An Intern’s Experience At CAS

Before I Start

Before I go into what I learned from Creative Agency Secrets and the benefits of the experience, I wanted to start by explaining what an incredible opportunity this really was. Very few people are given the chance that I was. An international work experience is absolutely invaluable. The fact that I was able to, halfway through my undergraduate degree, fly to another side of the world for two months simply to experience another culture and essentially take a potential career path on a “test-drive” is absolutely insane and I am deeply grateful to all the amazing people who helped me make the most of it.

So Let’s Talk About CAS

That being said, Creative Agency Secrets has been a strongly defining part of my time here and has introduced me to a variety of new skills in the digital marketing realm. It’s worth noting that, with the ever-rising presence of social media, mobile integration, and online interactions, digital marketing becomes increasingly more important to understand by the day. While it is true that print media and other forms of “traditional marketing” are not dead, as a member of the younger generation, I do know that what we see doesn’t come from newspapers or magazines, but from websites, Instagram, and YouTube. This is where the future of marketing lies and this is exactly what I was trained in during my time here.

The benefit of working for a small company like Creative Agency Secrets is that, as an intern, you aren’t simply filing papers or running errands; you’re applying your knowledge from the classroom to a real-world context with actual clients. During my time here, I did everything from plan, design and build landing pages in six different languages, to run social media campaigns for events. Just to highlight a few, these are some new skills I learned during my time here:

  • How to optimize blog posts with internal links to decrease a website’s bounce rate
  • How to use WordPress to code websites, landing pages, and press pages that enhance the user experience and achieve the site’s goals
  • How to create graphics, logos, and sites that align with a company’s brand and make the mission/message of the company clear in every aspect of the experience
  • How to plan a business promotion event with everything from creating the concept, planning the marketing strategy and adapting to hurdles
  • How to use a variety of programs send out newsletters, emails, and promotions

And much, much more.

However, I believe the most important thing I learned from my experience here was not the technical or business skills: it was the ability to face and overcome a challenge that arose in the process. This sounds straightforward, but it’s an underestimated and vital skill to have. I believe that regardless of the company or job, every project will have some challenge or problem; this is inevitable. What defines a strong worker from a weak one is the ability to effectively deal with these setbacks and turn them into successes. This isn’t really something that can be taught in textbooks or lectures, but rather, needs to be experienced. During my two months here, every single issue I encountered taught me a little more about how to deal with hurdles and that is more valuable than anything I have encountered here. While marketing platforms and relevancy of strategies might change over time, this is a skill that will stay constant through the years. For that, I cannot thank Creative Agency Secrets enough.


Shout-outs And Thanks

I would also like to give a small shout-out to the CAS team for being such a cool group. Thank you to Conrado for being the best supervisor I could ever ask for and teaching me so much over the past two months. I don’t think I have met a more dedicated and patient teacher in my life, and without you, I probably wouldn’t have learned half of what I did. Tabhitha, your incredible knowledge on social media and website design never fails to amaze so thank you for showing me how logical and interesting digital marketing can really be. And of course, shout out to Rebecca for helping me with my email writing skills and explaining whether I should say “bollocks” or “bugger”. CAS team, I will miss our morning coffee sessions, midday snack runs, and all of our amazing conversations. Thank you all for helping make my internship abroad such a valuable one. I can’t wait to take what I have learned to future endeavors and wish the company the best of luck as I move on.

Stay cool, fam.


Your favorite (favourite) intern,


Dear Valued Customer – How Not To Write Customer Service Letters

From: Jim Bird  On Behalf Of

Sent: 16 October, 2012 10:04 PM

Subject: Thank you for using XXXXXX – Please Review Us


Dear Valued Customer,

According to our records you placed at least one order through XXXX in September. Thank you very much for your business and may it continue for a very long time.

We at XXXX hope that you are very happy with our services and ask that you spend just a few minutes leaving us a review at either (or both if you would be so kind) of the below sites:

Of course we would prefer a glowing 5 Star review, however we are also interested in any feedback, suggestions or ideas you may have.

Thank you once again for using XXXX, and please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

Kind regards,

Jim Bird

Customer Services Manager

What could be improved in this letter?

