Welcomed back into the fold

With the barbecue season almost here (we hope), AJ is particularly excited to be working with Donald Russell again, and looking forward to             re-building their results.

Producing a hard-hitting, good-looking direct response ad to overcome tired off-the-page results is the key challenge we’re addressing in our  re-engagement with Donald Russell.

The obvious place to start was the Daily Telegraph.  It has great coverage of their target audience, relevant editorial within the Saturday section and the ability to run an AB split free of charge.  To test our stunning new ad against their control copy, we’ve bought short term space under food and drink editorial this weekend; fingers crossed we’re celebrating on Monday.

AJ creative
Control creative

We’re also running an in-house competition to guess the percentage of orders each version takes; the AJ team member with the closest estimation wins a delicious box of quality steak to enjoy.  What’s your guess?

If you’d like to see what AJ can do to refresh your creative and revive your results, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk

Supporting charity spins AJ’s wheels

Members of AJ’s team took part in a 10-hour spinathon in central Bath at the weekend helping to raise over £10,000 for Bath’s Royal United Hospital Cardiology Unit.

AJ’s mentor, Rob Walsh, lost his brother unexpectedly from a fatal heart attack a couple of years ago.  His spin teacher lost her father in similar circumstances, leading them to hatch the idea of a spinathon to raise money for the local hospital’s charity, Forever Friends, and the British Heart Foundation.

Now in its second year, the event saw 50 spin bikes set up in the city centre under the direction of a team of spin teachers keeping the cyclists motivated.  AJ sponsored two of the bikes with six of the team taking part.

AJ’s owners, Ann Gardiner and Alice Buttling

“I enjoyed it more than I expected, even if a little uncomfortable by the end,” said New Business Director, Lesley Bowman.  “There was a great atmosphere and it was an invigorating experience,” commented Jack Gillett, Media Executive.  “I believe if you can, you should, so was very happy to sign up and support such a worthy cause.”

Jack Gillett, Media Executive and Lesley Bowman, New Business Director

Event co-organiser, Rob Walsh, said, “The people and instructors who took part were fantastic along with great support from family and friends. Even though it took a lot of organising, it’s all worth it when it’s for charity in memory of Ken and Neil.”

To make a donation: http://bit.ly/2r0vwQa

Needing to scratch an itch

The beginning of 2017 has seen Attinger Jack re-engaged by two clients. What brought them back?

At AJ, we have a single-minded approach to advertising.  We’re solely about Direct Response and we’re good at it.  Clients see a measurable return on investment through our commitment and expertise.  Being clear about what we do, we attract clients who want what we offer.

From time to time, though, clients’ objectives change, making our approach less effective or attractive to them.  The reasons for this are diverse, and it’s sometimes just the need to scratch an itch. Thomas Sanderson chose to try brand-led creative and a regional approach to advertising; Kinetico aimed to raise their brand profile through a regional radio campaign; Donald Russell focused on customer retention rather than acquisition and Tempur needed to increase retail distribution so shifted to retail support and brand awareness.

When this happens, we don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole; we want to remain confident we are doing the best job for the client.  We part on good terms, with clients acknowledging we delivered everything we could when their focus was DR.

“You’ve all been an immense help this last 12 months……your advice in relation to all things DR has been top notch.”  Richard Gray, Digital Acquisition Manager, Thomas Sanderson

But those who explore alternative routes often miss the accountability of results and ROI delivered by direct response.  Our door always remains open for these clients and we are delighted when they find their way back, as two have done recently.

Quality meat producer, Donald Russell, has re-appointed AJ to handle their press campaign, having struggled to hit their targets without a strong customer recruitment plan.  We’re working on ‘new look’ creative to test against their ‘banker’ copy, learning and building as the campaign develops and the results come in.

Kinetico, designer and manufacturer of water softeners, is also keen to return to DR.  We are now in the midst of an exciting new spring campaign spanning press, TV and inserts.

It is the greatest compliment and the most satisfying endorsement to be asked to work for a previous client again.  With so many agencies to choose from, all claiming to deliver results at a new business stage, it speaks volumes when clients trust AJ with their DR campaigns and come back when the time is right for them.  As the saying goes, “If you love somebody, let them go; if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.”

