Creative Tank is a London (UK, not Ontario) based marketing group, with a staff of 10 – four of whom are currently on Tour with The Who managing an innovative live streaming program. The group is run by Chris Dabbs, the CEO and James Wilkinson (an old friend of mine).
Chris and James always saw larger agencies pull everything in house under one roof and, as they told me, this can lead to creative becoming stagnant and too samey. The guys decided that there was a niche in becoming a company that account manages the clients’ expectations and as a result set up Creative Tank to work at the opposite end of the spectrum to a full service in-house agency.
They have hundreds of suppliers and freelancers on their books that they can precisely fit to the clients brief. This openness and flexibility allows them to use the right talent at the right price and over the last three years they’ve worked out what and where their suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses are. The group is currently doing work all over EMEA and will be moving into the States in September with other expansion plans being developed. Australia and Russia better watch out as the boys are also researching moving into their markets.
In between putting out fires for their current project and managing a very successful, innovative business Chris and James took some time to take part in the first ever Blogging Me Blogging You interview. It’s a long one so I’m taking Joe’s advice and posting it in two parts. Part two tomorrow and if you have any questions for the guys, please put them in the comments and I’ll make sure they see them – as you’ll see they already pay great attention to the blogosphere..
Hi James, Hi Chris – can you take me through Creative Tank’s core value proposition?
By using the resources of our network of suppliers we can develop the best creative or technology at the best price – maximizing our clients’ return on marketing investment (ROMI). On the “supply side” our partners love the fact that we’re working as their business development arm; while the clients are happy because they are getting the attention to detail that some larger agencies take for granted. We give the clients hands on guidance all the way through their marketing campaigns and each client will have at least two account managers.
Business moguls like Alan Sugar always say that buying a product for resale is more important that the actual end sale. If that’s true, how do you choose a new partner for the Creative Tank network?
Honestly, we go on gut instinct and only then do we look at past work. We’ve learnt that a supplier may do the best work, but if we can’t work with them in a business relationship then there isn’t much point in working with them. Clients’ needs will always come first. That’s why we are growing so quickly, we have a policy here that ensures that all clients are 100% happy with the service they are receiving.
Your website lists an A-Z of marketing functions, from PR to e-marketing, to web development and SEO but only some of these tabs have actual case studies behind them – what do you see as your “core” offering and key areas of strength?
You’re right, we do have a lot of offerings. However our core competency would be Digital Marketing. 90% of our work is based online – it’s where the future revenue is all coming from and we are all very excited about the opportunities the web will provide.
We’re also really excited about the opportunities social media is providing us – when ever we have a big story we want to hit the press with, the first place we go is the blogosphere. Blogs are a perfect way to get the target market at their best. You can read their comments and do you own qualitative research on them. It’s as if they are sitting in a room talking about your product or service.