I find it incredible that this type of templated mass messaging is being used FOR THE FIRST COMMUNICATION to a customer.

Hey did someone just think – it’d be a great idea to get some customer feedback?  What ho, Jeeves, let’s off and ask them to say we’re wonderful.


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Email Auto Responders – A Quick Tutorial

I am a fan of email auto responders that send a pre-determined email reply out from your address.  They can be very helpful for new business development as an information tool for prospective customers.

As ever, there are good and bad examples of automatic emails.  Here are four examples we have received recently that can show you the best and worst examples.  Most are from marketing and sales agencies / organisations and so the bad examples make me cry with shame….. there’s so much to improve.

Let’s get to work.

Example 1 – Failure Message

We got this after trying to email J Walter Thompson in Houston, TX.  Their website didn’t list the office contacts so we used a directory called MacRae’s Blue Book.   This is what came back from our email:

Directory Listings fail message

A request for contact that failed.

  • Check and update all the free listings services that have your company and office.
  • Create a unique email address so you can track effectiveness e.g. would have worked here.
  • Contact yourself through them as a mystery shopping exercise at least once a year, preferably 6 monthly
  • Where do email enquiries go?  Which phone number do they list and who answers it?

Email effectiveness 4/10

Example 2 -Zero Information

Membership organisation NYAMA (New York American Marketing Association) whose membership-based services are surely the profit engine for the organisation.  But hey, send them a membership enquiry on their auto form and one week later [hardly an automatic response] this comes in:

Thank you for submitting this form

  • “Thank you for submitting this form.”  Great – send me what I already know I sent you
  • What happens next?  No mention of next steps towards becoming a member
  • Timeliness – this reply came back 5 days after we completed the online form
  • Nothing happened

Email effectiveness 2/10










Example 3 – Inbound Emails

When you send an enquiry in to a company’s ‘general’ email whether by form on the website or direct, what happens to that email?

Everyone knows that spammers and malcontents will be using it too – so what reassurance can you give people that their message has got through?

Great information auto-response

  • This one came from a retail marketing agency fronted by a TV celebrity.
  • They have good information about what to expect from the agency, the celebrity and where to get more information free / cheap and also training
  • But the email came from one general email address – they need to split the contact so people interested in the celebrity and people interested in the agency are directed to different places.
  • We wrote back to confirm our interest in the agency and received the same auto-response again.  Irritating.

Example 4 – the perfect first reply

And finally, a look at a nice, short friendly reponse from a media agency.

Perfect auto response email

  • The message gives a real person’s name as a point of contact
  • Sets clear expectations about what the agency will do next
  • Sounds genuinely friendly

Copy this one.

Autoresponders are a good tool to kick off your online marketing.

Simple. How many emails do you write daily? How many blog posts? You only have to write an autoresponder once. It will then go to as many new recipients as activate the trigger. Forever. It will always go out in the same time format that you set up at the start. It’s easy. You don’t have to think about it. And all the while it keeps up a relationship with your readers. Voilà.

And if you need help, let us know! Hire a Creative Agency Secrets team of copywriters to set up your auto responder – we know what we’re doing and can give you the shortcuts to great outcomes and customer engagement.

More With The Creative Agency Secrets GUIDE TO AUTORESPONDERS

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MBH Law logo

Law firm website case study

Mandee Sebire is the Practice Manager of the Wellington Law firm, Mahoney Burrowes Horner Lawyers.  She recently workedMBH Law logowith Creative Agency Secrets to get website redesign quotes for the business and we asked her to talk about the experience.

What was the challenge you faced when needing a new business website?

We didn’t have the knowledge of the basics – where to look for suppliers and what to look for.

What went well during the job?

Working with Creative Agency Secrets we gathered the right information, so we knew what we needed to look for. The businesses responding were giving prices in a range which helped with the selection of the agency we chose.

What was offered and was it what you wanted?

The people that applied gave us a good sense of what was out there and what we are looking for – we narrowed it down with different points for each one.

And if you were to give advice to someone else in the same situation?

Give Creative Agency Secrets a call – trying to do it on your own and not having the knowledge and the experience is like a needle in a haystack – talk to someone who has the knowledge of what you need and where to look.

