• The latest in our series profiling members of the new Independent Media Agencies Australia [IMAA]
Perth agency Mentor Marketing is celebrating its fifth birthday at the end of 2020.
Founder Amanda Reid used to dream about opening her own agency while working in larger Perth agencies and she eventually turned that ambition into a reality.
“There were a number of frustrations working in a large network, in addition to a number of benefits. Those discussions I used to have across lunchroom tables turned into Mentor Marketing. We were able to grow at first by reputation and experience. Clients thankfully sort us out, which was fortunate, as they knew the sort of operators we were.
“The majority of our team has over 20 years of agency experience, something that not all agencies can claim. Some clients notice the experience of the staff and are appreciating the model that we offer.
“Being part of the IMAA was a natural fit for us because everything it stands for reinforced our core values. We discuss our independence with clients and it is something we are very proud of and wear as a badge of honour. In a world where clients want transparency, appreciate independence and honesty, we are able to meet the demand for it.
“The reception we have had in Perth has reinforced that we have the right model.”
Mentor Marketing has Perth-based local clients, but has worked in the past on national business too. “That is somewhat of a challenge because of our location where the opportunity for national or global is somewhat limited.
“However the dialogue has opened up more recently about working on national clients. It is tough going up against the networks, but the beauty of the IMAA is that it shows having a footprint on a national and global level doesn’t compromise our service.”
Mentor has retained its original clients, with Reid noting they have worked hard to nurture long-standing relationships.
“That is sometimes lost when people focus on new business. One of the core things that we wanted to address was nurturing and maintaining our existing client base. We tell clients we are here for a long-term relationship and we will invest in it. We are not a churn model. Our very first client we had was a building company Ben Trager Homes and then we eventually took on the whole group, parent company SSB, which was being run out of Starcom Adelaide.
“That is an example of how the business has grown. We work with a lot of creative agencies in the market through existing relationships. We might then get a referral, and more would follow. Despite the current climate, in just the last month we have had four referrals from four different creative agencies.”
Mentor Marketing is affiliated with Carat which is where Reid previously worked, originally leaving to start a family. “We access all Carat’s research and proprietary tools as a third party affiliation. But we are not tied to anyone which is where the independence comes in. If we pick up a client and they have an existing relationship with Initiative, we will work collaboratively with them.”
Perth’s careful management of Covid-19 has helped confidence amongst WA businesses, said Reid. “If there is a second wave I can appreciate the lack of confidence clients would have about getting back into the market for a third time. Our billings and workload indicates we have been very fortunate. That could be heavily impacted if infections started to rise.”
All bar one of Mentor’s small team are ex-agency with one coming from the media. “A point of difference for us has been having a team that is very experienced. It is also critical, especially at present, to be nimble and flexible and having local directors understanding the local market.”
Reid said there have been discussions within IMAA about east coast agencies using a Perth specialist to look after the WA market. “We were the first IMAA member from Perth. It has always been acknowledged here that buying and implementing media in this local market is a massive strength. We have done that in the past and seen the direct benefits in doing so. It can include understanding where are the prominent out of home sites, and knowing the audience and viewership of certain channels. You can’t underestimate the value of local relationships when negotiating values and placements for premium opportunities.”
Top Photo: Amanda Reid