Our latest Marketing in the time of COVID-19 series is an interview with Martin Cozens, Managing Director of Banc Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Old Trafford, Manchester. Over the past decade, Banc Digital have grown from a team of two huddled in the corner of another business’ office to a thriving agency of 30+ specialising in web dev, organic search, paid search and content creation.
Banc Digital work across a broad range of B2B and B2C industries, helping small businesses grow their web presence and large multinationals maximise their digital performance.
Martin Cozens, founded the business in 2009 with long-time friend, Neil Birchall. Prior to founding Banc, Martin was the lead account manager at one of the UK’s largest digital agencies.
Can you tell me a bit about Banc, and what you do day to day?
Banc is a full-service digital agency, specialising in organic search, paid search, content marketing, web development, social media and digital PR. Based in Trafford, Manchester, we’ve been around since 2009, and have worked with a range of B2B and B2C clients across different industries – from travel to energy.
Day to day, we service our clients with integrity and attentiveness, delivering considered campaigns while supporting them with ad hoc issues and requests. Through our dedicated client services team, we aim to become an extension of our clients’ businesses – there to help with day-to-day challenges, while ensuring outstanding digital performance across all ongoing campaigns.
Do you think that Covid-19 has changed how companies and businesses consider their marketing strategies?
From our perspective, COVID-19 has had a two-fold impact on how businesses approach digital marketing. Initially, many opted to slam on the brakes, with a view to safeguard their cashflow and ensure business continuity. This meant pausing paid campaigns, cutting organic search and content marketing budgets, and adjusting their social media strategy to be as cost-effective as possible.
But, naturally, recovery could only come through increased marketing spend, so in the last few weeks especially, we’ve seen companies resume activity – if tentatively. With lockdown rules easing, businesses see digital marketing as key to tapping into this renewed consumer confidence.
Looking ahead, digital will be critical to how businesses continue to recover from the fallout of COVID-19. With the pandemic far from over, businesses will need to leverage every online channel available to boost engagement and drive conversions in this challenging consumer arena.
Integrity is part of your mantra, how important do you think ethics are within both your business and within the marketing of your business?
From the outset, we wanted to do digital marketing differently. With both myself and my business partner, Neil Birchall, having previously worked in marketing agencies, we knew there was space and opportunity to take a different approach – one that favours respect, integrity and the value of long-term partnerships over bottom-line profit and quick wins.
In our experience, businesses want an agency they can rely and call upon whenever and wherever they run into trouble – and integrity is a part of that. Above all else, we strive to build long-term partnerships with our clients, treating them like we would our colleagues and friends.
This attitude extends to our business, too. By recognising the value and expertise of our workforce, we’ve built a fantastic team who share similar values, and have the employee retention rate to prove it. Honesty, consistency and integrity – they’re what we’re about.
Have you have made changes to your own marketing during this period and will they continue after COVID-19?
Historically, we’ve leaned on our own success to win clients and grow our brand, with much of our business coming from word-of-mouth and referral opportunities. But in the time of COVID-19, when the business landscape has become more insular and cautious of spending, we’ve certainly had to approach marketing differently to safeguard our trajectory of growth.
One area that we’ve invested in for our own marketing during COVID-19 has been digital PR. Not only do PR opportunities get more eyes on your brand, they’re a sound way to bolster organic search performance with traffic and links. With lots of in-house expertise to tap into, finding and responding to digital PR requests has been a key part of how we have adapted our marketing to the challenges of the pandemic.
Recently, we’ve also started the process of hosting webinars, with a view to leverage our in-house knowledge to network and connect with others in our industry. With the usual annual digital marketing conferences on hold for the time being, webinars are a great way to gain exposure and showcase our expertise in a remote setting.
What are you most looking forward to doing when everything is back to normal?
Getting back to the office! Currently, our business is operating remotely, and we’ve only recently reopened our office on a part-time basis, so that colleagues can use it for meetings or get-togethers should they so wish. We’re excited for the time when everyone, colleagues and clients, can use our offices again safely.
Thanks very much to Martin Cozens, and to Banc Digital for giving us an insight into how their agency is affected by the current pandemic, and telling us a bit more about his thoughts on ethical marketing. To find out more about Banc then please visit their website here.