Launch when your Marketing stars align.
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Since launching this year, various people have asked me about the whys and wherefores of co-founding LogicLogicMagic®. Some curious, some incredulous, some considering it themselves. Why B2B, when you've spent the majority of your career in B2C? What's different about your proposition? Why now? These were just a few of the questions. Six months post-launch, I've finally found time to answer a few of them, in case they help others who are thinking about starting up their own agency venture.
Thoughts of starting a creative agency have been on my mind for the past decade. Ever since I reached the upper levels of creative management in large B2C network agencies, and discovered that the outlook wasn't very sunny there. A series of management roles in smaller agencies acted as stepping stones to where I am today. All strategically taken to gain an understanding of the good, the bad and the ugly of running your own shop.
But it was the current alignment of certain Marketing stars that made the time feel right this year. When I say Marketing stars, I mean those shining lights of the industry who help us mere mortals navigate the business landscape better, with their writings and research. People you look to when in uncharted waters, to give you confidence that you're headed somewhere in the right direction. People who understand the wider business market too.
Through my time in B2C advertising, Sarah Carter, Les Binet & Peter Field have always illuminated the half-truths, assumptions and outright errors, brands and agencies apply to their planning. More recently Orlando Wood with his fantastic book 'Lemon' gave the best explanation I've read yet, into the decline of creativity and along side it, marketing effectiveness.
But when I switched to B2B technology marketing in 2017, none of these four marketing stars, or more importantly their thinking, seemed to resonate or be known within the agency I had joined, or with their clients. Undeterred, I doubled-down with a pair of marketing professors, referencing the opposing philosophies of Sharp and Ritson. Nope, not a glimmer of recognition. It was like my Marketing night sky had clouded over. We're not in Kansas anymore Toto. As a last ditch attempt I played the Sutherland card. "Oh, yeah the Ogilvy guy. I saw him at B2B Ignite in 2018 I think." There was hope.
At last, a guiding reference point that we might share, in a land of funnels, nurture, ABM and Martech. A land where content was king. Where technical writing married graphic design and gave birth every quarter to new short-term tactical activation campaigns. Where you could win agency of the year without any notable creative work.
For two years I clung onto the fact that Rory, one of the smartest people in Marketing, continued to address B2B audiences with the notion that B2B decision making was not as rational as they all made out. That there were valuable insights to be deployed from how we market effectively to consumers, when marketing to businesses.
I love working on technology brands. They sell the future. I thought maybe there was hope that we could market these clever, highly technical innovations in an entertaining, human and engaging way. Combining both brand and activation - the long and the short of it - in one agency, to deliver best practice Marketing for B2B technology brands.
I reached out to Doug Kessler, another ex-advertising guy for a sanity check on working in B2B. His agency, Velocity Partners produce some of the best B2B content in the business. Doug said that he relished the challenge that B2B was potentially more difficult to master than B2C, and was encouraging of another B2C creative joining the B2B party.
Then in 2019 the stars finally aligned in my mind.
LinkedIn launched The B2B Institute, and with it, built an irrefutable bridge between the stars of Marketing I knew in B2C and the world of B2B I was experiencing daily.
They commissioned new research using Binet and Field's prior methodology from The Long and the Short of It, but isolating the B2B case studies from the IPA's databank.
Binet and Field’s six principles of B2B growth are to build a strong brand, expand the customer base, maximise mental availability, harness the power of emotion, budget for growth and balance the budget between brand building and activation. Everything I believed in, just like in B2C.
Hallelujah! The night sky was sparkling again over the land of B2B, It was like the cavalry had arrived. So thank you to Peter Weinberg, Jon Lombardo and the rest of The B2B Institute for making this breakthrough, and saving me a potential career change.
It paved the way for the launch of our agency, LogicLogicMagic®. Led by a highly-experienced B2B Managing Partner, Sinead Woodley, alongside myself as Creative Partner. Applying twenty years B2C brand and activation experience to B2B technology clients with great effect. B2B tactics and marketing technology, married with B2C levels of strategy and creativity. The literal and the lateral to create the memorable.
The founding of the B2B Institute legitimised our belief in the prospective agency proposition, giving us confidence to launch. Across B2B land, agency sales patters have been hastily re-written I imagine, such is the nature of the sales culture within B2B.
But the truth will always out in the creative work that is produced. In my three years to date in B2B, I've had the Devil, Lady Luck and Father Christmas selling ThinkPads for Lenovo, a fireball rapping for SEMrush and created a surreal world of orange forests for Pure Storage. So show me, don't tell me, that you suddenly buy into this philosophy of driving B2B growth with more engaging, less rational B2C style brand and activation.. That will be the long and the short of it.