Marc Paulenich – is COO and SVP of Strategy at Hart Inc who are 50 people strong. We wrote about their Reverse RFP to showcase their services recently – and invited Marc to tell us more about the campaign.

Marc Paulenitch

Marc Paulenitch

What led you to this crazy idea?

The genesis for promoting insights and analytics is the change in the industry today. Many agencies have tried to evolve with the times. This was our effort to communicate to our current and prospect clients that we are evolving and the services we invested in at the agency are now available.

The reverse RFI project turned the tables but it uses the hallmark of the advertising industry – what challenges our clients face for data analytics today.

Our insights and analytics offering is four fold –

  1. media research – beyond understanding the channels consumers are engaging in, where do they spend their time and how we can interact with them.
  2. social analytics – those conversations are already happening about brands today – how they are being talked about. This is becoming the new qualitative research market for us
  3. web analytics – sole purpose backs the upfront research plus how they are interacting with brands
  4. consumer insights – perceptions of brands and mapping the decision making process and which messages connect and resonate with consumers.

We restructured the agency to put insights and analtyics at the centre of the organisation. New clients get addressed first by this team.

So who had the big campaign idea?

The idea came from a planning discussion and the conversation turned to what services could we give away to create interest – can we use it as a research tool ourselves by getting individuals to submit their challenges.

We know from working with CMOs that they struggle with research challenges and understanding data. They find a lack of insight provided and the lack of understanding in the reports they receive from research. We needed that input from our clients to better understand what frustrates them. We wanted to hear those stories.

This became a means to capture the stories.

We have an opportunity to respond to them – the winners will get a solution and we responded to others giving them our perspective on their story.

How did you promote the campaign?

The direct mail campaign was sent to our current clients and individuals identified as prospects and public forums for people who aren’t yet on our radar. [Creative Agency Secrets read the press release Hart put out].

The applications are still coming in – it did what it was intended to do… it requires a lot of effort to articulate the challenge.

Our current client fans of the agency have been very enthusiastic about the response. Many asked if we can extend the contest on an ongoing basis – they can continue to submit their challenges and get our perspective on it.
We heard a resounding response they appreciated that an agency was listening to their frustrations.

The winner will be announced shortly.

How does this differ from regular biz dev?

This goes beyond the cold calling and solicitation work which agencies usually do. This was intended to be a bit more open source method of biz dev.

We will probably replicate it because of the success it had. Increased the amount of dialogue we are having with marketers.

I suspect we’ll do other similar promotions with other product lines.

So what do you do for regular biz dev?

We have a strong referral program from current clients, combined with cold calling and a significant social media outreach program, we do direct mail (even – as archaic as it may sound) it still produces results for us. We also do the block and tackle with search firms.