R is for Relevance - HANDEL
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R is for Relevance


27 Oct R is for Relevance

The fax machine. An Internet café. Business class on domestic flights. Telephone guides. Cheques. Payphones. Cassette tapes. Printed books and magazines. The list goes on.


What do these items have in common?


They have become, for the most part, irrelevant.


No one faxes in 2015 – no one. The proliferation of smartphones has been so intense – and combined with massive expansion in telecommunications infrastructure – the Internet is now literally in the hands of more people than ever before. In an age of austerity, a 50 minute business class flight to Durban seems beyond illogical. Mother Nature weeps at the sight of each telephone guide rolling off the printing press. I am, simply put, at a loss for words when it comes to cheques. Cassette tapes have long faded out – along with the memories that accompanied them.


And for those who agree that printed magazines and books are no longer relevant, I would like to differ as I am a big fan of the printed word (I do recycle, so as to offset the environmental impact of this indulgence).


What happened? Technology, in a big way. During the past decade we have seen some massive disruptors making their entrance, turning entire industries upside down.


While some are dead (that 1995 mix tape), some are dying.


The enabler, not the enemy


Technology is not the enemy. Some of the greatest advancements in the history of the human race have been enabled by technology. Imagine life without Google, Uber, online banking…


The problem, I believe, lies with people who are too happy to accept the status quo and not push the boundaries of their thoughts and actions – not even in the slightest.


Complacence breeds irrelevance.


Why am I hammering on about things that are no longer relevant? Because the concept of relevance is such an important one in our business – advising our clients on their business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategies. It’s about always thinking with relevance in mind. Just because something worked last year, does not mean it will work this year. It might, but “chancing” it seems like such a waste (of time and money).


Don’t reinvent the wheel

In our consultations with clients, we make recommendations on a range of marketing tactics, all depending on the client’s objectives.


The tactics at our disposal, at their basic level, are not vastly different from those offered by other agencies. There is digital – in all its guises. There are tactics used to target and acquire new customers. The same applies to customer retention or market development. The list goes on.


When you strip away the impressive labels, methodologies and packaging it’s kind of all the same thing.


Some of my peers might be horrified by this and argue that what I have just done is to label our trade as commoditised. It depends on how you look at it. As agency folk, we are not constantly striving to develop some new marketing methodology that will change the world and garner us a Nobel Prize to display in the office. In any case, we certainly aren’t.


What we are constantly working on is to ensure that our counsel always remains relevant to our clients and the objectives they are seeking to achieve.


Think, monkey!

Your agency partner needs to be relevant, full stop.


You cannot afford an agency (or any business partner, for that matter) that suffers from what we call “sameness syndrome”.


You can programme, automate and train a monkey to do the same – the usual, the tried and trusted.


But you cannot train said monkey to challenge the status quo, to think, to question.


Thinking remains one of our core principles. A cognitive, yet delivery-focused culture is what drives us to provide counsel that is relevant and results-orientated.


I can carry on forever, but will end with a quote by one of the greatest technology figures in recent history, Steve Jobs. “Create relevance, not awareness”.

JP Hansen
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