Hybrid agencies will come to rule the marketing world. These emerging leaders are tech savvy, offer integrated services, hire and retain versatile talent, and profit from diversified revenue streams. They thrive on change, and continually apply shifts and advances in technology to strengthen their businesses, evolve their services, and deliver greater value to clients.
As change velocity accelerates, traditional agencies unwilling or unable to adapt will quickly be left behind.
We’re in an era where expanding and redefining what it means to be an agency isn’t a nice to have, it’s an imperative. It’s a ticket to the future. There are four big trends driving this sea change in the agency world:
1. Measurement. Clients expect and demand scoreboards and accountability. Math is a part of EVERY agency employees’ job function.
2. Channel Proliferation & Fragmentation. You can’t reach all of your customers and prospects in one place, or even in a few places. Everything is media. That requires agencies to understand vastly more options and alternatives, and keep current with a pace of change that is breathtaking.
3. Technology. Both the emergence (and soon, predominance) of online media consumption as TV, radio, and print become primarily digital forms, but also use of technology in buying, selling, measuring, and managing marketing services.
4. Virtual Collaboration. Clients don’t need a posse of agency people sitting in a board room. As companies embrace GoTo Meeting and similar, it makes it easier to break free from the hegemony of agency of record relationships, instead creating a Mr. Potato Head of marketing that takes the best eyes from one agency, the best ears from another, and the best mouth from a third. Every corporate client we have at Convince & Convert has at least three agencies working on their business, and in many cases it’s more than that. Number of times everyone gets in one physical space? Zero.
Expand Your Palate, and Your Palette
You may know that one of our core services at Convince & Convert is to work with agencies to help them package, price, staff, and sell social media and digital marketing to their clients. (If that’s new info for you, you can learn more here). Consequently, we help many marketing services firms get better and more profitable at social and digital every day. Several of our clients have increased their digital revenue by 150% or more. But that’s not just a training issue, and having us around to answer questions. It requires belief throughout the agency that it’s possible (and required) to make the full digital leap, and it requires a new understanding of what an agency can and should sell. More short-term projects. More tactical integration. More measurables.
In October, I’ll again be speaking at BOLO – a terrific conference in Scottsdale for agency principals. (Note: save $100 on an already great price by using code JBAER). As part of the lead up to the event, I conducted a Webinar last week on the 23 Social and Digital Services Agencies Should be Selling – but Probably Aren’t.
These aren’t the only services that could/should be sold, but it’s a good start. Important to recognize that agencies should’t try to tackle all of these at once, and I don’t know of any agency that sells all of them. Pick 4-5 that make sense for your team and your clients, and get good at them. Then, expand your menu.
For each service, I describe what it entails; whether it’s a project or an ongoing retainer service; comparative fees (on a $ – $$$$ scale), relative difficulty (on a 1-5 scale with 5 being toughest); and relative competition (on a 1-5 scale with 5 meaning LOTS of agencies are in the game).
Here’s a table with the highlights. See the slides above for additional detail.
I’m interested to know which of these you think agencies should NOT offer? Where is this a bridge too far?
I’m doing another agency Webinar in August about the ways social media staffing can be handled. It’s called “The Guru, or the Gang: Evaluating the 4 Methods of Agency Social Media Staffing” Sign up now (it’s free) if you’d like to get a spot.