Tag Archives: performance

There is still demand out there from new car buyers

Engaging with up to 600,000 consumers per year across some of the UK’s biggest publishers, TLA is uniquely positioned to monitor consumer behavioural trends.

Antony Neill, Head of Data Insight at TLA, talks through some of the key consumer trends we have observed through our interaction with consumers in the past week.

Building the TLA Brand

The Challenge

In Late 2019 our team was challenged to rebrand The Lead Agency (TLA), to coincide with its 18th birthday, in February 2020. After years of growth and increasing work on the product base, TLA needed a brand that represented the evolution of our ecosystem and a fresh visual language. The goal was to reflect the team and the TLA spirit within a modern brand identity.

“We spent a lot of time talking to team members who had seen the brand evolve from a small business to a large corporation. It was important that we understood the journey of the brand, so we could put forward concepts that were reflective of a proud past, but strategies that looked towards a brighter future.” 

Jonny Kimber, Lead UX/UI Designer of TLA

The Process

The design team ran a double diamond process to deliver the overall brief. This four-step process (discover, define, design, deliver) is a problem-solving framework used by teams across the world to reach a desired solution. The team kicked off with a discovery phase — crucial to allow the team time to process the brief and provide purpose and direction. The intensive research period included staff surveys, stakeholder interviews and workshops to understand existing assets.

In the second stage of the double diamond process – the definition phase – consisted of filtering through the information received from the discovery phase and elaborating on this, pulling data apart and synthesising information. This crystallised direction for the team and gave intent to deliver the brief whilst finalising mission, vision, values and more.

The third phase of the project – the design phase – started with hand-drawn concepts informed by the entire journey so far. The designs were kept simple until strong ideas started to emerge, which is when the team starting delivering computer concepts in colour and detail. The only rule at this stage was ‘No idea is a bad idea’. The final deliverable at this stage was a presentation to senior stakeholders to choose the new brand identity.


The final stage was the delivery phase and with a brand identity chosen, the team started to roll out the new visual language to print and digital touch-points, along with communicating the new vision to the rest of the business. This is where the fun really starts, as care needs to be taken to ensure the team launches the best possible version of the concept and in a timely manner. Elements covered are touchpoints – website, email signatures and customer-facing collateral.

“The team are thrilled with the new brand and the past 4 months has been such a journey for us. We’ve had many late nights, lots of coffee-runs and a lot of hard decisions to make but they’ve been offset by those amazing ‘a-ha moments’ that designers live for… It has all been worth it! We now have a modern brand that does justice to our 18 years in the automotive space. This truly is the start of a new chapter for TLA.”

Jonny Kimber, Lead UX/UI Designer of TLA

TLA’s Sam Reaney up for FD of the Year Award

We are thrilled to say that our very own Sam Reaney is in the running for a top accolade this evening at the Finance Director of the Year Awards.

Sam, who joined the business in 2015, has been included on a three-person shortlist for FD Under 40 Years of Age – Business up to £25 million Turnover. His fellow nominees are Rick Poskitt of Thrive Media Group and Chris Bird of Adlib Audio.

The awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work done by the region’s financial directors, rewarding the underestimated job they do within their organisations.

Sam has been a key figure during TLA’s growth over the last few years, which has seen the business appear in the FT 1000, a list of the thousand fastest-growing companies in Europe, the Sunday Times’ Tech Track 100 and the Deloitte Technology Fast 50.

The event is being held at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool City Centre and hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live’s Hugh Ferris. This year’s sponsors are Accountable Recruitment, Grant Thornton, Hill Dickinson and HSBC.

Good luck to Sam and the other nominees!

Five minutes with… TLA Email Manager Kristian Brown

Email marketing plays an important role in how we connect brands with in-market consumers.

We sat down with email marketing manager Kristian Brown to discuss his career to date, the role of email at TLA and what’s next for the channel.

How did you get involved in Email & Digital Marketing?

I’ve been interested in marketing and business since an early age. I had an excellent Economics teacher at school, and I then went on to study Economics and Business Studies at University. I started off volunteering at a Theatre school building email campaigns, then moved on to other Marketing roles around the North West before starting at the The Lead Agency in 2015.

