The Oystercatchers community: bringing clients and agencies together
At Zapnito’s community event, Suki Thompson, CEO of Oystercatchers, discussed how she uses online communities to bring clients and agencies together, to share and elevate true marketing expertise, and ultimately make the industry better. The key learnings from this are summarised below.
Oystercatchers is an exclusive club targeted at senior-level executives in advertising and marketing. It was set-up to help foster innovation and spark ideas in the industry. This is achieved through physical events that are complemented with a growing online community.
The aim of Oystercatchers
The goal of the community is to bring together clients and agencies. To help them learn from each other in an exclusive environment where pitching and selling aren’t allowed. The inspiration for the online community came about because event attendees were asking for a way to continue discussions that occurred on-site. Building an online community through Zapnito offered a solution for this need, as members could explore ideas that happened at events and spark new ones.
Moving beyond a listing
The Oystercatchers Club unites curious minds to make the industry better. That’s why it had to move beyond mere agency listings, to become something that people would engage with and actively contribute to. Influential marketing leaders are invited to speak at the invite-only events. Which provides the heartbeat of conversations occurring online.
Keeping people connected
This deeper engagement was vital when Oystercatchers was acquired by Centaur. The perception of the brand changed, from a small and intimate company to one owned by a large organisation. The online community kept people connected at a time when several may have lost interest.
Within a year of launching the in-person events, Oystercatchers had 100 members engaging every month. Individual discussions and events can be set-up in distinct ‘rooms’ allowing for quick navigation by members.
For clients, membership is free. However, agencies pay a tiered membership fee that reflects their access to great clients. All memberships are granted based on seniority. If an individual is high-profile enough to command a stage and make a significant contribution to the industry, then they can join.
Now, the platform has approximately 200 to 250 active members every month with 6,800 visitors to the online site.
For agencies, there are several membership tiers to choose from, based on how much time and resources they’d like to commit.
Online only membership gives access to the online community but not any physical events. Full membership grants access to both online and physical events. Finally, fellow membership allows for greater community contribution (at events and within articles, for example). It came about as a direct result of Zapnito’s functionality.
Results and future plans
100 leading agencies are signed up to the platform including Havas London, AMVBDDO and AESOP. Hundreds of client-side CMOs are members - bringing the total membership count to around 500 people. They are highly engaged, with almost 7,000 visits to the online community every month.
For Oystercatchers, the aim for 2020 is to drive user growth amongst the elite audience and increase engagement. For Suki, the latter half of 2019 will see her build a new community. One dedicated to improving wellness and resiliency in the marketing industry. Called ‘Lets Reset’, the Zapnito-powered community has just gone live. With a high-profile marketing and advertising campaign planned for early 2020.