Thought Leadership
NYC’s Colure Media on the Small-to-Medium Business Agency Market

william-belle-colure-media

William Belle
Co-Founder
Colure Media

colure-media


 

For those of us not familiar with Colure Media, please tell us a little more about your agency and the type of clients you represent. 
 
We are a NY based, digital advertising firm that specializes in mobile media, mobile application development, and brand identity. We address small to medium sized companies, spanning both domestic and international marketplaces. The diversity of our client base provides us with a strong understanding of the marketplace. One of our core commitments is to help our customers understand how they can best interact with their audience and the market. We have an incredibly talented team that brings many strengths to the table.
 
 
What would you say the core difference is of small to mid-size businesses when it comes to advertising, as compared to others?
 
I would say the primary difference is that every dollar spent by a small to mid-sized business has a greater potential to either make or break that organization. This decision can be a major budgeting issue for some companies. Their main concern is their risk vs. ROI. Those managers have to justify investing in an advertising budget vs. (perhaps) capitol expenditures. We need to be accountable to these clients. A $5,000 media buy from a small-sized business could be a critical, strategic investment. To a larger client, that same dollar amount may be an off-the-cuff expenditure because ‘someone had an idea.’ Our designs, our campaigns, and our efforts will have a direct effect on our clients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the first few years for a smaller-sized business can be challenging. We need to be sure that we do absolutely everything we can to facilitate our clients’ success.
 
 
You also provide Search Engine Marketing services to clients, along with other services like media buying. How do you approach cross-channel attribution, to properly assign credit to upper-funnel tactics like display and video?
 
We use a number tracking services including Bitly, Google Analytics, Pixels, and others. We pull all of these analytics through our dashboard. The key is having flexible access to real-time data. This information allows us to provide the greatest view of the playing field. Every client’s needs are different. Knowing how to engage an audience is a critical skill. Placement in the marketplace is built on understanding the needs of both the client and market. What worked for us yesterday probably won’t work tomorrow. Display ads and video content are both great tools. The question becomes – which tools do we use for each job? You need to have an open mind and to keep your options open. The market is dynamic – we need to be the same.
 
 
How do you approach mobile app marketing? Is there a certain process you follow to acquire users on mobile? (organic user acquisition, Custom Audiences on Facebook, working with Mobile Ad Networks, etc)
 
Most of all, we listen. Having a proper understanding of a client’s intent is critical. If a potential client approaches us and tells us that ‘they want to develop an app”, we cannot fall into a set production routine. Every project has its own attributes and needs. We look at every app as a unique product and service. Each project addresses their own individual offerings and demographics. We do a lot of homework to understand who will become our brand advocates for that product. Once we know who will share that brand, we work diligently to develop the storyline, one that will engage the target segment of the population. The question becomes how do you get them interested? We need to engage that audience. The technologies we use depends on the need at hand. It is determined by a number of factors – where that brand advocate is located, the nature of the project, and a number of factors. We have to decide which ad network will provide the greatest leverage for that product/organic user acquisition network. We engage social media, digital PR, content management, and we leverage mobile ad networks. No two campaigns are ever the same; it changes from client to client, project to project.
 
 
There has been an explosion in the number of vendors an agency or marketer can now work with. Do you think that this is sustainable, and how do you see the market evolving over time?
 
All markets have peaks and troughs. Those who are able to negotiate both the highs and lows of the market will have a greater chance of survival. Over time, you have the natural course of mergers and acquisitions. Companies will come and pass. Long-term growth and survival will be determined by those who understand the greater market trends. You will always have your innovators, your imitators and those who haven’t figured out how to survive. The last group often finds themselves lost to the other competitors in the marketplace. There will always be a place for those providing new services and information. In the past years, we’ve seen the maturation and growth of the Silicon Valley. We have witnessed an evolution in information management. In one word, I see “growth” in the industry.. What shape and texture that growth will provide in twenty years will be determined by the marketplace and the consumer.
 
