Why growth is important to agencies
Every agency started with a desire, ambition or need to grow. The Agency’s adrenaline that fueled the passion and energy to chase exciting opportunities gets redirected into servicing existing Clients, managing people and looking after the usual day to day operations. Although over time growth remains important, it is treated like any other task or operation and delegated to someone else in the agency, sometimes working with a third-party consultancy. It needn’t be that way!
Without continued growth and pitching for new business, the quality of agency’s creativity and strategic thinking will deteriorate at worst, and stagnant at best. Furthermore, the positive energy and team spirit generated from a pitch opportunity can hugely reaffirm the Agency’s culture or reignite the beliefs and confidence – just like it was in the beginning!
Growth isn’t without risk, but talking to agencies and attending a few webinars recently, I was surprised to learn that too many agencies continue to rely on one or two outward bound approaches promoting their capabilities and a selection of work. The Agency proposition lacked any authentic differentiation and in most cases, the work failed to support proposition, but was more focused on the new business target list. Most worryingly, there wasn’t a strong and clear criteria to evaluate each new opportunity, such as an objective criteria that considers a range of issues like size of budget, number of agencies involved, location of Client, timings etc, providing a final score to determine whether to accept or decline the pitch. The decision cannot be too personal or simply, we recently lost a pitch and need an opportunity to forget coming second!
So, we thought at Our Agency Value we would share some of the ways that Agencies are currently using to acquire new Clients and suggest you try at your agency, whether you a large or small, or integrated or specialist. It is one strength to have the expertise but being in such a highly competitive sector, agencies must consider supporting an integrated comms and partner engagement programme.
1. Consider Agency Intermediaries
There are about 10-15 Agency intermediaries including specific consultancies, associations or media partners, they are a valuable source of qualified leads of Clients seeking an agency with your exact skills and experience.
2. Consider Referral Programme
A recent study found that referral marketing is trusted by 8 out 10 Clients, when drawing up a short list of Agencies. At least 25% of your new business pipeline should come from referrals.
3. Consider Award-winning case studies
Award winning case studies are a powerful part of the marketing mix to build awareness, attract enquiries and form part of the content strategy. They should clearly build empathy with the Client’s challenge and explain how the Agency solved the problem.
4. Consider Content, SEO and Links
To ensure your target audience are aware of the Agency, similar to the referral programme, identify and develop links to your website and increase your digital brand visibility. As part of this, the Agency should also produce content like podcasts, webinars, white papers and promote through social media channels.
5. Consider a brilliant website
No need completing tasks 1 to 4 if the Agency’s website falls short of expectations. Update the website frequently, use the latest analytics, invite registrations and showcase everything and everyone brilliantly.
There are more growth options than ever, but each agency will know only too well the value of each option and how it works best for the Agency’s objectives. Finally, take time and patience to craft the content creatively and differently.
Find out the current value of your agency, so you can see how these steps build value