Free isn’t futile

Contrary to seemingly popular opinion, free creative does not equal poor creative.  AJ continues to show the quality and quantity of creative is not compromised by offering it free of charge.

For AJ’s clients, a free creative model is the most cost effective approach.  Our clients can test a range of creative, sizes and titles without incurring unnecessary creative costs.  This way, we help to secure the most value from their media budgets, saving on average 30% and keeping cost per lead as low as possible.

Direct response ads also have to enhance brand perception.  Message, tone of voice and a consistent look all contribute to maximising the credibility of a brand and value of a product.  AJ’s creative team covers both disciplines.

New creative on a regular basis also keeps a campaign fresh; even the best creative can fatigue.  As we’ve said before, if it’s broke, fix it.  AJ takes this approach a step further.  New creative is presented to the client not only with the changes highlighted but, more importantly, the reasons why.  We make clear what the work is aiming to achieve – to be better, stronger, more effective and to grow business.

Lower CPE, increased sales and heightened brand awareness – all proof the right creative can make a difference to advertising performance whatever the price.

Case study: Reading light specialist, Serious Readers, needed more from press.  Its range of reading lights is world-renowned, using expensive technology, reflected in the product price.  Creative for these products therefore has to provide a convincing reason to buy based on brand perception – product credibility, a sense of quality and portraying Serious Readers as the voice of authority in reading lights.  AJ’s creative team centres key messages around performance relevant to the target market, creating empathy with the potential purchaser.  The visual focus uses a consistent and distinctive look based on the product’s central attributes, keeping the look simple.  In all aspects of the ad’s structure, consideration is given to the reader’s eyesight.  Within a year the press response target has been achieved using this approach, resulting in an increase in activity from being seasonal over four months to a full 10-month plan.

To learn more about how we can produce the right creative for you, contact Ann Gardiner on 01225 758222 or email ann@aja.co.uk

New pound coin bang on trend

Is the silver-coloured centre of the new pound coin an ingenious nod to those most likely to spend it?

According to an Institute of Customer Service report, the so-called ‘silver pound’ economy is estimated to be worth £43 billion in annual spending.  Echoed by the Government’s latest Family Spending bulletin, Baby Boomers are not afraid to spend money making them a lucrative market, particularly if you’re in the business of travel, home improvements, cars or alcohol.   Spending by the over 65s on household goods and services, for example, has increased 57% in the last five years, compared to just 12% by 30-49 year olds.

As CS Lewis said “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Baby Boomers are living testament to this, prepared and able to spend more on themselves as they realise their post mid-life goals and dreams.  Spending growth in this group is predicted to continue rising at twice the rate of younger shoppers.  While Millennials show a surprisingly high level of brand loyalty, Baby Boomers more importantly “show me the money”.

All the signs point towards the over 50s becoming an increasingly important sector of the consumer market both in number and average spend.  Millennials are predicted to be the first generation to earn less than their parents, feeling the effects of the financial crisis for longer through the likes of lower pay rises, increasingly insecure and precarious employment and zero-hours contracts.

Despite this, many businesses continue to focus on the Millennial market, investing in a potential long-term customer loyalty. By
doing so, and not capitalising on the spending capacity of Baby Boomers, it’s believed UK businesses are losing out on up to £27 billion of revenue.

Some feel intergenerational inequalities are swinging back too far in favour of Baby Boomers.  But for those with the goods and services this group desires, use those shiny new pound coins with their silver centres as a reminder of where your advertising budget might be best spent.

It’s all about the people

Creative director and industry commentator Dave Trott couldn’t agree more.  “When you choose an agency, you’re not guaranteed a better result because they’ve got more technology and more data.  Your best bet is always people with brains and experience.  It’s never about technology and data, it’s always about people.”

Attinger Jack is not only a leading direct response agency, but also an excellent team of individuals, reflected in the feedback we receive from clients.  “It has been a pleasure working with you over the past 3 years – you are all amazing people.” Sydney Smith, Thomas Sanderson.

Leading the team at AJ are three key people in three key roles.  Media and Managing Director, Alice Buttling is now recognised as one of the best media buyers in the business and an expert at gaining the most for a client with whatever budget is available.  As Client Services Director, Ann Gardiner brought an impressive background running major accounts within established London agencies when she joined Attinger Jack in 2005.  She oversees all account handling and client management.  Tim Blackshaw provides the creative genius to Attinger Jack, leading the artworkers and designers and driving the best direct response creative in the business.

They are also acutely aware their most valuable asset is the team around them and treasure it.  They understand a happy, well-nourished team leads to outstanding work, satisfied clients and business growth.

The Team at AJ is driven to achieve the very best for its clients; whatever it takes is done.  Everybody understands how the AJ business model works and what’s needed to succeed as individuals.

Nurturing talent is an important part of the agency’s culture – a critical factor in building success according to Paul Frampton, chief executive of Havas Media Group, UK & Ireland. “Talent, chemistry and creativity are the lifeblood of success in any agency.  Businesses that genuinely engage and empower their talent have been proven to grow faster.”

If you’d like to work with this committed and talented team of professionals, please call Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk

Quarter one results start the year well

Attinger Jack’s first quarter figures make encouraging reading, giving the agency confidence its results-driven approach is the right one for its clients.

December is traditionally a hard month for DR agencies but AJ has seen increased profit for the second year in a row.  The agency puts this down to valid Christmas offers producing an increased ROI for many clients.  The resulting client confidence has produced increased spend and enabled AJ to do what it does best – grow existing clients’ business.

Large clients continue to be Aquability, Nationwide Mobility, Harrington & Byrne and Serious Readers, with new 2016 client, Cashmere Centre, entering this quarter’s top 10.

A developing area of activity for AJ is inserts.  AJ is working smarter in this area and exploring a variety of related substitutes when it suits the right clients, e.g. wrap throughs and backing boards/carrier sheets.  With a desire to continually test and review, this channel is opening up to offer a wider range of opportunities beyond the traditional.

Solus emails are also being used successfully with clients such as Eden Verandas.  AJ prefers to use publisher-distributed emails, buying a targeted database and supplying creative.  With integrated tracking methodology, click throughs, brochure requests and conversion rates are all monitored closely.  For some clients, this has a marketing percentage of just 5%.

The strength of AJ’s relationship with media owners continues to be an important factor in securing the best media deals, particularly late space offers, an AJ speciality.  The latest example is the new Interiors feature in the Telegraph’s Saturday, launched last week, in which AJ secured three of the nine spaces, including the hero image.

A growing AJ skill is to attract previous clients back to the agency, and as 2017 continues we hope to report back on how and why accounts have returned to us.  This is one of the most satisfying endorsements of a job well done; repeat business.

To find out more about how AJ can grow your business, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

A new approach to business growth

Lead generation is a popular online marketing tool.  It stimulates and captures interest in a product from which sales can be developed. By targeting a selected audience with tailored promotional offers, a base of interested leads is built for a business to convert into new customers.   It has potential for high volume, improving the reach, return and, due to its targeted nature, accountability of online engagement.  AJ recommended this approach to one of its most established clients, proving you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Aquability is a leading UK producer of walk-in baths and showers, and has employed AJ as its agency for almost 20 years.  During 2016, AJ recommended Aquability tried a new approach to lead generation because we were looking for new ways to grow business having maximised press and inserts.

The supplier, Magnetise, is running a mixture of online and email formats specifically designed to capture data.  Once secured, the data is supplied to Aquability on a daily basis.  Timing is important.  Unless data is supplied for conversion efficiently, the value of real-time information is lost.

Lead generation requires an offer or call to action.  In this case, potential leads are able to download a product brochure once their contact details have been given.  Telephone numbers are a mandatory field so leads can be followed up by Aquability’s call centre team to generate appointments and ultimately sales.

This approach is popular because costs are fixed and low.  Conversion rates from leads to sales can be low, but converting only a small number of leads to sales generates a high ROI.  A typical lead cost is 20% of a press lead.  Lead generation typically requires 50 leads to make a sale, compared to 12 from press, but still stacks up well and provides additional leads to keep the call centre busy.

Conversely, speed of lead generation is often affected by seasonality and the quality of leads isn’t known until activity begins.  Quantity of leads doesn’t guarantee quality either, so regular feedback to Magnetise allows adjustments to be made and value maximised.  Performance of each source is monitored, refined and optimised on an on-going basis.

