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    B2B shop walks the walk with OOH agency advertising

    Global agency The Marketing Practice is shooting to be the biggest B2B indie, with an out-of-home (OOH) and print media campaign for their own agency. We asked their chief marketer, David van Shaick, why – and how it's going.

    In its latest push to become B2B’s biggest indie, agency The Marketing Practice has invested in a unique public-facing agency marketing campaign. Not content to market itself in only the traditional B2B channels, since July it’s been putting up ads in train stations and bus shelters; and in mainstream publications like The Economist.

    The move follows a private equity investment last year and run of acquisitions. Digital experience shop Omobono, data and insight specialists Kingpin Communications, account-based marketing agency Campaign Stars, and Denver-based strategic marketers 90Octane all inked deals in the last 18 months. This summer, The Marketing Practice integrated all of those into its own brand and gave that brand a fresh look, ready for a marketing push.

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    The campaign’s channel mix is a clear statement of intent and capability. The ads have been live on bus shelters; 6 London Underground stations (and, now, in other strategic cities worldwide: Seattle, Munich, and Sydney); a print issue of The Economist; podcast adverts; in video format on YouTube and across socials; and as targeted ads across the web. They all feature TMP’s tactile new branding, and messaging around fast, sustainable growth.

    TMP has shared early performance stats with The Drum. They’ve delivered 4m digital ads since the campaign began in late July, as well as those physical ads at 50 locations in London. That’s lead to a doubling in monthly web traffic year-on-year; a 44% uplift in organic search impressions; and a healthy uptick in inbound leads. And thanks to that wide spread of coverage and effective creative, they say, their digital ads have hit a click-through rate of 0.74% - which might not sound like much until you compare it to the industry average: 0.04%.

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    ‘A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’

    When we sit down with TMP’s chief marketing officer David van Shaick, he’s clear about the agency’s ambitions – and the opportunity they see ahead of them. “There's a window of opportunity at the moment for a category leader to emerge in the B2B space,” he says.

    “The vision for the brand is about market growth. It's a promise that marketing is growth engine for business, an enablement function, and we’re about bringing together the best of B2B”.

    The campaign came directly out of post-acquisition integration efforts: reviewing the new group’s 4 distinct brands (and those of competitors), they found that differentiation in the B2B space was low. “There's lots of talk about brand at B2B agencies, but if you look at B2B agency brands, they’re not coming to life in the same way. It's probably a once in a once in a lifetime opportunity in a way for us.”

    The goal became to integrate the 4 agencies, forming a “beacon” for talent, staff and clients. What those clients want most is growth, so that became the foundational principle. But its hard to stand out by offering what all of your competitors claim to offer too. So “Putting it crudely, our current brands were fairly similar to the competition tonally and in color palette, and execution. We wanted to do something that was distinctive, stand out, get noticed, and bring some joy and fun and bravery into the B2B space.”

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    ‘Costly signaling’

    There’s a reason why most B2B marketers stick to more targeted and measurable channels: OOH, premium display, and nonspecialist media are expensive – and marketers have become pretty good at knowing where to find their customers. Does van Shaick think competitors are missing a trick?

    “There will inevitably be ‘wastage’ But it sends a bold message of confidence in what we're doing. It makes people notice it. And it creates a real sense of excitement within the agency. The out-of-home really is a bit of costly signaling. The opportunity is to be category leader; to be a market leader. So you start to behave in that way. It's about showing a set of behaviors… You've got to get noticed.”

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