Creative Talk with Nick Niblett from Blue Eye Deer
Nick Niblett is the director of Blue Eye Deer, an Auckland based agency with a focus on Digital, Data and Social. Prior to this Nick worked agency side as a digital producer before making the move to starting his own agency in 2015. Let’s see how he’s progressing.
You made the move to start your own agency in 2015. Good decision?
Great decision! I’m not going to lie and say it's been easy, but it’s been totally worth it. It’s a different dynamic just coming in and doing a job. Now there are so many hats you must wear and every day is different.
But it’s totally worth it!
Your background has been in digital producing and research within the agency environment. What’s the top learning you have taken from this and integrated to your own agency?
Firstly being a freelancer producer and then an employed producer - the two biggest learnings are to really understand your customer. When I was a producer in agencies, I always saw suits as my customer - meeting their needs that would then impress the clients. I saw this as win win always.
The other thing is recognizing that you don’t have to be the best at everything. Your role in producing and running a business is about getting the best people around the table to produce the best outcome. For me it’s about working with my team and contractors / partners to deliver this outcome.
What is Blue Eye Deer’s main proposition?
When I left agency land I wasn’t sure what Blue Eye Deer was going be. I had an idea in my mind and it’s been a very emergent kind of process. More and more though we’re finding our niche building inbound marketing strategies for our clients. What I love about this approach is that it brings our teams skillset into a well-rounded proposition. It takes research, digital, content and automation and delivers a proposition around how consumers and customers buy. Rather than the traditional advertising offering that is prevalent in traditional agencies.
You work direct with clients and other agencies – how does that work?
It’s great actually. When you start out it can be quite isolating trying to get something off the ground. I think I was lucky enough to have some good relationships (it helps being a nice guy) through my agency time, that working direct with agencies starting out was really helpful in getting up and going while building our own client portfolio.
It’s also about understanding your specialty and then looking for opportunities to truly collaborate together with agencies.
What’s your highlight thus far – any stand out projects you are proud to tell your mum about?
It’s funny but when you start out, particularly someone like myself who has 4 kids and you step out to do your own thing - you never truly know what the outcome will look like, particularly early on. One of my proudest moments was actually just getting the signage put up outside our office. It’s like: “Yeah we’ve arrived and we’re staying”.
Project wise I really am proud of the work we did with SPCA Blue Tick – it’s a pretty tricky message that we tried to promote but think we nailed it in the end.
Inbound marketing growth – is this an integral part of your offering to clients?
For us it was a natural progression. In one sense, it kind of happened by accident based on the people I was recruiting and the skills they could bring to the table. Then last year we worked on our own internal strategy and all the pieces started falling in to place.
What advice would you have for clients who have an online presence and feel they are doing ‘okay’ and their business is good – however are at risk of being complacent in this social heavy world?
I think it really comes down to goals. It seems kind of obvious, but often at times with our own digital properties we don’t really think about, or understand how to measure if / when we’ve achieved our objectives or not. Similarly, which part of the customer journey are each of our digital properties targeting? We’re probably too quick to knock up a website, do some social posts, but not be really clear on how this might help meet our customers’ needs or deliver the best outcomes for the business.
Once you’ve got your goals sorted, then it is really about balancing the tension between content and context rather than just being merely present in social or any other online environment.
You offer retainer packages for your clients who require ongoing maintenance – how does this work?
Again, it’s really about what a client is looking to achieve. The inbound methodology is quite systematic and once you’ve done the strategy piece. The packages are designed to execute and deliver to this. Inbound has a strong focus on content. Certain digital platforms can take a while to take hold, therefore we work hard to make sure that the content we produce has a long lifespan while meeting clients’ objectives. To do that requires a longer-term focus, hence the need for ongoing retainers.
With the mix of advertising agencies, digital agencies, content agencies and inbound marketing agencies – how do marketing managers and business owners work out who they should be talking to?
I think this is a natural dilemma for any marketer. For us in agency land, we’re also competing with clients insourcing a bunch of these roles. It can be tricky for marketing managers and businesses to ensure they get the best possible solution for their business objectives.
I think, in a sense it’s about managing complexity, and then getting the right people who also hold true to meeting your objective. For us it’s not about skillset contribution, but more about goal alignment with the customer.
Any prophecy you would like to leave us pondering on?
Oh geez! Well AI is an interesting development particularly for marketers. So, let’s say we’ll be out of work in 2048? Don’t hold me to this…