Could you tell us a little about Archmon and its place within the performance marketing industry?
Simon Akers: As I imagine you and readers have, I have seen a step-change in the use of performance and its definition evolve; with that, I wanted to create a new shop that evolves with the future and this changing landscape. Archmon was borne out of advertiser frustrations on spiralling fees and imbalance, a race to the bottom and certain performance ‘experts’ championing this last click mentality, without a wider consideration for the wider landscape, and that rather, performance = effectiveness.
Archmon, as a one-liner, is a consultancy that delivers performance plans for businesses to help them grow through marketing and media and works with specialist partners to bring said plan to life.
A key term you use is ‘Agile Marketing’. What does this mean and how does Archmon support this?
SA: This sort of came naturally. One of Archmon’s key offerings is an AGILE AGENCY SERVICE, whereby as I initially set out to, not do any of the buying and execution, but simply the planning and strategy for performance. However, given our network of 40+ in our Collective, Archmon works closely with an advertiser to hand-pick their partners to deliver on the growth strategy agreed. This way, the advertiser only pays for what is needed in a leaner way, and we encourage a direct line of contact with the advertiser and partner for transparency. That is our definition of Agile Marketing.
Your business has worked with a number of big brands and practitioners. Particularly in today’s economic climate, what opportunities and challenges have you seen or faced when working with performance marketers?
SA: With larger businesses and their marketing teams, they invariably retain larger media agencies and with it, the requisite fees. This puts a burden on achieving the more immediate ROI from such cost. The fear is the performance (often digital) marketing managers have a short-term incentive to knee-jerk respond to performance oscillations, without always being privy to the holistic activity.
For true performance, for example, and based on an econometric model, you may need to invest in Outdoor or TV at a higher premium to drive the incrementality of the traditional ‘performance’ channels of search, affiliates and the like. An investment in the brand now could mean better ROAS in 3 months, not three days, and if you don’t, you may lose that future performance.
In addition, how has your business adapted to COVID-19 and what sort of strategies have you implemented to support your clients?
SA: Honestly speaking, we took a hit in April and May. Like many will understand, retaining consulting fees can be difficult to justify when businesses go into Darwinian mode of cutting marketing budgets (which isn’t always the right move) and furloughing staff. However, it definitely helped review the plan. Many bricks & mortar businesses, for example, have been nervously exploring the ecommerce opportunity. I say nervous because it is a whole new world for many more businesses than you’d expect. One business, for instance, we have set up an affiliate campaign with a partner in response to her store having to close, so there is essentially a virtual store of buyers. It is guiding these advertisers and shifting thinking. E.g. seeing the publisher page as the high street, and the ad as the shop window.
You recently enhanced your marketing strategy, data-driven planning and advanced analytics. How has the digital transition supported this development and what can we expect from Archmon as a result?
SA: With the aforementioned quieter time, I personally used it to get some certifications across the spectrum. You often know the content instinctively through experience, although it is always good to be certified on the latest innovations, with education and learning you can pass on to clients who want to ensure they are maximising their performance media spend. As practitioners and industry experts, we owe it to our clients and ourselves in these changing times.
With things slowly adjusting to normal, how do you think performance marketing will operate going forward?
SA: I said to somebody the other day, I don’t know if we are now in the ‘new normal’ or ‘at the moment’ normal, but for the foreseeable future, advertisers are having to adapt and with that commands a different toolkit. The bricks and mortar shops have to embrace e-commerce, there needs to be an alternative to success measurement. For example, retire the ‘drive footfall’ measurement, maybe increase the AOV value to ensure cut through in a busy new commerce world, maybe LTV deserves more prominence in a time where people want simplicity and a bit of consistency/normality. These are the kind of slight changes we expect to see.
Lastly, what else can we expect from Archmon in the coming months?
SA: Well, that would be telling! The exciting thing about what Archmon is trying to achieve is proposing/pitching service to different clients, and in the process reset what normal media partnerships look like. By tapping into multiple partners’ thinking and technology, and their eagerness to play this into Archmon’s clients, the agility comes from adopting quickly. I am also planning on officially launching the Outcome Collective, something which will become a pool of performance talent and practitioners to address evolving outcomes and needs.