‘code’ to introduce digital into the mix. What you do need, however, is a partner who can speak to you on a level where the project makes sense and you can sell it into senior stakeholders in the business.

Push your agency to make it as simple as possible, so that you can easily communicate the specs to your wider team. Remember, you’ll need to confidently understand how the business is going to use the digital solution, how to manage it in future, and how to use it to grow or improve the business.

Questions to ask your agency:

• Are you able to prepare a short overview for me to share with my wider team on the strategy, why we are investing in digital and the expected returns?

• In your own words, why do you think we need to implement this digital solution? By contrast, what could the repercussions be if we didn’t?

Eyeballs or leads?

While a creative idea can be fun, ultimately it needs to improve brand sentiment and/or generate sales. As a Marketer, you want to know how to get in front of as many relevant eyeballs as possible in an authentic and meaningful way.

A good agency will be able to identify where your current customers are discovering you online and what search terms they are using to find you. They will give you sage advice on how easy or challenging you are making it for customers to get closer to the point of sale.

They should also be able to help you identify ‘low hanging fruit’ for the most cost effective solution to make short-term gains using clever targeting and retargeting as you collaboratively identify the longer term goal.

Questions to ask your agency:

• How can I identify the areas to improve our path to purchase?

• Do we need a complete overhaul for the best possible outcome or only a few tactical changes to reach our goals?

• What suggestions do you have to improve the value of our database?

• How could we better leverage our current database?

• What ‘easy wins’ can we implement short term as we refine our strategy?

Managing a growing budget

A digital campaign is not something that goes from A – B; it’s a living project. Unlike traditional media campaigns, which are project based, managing a digital project becomes a part of your business and a day-to-day element of operations. Therefore, any digital solution needs an ongoing budget allocated to it.

Before launching any digital campaign, consider it like building a house. The brief may change as the project develops and new insights appear from both your customers and your agency. And anytime you change the brief – the cost may change too.

Where possible, get your digital team on a retainer to reduce your long-term costs. You can leverage that retainer to reduce costs over the course of the consultancy for items such as pre launch, launch, post delivery and ongoing support.

Encourage frank discussions around the budget with your agency and have a contingency budget allocated for any unforeseen issues that crop up.

Questions to ask your agency:

• What costs are involved in terms of managing the content or platform?

• All going well, what might we expect in terms of ROI?

• By contrast, what may be the worse case scenario and potential costs?

Low cost, high gain

Good agencies should be able to identify opportunities for you to make small gains without completely revamping the consumer experience.

For example, with an established subscriber base, brands have an easy opportunity to focus on ways to retain them through clever, creative campaigns and timely communications. Targeted communications such as keyword / search, Facebook advertising, email marketing and digital targeting are all relatively low investment / high reward activities.

This is where clever ‘tweaking’ and changes can come into play. Once launched, a digital campaign can provide compelling insights into customer behavior, meaning your agency can quickly alter elements of the campaign to find the ‘golden egg’ search term or communication tool.

Ultimately, collaborating with an agency should feel like talking with a trusted friend. They should act as advisors, become a part of your business and ultimately help you achieve your immediate, midterm and long-term goals.

The Changing Face of our Industry

What was once a mixture of billboards and print ads, the advertising industry now offers a seemingly endless number of ways for brands to reach their target audiences due to the constantly evolving digital sphere.

In times gone by, advertising firms would target potential customers by placing ads with media that appealed to certain demographics. Now there are tools and data available that allow advertisers to target potential customers with laser focus, honing in on the specific interests of those they most want to reach.

These advanced capabilities are crucial as we no longer consume media in the same way we did even five years ago. Our consumption of media is no longer limited to people simply watching programs on free-to-air TV or reading the newspaper of a morning. Instead we constantly switch between mediums and at any one time can be found accessing multiple platforms for news, to socialise and to satisfy our entertainment needs.

The sheer quantity of media and advertising we are exposed to every hour means consumers have learnt to shut out anything that doesn’t appeal to their personal tastes. And in response to this, today’s digital capabilities mean that we can target audiences based on their personal taste and create ads for them accordingly.

The rapid developments in technology and media consumption that have emerged during the past decade have signaled both an opportunity and a threat to advertising agencies. These changes have forced those in the industry to make a choice: diversify your service offering and stay relevant, or maintain the status quo and risk becoming redundant.

