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Local Tradition (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the C-bomb)4 min read

– Croud’s Business Development Director Neil Stephens, explains how by adapting the Traditional Marketing model we can improve the experience between clients and agencies. 

Given a long enough timeline, all traditions become obsolete and/or inefficient  – it’s traditional.

For instance – it was traditional to wear a tie to work. Putting a tie on adds nothing to your ability to perform your job – if operating heavy machinery it is actually a negative. Also, depending on your skill in applying said appendage it can actually take between an extra minute and a quarter of an hour to actually put it around your neck – inefficient.

Tradition also used to have people thrown into volcanoes to guarantee a good crop. This was before pesticides which although much maligned are certainly preferable to the three virgin rotation system.

No to Human Sacrifice to improve Digital Marketing Campaigns

Why am I discussing Aztec lunacy and white-collar sartorial rituals? Well, thanks for asking.

Having worked in search for some 11 years I have seen a lot of changes – most coming from Google and technology providers. A relatively small proportion of these changes have come from agencies.

Most of these innovations have been forged with the ultimate goal of improving efficiency. When things are efficient they are quicker and therefore vicariously cheaper. Oops, just dropped the C Bomb.

Cheaper is a word rarely used by agencies and clients alike as it implies short cuts or resource allocated from a reduced talent pool. Most agencies (being in advertising as they are) rebranded cheaper ‘cost effective’ or ‘providing greater returns’ years ago– but surely when factoring in the cost of employing an agency, doesn’t price contribute substantially to the overall return?

Whatever moniker you choose to apply in line with whatever your brand guidelines allow, surely in this age of austerity its time to take the word back?

If you put ‘cheap’ in front of any generic phrase (flights, car insurance) it instantly weeds out a significant proportion of non-converting customers. It’s fundamental to many a mature search campaign. Why then as agencies are we so frightened of it? Our creds are solid- our experience unquestionable and its not like we are all using different search engines.

A recent (rather excellent) Forbes report lambasts the inefficiencies inherent with the local advertising model. Tradition has placed nearly all of this ad revenue to a certain monochrome forest leveling paper directory. This one time behemoth’s decline has been well documented so I’m not going to kick it any further.

On many levels I agree with the Forbes report – its easy to bash Groupon for its dubious relevance for example.

Having opted in, it wasn’t long until i opted out of it when I received a dual offer – my favourite Soho BBQ restaurant (good) with laser hair removal (bad) – the corresponding message said – ‘laser hair removal / all you can eat’ – which naturally left a bad taste in the mouth.

Daily deal sites notwithstanding, with such a discrete skillset as the management of search engine marketing, an agency should be more than capable of providing greater returns than the proprietor of a local business who has frankly more important things to do than rotate ad copy (like run a company or play with their kids)

Often this just isn’t the case – high agency overheads matched with regular unscheduled client intervention render the extra layer of cost levied by the agency too much when factoring in the often small margins (of both profit and error) inherent in the local business model.

What agencies often fail to take into account is that a small budget to them is a huge budget to their clients – normally from their own pockets.

Similarly what clients sometimes fail to register is that the tail wagging the dog is not an efficient model either – although it is certainly traditional.

Have faith in your agency  – they have the experience and providing the correct brief was taken in the first place and the right lines of communication are open they have the tools and skills to drive efficiency and steadily improve the increasingly more important online aspect of your business.

Relentless requests and micro managing from hands on clients erodes the efficiency of the marketing pound. It would be like hiring a plumber and standing by telling him how to attach the u-bend. Not a great use of his time or your money. A grown up conversation or tight service level agreement is all that is required.

Croud have some of the largest advertisers in the UK as well as a broad selection of smaller businesses with an emphasis on local – the agility of our business model enables us to scale up or down to provide the optimum level of service for that particular business model.

Operating on a ‘traditional’ model would not allow this  – due to staff allocation and prioritisation the smaller companies will always lose out.

So two fingers to tradition.

And are we cheap? God no – but we do represent excellent value for money.

If you would like to find our more about the Croud model and how we do business, get in touch with us here: