Awards case study: Lifting the lid on twogether’s creative success
We lift the lid on twogether to reveal why it won the 2017 award for B2B marketing communications agency of the year
Twogether changed massively in 2016. It opened its first overseas office in San Francisco, appointed specialists in social media and marketing automation, and launched new services for its partnermarketing.com channel marketing platform.
Above all, it was acquired by the Next15 Communications group, which gave it a strong foundation for future growth and its clients access to a vast new network of capabilities.
All the while, it won pitches, adding Sony Digital Cinema, Dell EMC, CSC/DXC, ALE, Insight and others to it roster. It also grew its business with existing clients such as Lenovo, Sungard Availability Services, Veritas and Intuit. All this created 7% year-on-year growth, with a 14% margin and strong cash flow.
Creatively, it generated results that delighted clients. Lenovo’s spiced up ‘Tiny Not Timid’ campaign for its ThinkCentre PC produced $1.3 million in closed deals, with $8.1 million pipeline. ‘The Art of Transformation’ for CSC smashed its target for event attendance and led to more than £50 million in pipeline opportunities.
With 100% client retention, twogether has grown and changed without losing sight of its core values of effective creativity, great people and, as clients confirm, brilliant service.
Twogether is a specialist B2B marketing agency focused exclusively on technology. It provides creative, digital and channel marketing services, including its own channel relationship platform, partnermarketing.com.
It sees its role as making complex technologies comprehensible and accessible to everyone involved in the purchasing process, many of whom are not technically minded.
It’s an approach that has helped it grow rapidly, win new clients consistently. This year it caught the eye of an international agency group that welcomed it warmly into its network. Seizing the momentum, it recently opened its first overseas office in San Francisco.
The agency was established in 2013 after a management buy-out from the Adventis Group. Managing director Kirsty Gilchrist was joined by a senior management team of Liz Rafferty (client services), Alex Norbury (commercial), Jon Busby (digital), Gab Mastrilli (creative services) and Tony Bradford (studio). Strategy director Christina Williamson joined in 2014.
Following a series of pitch wins in 2016, twogether’s roster of clients now includes Lenovo, Microsoft, Dell EMC, Intuit, Brocade, Sony Digital Cinema, Motorola Solutions and Hitachi Data systems. It’s growing, grabbing attention and keeping creativity at the heart of effective B2B marketing.
Contribution to clients’ businesses
During the past year (April 2016 to April 2017), twogether retained 100% of its clients. Those that have been with the agency from the outset include Lenovo, Sungard Availability Services, Brocade, Hitachi Data Systems, Avaya, Intel, Symantec and Intuit. Some 70% of its clients have been with it for four years or longer.
Two campaigns from last year demonstrate the contribution twogether has made to clients’ businesses:
CSC: ‘Art of Transformation’
- 150 plus c-suite event attendees
- 93% meetings to conversions
- £50 million pipeline opportunities
Lenovo: ‘Tiny Not Timid’
- $3.2 million pipeline within the first week
- $8.1 million pipeline to date
- $1.3 million closed deals to date
Content. Automation. Social. None of it works without a central compelling idea to drive the story. Twogether works in multiple channels, but always starts with the strategy, the creative then brings it to life.
It helped Sungard Availability Services turn the threatening, grizzly beast of digital transformation into a friendly, obedient teddy bear. It put Lenovo’s power-packed ThinkCentre Desktop on the front burner when it sent jars of searing chilli sauce to IT decision makers. And it brought colour and artistic vision to the pin-striped world of city finance, with the Art of Transformation event for CSC.
Its people and passion
The name twogether was carefully chosen. Staff arrive and stay for a very long time; many have been with the agency since long before it was established independently.
In internal surveys, 97% of respondents (nearly the whole company) cite ‘people and culture’ as a reason for being most proud to work at the agency. Currently, the average tenure for a member of staff is 3.65 years.
Training and team development are high priorities. As well as individual specialist training, lunchtime masterclasses are held throughout the year, at which experts from across the company pass on their knowledge. Topics have included social media, quality assurance, Agile project management and marketing automation.
Every month, its staff vote for its 'Heroes of the Month', two people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, whether it's changing a tyre for a stranded colleague, or bringing in outstanding bakes.
Charity and community projects are also part of life at the agency. Twogether provides pro bono support to the charity ‘Save The Rhino’, creating four major campaigns for them in 2016-17. A twogether team also entered the London Marathon in April 2016, raising more than £13,000 for research into Parkinson's disease.
Social life at the agency also demonstrates the sense of community, with regular events throughout the year. In 2016, the summer ‘twogfest’ allowed people to show off their rock credentials, while Marlow Place was once again used to champion local artists, serving as a venue for the annual Bucks Open Studios event.
Key initiatives and achievements
Two key events dominated 2017 for twogether. Its acquisition by the Next15 Group, which gave it a platform for its international expansion plans, and its clients access to a vast new network of services.
The opening of its San Francisco office saw it complete the first stage of those plans, with a three-strong team, serving clients based in the US.
At the same time, it made a significant investment in its partnermarketing.com channel marketing platform, launching new services and capabilities. As part of the development strategy, partnermarketing.com became a lead sponsor for the Channel Meet Up event programme, a new event series exclusively for marketers and partners.
It also established its own Digital Steering Committee as an innovation hub for the agency, creating new digital services for clients, and digital director Jon Busby joined the Marlow Development Hub, a collaborative initiative for local technology businesses.
Financial performance and stability
- 100% client retention
- Won two out of every three pitches
- 7% growth
- 14% profitability
- 78% staff retention
- Staff and community engagement.