Keeping up with changes in best marketing practice can be notoriously challenging for businesses – and this problem is only confounded when there’s a mismatch between the services that marketing agencies are asked to provide, and what a business actually needs. Agencies are regularly tasked with running campaigns and providing marketing services as soon as businesses become aware of the need to take action – when management determines the importance of improving their search engine rankings, for instance – but these necessary strategic manoeuvres can sometimes be wasted when basic foundational and preparatory steps have not been taken in advance to support those moves. In keeping pace with the forces of change, businesses are often skipping more traditional initiatives that are still very important, impairing their brand messaging in the process.
It was when Fabio Dos Reis began to realise that so much marketing work was being performed in ways that weren’t necessarily translating to winning customers that he decided to build a marketing agency focused on the true needs of businesses. While his boutique marketing firm Shuttle Digital has a broad capacity for delivering a whole range of campaign styles and strategies, he’s not shy to point out when a client still needs to go through some fundamentals – such as working with sales and client services teams to map out what the actual customer journey is, for example, or what touchpoints marketing efforts should have.
“There’s a lot of opportunity lost from not doing the groundwork,” says Dos Reis, “because sometimes marketing isn’t just about lead gen or social media presence; sometimes it’s actually enhancing the power of the sales team, or even the client services team, to nurture a relationship to either cross-sell clients different services or nurture prospects into close versus driving the pipeline. I think there are a lot of agencies who do SEO for six months, and in the end there’s no way of tracking the result. In terms of KPIs you’ll get this much traffic and you’ll rank for that keyword, but does that actually translate to clients? If marketing hasn’t worked with the business to set that foundation level, then they can’t really attribute that effort into sales or conversions.”
Shuttle now offers a complimentary digital marketing health check for enquiring businesses in order to establish a baseline for a firm when launching a campaign. The check serves as a discovery phase that can lead to a clearer picture of what specific approach will deliver the desired results. This straight-talking stance is intended to provide transparency in the services that Shuttle provides, but it also hands control back to the business owner to set the priorities – favouring clarity and practicality over the more obscured policies marketing agencies sometimes use to lock their services in.
“A lot of the time, it’s not SEO that you need to do first,” explains Dos Reis. “Sometimes I’ll say, I know you want SEO – you need an SEO campaign as of yesterday – but I think you really need to push back and focus on doing these key things first, because maybe you’ve got three business partners who don’t even have the same views on who you’re targeting. It’s a good exercise to put that into a document, so you know what you’ve agreed on as the main client persona. Only then we can formulate what’s the best way to reach those people.”
Shuttle Digital has a strong operation providing solid marketing services that come with the territory – running Google and Facebook ads, setting up websites and so on. Its core strength, however, is setting up the right foundation to make sure that campaigns are set up to convert. Rather than designing brochure websites, Shuttle’s work is set up ready to track users, collecting the right data from the beginning – data that can then be used as a platform for remarketing as well as converting.
“A lot of the things we do comes in from the ground up and makes sure that everything is set in place and tracking right,” says Dos Reis, “so that when you do start to advertise, or when you start running social media campaigns, everything links back to data so that you can get one clear view on how everything is actually working.” Shuttle Digital works closely with businesses to help them set up a strong marketing foundation – the firm has published e-books on its website to explain some of the core concepts – and welcomes enquiries for its free marketing health checks to help businesses ensure their data gathering and marketing outreach work offers the desired return on investment.