Digital Marketing, Digital Agency Toolkit

23 Social and Digital Services Agencies Should be Selling

Jay Baer Blog PostI love this quote from Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint (which I highly recommend):

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.

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    I find it interesting that persona development is not ongoing.
    Any  particular reason for that?  Won’t you have to update your personas at some point, maybe because your target market has migrated to a different platform or they are starting to favor content in new formats.?
    For example, iPad apps will enjoy a higher level of importance in many personas in 2012 as compared to 2010.
    Or maybe, this ongoing and project nomenclature is a relative thing, based on timescales (a blog needs to be updated weekly, while you can come back and look at personas in maybe 6-8 months)

    • says

       @bhas Excellent point. Indeed, personas should be revisited and updated regularly. In this context, when I say “ongoing” I typically mean every month. Almost all of the project services above could/should be updated from time-to-time. Thanks for the comment. I should have been more explicit about that. 

  2. RobertPickstone says

    @unmarketing Saw your blog post. Many who schedule still don’t understand Social. I’ll participate in conversation by not being here 😉

  3. paulroetzer says

    This is a great resource, Jay! And thanks for including the Blueprint quotes. There are such tremendous opportunities for agencies to expand their services and evolve to meet demand in emerging areas.
    Look forward to seeing you at BOLO!

  4. DDMagStuff says

    Very useful tips and Good resources,  I always like reading blogs.You have cover very Interesting Article on  Social and Digital Services Agencies.Really collection of beautiful articles and resources.I am really would love to  have this to help prototype new ideas.I am a follower of the posts and a reader of every material relating to articles on you blog. You have cover new and interesting ways of concepts represented and i am greatly thanks for such an useful articles and resources you have cover.Keep it very well. Thanks

  5. says

    Excellent post, as always.  I love the Employee Advocacy Program idea. When you think about it, it’s so easy to see why more companies should be doing this. Because if some of  your employees are already big fans of social media, why not let THEM be your social media advocates, instead of always assigning these roles to the Marketing/PR people. Brilliant idea! What’s your take Jay on having some sort of Social Media Educational Program (could be a one day workshop/presentation) for small/medium sized businesses? So agencies would essentially be educating the CEO’s & top people of a company on the WHY they need to have a social media presence. The way I see it, if they don’t see a need on having a social media presence it’s gonna be a lot harder to convince them to come on board, but would appreciate your thoughts on this.  Thank You!

    • says

       @Marica Zammit Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I agree that there are opportunities for agencies in the social media training space, and many agencies we work with are engaged in that arena. I see it as a bit of a short-term opportunity, however, which is why I left it out. Good reminder though. I need to expand this list to about 50!

  6. MicheleJKiss says

    @googleanalytics That’s an unusual new logo. When did it change? Unrecognisable as GA, to me anyway…

  7. says

    Hey Jay! For fear of sounding like a run of the mill link builder, this is awesome! Loved this post and the Slideshare. We offer much of this but don’t really have it spelled out so clearly. This is really helpful! Thanks as always!

  8. bculture_britt says

    Couldn’t agree more with the measurement statement! The trick is finding a way to provide the analytics and measurements to your clients in a way that they understand it as well as helping them make intelligent business decisions based from it. So many people that I speak to have beautiful reports that they give their clients, but with no translation or analysis. The clients then get overwhelmed with the numbers and are stuck doing the same thing without really digging into how to grow in innovative ways. You might be interested in our Social Media Scorecard called the CultureCard – we took a different approach to social media analytics and reporting that our clients love!

  9. says

    I read Paul’s book a few month’s back. Really good stuff. Glad you shared this, as I hadn’t made a note of that quote. Your point about agencies collaborating virtually is an interesting one. Personally, nothing replaces sitting down over a coffee but with schedules getting ever tighter, and more people being pulled into the mix it’s definitely a nice alternative.

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