The last 18 months of turmoil have provided opportunities as well as challenges for the advertising and marketing sectors, especially in the context of mobile. Mobile Marketing Magazine sits down with Steve Hadfield, tmwi’s new MD, to discover how the agency has weathered the storm, the unexpected arrival of a new audience to market to, and what the future holds for the agency.
Mobile Marketing: What do you see as the main benefits of being an independent agency?
Steve Hadfield: There are a number of benefits, actually. We can be much more fleet of foot than a network agency, especially with regards to resource allocation and team expertise. Our ethos is very much about working with our clients in partnership, embracing an agile approach to ensure that we have the ability to operate as an extension of their marketing teams. Furthermore, we aren’t weighed down with the multiple and often complex layers of internal decision making that can exist outside of the independent agency sector. At tmwi we are able to make decisions across our business quickly so that we are best placed to deliver for our clients.
MM: What technologies and expertise does tmwi have in its arsenal that your clients are really hungry for, and how is the agency adapting for a cookieless future?
SH: We’re very much an audience- and data-led agency. That’s the ethos that underpins our approach and planning. As we move into a cookieless future, the importance of a client having first party data is critical. We’re very good at using second and third party data to help our customers build an audience pool, but looking to the future, it’s all about that first party data; that’s going to be the biggest differentiator for clients going forward. We believe what we offer with regards to this is certainly ahead of the curve, and we’re seeing a similar appetite from our clients in terms of demand for our expertise.
MM: How has COVID specifically impacted mobile advertising for the brands you work with?
SH: COVID has had a massive impact on our industry, and we’re seeing dramatic shifts in the way certain audiences are using mobile as we move towards a post-pandemic world. This is especially the case for the 50+ category, who have become significantly more au fait with mobile and media. My parents are a great example of this. Two years ago, they used their mobile devices almost exclusively to communicate with family and friends, but the various lockdowns have forced them to turn to their devices for shopping, entertainment and interaction. Recently they were booking show tickets now that the theatres are opening up!
The 50+ market’s adoption of mobile opens up a huge avenue for eCommerce, especially considering this is an audience traditionally associated with having expendable cash, and we anticipate this extremely important segment will explode in terms of mobile and new technology usage in the near future. It’s always been the age of mobile, but now we’re moving toward a state where it is mobile for all, not just the under-30s, and for marketers and brands it’s going to be very important to engage with an audience that has such purchasing power.
MM: Is twmi seeing an increase in new client business? Are clients jumping on board and embracing the agency model?
SH: We’ve had a couple of recent client wins that we are very excited about, and I look forward to sharing more with the industry soon. These have been largely digital-led from a determination – and need – to ensure we’re building from first party data, and our strength in SEO has also been a big factor in the new clients joining twmi. We advise our clients to focus on strengthening their organic search base through content distribution, which has proven more cost efficient in the long term. Our expertise in paid social has also been a contributing factor in securing these exciting wins, where companies are looking to reach their audience directly through Facebook, Linkedin etc.
MM: Look into your crystal ball and tell us what the final quarter of 2021 holds for tmwi…
SH: Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve seen substantial growth and rapid change in terms of digital channels and paid social. This growth is only going to get stronger – in fact we’re expecting significantly more growth. However, like everyone, we have some uncertainty to come over the next few months, but we’re facing forward, fully embracing this new model and excited about what the future holds.