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A Question of Location - is it important in today's Agency market?


Categories: Career

Today The Drum published a really insightful feature piece on the importance of location in today’s marketing industry. It raised the question of whether or not new communication technologies and flexible travel make location irrelevant when clients decide on their agencies or visa versa. The article featured discussions between leading agency directors including Gordon Bethall, managing director of Gratterpalm, and Stuart Grainger of The Small Agency, both located here in Yorkshire. It was interesting to read differing opinions about location and the choices between where agencies choose their base. Gordon Bethall supported Leeds as the most effective location for them to serve their clients, notably their largest client Asda who is also based in the city. Stuart Grainger, on the other hand, felt location was more than being close to clients- they felt their Yorkshire base could deliver the ‘inspiration’ they needed to deliver the best creative campaigns for their clients, which they could not necessarily get from being stuck in a cramped office in Central London. Sarah Halton of Tangerine PR (based in Manchester) also made a great point about the importance of cost, with running costs of agencies generally cheaper outside of London, which is a growing factor many companies bear in mind when choosing a base. If location is purely down to where clients are based there is a worry that agencies in Yorkshire may suffer to those in London where a majority of Blue Chip clients are located. We are already seeing a number of Northern-based agencies opening satellite offices in the capital to help serve their clients, for example Savvy and Blue Chip Marketing. Within marketing recruitment (if an analogy can be drawn) , we opened an office in Manchester in 1999 to help service our clients more effectively.  It was important for us to be close to candidates and clients to meet them and to have our ear close to the ground on changes in the market.  This didn't preclude us from recruiting candidates from outside the area, in fact about 30% of candidates we place are relocating back to the area. However. in terms of meeting candidates we are planning on moving in to the 21st century bu using technology to our advantage.  We plan to use skype video as a tool for interviewing candidates who cannot make a visit to the office.    As an example of where this would have been specifically beneficial, we recently recruited a Head of European E-Commerce for a company based in Leeds.  Four of the prospective candidates were based in London so we went down to interview them.  After a lengthy train journey, a tube strike and numerous taxis we'd built up quite a bill.  Would it have all been more convenient for everyone concerned if we had been able to do this on-line? How would you respond if we suggested a skype video interview rather than coming in to the office?  As always, comments are always appreciated on our blog! Today's post was guest written by Helena Krzeminski


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jonathanhirst

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