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Opinion and Insight

SHHHHH… 18 Secrets to Success from Adland Experts (that your competitors probably don’t want you to know)

Honeycomb asks the experts on the panel of their upcoming HiveLive event to divulge the tips that took them from humble business owners to industry innovators.

SHHHHH… 18 Secrets to Success from Adland Experts (that your competitors probably don’t want you to know)

8 out of 10 new businesses fail. When it comes to making it in the media world, you need a super idea, savvy staff and a few secrets up your sleeve. Industry experts, David Sanderson Head of Sky AdSmart Local & Development, Luke Hammersley, CEO of Zebra Worldwide, Nicholas Verkroost, COO of Seenit, Pat Murphy, Founder of Murphy Cobb Associates and Matt Cooper Founder of Little Black Book share their top tips for taking adland by the horns. 

1. TALK RATHER THAN TYPE
David Sanderson, Head of Sky AdSmart Local & Development > Sometimes the best way to communicate is face to face. Whilst email can save time in some areas, knowing when to jump on the phone can save hours of useless back and forth.

2. HIRE PEOPLE THAT ARE SMARTER THAN YOU ARE
Luke Hammersley, CEO, Zebra Worldwide> Hire people that are smarter than you are, who challenge each other (and you) every day and are never satisfied with the way things are. 

3. REPORT ON EVERYTHING
Pat Murphy, Founder, Murphy Cobb Associates> The power of reporting is critical. We've now done that with our online platform Control Room. This simple but effective bit of technology helps us show the clients the value we deliver; how much, where, and how they spend their production investment anywhere round the world and in any currency.

4. MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEES FEEL LIKE FOUNDERS
Matt Cooper, Founder, Little Black Book > Make your employees think like they are a part of the business, not just an employee. A good employee in any role needs to be able to think about the business as a whole and KNOW what they can achieve and do. 

5. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO DO THE RIGHT THING 
Nicholas Verkroost, COO, Seenit> Don’t be afraid to do the wrong thing, but make sure you do it for the right reasons. For example, doing something unscalable to drive growth and prove a strategy. But don’t beat yourself up if you realise you should be doing something different. You never would have reached that conclusion unless you hadn’t made the mistake in the first place!

 6. SAVE HOURS ON ACCOUNTING
Luke Hammersley, CEO, Zebra Worldwide> We have automated online account management reporting for clients to log into and build reports to their own spec, whenever they want. It has given us hundreds of hours back that we can refocus on more valuable client focussed tasks.

7. TRAIN STAFF REMOTELY
Pat Murphy Founder, Murphy Cobb Associates> We now do all of our training for our global teams via webinar software. Not only is it fast and effective, it saves a lot of money on useless face to face gatherings; flights, hotels, and per diems for glorified ‘whoop whoop’ sessions.

8. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
David Sanderson, Head of Sky AdSmart Local & Development> Social media marketing is in no way as effective as good social media!

9. SWAP DRINKS FOR DOING SOMETHING GOOD
Luke Hammersley, CEO, Zebra Worldwide> We exchanged summer and Christmas parties for charity events that we all take part in together. The comradery is far stronger after walking for eight hours along the Kent coastline to raise money for charity, than after eight pints in the Dog & Duck. We did have a few beers at the end though!
 
10. BEHAVE LIKE COMPANIES OF THE FUTURE
Pat Murphy Founder, Murphy Cobb Associates> Our teams work from home if they desire, they have flexible working hours, and can input into the direction of the business through knowledge sessions and training. The only thing we ask is to be at the Xmas party, and keep the client happy.

11. GIVE STAFF THE CHANCE OF FEELING SUCCESS – AND DON’T FORGET TO TAKE THEM OUT
Matt Cooper, Founder, Little Black Book> I think making people understand they are a part of the business is good for them. When they feel success and feel they have directly made a positive impact on the business, it will make them feel MUCH better. Although, I’m sitting here typing thinking I need take the crew out for a long overdue beer...

12. ADLAND BE PREPARED, EVEN MORE MEDIA TIME IS COMING
David Sanderson, Head of Sky AdSmart Local & Development > I’m keeping my eye on self-driving vehicles – I feel a lot more “media” time is coming.

13. EMBRACE CHANGE
Nicholas Verkroost, COO, Seenit> One of the most exciting things about growing your team is you never know where the next amazing idea will come from. As people specialize in certain roles, they’ll quickly become more of an expert than you! It can be quite a scary moment for some, but you’ll quickly learn to love their insight.
 
14. IMPROVE YOUR TECH ‘CRAP FILTER’
Matt Cooper, Founder, Little Black Book> I really honestly don’t look out for tech solutions. I think the good ones always rise to the top. My biggest tip would be to develop your crap filter. I feel lucky enough to have lived before and after the rise of mac, the internet and other things. I’ve seen a lot of tech come and go. The next big thing can die overnight. Knowing what’s going to last is so important.

15. SUPPORT GOOD LIFESTYLES FOR STAFF
David Sanderson, Head of Sky AdSmart Local & Development > Flexible working hours teamed with good quality, low cost food and a great gym can make a huge difference in staff productivity and general morale.

16. SUPPORT THE WIDER INDUSTRY
Luke Hammersley, CEO, Zebra Worldwide> We have just started a process to bring troubled young people into our businesses as apprentices. Working with with Centre Point and ARK academy we have also set up a bursary scheme to support talented kids through uni from disadvantaged backgrounds. I really think businesses have a responsibility to do these things. It fills me with pride and I wish we had done it sooner.

17. GIVE YOURSELF SOME ME TIME
Pat Murphy Founder, Murphy Cobb Associates> If I could go back I’d love to tell myself that sleep and vacations are a crucial part of regenerating and being at your best for clients and for the business. There has been precious little sleep in 13 years. Stress and anxiety is a major problem for small business owners that most don't understand unless you've been through it.

18. WHATEVER YOU DO, GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
Nicholas Verkroost, COO, Seenit> One of the great appeals of doing business with early stage companies is they’ll value you more than buying a service from a big company. Build that into your ethos! And the more contact you have with your customers, the more you’ll learn about their pains allowing you to iterate faster.