The Evolution of Digital Marketing in the Agency Space with Nick Westergaard

A lot of agencies are still trying to figure out how to wrap their arms around digital since the evolution of digital marketing - what it means, how they deliver the benefits of it to their clients, what parts of digital to embrace internally and what parts to outsource. My podcast guest Nick Westergaard has been down that road already and has blazed a trail for the rest of us to follow.   Nick’s agency transformed from a very traditional ad agency (Westergaard Agency) to the digital powerhouse they are today -- Brand Driven Digital. They saw the writing on the wall with the evolution of digital marketing and decided to jump in with both feet and make some big changes to keep moving their agency moving forward. They even went so far as to launch a live, in-person annual event called the Social Brand Forum to bring all things digital to the Midwest. Nick and I explore all the ways that you too can look outside your box and move your agency forward in the digital space with: How Nick took his traditional agency and transitioned it to becoming a digital powerhouse The evolution of digital marketing versus traditional marketing in the agency space The differences and similarities between traditional and digital marketing and why they really aren’t all that different Social Brand Forum: Brand Driven Digital’s yearly live event The business strategy behind having a live event Why you should get out and attend events The importance of prioritizing your agency as a client Why experimentation is so important for your agency’s success Nick Westergaard is a strategist, speaker, author, and educator. He is the chief brand strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where [...]

By |April 12th, 2016|

How to Write and Create Valuable Content with Ann Handley

As agencies, we're constantly struggling with how to write and create good solid content for our clients while at the same time, doing it profitably enough so that we don’t lose our shirts in the process. We’re also trying to step up and take the role of helping clients make sure that their content is meaningful, useful and unique. That’s a tall order and sometimes we just don’t have the time or the skill level on our staff to get it done. This world of content is where my podcast guest, Ann Handley shines. As the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, she has a handle on what it takes to get all of that accomplished as well as some invaluable strategies and resources to make us all better writers and content officers in our own right. In my podcast conversation, Ann and I really get down to the core of writing and writing well and why it is so important in content creation and the role all of that has in building your agency. Some highlights include: How agencies can educate their clients The MarketingProfs B2B Forum How to write valuable content that your clients will absolutely love Strategies for working on better content instead of lots of content Why you need to focus on writing during the hiring process and throughout your agency’s work Resources for editing whether you have the budget for a human editor or not Why you need to find writers with an audience-centric point of view (and the pros and cons of hiring journalists) Tips for creating spaces for creating your best writing Ann Handley speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets. Cited in [...]

By |March 14th, 2016|

New Business Development for Agencies with Jami Oetting

My guest, Jami Oetting has seen both sides of agency life and is with me on this podcast to discuss new business development for agencies. She worked as a strategist at a full-service agency before deciding that she really liked reporting on what agencies are up to more than living it day-to-day. As the editor of Hubspot’s Agency Post, she gets a front row seat to what is going on in shops all over the nation and boy does she have some perspective. In this podcast, she gives us her take on a wide array of topics from how agencies need to differentiate themselves to tips for how agencies can consistently create content. The conversation also digs into new business development for agencies in this digital age. Some highlights include: Solely relying on referrals doesn’t make sense anymore. There’s a whole world out there with clients looking for specialists. Attract the right clients and repel the wrong ones. We discuss why it’s so much better to be upfront about who you are as an agency, and who you are not. Consider what your agency would look like in five years if you started specializing today, versus what it would look like if you didn’t. People will pay more for specialized expertise. Stay on track with your content creation. Understanding formulas and blocking time to write will allow agencies to create better content in a more efficient and consistent way. Create your niche from your client profile and develop a plan to generate leads from that. spot works with about 2,500 agency partners and about 15,000 customers worldwide. Now, Jami’s blog is one of the largest blogs for agency professionals. It offers incredible content to help [...]

By |March 7th, 2016|

Discussing Marketing-Led Innovation and Strategy with Gavin Heaton

Everyone talks about digging into your clients’ issues and discovering “ what keeps them up at night.” But are you really doing that? Is your staff trained to do that? Doing so makes your agency better at innovation and strategy – which is what clients are hungry for, according to the research AMI does with CMOs every year. When you can deliver on this need – you get to charge a premium and those clients stick around. In my podcast conversation with Gavin Heaton we dig into this topic and talk about how to make it a reality. Gavin works with agencies showing them how to build value and create opportunities by really listening to the client’s wants. He provides agencies with ways to implement creative and innovative thinking in their businesses to become a true strategic partner for their clients. Gavin and I explore many of the ways you can become a more valuable asset for your clients by: Focusing on the things the client wants, rather than what an agency wants to push to them, which ultimately creates more value for the client. Grappling with a problem that is worth solving, rather than pursuing an idea of interest.  Taking a lesson from the start-up point of view and focusing on the audience and their wants first, and then building your product. Solving your client’s problems and as a result, becoming less of a vendor, and more of a business partner.  Getting your team to think creatively and innovatively. Gavin is a marketing technologist, strategist, and advisor. He is the founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook, a network of entrepreneurs and innovators that help businesses innovate like startups, which Gavin calls “marketing lead innovation.” He has led new venture [...]

By |February 29th, 2016|

Digital Media Buying, