Hitch and some bright folks from the agency world have put together 2 panels for the 2010 South By Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin.
30% of our vote comes from the public. We’d appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes to register then vote for our panels.
Details are at the following 2 pages.
Register then check yes (or no)–but we’d appreciate the yes! Then make plans to head to Austin, TX in March! SXSW is a great week of interactive know how.
Voting stays open from August 17 – Sept 4th. In the words of 2 old ad pitchmen “Thanks, and we appreciate your support!”
David Wiggs (Hitch), Spike Jones (Brains on Fire), Tim Hayden (GamePlan), Adam Kleinberg (Traction) and Pete Lerma (Click Here)
I first met Pete Lerma when I heard him speak at South by Southwest in 2009. In short, I was impressed and determined to learn more about his shop. I’m honored to have them profiled on the Ad Industry Innovators blog series today.
Founded in 1995, Click Here is the digital division of The Richards Group, a privately held full-service branding agency based in Dallas, Texas.
Probably the strongest story about ClickHere is that they grew out of a well established organization where brand development was second nature–and in the interactive world, that’s unique. If asked to quantify that Lerma quickly points to the fact that a number of shops provide similar services, but none can back them up with a resumé that includes more than three decades of branding experience.
“We leverage this experience to deliver digital brand integration, marketing strategies and technology solutions that help our clients build brands online. And as experts in the full spectrum of digital marketing services, our clients count on Click Here to deliver a holistic, integrated approach to solve their business challenges.
The ClickHere team includes nearly 100 digital marketing professionals specializing in strategic planning, management, media, creative, production and digital development.
1. What was the aha moment when you realized “our company needs to be doing things differently than we have been.”?
It happened in early 2008. The prior year had been a challenge for us. We had grown by 50 percent. But at the same time, we’d had a lot of our talent poached by traditional agencies trying to build interactive capabilities. So we had a lot of new talent and a huge influx of demand for what we do.
So at the beginning of 2008 we instituted a dynamic process we call the “Continuous Process Improvement Initiative (CPII).” It’s a cross-disciplinary evaluation and improvement program that gets everybody in the company involved in making us better. There’s a lot of communication from leadership to the staff about what’s happening within CPII. Additionally, there’s ownership of the process at all levels within the organization. I believe, wholeheartedly, that this is everyone’s opportunity to shape the future and the success of the company.
It has made us better systematically and has fueled innovation and creativity. It’s a simple process to implement and manage, so we’ll continue to use. We’ve found there’s a little bit of magic in it. The improvements we’ve seen are dramatic, and the speed at which we improve and evolve is incredible.
2. What books are on your nightstand or great blogs on your Google reader?
I recently read Resonant Leadership. More than anything, it reinforced my beliefs about what makes a leader great. It’s all about inspiring with actions and a positive attitude. Those who are able to lead with emotional intelligence find it much easier to gain the trust and respect of everyone in their organization.
Outliers: The Story of Success is a fascinating study of how people succeed and why. There are lots of points in our lives when outside powers influence our path, whether we know it or not. Outliers dives deep into how those situations might affect us long term. It made me appreciate where I am in my life, while reminding me that I’m not completely responsible for any level of success I might achieve.
Our blog: blog.clickhere.com. Some might say I’m a little biased, but it contains a lot of really smart and insightful thinking from the people I work with every day.
3. Give me an example of marketing you think is brilliant and why.
Nike. Everything they create makes me want to get off my butt and do something. Every single time, I’m inspired. From a digital standpoint, the Nike+ program is brilliant. The use of music and technology to build a community is simply beautiful. It truly crosses the line between advertising and building a fully interactive experience around the brand.
I talk a lot about digital being more than just an ad medium – it’s multidimensional. Digital is an ad medium, sure, just like TV, radio, print, outdoor, etc. But it’s also a communication channel, where a brand can engage its audience in a dialogue, where it can observe conversations as well as participate. Digital is also a retail channel where people can buy the brand’s product or service. And through that same retail channel, the brand can provide customer service. Finally, digital is a life utility. In an application-centric sense through things like mobile, email, calendars and GPS, brands can make themselves beneficial to their customers in ways other “media” can’t replicate. And I think Nike gets that.
4. We’ve all read that the pitch/RFP process is broken. Many agencies aren’t even interested in competing in pitches. Do you see an alternative to this process?
Let’s face it; it’s an imperfect process. What I think needs to happen is agencies need to be more selective about the ones in which they choose to participate. We have a series of questions we ask ourselves up-front:
1. Can we make a difference in the business?
2. Can we do great work?
3. Can we make a reasonable profit?
4. Can we have fun?
If we can answer “Yes” to all of these questions, it’s something we’ll go after with everything we’ve got. But there are times when we’ve gone into a pitch where we knew the assignment wasn’t a fit for us. We went into it hoping we could change the situation. And the end result is always undesirable: we lose the pitch, we win the client but wished we’d lost the pitch, etc.
If agencies will be more honest with themselves up-front, I think they’ll see the RFP process as less imperfect.
5. What does the agency of the future look like?
I talk a lot about integration. I’ve studied lots of agency models for integration. And I’ve concluded that the model doesn’t matter. Integration is a mind-set. It’s about everyone, offline and online, starting with ideas (not media platforms) to create “oneline” between a brand and a customer. Integration is idea-centric, but leverages each touch-point to its maximum potential. I heard a term the other day that I thought was brilliant: “Matching luggage.” Integration is not just about “matching luggage.” And the agency of the future understands that.
6. What do marketers need that agencies are not giving them?
See previous answer.
7. Who do you admire and why?
The people I work with every day. When I interview new talent, I’m often asked what I like best about our company. My answer is the same every time – the people. There are people in this company who have given me incredible opportunities and inspired me to grow the practice. In return, I’ve felt it necessary to allow people those same opportunities. When someone sees a need in our company, they have my full support in creating innovative solutions. As a result, I’ve seen people come straight out of college and quickly grow into senior leaders in the company. Those people inspire me and have my everlasting admiration.