Tell us about of your role at TLA

Started at TLA back in August 2015 – I’m the first email manager so I’ve been the only person to manage the email marketing side since then. I’ve brought in A/B Testing, email series, personalization and segmentation, automation and many other best practices.   My role has evolved to include landing page conversion rate optimization which involves A/B testing to increase the number of website enquiries. So my role is varied and involves a lot of building and optimising email and landing page campaigns, managing automations, data management and working with publishers. It’s also important in my role to keep on top of latest innovations and best practices. I work closely with Design, Development, Compliance and of course the rest of the Digital Marketing team.

Current state of email

How do you feel GDPR has impacted email marketing?

GDPR was a very daunting time for email marketers across the EU. In general I think a lot of people expected the worst – that email marketing would die and email marketing lists would be decimated. But the reality is that GDPR has been very good for email marketing, with quality improving massively to the point where email as a channel has gained increased importance. At TLA we’re big believers in the quality of our data, and working with our compliance team to ensure all our practices were compliant was a good challenge. It’s not only led to increased engagement, improved deliverability and revenue but ultimately happier email subscribers.

Why do you think email marketing and conversion rate optimisation is so important?

Like I just mentioned, quality is one major aspect. There’s no other marketing channel as good as email that allows you that personal touch with your loyal customers at a time that suits. There’s also massive reach, with over 3.7 billion people using email. It consistently delivers excellent ROI, it’s an open channel which is highly measurable and optimisable. I think email is here to stay, and with advanced automation and other innovations I believe email marketing is imperative for every company to take seriously.

Conversion rate optimisation is equally imperative for a company like The Lead Agency as it helps us grow significantly. It helps us lower our acquisition costs, generate higher quality enquiries and create a better experience for our customers.

What are your key tips for successful email marketing?

Long gone are the days of mass emails being acceptable. So at The Lead Agency we really try to understand our customers, tailoring each campaign to their needs with advanced segmentation. We optimise each email for performance, create automated campaigns that tie in with customer’s journey and try to be more personal with campaigns that our customers appreciate and value. It’s also important that the messaging is consistent, ties in with other marketing efforts and that your interactions with the customer are relevant and timely.

Future of email

How do you see email marketing evolving?

I think everyone in the email marketing industry is eager for more advanced technology like interactive emails and proper video embedding that works for everyone. Personally, i’m eager to try AMP for email, which should allow for greater innovation in our campaigns in the not too distant future. Also looking forward to see how AI can improve email marketing and the associated challenges that will come with it.

What do you think are the main upcoming challenges?

Being increasingly personal with our customers is a great challenge. We always seek to ensure our customers get the right message at the right time with information that is relevant to them. So we’ll continue using advanced segmentation, personalisation and automation in order to build this out further with more complex nurture programmes. Technological advances such as dynamic content and increased integration with other platforms should help with this going forward. Email also faces ongoing challenges such as staying on top of the latest trends, improving the quality of our data and customer insights, and doing what we can to improve deliverability.

What changes would you like to see in the email marketing industry?

Harmonisation across the different email service providers so that emails work better for everyone. More innovation in email can’t come soon enough, and i’d like to see much more integration of email campaigns and data with other channels and platforms to improve their performance. I’d also like to see email marketing finally get the respect it deserves. Every year there are predictions email is dead and every year the stats show how valuable an asset it is. It is a channel consistently worth investing in as it delivers ROI, quality and growth year after year.

Drop us a line to find out more about the role of email marketing at TLA.

TLA, Ford and Mindshare win Best Lead Generation Campaign at the PMAs

We are thrilled to announce that our work alongside media partners Mindshare and GTB on behalf of Ford has won Best Lead Generation Campaign at the Performance Marketing Awards 2019.

The awards were handed out at last night’s (30 April) black-tie dinner at London’s Grosvenor House, where clients, media agencies and performance marketing specialists celebrated the most successful and impactful work from the past 12 months.

In what was a highly-contested category, the judges singled out the Ford campaign for “Strong in-market audience targeting strategy, layering points of contact during the buying process to lead the user down the funnel, further qualifying the lead”.

Alongside Ford, other brand winners on the night included Liverpool Football Club, Debenhams, Etihad and Very.

One of the most pleasing aspects of this win is that the campaign was the very definition of great teamwork. We enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with Mindshare, GTB and Ford that provided the ideal basis for a successful campaign. The work also involved every part of the TLA team – from account management to digital marketing to tech development to customer service to quality control.

Mindshare’s Daniel Sichel commented:  “The Lead Generation campaign for Ford is potentially one of the most important campaigns that the Affiliate team at Mindshare have ever run. Due to the volume of Ford enquiries being generated through the campaign, we have put in place a complex framework of management, commercials and measurement to maintain a high quality of leads.

“We created a transparent working relationship with The Lead Agency, in order to regularly share insights, learnings and we are constantly looking at ways we could improve the campaign. Our aim was to create a ‘Best in-market lead generation campaign’ and I believe we did so,” he added.

TLA’s groundbreaking advertising technology was used to deliver high-quality leads to Ford in significant volumes, helping the client to achieve its challenging year-end targets whilst restoring its faith in third-party lead generation.

For more information about our success and all of last night’s winning entries, download the book of the night.

TLA shortlisted at PMAs for Ford lead gen campaign

We have been shortlisted for Best Lead Generation Campaign at this year’s Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs).

The recognition arrives for our successful campaign on behalf of Ford, working closely with the automotive giant’s media partners Mindshare and GTB.

We were appointed to created a five-month lead generation campaign in August last year with the aim of generating high-quality, in-market leads for its full range of vehicles.

We reached and engaged car buyers in high volumes as they researched their new car purchase and qualified each one digitally and offline to identify the right buyers for Ford.

The campaign generated strong metrics across lead volume, marketing opt-ins and conversion rates (based on follow-up survey data), helping Ford achieve its targets and catching the eye of the PMA judges.

Henry Mitchell, account director at GTB, said: “We set The Lead Agency an ambitious target for the number of leads we required over a five-month period in order to ensure our investment in the lead generation channel would be worthwhile and hit ambitious year end lead targets. The team’s commitment to our goal, flexibility to meet our requirements and support throughout the campaign has been excellent.”

We’re immensely proud of the campaign and pleased to have been nominated at the PMAs. We’ll discover our fate at the ceremony taking place on 30 April at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

The Lead Agency awarded Google Partner status

We are delighted to announce that The Lead Agency has achieved Google Partner status, demonstrating our expertise and knowledge of delivering high-performance Google Ads campaigns.

Google is selective about its choice of partners, reserving the status for businesses with a growing client base and revenues, Google Ads-certified employees, the ability to deliver and maintain successful campaigns and impressive client retention.

Having been added to the search giant’s roster, we now have access to a broader range of marketing materials, training, special offers and the Google Partner Community – all of which will help us to identify and implement more ways to help our clients to grow.

Google Partner

Paul Court, TLA’s head of digital marketing, said: “It’s a great achievement for TLA to be recognised as a Google Partner meaning we can drive more expertise in Google products, not only for our digital marketing team but also for our suite of clients as well.

“Going forward, being included on Beta programs in the digital space, access to the Google Partner community and invitations to additional training resources and events means that TLA’s ability to execute all digital campaigns continues to greatly improve.”

For more information about our Google Partner status and how it can help drive incremental sales for your business, contact us today.

2018 in Review: A year to remember for TLA

In 2018, we earned independent recognition, secured new clients, developed cutting-edge technology and raised a significant sum of money for charity. It was a special year for everyone connected with TLA.

2019 is well underway and our focus is firmly on the future, but it would be remiss of us not to recap on some of our biggest achievements of the last 12 months and say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make them happen.


One of the most pleasing aspects of 2018 was the recognition we received from some of the UK’s biggest and most respected organisations. In the early part of the year, we were named in the Financial Times’ league table of the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe. We featured featuring as the 56th highest-placed UK business in the FT 1000 and 363rd overall.

Soon after, we were invited to the Northern Tech Awards by Tech Nation to discover where we had placed in its Northern Tech 100 table. Our growth rate over the last three years saw us named as the 5th fastest-growing technology business in the North of the UK and the top-ranking company with Liverpool headquarters.

We followed those up with what are arguably the two of the most prestigious tech industry league tables in the country. We were named as the 50th fastest-growing tech company in the UK as part of The Sunday Times’ Tech Track 100 and 38th in Deloitte’s UK Technology Fast 50.

