Investing in the future

Andrew Scott, managing director of Purplex Marketing, explains why he has invested more than £1 million to develop the power of marketing.   

Most business leaders recognise that investment is essential for growth, profitability and competitiveness. Whether it’s investment in people, equipment, facilities, R&D or marketing, there is a direct correlation between business success and investment levels.

The same rule applies whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor or retailer, and it applies equally if you run a service business, such as a marketing agency.

Yet, bizarrely, most PR and marketing agencies in the UK don’t invest, which inevitably impacts the results they can deliver. It’s not surprising. After all, 90% of agencies are lifestyle businesses, with a small team of five or 10 staff typically led by an ex-marketing manager of a large corporate.

Purplex was never established as a lifestyle business. Right from the get-go the aim was to build a world-class marketing agency. Investment was always a key part of our strategy and operationally we applied the same principles to our own business that we used with clients, and as a result we have averaged 35% year-on-year growth since 2004, even through recession.

While most agencies specialise in one or two disciplines such as PR or creative and use freelancers or third parties, we invested in people – recruiting, training and developing experts in each marketing discipline. Today we have 58 employees, with more clients than any other agency in the industry.

This gives us economies of scale, advanced specialist skills that other agencies simply don’t have and real clout. For example, as a Google Partner spending over £1m a year on Adwords, we have direct access to the senior team at Google’s London HQ.

Ongoing training plays a key part in our success. In 2016 alone we invested over £40,000 in training to ensure our team remain world-class, and in January we generated a record 10,000 sales leads for our clients.

In early 2016 we conducted research to assess what companies really looked for in an agency and compared this with the top 25 agencies in the construction/glazing industry. At the same time, we reviewed marketing trends and the impact of new channels, technologies and consumer behaviour.

We concluded that most marketing agencies are already struggling to cope with current demands and would get left behind in the future unless they scaled up and really invested.  As a result, we made the decision to invest over £1 million.

We focused on three key areas: infrastructure, resources and expertise. A superb new HQ was purchased a few months ago, giving us 10,000ft2 office space. We also invested in state-of-the-art facilities, from film production to the most advanced marketing software platforms. A high-profile recruitment drive was launched to attract world-class talent across PR, design, web, video and social media, with a target of 100 employees by next year.

Appointing a small agency or number of agencies and working with the owner/manager may seem like a good idea, but it’s a false economy. You can’t win a Formula One race with a family car.

Teaming up with a professional agency with world-class expertise and resources across PR, digital, creative, social media and other marketing disciplines gives your business a competitive advantage, a more integrated approach, and better results, often at lower overall cost.

Choosing a new agency is a big decision. Having a great ‘pitch’ from the agency directors might impress you, but look beyond the pitch. Visit the agency and meet their staff. Look at their resources and investment strategy. The truth is, you can judge how good a marketing agency is by the level of their own growth.

At Purplex our aim is simple: to work with the most ambitious companies in the glass and glazing industry and help them grow faster and stronger. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small installer needing a new website or a major building products supplier that wants to secure several routes to market.

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