In the 2014 financial year in Australia, digital advertising accounted for 34% of total ad spend, up from 30% the previous year. While this portion is significant and growing, there still remains a demand for traditional media. The agencies being sought after now are those that who can provide a full gamut of traditional and digital ad services. Clients are dedicating increasingly large portions of their budgets to digital advertising, making a sophisticated digital department in addition to a more traditional offering critical for agencies.

At HBT we’ve recently appointed a new head of digital Luke Kelly who oversees all aspects of digital strategy for our clients including web, mobile and marketing. Luke is a thought leader in the digital space and is often sought for comment on industry developments. By constantly investing in our digital department and its expertise, we find we can offer new and existing clients a far broader range of services, which they require in order to remain relevant and competitive.

The advertising landscape has undoubtedly changed and will continue to do so. Brands should therefore be wary of engaging agencies that are staid in their approach, as ultimately this out-dated thinking will mean they’re left behind.


Google update set to change the world of SEO

Google-SEO copy

“Nothing’s gonna change my world” – The Beatles.

With rumours surfacing about Google’s scheduled algorithm changes (April 21), John Lennon’s famed lyrics have quite possibly never been more wrong. Google is, in fact, going to change our world – and anyone with a website will likely be affected.

Google is constantly evolving to favour content strategy and functionality above all else, making it harder to ‘cheat’ your way into high SEO rankings. With new guidelines being put in place, mobile-friendly sites will receive preferential treatment from the search engine, which will see many sites experience some major ranking decreases.

Needless to say, now is a great time to talk to your digital provider about staying ahead of this curve.

To ensure your site meets Google’s requirements and is given the most exposure possible,
we recommend talking to our Digital Director, Luke Kelly.

You can contact Luke here

9 Things You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update

What can marketers learn from Microsoft canning Internet Explorer?

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HBT’s Digital Director, Luke Kelly voices his opinion in B&T about what marketers should consider in the wake of Microsoft canning Internet Explorer. View the article here.

Luke Kelly is the digital director at HBT Agency and says Microsoft’s recent announcement of the death of Internet Explorer (IE) had some developers across the globe fist pumping with gratitude; however, it doesn’t let digital practitioners off the hook.

IE pioneered developments like Ajax and JavaScript that has made the Internet what it is today. As the web evolved, IE became one of the “top browsers to download other browsers”, and unfortunately some organisations were slower than others to pick up new technology. What this resulted in is a number of clients keen to embrace digital innovations and campaigns; however on implementation, would find themselves hamstrung by an out of date browser, unable to deliver the best possible user experience.

Clients are often limited by software capabilities, due to organisational requirements or updates, and as marketers, it’s up to us to work within these restrictions to deliver a compelling, creative response.

So, what can marketers learn from Microsoft canning the software?

Educate and update

Marketing practitioners need to understand clients aren’t always interested in the finer, executional details of any given campaign. As experts, we need to educate them as to the latest developments – and in what ways these will benefit their brand or campaign.

It’s important to remind ourselves not every client is interested in the finer details; answering the ‘will this work’, ‘what message will this deliver’ and ‘will we reach our objectives’ questions is a great place to start.

Get creative with technical limitations

There’s a saying creativity thrives under limitations and I think the same is true for technical limitations. Every client is working with the best possible software they can; and it’s up to digital practitioners to deliver a result that ticks all the boxes – not just ‘this is the best we could do given the circumstances’ response.

Build customisation into your budget

The announcement that Microsoft is dropping IE will mean that developers will potentially be cutting their coding time down and clients will be saving their dollars too. Integrating functions for IE creates a massive drain on your time and your budget. Often this can mean building a whole new set of rules just for IE functionality and your client will always face an increased quote as a result.

Be upfront with your client about exactly what customising to their requirements could cost. Agencies – involve your digital / UX team in the very early discussion. This creates transparency, trust and gives your client the best possible chance of success.

Finally, before you pop open a bottle to celebrate, Microsoft is working on a new browser – codename Project Spartan, due to replace the infamous explorer. If the project name is anything to go by, let’s hope we’ll get an agile browser from Microsoft.