All four represent great recognition of our continued growth and commitment to driving performance through technology.


Regular visitors to the TLA blog will have seen a lot of GDPR-themed content from us over the last 12 months – and with good reason.

As a company that generates, processes and distributes large volumes of consumer data, we have a huge responsibility to make sure we take an ethical and accountable approach. It’s a responsibility we have always taken seriously, but there was no doubting the ground-breaking nature of GDPR, which came into effect in May.

Our proactive approach begun almost two years ago, ensuring company-wide and top-down buy-in and taking decisive action to go beyond the regulation’s requirements. This included updates to processes, policies and technology that have all helped to make us a stronger business and partner to our clients.

The result was a GDPR programme that allowed clients to confidently continue with their lead generation campaigns, generating incremental sales at a critical time. Furthermore, our programme received great publicity, not least of all for the independent endorsement we received from ASE Global.

ASE’s report concluded: “What’s particularly impressive is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires.”

Cutting-edge technology

One of the most exciting things for an employee at TLA is the commitment to continuous improvement. Our value ‘go beyond limits and expectations’ is something you see daily throughout the business as we push to be the best we can be as individuals and collectively.

We never top looking for ways to take our technology to the next level to provide a better service to clients and consumers. And in 2018, that resulted in us launching our new Landing Page Builder, Publisher Portal, Client Portal, Policy Management Portal and Quality Control Portal – all of which have led to improvements across internal processes and client results.

The biggest tech evolution however was our customer acquisition platform, which we’ve been working on over the second half of the year.

Built on the principles of transparency, effectiveness, simplicity and compliance, this new platform will transform how businesses generate incremental sales when it launches in 2019. Watch this space!


We’re passionate about creating opportunity. But it doesn’t end with our clients or staff. We commit to giving back to a worthy cause every year.

In 2018, we set an ambitious target of raising £10,000 for the NSPCC – a fantastic charity that deserves a lot of support. To achieve our goal, TLA and friends took part in a series of mammoth endurance challenges, including the London Marathon, Man v Lakes and a London to Paris Cycle.

We are immensely proud to have raised a whopping £10,450.40 and cannot thank the people who have donated enough. It genuinely means a lot to everyone here.

And finally…

We would like to extend that thank you to everyone who has played a part in what we were able to achieve in 2018 – including our clients, partners, suppliers and teammates. None of it would be possible without your continued trust, support and commitment – and for that we are immensely grateful.

We hope all of you enjoyed a great 2018 year and have made a successful start to the new year. We’re excited to see what it will bring.

TLA named in Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50

We have been named in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 – the highly-respected ranking of the country’s fastest-growing tech companies.

The league table was unveiled last night at The Leadenhall Building in London, also know as the ‘Cheesegrater’. Joining us in the room were some of the most exciting technology-led businesses the UK has to offer – including Deliveroo, MiQ and CloudIQ.

Having been named in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100, FT 1000 and Northern Tech 100 earlier in the year, Deloitte’s Fast 50 represented another opportunity to cement our status as a leading technology business in our own right. Previous winners include Just Eat, Notonthehighstreet.com and Sky Scanner.

Having grown by more than 600% over the last four years, we were named as the 39th fastest-growing tech company in the UK. Top spot was taken by the now ubiquitous food delivery service Deliveroo, putting us in illustrious company.

The ranking demonstrates our ongoing commitment to pioneering cutting-edge technology in the customer acquisition space, creating valuable opportunities for our clients to grow and succeed.

Anton Hanley, founder and CEO of TLA said: “As a business that helps clients to grow, we’re naturally thrilled that our success and expansion over the last four years has earned us a place in the highly-regarded Deloitte Fast 50. Alongside our other 2018 placings in the Tech Track 100, Northern Tech 100 and FT 1000, this recognition is a great credit to the continuous improvement, innovation and dedication demonstrated by the TLA team.”

Duncan Down, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, said: “We are now in our third decade of celebrating the country’s fastest-growing technology companies through the UK Fast 50 awards, and the rate of growth continues to impress. The UK start-up scene is in excellent health, with strong access to talent and funding.

“What impresses me most is the rate of growth, with the time from establishment to ‘unicorn’ status continuing to reduce. I would like to personally congratulate all of the winners and entrants for this year’s awards.”

