Transcripts: Selecting a U.S. service provider

There are four videos from NZTE customer The Natural Pet Food Group about selecting a U.S. marketing service provider. Read the individual video transcriptions by clicking below.

View the videos here

  • Chapter Four: Value of local knowledge

    With having an agency based in America it can be fraught with difficulties or differences from New Zealand but if you stick in there, there’s some really fantastic advantages to be had as well. It allows you to really explode on the international stage which is very hard to do from a million miles away. What it allows you to do is tap in and work with people on the ground. They understand the culture, they’re well-connected and they really make things happen for you.

  • Chapter One: Picking the right agency

    Hi I’m Jo O’Sullivan from the Natural Pet Food Group. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, I’m the global head of marketing. Our two main brands that we’ve been focusing on for the last year to eighteen months in the U.S. have been Canine Natural and Meat Mates. With Canine Natural we’ve actually been in the U.S. for just over ten years and we just really wanted to take the brand a little further. Meat Mates is a brand new launch for us in the U.S. so we’re in quite a different situation. We’ve got no sales at all and we really want to focus on online and mass channels. We’re working with a couple of agencies here in the U.S. at the moment. The first agency is a more traditional PR agency based out of Seattle and that was to really have a largely experiential based event to create some noise for our brand. The second agency is Los Angeles based. We really wanted to appeal to that more younger millennial hip crowd and so we chose a digital PR agency which enabled us to reach these people more easily.

  • Chapter Three: Managing the process

    We undertook a similar process in finding both of our agencies. We spent a lot of time planning this and understanding what exactly we wanted to achieve out of each project. We worked really closely with NZTE to help define what we wanted and needed in an agency. They created a short list for us and then enabled us to have an interview process so we would go to Seattle and interview three or four agencies all on one day in one hit. We evaluated the agency shortlist by having a couple of us attend all the interviews. When we walked away from the agency meetings we would sit down and look back to the objectives and what we were trying to achieve and there was an element of personality, who we could work best with. An element of size, who was nimble, who was big, who was well connected and also how engaged they were, how excited they were about working with us. We made a final decision on our agency over a beer at the end of a busy day. We really felt that it was it’s not a science, it’s actually an art so really who we connected well with, who we thought was going to deliver the best outcomes for us and that we would have some fun working with them.

  • Chapter Two: Specialists not generalists

    Working with agencies in the U.S. there’s lots of similarities but there’s also differences as well. Probably one of the key learnings we’ve had is they’re so specialised here in the U.S. In New Zealand you have to be a jack of all trades but when you come to the U.S. you have to be really clear on your brief and know what you’re asking for. You need to be really clear about your objectives and then when you think you’re clear about your objectives be clear about your objectives again. Some things just get lost in translation. What’s also really important is the budget is not always the budget. You think that you’re working to a budget and then you’re hit with all these costs out of the side so when you’re working and talking to them it’s really asking them all the questions and what’s covered versus what’s not so there’s no nasty surprises. There is a cultural difference so you need to understand what you’re asking for and make sure that your voice is being heard. So working with a New Zealand based agency quite often they will manage the project for you. They will drive all the meetings that happen each week. They will update you on the budgets and the activity. With the U.S. agencies we had to be on top of them. We had to ring them each week. Skype was fantastic, it allowed us to connect more easily from such a long distance away. We would have to make sure we were on top of the to-do list and making sure we had time locked in diaries so that was quite a change for us.