Ahead of tonight's episode of The Apprectice The Drum caught up with contestant Richard Woods (and director of digital marketing agency Yomp Marketing) to find out what the industry can learn from boss Lord Sugar and why Google and Apple could be about to face a "clash of the titans".
What skills have you learnt while being on the show that you think can help grow your ad agency?
Definitely the requirement for teamwork and being able to understand and get the best out of a team as well as being able to quickly assess peoples' skills, know what their good and bad points are and also making sure you keep on the right side of people. The second thing is keep it simple; simple things, simple ideas go a lot further than people give them credit for.
What’s interesting you most at the moment about advertising and marketing?
For us we do a lot of SEO stuff so what’s interesting is really going to town on responsiveness and designing mobile first and desktop second and just trying to see how that complete switch up is working in terms of design and usability.
Also, seeing how Google is going to respond to the potential blocking of Google Adwords and Pay-Per-Click by iPhones and how that is going to shake things up because that could be massive for paid traffic.
How do you see that debate evolving?
Obviously Android is never going to start doing stuff like that but there will be a financial impact… based upon the decision that Apple didn’t really need to make. It will become a bit bitter between the two. Apple really killed Adobe Flash. Is Apple going to kill Google PPC? No way because Google is too big but there is a clash of titans ahead of us and I’m not sure who will win.
What has been the most memorable behind the scenes moment on the Apprentice?
I think David [fellow contestant and sports marketer David Stevenson] being scared of ducks. We did a task with Mo Farrah where we had to do a bit of running around the track and these ducks came flying across and David legged it in the opposite direction. He said, 'I’ve got a confound issue with ducks!'
What tips would you give someone running or thinking about starting up their own agency?
Go niche – I very much went too broad at the start and tried to be full service and although full service is great if you’re big enough and have enough people in-house, when you start if you try to be all things to all men it's really difficult… if you can be the Facebook advertising guy that will get you a lot more clients quickly than if you try to be all things.
How challenging has it been to get a foothold in a market where there’s so much fragmentation and niches?
We’ve done well because people buy people and if you’re a great, personable agency that understands a client’s problems and can show a track record of solving them then that helps. We’ve been really good because people have connected with us, we understand them and they trust us to run campaigns and we got results from them.
Do you still think The Apprentice is a show that has much relevance in the business and advertising world when it comes to opening doors?
Oh massively. It opens doors, what you do with those open doors is down to you. If you’re a knob end then you won’t go anywhere but people are interested to see what you are like and there’s a deal to be done so why not, why wouldn’t someone use you?
Is Lord Sugar someone you think marketers and people in the advertising industry could learn a lot from?
I think so. He’s very old school in how he does things, but old school isn’t always incorrect it just needs to be applied to modern technology. He’s one of the most prolific users of Twitter, he can tweet and millions of people will respond. He’s phenomenal at social media, he’s a published author and he pushes his content out across Amazon and promotes it via social media. He combines old media with new media and he doesn’t shy away from social.
So what can people learn from him?
Definitely not people skills! But I think what people can learn from him [is to make decisions faster]… marketers are terrible at this, you become talking shops. So everybody gets together and you start blue sky thinking and mind mapping and he won’t have any of it. You get in, you have an issue to discuss, you thrash it out, you get out again and get on with your day. Learning as marketers about meetings for meetings sake and not having to constantly be sitting around tables trying to come up with new ideas and just getting on with it is something he would help people understand.