We couldn’t have done any of it without the trust and support of our clients, partners and staff. Thank you.

GDPR in lead generation – how TLA’s proactive approach earned industry and award recognition

A recent study found that only 20% of companies believe they are GDPR compliant, whilst 53% are in the implementation phase. When it comes to working with a lead generation partner, it’s vital that you have confidence and trust in the service you’re receiving.

At TLA, our implementation phase is complete (although we remain committed to making further enhancements on an ongoing basis). We are confident that our services are not only compliant with the new regulation but go far beyond its requirements. And, crucially, we’ve been able to give peace of mind to our clients.

Jess Douce, Jaguar Land Rover: “The Lead Agency is a trusted partner. They’re not only great to work with but they believe in doing things the right way. They provide the highest-quality GDPR compliant client portal that I have used, which helps us to send more leads to our retailers.”

Danielle Hollis, Hyundai: “The Lead Agency team are a long serving partner of Hyundai. They provide good quality GDPR compliant enquiries at scale, which means we sell more cars which helps us to achieve our targets.”

Alban Treglohan, PHD: “TLA delivers transparency, professionalism and obsessive high standards. It’s this excellent service and quality that has furthered our partnership as well as our relationship with our clients.” 

A proactive approach to GDPR

We had a great foundation to start from. We’ve always taken our responsibility to consumers seriously and adhered fully with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. This made our transition to GDPR compliance far smoother than many other businesses in our industry and beyond.

But that’s not to say GDPR didn’t represent a challenge. The new regulation is a landmark moment for all companies, let alone a data company such as ours, so it required a full and comprehensive programme to ensure we were prepared.

Our strategy was to focus on gaining an in-depth understanding of GDPR, be proactive in our approach, take decisive action wherever we could and do everything possible to give consumers and clients peace of mind.

Early activity

Two of the most important steps we took during the planning stage were the appointment of our first dedicated compliance manager; and forming a steering group that involved people from all across the business – including our CEO and CTO.

This buy-in from the very top of the business was particularly important for making GDPR a priority.And having someone dedicated to leading the programme would ensure we never lost focus of what we wanted to do.

We also mapped our current processes and services against the requirements of GDPR to identify areas that needed to be addressed and how we could take TLA to the next level.From there we created an 18-month, action-orientated GDPR programme that detailed enhancements to our policies, technologies and services.

Compliance Portal

The most significant enhancement was building a Compliance Portal – a place where clients could have access to a full and documented audit trail of every step a consumer takes from their initial enquiry through to the lead being delivered directly into their CRM.

This approach not only addressed the need for accountability – one of the new principles of GDPR – but it went far beyond those requirements by offering complete transparency for clients.

Working with clients

Another fundamental step was engaging clients throughout the process – from the planning stage through to progress made with key actions. We consulted a number of clients on the development of the Compliance Portal to make sure it met their core needs as well as adding value to the service we provide.

We also used our website, social channels and email to create content for our clients and partners that broke down some of the key features of GDPR and what actions they could or should be making in preparation.

Independent assessment

With the exception of the regulator, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), there are no official auditors for GDPR compliance. But we wanted to put our programme to the test and make sure it delivered what we wanted it to.

We invited ASE Global, a company that has provided a range of services to the automotive industry for more than 40 years, to conduct an independent GDPR Readiness Assessment.

The result was a glowing endorsement for TLA’s GDPR Programme. Here are some of the key excerpts from ASE’s report:

“There is a clear ‘top-down’ commitment to compliance which drives all associated activities. Internal focus has been on compliance. However, this has been conducted with an eye on the customer, to keep them informed and up to date in as transparent a manner as possible.”

“What’s particularly impressive is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires.”

“Internally, The Lead Agency’s policies are sound, staff are appropriately trained and there is commitment to ensure compliance does not suffer over time. Externally, customers can provide their personal data to the business confident that the processing it is subject to will be compliant.”

Award nomination

This brings us to our recent news. Our GDPR programme has earned us a nomination for Data Pioneer of the Year at the inaugural UK Business Tech Awards.

This is a proud piece of recognition for the commitment we’ve shown and enhancements we’ve made to go beyond GDPR’s requirements and provide consumers and clients with peace of mind.

To maximise your sales performance with a GDPR-compliant service, contact us today.