Case Study: Ascot Racecourse

One of the reasons I turned to Oystercatchers was because I hadn’t been in the marketplace for a digital agency for quite some time. Having worked on agency side, I wasn’t in the business of selecting a digital agency. I therefore needed to use expert advice into understanding the digital landscape and being able to fast track our decision in terms of finding the best agencies to pitch for our business.

During the process, Oystercatchers brought a huge amount of value to me. First and foremost, they helped me design a process that would work for both myself, in terms of the time I had available, but also in terms of the management of might stakeholders in the business. As I mentioned before, we’d never worked with an external digital agency and I wanted to follow a very thorough and well thought through process towards the decision, so we brought our stakeholders with us rather than presenting them with that fanatical plea. The first thing that was really important to me with Oystercatchers was the process that we agreed to undertake. The second part of that was the way Oystercatchers managed that process from me. The simple things like the communication advance of each meeting, the provision of insight into how to help shape my brief and also just the general attitude they brought to making it fun as well as serious.

The basis of a client-agency relationship was a key part of the discussions that we undertook at the beginning of our pitch process. Peter asked me to define what I would like to achieve in terms of the partnership that I would like to develop with my agency and it was really important to me because once you have a group of six agencies where you know their capabilities would probably match themselves in terms of actual delivery, it comes down to the people and the type of partnership that you want to develop with them. And it was really important to me to become partners. I’m not in the business of working with suppliers, it is about having a partnership relationship where the agency are an extension of my thinking in this instance, in the digital space. But they are also partners who will challenge me and challenge our team and keep us moving on the journey that we have set out to achieve as a brand. And then also just about liking the people that you work with and wanting to spend time with them. We, at Ascot, are very open to inviting our agencies to take part in our product which happens to be pretty exciting to do. For instance Huge, our current digital agency, will be coming racing this weekend; we put in a box for them because I want them to live and breathe my brand and to experience it. We find that the more we invest in the relationship with our agencies, the more we get out of them, and that it is not a cynical point of view, that is just from experience, and also an understanding of how we think an agency would work best with us.

From a business point of view, I spend far too much time awake at night thinking about how I can improve my customer journey. When you put on a race day we always put a lot of effort into understanding how to ensure that everybody who walks through our gates experiences premier racing from a premier brand. What I spend a lot of time thinking about is how we can extend that experience, particularly at the moment in the digital space, so that from the moment a customer engages with us, we are giving them an Ascot brand experience and we aren’t doing it completely at the moment, but we have a vision on how we want to achieve that and a great part of that vision is how we would deliver that, both in the digital space, socially, but also in the context of our website.

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