Effective lead generation activity makes the sales process and revenue creation easier and quicker.  Using this new way to reach customers, has given Aquability the scope to grow business by adding a new channel.

To identify and try the best new approach to business growth for your company, contact Alice Buttling or Ann Gardiner on 01225 758222 or email alice@aja.co.uk or ann@aja.co.uk.





New Interiors feature for Telegraph’s Saturday

Just two months old, and Telegraph’s Saturday has a new Interiors feature starting this week.  AJ’s Alice Buttling tells us what she thinks.

Alison Cork has a built a strong platform writing advertorial style pages under the guise of ‘hunting’ for great home/garden offers for the consumer.  In reality, of course, advertisers are just paying to be included.  These features have appeared regularly in the Telegraph, Times, Evening Standard as well as, but less so, in the Mail, Mirror and the Sun.

Not long ago, the Daily Mail decided to replace the Alison Cork section with their own version, called ‘Home and Away’.  In addition to home and garden offers, it also includes travel, and has proved extremely successful, now running a full page each week.

Next to follow suit is the Telegraph.  Unlike the Mail, it will continue to carry the Alison Cork pages, but is launching its own ‘Interiors’ page this weekend in the relatively new ‘Saturday’ section.  What I love about it is you get what you pay for; large, medium or small image and text, you pay accordingly.  This is not the case with Alison Cork – it’s pot luck.  In one issue, you might secure the large hero image, but next issue find yourself with a tiny image in the gutter – both costing the same price, with no control.  This has become a real bugbear for our clients who despise unpredictability – particularly when they end up in the gutter the size of a postage stamp!

At this stage, the Telegraph doesn’t have a ‘face’ for their feature.  In contrast, the Daily Mail has chosen its features writer, Harriet Arkell, to source their offers.  Whether or not a ‘face’ is necessary remains to be seen.  I personally think the new Interiors section looks great; AJ has booked three of the nine advertising sites, including the big hero shot for our client Eden Verandas.  I’ll keep you updated on how well it works…………

Checking In

Complacency is an ever-present threat when agency/client relationships are going well.  To avoid the threat becoming a reality, AJ is regularly checking in with clients.  To supplement our on-going contact with clients, now and again we dig a bit deeper, examining all the elements of our service through a short survey. Here’s what they told us.

Creative and production   

Idea generation, responsiveness, speed, quality and approachability – all factors we asked clients to judge about AJ’s creative and production; all scored over 90%.  The best creative comes when clients allow us to truly understand what they’re trying to achieve, then trust us to create from a blank sheet of paper.

Media planning and buying

The 2017 Global Media Thinking Survey by media consultancy, ID Comms, identified two agency weaknesses as failing to ‘provide insight-driven strategic planning’ and not ‘identifying relevant data-fuelled insight’.  Our clients disagree, scoring AJ around 90% consistently for media planning and buying.  AJ’s planning process ensures results are optimised through testing and refining activity based on interrogating robust data generated from unique codes.  With access to client’s data, AJ can plan effectively and maintain press spend performance, growing return on investment.

Account handling/finance

According to FCB Ulka’s CEO Nitin Karkare a long-lasting client/agency relationship relies on factors going far beyond the hard metrics. He says, “The most important being do you really care for their business? Do you genuinely share their highs and lows? Are you available for them when they really need you?”  AJ prides itself on those ‘soft’ factors and so we should, hitting a perfect 100% on account handling and financial management.

Impact on your business

Karkare also says “Success is the biggest glue in any relationship. Every client wants a business partner who helps them win.” A client/agency relationship is going to be short-lived if the client can’t see tangible results.  AJ needs and wants to make a difference – and it appears we do, averaging 5.6 out of 6 for impact on client business.  Responsive creative, fresh ideas, cost effective media-buying and on-going testing all contribute to an improved ROI.

AJ thrives on client feedback, working hard to convert every 4 or 5 to a 6 (out of 6); we refuse to become complacent.  But don’t take our word for it, have a look at what our clients say about us – including this from one survey respondent:

“As you (probably) expect I’ve given you great scores. Filling it in just reminded me what a great job that you and Alice and your team do for us – without doubt the best supplier I’ve ever worked with – I really appreciate the time and effort (and talent) that you put into looking after us.” 

Richard Read, Serious Readers