Young business development managers who have grown up in the digital age might know a good deal about the best technology for driving online advertising sales, but do they know about the unique human insights that appeal to prospective customers’ heads and hearts? A Rochester agency which began life when “digital” meant something you did with your metacarpals knows a thing or three about both.
Unique human insights
Roberts Communications began life in Manhattan in 1971, before moving upstate to Rochester and eventually settling on the High Falls site that has been its home since 1995. And for business development managers who like the notion of fusing high tech with human insights, the agency’s watchword is “CustomerThink”. If that’s left our business development manager feeling as baffled as she is intrigued, Roberts defines it as uncovering “unique human insights” to produce the advertising messages that’ll have the greatest impact because they’re based on a deep understanding of what goes on inside customers’ heads and hearts.
Essentially, the agency directs its creative juices into linking the right consumer with the right product at the right moment. As anyone who’s held media jobs in internet advertising for any length of time will appreciate, that’s not as easy as it sounds: there’s a veritable blitzkrieg of advertising bombarding people all the time, night and day, day in, day out.
The agency’s CEO and President, Bill Murtha, says: “It comes down to really understanding the audience. Businesses don’t buy stuff. People buy stuff.”
A light touch
Roberts Communications isn’t technology-shy. It’s seriously into targeting, and uses tech to target on social media and across the Web more generally, but with a light and subtle touch.
Murtha insists that despite the proliferation of targeting tools and vehicles, none of it will have the desired effect unless the message the agency creates is something that customers are interested in finding out about. He puts it like this:
“We don’t want to be creepy. No one wants to be ‘followed.’ We try not to overload. We’re very careful about the durations (of the ads) and the intervals. It’s all about your strategy that you don’t want to overdo it.”
This, he says, is “selling as helping, as opposed to selling as pushing.”
Sometimes, older agencies can teach young guns some timeless truths.