Dave Levett founded independent marketing agency Murmur Group in 2016 following his four-year stint in London at Sky UK.
Levett spoke to Mediaweek about his role as managing director, the agency’s specialisation, his outlook for Murmur Group in the year ahead and his thoughts about being part of the IMAA.
Levett on setting up Murmur Group and being MD
After running marketing and advertising campaigns for Sky UK nationally, across Europe and on a global scale, Levett returned to Australia with a wealth of knowledge and insight into what makes a great agency.
“I was working with a lot of great agencies over in London, and nobody here was really utilising insight in the way that I felt it could be properly used,” he said, revealing the reason behind setting up Murmur.
Since then, the agency has rapidly grown and cemented many of its relationships with clients in two key service areas – marketing strategy and running media campaigns.
As the managing director, he shared that he helps his key contacts at each of their brands to deliver on meeting their objectives rather than immediate campaign objectives. Levett also noted that he deals with many aspects of the business, from fixing pages on their website to HR and professional development plans and reviews with his team.
“My team knows I love sport and are sick and tired of using sporting analogies. But I feel that I’m the coach of the team, and they’re the ones out there in the park that are doing all the work,” he added.
Marketing strategy and campaign planning
As Levett noted, Murmur Group specialises in marketing strategy and running media campaigns.
Marketing strategy is run for many clients on a project basis over three to four months. It involves six key stages – developing a marketing strategy, developing qualitative research, qualitative research, strategy and examining segmentation, followed by targeting and positioning, and finally, developing the brand a strategy.
Levett acknowledged that the shift to multi-channel marketing has grown over the last three to four years. He noted that expanding the agency’s channel breadth has helped them make smarter strategic decisions about consumers for brands. This includes bus wrap advertising, cinema, radio, programmatic display, paid social, organic social, email campaigns, Reddit forums and Twitter posts.
“Any medium a brand’s customer may have with that brand has to be put into the mix. Then we want to evaluate it and see whether it’s worthwhile, what are the campaign objectives for it and is it going to help meet those,” he said.
Murmur’s key clients and recent wins
Murmur has worked with more than 100 clients over the last six years, starting with small to medium size companies that have spawned relationships with large clients. The agency has worked with several clients, including O Cosmedics, Ginger&Me, Capital Brewing Co, Chambers Cellars and Uniti Group.
The agency also boasts a strong relationship with A-League football clubs Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC, and Melbourne City FC over the past few years. Levett said: “It’s won us a number of awards, domestically and internationally, for the work that we’ve done on those campaigns, and I’m pretty proud of those.”
The impact of the pandemic on Murmur Group and outlook for the year ahead
Levett noted that the last couple of years were tough on businesses and revealed that many of their clients had to pull back on marketing spending and budgets during the pandemic.
Despite this, Murmur fared well as a business – it did not let any staff go, nor did anyone take a pay cut.
The managing director said: “As the owner of the business, I felt that was the right approach. I knew there’d be light at the end of the tunnel, and I thought if I back my staff in here, then they will do a great job. I didn’t want anyone to go without, and that faith was rewarded.”
Levett called the business emerging well from 2020 a proud moment. “That’s probably the proudest. Not only did we get through it, but we got through it without anybody having to take a pay cut to take forced leave. I didn’t have to let anybody go and I think that was an amazing business result for us as an agency,” he said.
Looking to the year ahead, an optimistic Levett revealed a hint of the exciting plans for Murmur Group, including customer relationship management offerings for clients. He said: “I think customer relationship management for a lot of brands and businesses is critical to the way that they grow and engage with their customers.
Murmur is also looking at establishing partnerships with PR and creative agencies through their IMAA membership. Levett said: “We’re in negotiations and talks at the moment around how do we work together as independent agencies to provide a broader service offering.”
On the IMAA
Murmur Group joined the IMAA last year, and Levett had nothing but praise for CEO Sam Buchanan and business manager Rebecca Culson and the association’s work raising independent agencies’ profiles.
The managing director shared that he also appreciated the training opportunities the IMAA have brought to media agencies.
“[The IMAA] had their Operation Bounce event back just recently, and we were presented to by Boomtown Media, Val Morgan Outdoor, a huge amount of supplies, and as an agency, you’ve always got young staff coming into the business.
“Now, I remember I started at an agency; it was my first gig out of university. The training and knowledge that you get is paramount to how successful you are. I think the IMAA has done a really good job in getting regular training schedules. That’s the hardest thing as an agency owner, knowing and setting up training for your staff.
Levett added: “The IMAA have got some fantastic suppliers and partners on board with really informative people coming and talking to us. It’s been hard to meet face to face over the last couple of years, but what they’ve done over the last four months has been great.
“I think there’s a huge amount of opportunity for any agency that wants to get involved and actually upskill themselves in a certain area or deepen any relationships that they have with partners or suppliers, and I think the IMAA is a great resource for that,” Levett concluded.
Top image: Dave Levett