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How Marketing Agencies Stay Productive: Jfry Craig of Simple Simple

July 24, 2018

This week we feature Jfry Craig, Creative Director of Simple Simple. Simple Simple is a Calgary digital advertising agency specializing in creative content, web design, social media marketing, and online media buys.

In this interview, you can read more about his work, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as his advice for budding marketers.

Your location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Your favorite gadget: Wink hub, dji spark.

You start your day with: Checking out the markets, drinking water, feeding the cat and fish.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Trust the people who work under you.

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: lowetide, tech crunch, sem rush.

A picture of your workstation or the view outside your window if that inspires you: a view from our front office patio included.

Front Office View

Describe an average day at Simple Simple?

Meet about ads, talk with the designers. Sometimes meet with the devs. Talk to clients. Hopefully we’re all aligned on the daily/weekly/monthly priorities and then everyone basically powers out on their tasks. Lots of research, meetings, and reporting!

We have a lot of back and forth with our clients because of the amount of social media that Simple Simple handles, so there’s always someone slacking or video conferencing with people out of the office -- it’s fun seeing so much interaction with those we work with! 

Also, a lot of the staff are hooked on these weird crime podcasts, so it’s pretty funny to listen to the “water cooler” chatter. #sword&scale. Everyday at 4:30pm we have a group shot or cocktail together -- it’s a nice tradition.

As a Founder/Marketer what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?

Trust the people around you and who work for you. If you have the proper people and processes in place, that’ll be the biggest time saver/hack you could ever do.

Learning when and how to say “no” to a client because you’re the expert on certain topics is a huge time saver, but also learning when to say “yes” instead of arguing for really small wins saves a lot of time and effort.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound,  I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts.  What are the top 3-5 tools you use? 

Wrike, SEMrush, Google Analytics, G-suite, Slack.

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

Our company is focused on personalizing people’s digital experience, so a terrific amount of our effort is spent trying to understand our different market segments, and trying to meet those people where they are so that our brands feel like a natural extension of their lives. All of this is built around analytics and knowing that we can create predictable results within specific demos -- we’ve developed a few proprietary metrics which we believe help to level the playing field when we’re considering investment in different channels vs. the wouldbe consumer impact/engagement.

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

We find that a lot of people come to us because they’ve seen our work without realizing it’s our work. As a result our SEO program is focused on answering questions like, “Who buys ads for Moxie’s?” or “What web companies work with Spredfast?” We also try to keep our blog up to date with current advertising ideas, which helps us share them with prospective clients -- quite often people will approach us with ideas that we had previously written about and as a result it helps support our position as a company that already thinking and doing work in that domain.

Is there any advice you'd like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Always bring a computer to a meeting and take effective notes! It blows my mind when I’m in a meeting with a bunch of creatives and marketing professionals where everyone is writing notes on a pad or in a fancy stitched book. Everything these days ends up in a project management tool or ticketing system, so make your meeting notes as useful as possible for all people who will need to glean information from them in the future (including yourself). Share your notes with all parties and create a platform for ideas and a historical repository of how project ideas came to bear -- effective meeting notes drive projects forward. There are lots of great ways to take digital notes -- find a way that’s effective for you and your team. We use Google docs extensively so that meetings can be shared internally and with clients, worked on simultaneously and onscreen for all to follow.

Learn to talk to your documents! A first draft of a document can often be made in minutes if you become adept with voice-to-text. For many people it is a much more effective way of getting thoughts down on paper as opposed to typing. There’s a lot of editing and cleanup along the way, but it’s without a doubt the fastest way to get ideas down, especially for those who aren’t as strong at writing but are good orators.

A lot of people are celebrating Slack in this series, but I’d just warn people that while it’s useful, it can also be a massive time drag -- using a proper project management application with an effective commenting system; it removes the need for so much cross chatter on slack or tons of emails. Don’t get me wrong, Slack is an integral part of our company’s communication and it’s largely beneficial, but it’s also really easy to get dragged into it and derail your day under the guise of productivity. Slack has finally integrated video and desktop sharing, so do more video meetings and screen sharing -- it’ll save you time.

How do you make use of your downtime? Any hobbies, out of work interests that rejuvenate you?

I bought a camper van a few years ago that’s pretty tricked out. So, I love getting out on the road, finding hidden spots, and discovering new cities. Travel is the most important “new idea generation” time that I have and an absolute must if I want to keep things fresh.  Plus, who doesn’t like the ocean and mountains!! It’s a bit like a mobile office when it needs to be, but I try to avoid thinking of specific projects and instead just being inspired by new surroundings.

A big thanks to Jfry for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out Simple Simple.

Managing marketing projects shouldn’t be chaotic —Try Brightpod for free and start focusing on what matters.


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