If you want to use the Creative Agency Secrets team expertise to brief in your marketing project – get in touch.  We offer a range of services from briefing, assisting selection and project management.  

The Jedi Mindset for Selling Creativity

by Blair Enns host of Pricing Creativity, a workshop on 26th October 2018


I used to think that business development effectiveness came down to knowing the right thing to do in the moment and that almost anybody could be trained to match the proper response to the appropriate stimulus. Silly me.

Of course, it’s not true, and that’s why most sales training is only marginally effective.

I see now that there are three layers to business development success and that knowing what to do in the moment – what I call applying the point of sales process – is the third and least meaningful one. The other two are far more important. So important in fact that if you get them right, the specific point of sales process is no longer vital. If you can remember to do it, great; if not, you can still get to a positive outcome.

The three layers of success, in reverse order of importance, are as follows:

3. Knowing what to do in the moment (sales process)
2. Knowing how to behave generally (behaviour)
1. Knowing what to think (mindset)

Of the three, knowing what to think – your mindset – trumps all else. It’s only when you’re thinking the right things that you will behave properly. Proper behaviour is the foundation for proper sales process, and it’s all built on the thoughts in your head.
Let me explain. For years, I would get calls from clients about specific situations. “What do you think I should do here?” I would give what I would consider the textbook WWP response. Push back here, say no there, ask for concessions, corral all the decision makers, close on a diagnostic, etc.

Later, I would sometimes hear that the specific point of sales process didn’t work.

When you swim back upstream from those moments it’s easy to see why many of them didn’t work. That specific behaviour was incongruent with the larger pattern of earlier behaviour. For example, pushing back on an RFP in the middle of the process is almost never going to work. It only generates cognitive dissonance and frustration with the client. If you really thought the RFP game wasn’t worth playing, you would have said so the minute you first heard the letters R-F-P.

Your Mindset: What Are You Thinking?

Your larger behaviour is driven not by what you’ve been trained to do but by what you’ve trained yourself to think. The thoughts in your head drive your general behaviour and that’s where you need to start. It’s mindset that makes a salesperson great. Training on process simply makes them greater.

If you want to sell from the high ground, push back on a flawed selection process and lower your cost of sale, you need to arm yourself with a series of mindsets that you can stack one on top of the other. They’ll form sort of a modular mantra that you recite silently to yourself in certain situations.

It would be easier for that business development person to raise the objection to the RFP right away if they had believed a few things, such as:

“I am the expert, I am the prize. I have skills and expertise that are of great value to you, Mr. Client.”

“My mission is to help you. I can only do that if you let me lead.”

The Seven Masteries

I see seven such mindsets that any seller of expertise needs to master so that they can behave like the expert in the sales cycle.

The first four are the foundational ones that lead to proper general behaviour. They are:

1. Mastering Focus (“I am the expert.”)
2. Mastering Purpose (“I am on a mission.”)
3. Mastering Leadership (“We’ll get there if you follow my lead.”)
4. Mastering Detachment (“All will not follow.”)

The last three mindsets are more nuanced for specific situations. They are:

5. Mastering Silence
6. Mastering Directness
7. Mastering Money

Together these mindsets form a plug-and-play toolkit to be assembled in advance of certain situations to form the basis for proper behaviour.

Each of these masteries is easy enough to understand by contemplating the word, imagining how this mindset would be beneficial in a sales situation and then developing your own internal language that you’ll practice and thus wire into thought patterns that lead to the beliefs and ultimately the behaviour.

You might think of other mindsets that I’ve missed or that are more valuable to you – great, just map out what you want to believe and how you want to behave, then work out the language patterns that build such beliefs and behaviours.

When you’re behaving properly then a little bit of training around some specific points of sales process will go a long way.
The subject of how to talk to yourself isn’t taught in the world of sales training. Everyone is teaching process, like I did for years. Think of the person you know who you deem to be the most natural salesperson however and it will hit you: their success is rooted not in what they say to their customers, but in what they say to themselves first.

You are the expert, you are the prize.

Start your pricing creativity training on October 26th by joining Blair at a Pricing Creativity WorkshopTickets are limited so book now!