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New event is ‘speed dating’ for South African advertisers, marketers

All too often, the first time a company’s marketing department meets an advertising agency is during the pitch for a new campaign. For both parties that can mean a slew of misses before finding a hit. A new Johannesburg event is looking to change that by giving South African agencies and marketers a “no-strings-attached” 10 minute opportunity to size each other up and feel if there’s enough chemistry to warrant a longer conversation over a boardroom pitching table.

The so called “speed dating event, run by the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), involves 10 individual marketers meeting with 10 selected ad agencies at the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Sandton.

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According to IAS, the programme is meant to help marketers and their agencies “find each other, work together, and get the best out of their partnership with each other”.

Read more: Digital marketing must be a boardroom conversation

The agencies have the opportunity to present their credentials during a ten minute individual session. Before marketers leave they will give IAS detailed feedback on the agencies they interacted with. The IAS says it will forward this feedback to each agency.

During each short interaction, attendees will share their professional backgrounds and business goals to see if there is good chemistry and whether any ideas spark. Powerful introductions could result in exciting new business and effective campaigns.

IAS MD Johanna McDowell describes the event as “a dynamic way for agencies to get excellent pitch practice, sharpen their credentials and sales pitch and participate in a learning activity while networking with clients who will provide them with valuable feedback, on the spot.”

Read more: Should SA agencies adopt the ‘lean advertising’ model

The IAS specialises in client/agency relationship management and helping clients find agencies. International associate company AAR Group, was founded more than 35 years ago in the UK and has associates and branches throughout the world.

Only agencies who are subscribers to the IAS range of services will be included in the speed dating sessions. According to McDowell this is because the company knows its “subscribing agencies well and part of our service is to match them up with suitable clients.”

This isn’t an entirely new innovation, with similar events having taken place in the UK.

“Our role as IAS is to bring marketers the widest choice of agencies and to show them what is new in the industry,” says McDowell. “Our role with agencies is to make sure that we provide them with opportunities that will be beneficial on many levels. We are looking forward to offering ‘speed dating” more often in future. And to encouraging more agencies to come on board.”

Sessions in Johannesburg will take place on 20 August and 1 September and in Cape Town on 28 October.

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