Stephen Knight, Pimento: Building a Successful Marketing Strategy

July 8, 2020
by Charlie
Pimento Founder Stephen Knight

Building a Successful Marketing Strategy with Pimento Founder Stephen Knight

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“If you really want to differentiate your brand, if you really want to find ways to actually drive that needle, you really need to invest in creativity”

Key Takeaways

  • The concept of a full service marketing agency, by its very nature is almost impossible to deliver these days because we have 100 different marketing disciplines and you can’t be good at everything
  • It’s unlikely to be good at everything and you don’t want to end up like a department store where you have strengths in certain floors and certain parts of the stores have weaknesses elsewhere. We didn’t suffer from that at Pimento because we have a large network of consultants, freelancers and agencies that specialise In each area.
  • We basically find the very best person or very best agency to deliver what’s required, and they’ll be part of your bespoke team.
  • We take responsibility for coordinating world-leading expertise and managing all those resources on behalf of the client. So the client deals with one person, day in day out, and but behind that is a highly industrious, creative bunch delivering against the business objectives that have been set and working across different marketing disciplines as required.
  • The client doesn’t have to be expert in marketing. Their job is to run their business. And we can basically act on their behalf as their marketing resource. Give them best advice and align ourselves within their business. 
  • The people we work with have come to us over the years through personal recommendation, we take our time to check them out, make sure that they are both ethical and deliver the goods, we check them out, we speak to their clients, we look at their financials, etc.
  • When you are more curious about the marketing that you’re doing you you’re able to learn more and do more and sort of make it better, but then you do need to call in on the experts when that goes beyond your skill set.
  • There’s a lot to marketing that’s just all about the implementation and just kind of going through and putting the processes in place and getting the structure sorted out quite administrative type roles that are very undervalued by a lot of people.
  • You need to look at things in a very integrated approach, rather than just things in isolation.
  • There’s no point trying to be something you’re not because you get found out far too quickly in this social media world
  • You need to have a strategy that is determined by who you’re trying to talk to, what you’re trying to say, what you want to do as a result of the communications that you’re putting in place. You need to have a perspective about what your proposition is and how differentiated it is within the marketplace.
  • What’s your competitive position? How do you go about defining your proposition and you deliver against that proposition? Assuming you get that bit worked out, then you have to work out the most cost effective way of reaching your target audience and what channels to use.
  • The reality is things are changing very rapidly and you’ve got to have a curious mind because they have a going to be somebody who is constantly questioning what you’re doing, constantly refining the way in which you go about doing it and looking at what best practices And learning from the professionals.
  • You need a framework, you need someone to come and give you advice and say, right, how are you collecting your data and are you segmenting that data? Do you have an email automation platform that allows you to be able to actually send emails to your prospective customers and nurture and develop those relationships and get them further down the funnel? Do you know how to turn those into sales, long term clients and advocates?
  • We help clients populate and create marketing departments and we have a recruitment arm that supports both freelancers and permanent Heads of Marketing. 
  • Look at your data across the whole business instead of just isolated to marketing activity.
  • Segmenting marketing into the business and just looking at it in isolation, can really limit yourself.
  • The reality is you will make mistakes as you go through your marketing strategy and as you start to execute it, but what you have to do is be open and honest about the fact that you’ll learn from that process. Try and avoid having to learn too often because it gets expensive. But you have to take some risk. 
  • You have to basically be prepared to take risks if you want growth. And you know, growth will be essential over the next 12 to 18 months, and there will be business opportunities. In spite of COVID. There will be obviously a prolonged and difficult economic recession.
  • If you want to generate sales, you have to invest in sales and that means being proactive and not reactive.
  • Look at all the case studies over the years at the 2008 recession, and recessions before that. Brands that basically invested in communications and marketing through recession came out stronger as a result
  • Think about and plan now, the next 12 months and start to actually consider the role of marketing within your business objectives.
  • Marketing is all about mindset – you need to think of it as an investment and not as a cost
  • Purpose driven businesses are showing a much more positive mindset in terms of the future and the growth of their businesses and businesses that are focusing solely on profit.
  • It’s been interesting to see the way in which brands have responded to COVID in their communications and how they’ve spoken to their customers. Some brands have been notably brilliant in this period and have recognised that what people want is help and support. They want empathy. They want people to be human. And they also want to stick to their values.
  • It’s not about selling widgets it’s it’s about fulfilling something that’s much more substantial, you have to be really clear about what your mission is and what are you here to do.
  • You’ve got the opportunity to think about what you want to be, how you can do it better, and how you can help your customers with their objectives and their own mission.
  • You have to be clearer and more deliberate in what you communicate and when you communicate because your market is always watching you and how you behave.
  • Technology is enabling marketing left, right and centre. Artificial Intelligence, AI gives us the ability to be able to actually understand how consumers respond to certain stimulus, whether it’s the development of marketing research techniques, and we’re seeing a lot more automation within that space.
  • You’ve got to marry technology with outstandingly good insight and fantastic creativity.
  • I think a lot of marketeers now rely on automation. And assume, therefore, that if they actually get their communications out there using the right channels, and it’s automated, it’ll actually give them the result they want.
  • If you really want to differentiate your brand, if you really want to find ways to actually drive that needle, you really need to invest in creativity
  • If you have the same attention to detail, put the same energy into creativity that you put into the automation tools and to the technology that’s available, you’ll end up with the best results
  • Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t worry about marketing jargon, say as it is.
  • If you want to engage a consultant or you want to get marketing advice, take the opportunity to talk to a variety of people and agencies the same way as you would if you’re planning an extension of your house, get three quotes.
  • Be really clear with your agencies and your consultants, what the business objective is. Always start from the business objective and make sure that their strategies and their recommendations tie back to your business objectives. 


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About Stephen Knight:

Stephen Knight is the CEO and founder of a virtual agency network, Pimento – comprising 200 agencies and consultants within the UK, across a wide range of marketing services. Stephen Knight is committed to doing things a little differently when it comes to helping companies source the best talent for their marketing, communications, and business development projects, and Pimento pools talent from across the marketing communications industry to create bespoke teams which fully support brands.

Pimento Overview:

Pimento founded by Stephen Knight, is one agency but their network has many flavours. Together, they can meet the complex demands of clients by creating bespoke teams drawn from their independent network.

Who else can deliver the super charged enthusiasm of entrepreneurs alongside the security of proven practitioners.

Pimento is the leading independent virtual agency network. Founded in 2004 to deliver marketing services for the new digital economy.

Now with around 200 independent agencies and consultants, Pimento can deliver scale, breadth of expertise and the new ideas needed to match any brief.

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