 
What tools do you use the most? (Quantcast / comScore / SimilarWeb, AppAnnie, SEMRush / Keyword Spy, WhatRunsWhere / AdBeat / AdClarity / BoxofAds, MobileAction / SearchMan, Sitescout / Doubleclick Bid Manager, Adwords / Facebook Ads)
 
We use a number of different tools, in which are to better understand the boundaries of a dynamic audience. These may be SEMRush, Doubleclick, Adwords or Facebook amongst many others. The key is using the right tool for the right job. We can define who is doing what, at what time, on what platform. The selection of the tool is dependent upon the need at hand. Overall, the critical tool is – information. HOW you use that information sets the tone for either your success or failure in a campaign.
 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you face today as an independent, boutique agency?
 
I’ll give you two answers:
 
• We pride ourselves on interacting with our clients. For our customers in New York City, we enjoy meeting them in the field. Being honest, driving through the Big Apple can be a bit frustrating. You can map things out perfectly only to discover a bridge is backed up, or there are no parking spaces left in the garage near your client. That’s life in the city!
 
• Regarding logistics, data management can be a challenge. It would be great to have a centrally organized format to coordinate massive amounts of data for our clients. In an age where data rules the roost, it’s easy to be covered in mountains of data. Being able to boil down all of that data into consistent format would be ideal for the process.
 
 
Typically, what do your clients want you to accomplish when it comes to digital marketing? (acquiring new customers, new sign ups, leads, app installs, etc)
 
The two key issues facing our clients are both specific and general in nature. For those clients with an app, so often they want to drive a specific number on mobile app downloads and installations. These are hard numbers that can be bounced around, measured, and evaluated. A more universal need is building brand advocates and “honing in on the conversation with their audience.” When you begin to discuss behaviors and attitudes, sometimes, the conversation enters a point of “less specific data.” Measuring a defined activity is different than measuring how a group ‘feels.’ It’s at this moment that we are able to help guide a corporation to a defined plan of action. Being able to provide that orientation is a learned skill. It comes from experience. Sure, acquisitions, leads, and conversions are all critical to an agency’s operations. Being able to provide reliable, consistent guidance to a client is key to our success.
 
 
What are your thoughts on the digital advertising offerings of the major platforms like Facebook or Google? Do you think that due to their access to 1st party, logged-in user data, they far outmatch any other independent ad-tech player out there? Do you think there will always be a place for independent players in the future?  
 
Having access to vast amounts of 1st party is a distinct advantage. Everyone seeks the most reliable sources of data to position themselves better. Once they have that data, an organization has to be able to react in the marketplace. You will always have the Titans in the marketplace. If you want to be “just like them,” it’s easier to simply follow their lead and relax. If you want to challenge the market, you need to identify the Titan’s weaknesses and react. We need to provide a quality of service or product that they may be too lumbering to offer. You ask, “will these larger groups outmatch smaller firms?” Both parties bring critical forces to the marketplace. It’s the little guys who keep the big guys on their toes. Sometimes, agility and the ability to react to market forces is the secret. Each party is critical to the market growth. Lastly, you asked, “do I feel that there will always be a place for independent shops?” Absolutely! –The consumer is always looking for the next big thing. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon don’t own the latest “SnapChat-” This is where the consumer is driving the marketplace.
 
 
To the extent that you can reveal, what percentage of your media buys are direct to publisher, through ad networks, or through a self-service ad buying platform?
 
We rely strongly on ad networks. They allow for programmatic purchasing and placement.. It provides the client with some of the strongest ad placement. We can target a particular consumer cluster. Flexibility and the strategic placement provide the tools for all players to be on the same playing field.
 
 
Lastly, what is your take on the future of media buying?
 
I think it is will be driven by ROI performance. It will be a direct connection between an ad budget and specific revenue returns. When the market begins to recognize that a defined ROI is doable, clients both big and small will reshape the dynamics of their advertising.

 

Colure is an innovative cross platform marketing & advertising firm launched in 2012 and is centralized in SoHo, New York.

Marketing 101 meets Marketing 2.0 The adverting landscape is changing at warp speed with new media, new platforms, and new devices. Despite these changes, one constant will always remain: brands need big ideas which can manifest themselves into any and every media. These ideas have to connect with your target audience in ways that are meaningful, emotional, and actionable. The ideas must have “legs”. That’s what we bring to the party – we are the illegitimate love child of old school truths and new school savvy. We know how to connect with your audience and we’d love to work with you.

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