What Happened When 40 Agora Marketers Descended on a Chateau in France

by | May 25, 2017 | General Marketing Tips

Every year, usually in May, Agora marketers from around the globe descend on a beautiful Chateau which sits in a small, picturesque French village in Normandy. The intensive three-day Relationship Marketing seminar has become somewhat of a ‘rite of passage’ for Agora marketers. There’s something magical about being stuck in the middle of the French countryside with a bunch of people who are strangely like you, with barely-there internet, lots of cheese and wine… (the slight cabin fever that sets in combined with great wine, makes for some great stories… but they’re for another time.)

I’d be crazy to try and round up all of the ideas, tactics, successes, failures, tips and tricks that come from this three-day intensive. There’s a reason we only allow our most talented people to attend. But I do want to let you in on some of the biggest themes and ideas from the week… (The strategies and tactics… well I take beer as payment for those!)

The Big Idea at the Relationship Marketing Seminar

This seminar, for many years, has followed the same format. Usually we focus on a core principle for our direct response businesses; targeting the right person, with the right message, at the right time.

This year we approached this slightly differently, covering the pros, cons, tools and tactics of lead gen vs straight-to-sale. (Spoiler alert; do both. You’ll see why later.)

To me though, the biggest takeaway is this:

Challenge the status quo.

The digital marketing world moves so fast, that what you believed to be true yesterday may not be true today. In order to move forward, to scale further, to grow, we must challenge our beliefs – because they might be limiting our potential.

A great example of this is mobile. Anyone working in direct response knows that the value of a mobile lead compared to desktop, traditionally, has been lower. We have always turned mobile off on our campaigns, certainly until we are ready to scale and take more risk, and even then, we would monitor these customers separately to our desktop customers to allow us to see the downstream effect on the funnel.

However, what we have found in our data are those who purchase on mobile—despite small screens, poor eyesight, fat thumbs and lengthy order forms—are better customers… perhaps because they had to go through so much pain to actually order the product.

We also found that up until latestly, leaving mobile traffic switched on within our ad platforms would drive a disproportionate amount of mobile traffic to your ads. It was almost too risky. But that is changing; ad platforms are getting a lot better at balancing mobile and desktop devices. We don’t blow through our budgets in a day due to android mobile traffic anymore. Had we taken that ‘no mobile’ rule as gospel, we may never have found out that this had changed…

And in addition to that, we are just about to delve deeper into attribution to help us better understand what value mobile traffic is driving, beyond what we see using our last click attribution. My suspicion: Mobile is driving a lot of clicks, is responsible for a lot of the traffic we remarket to, and when switched on gives an overall lift in traffic volume across all networks.

In short, if we don’t tap into mobile, we’re leaving money on the table. If we don’t challenge the status quo, we’re leaving money on the table.

Challenging the Status Quo Will Help to Learn, Grow, Scale and Protect Your Business

We’ve all heard the Kodak case study in our marketing textbooks… the complete denial that digital photography was coming, even once it was already there, was a failure of gargantuan proportions. And it could be put down to the fact that they just couldn’t face challenging what they knew and believed to be true.

Not challenging the status quo killed their business.

But that is your challenge. To continuously ask “Why not?,” to continuously question the way things are done, and to never become comfortable.

Challenging our beliefs means diversifying away from the ‘control.’ Diversification is a strategy you can use to scale a business, but equally to protect a business, meaning there really is no risk to diversifying.

Becoming too reliant on one channel, on one campaign, on one product, or even on one keyword, can be dangerous. It should be our goal to not only look to scale out to other channels for growth, but to protect our business by having multiple sources of revenue. If we lose one channel, one campaign, or one product, we always have a back up.

Know the Rules Before You Break Them…

That is what this seminar is really geared towards: teaching our brightest talent the rules of our business, giving them our cautionary tales, and allowing them access to the tools that will help them… and then setting them on their journey to challenge, bend — and yes, break — the rules to help their business to grow. Which in turn, helps all of our businesses grow.

So go on, I dare you… break the rules. Fail. Learn. Grow.

Natalie - Signature

Natalie Eagling,
Account Manager, AIM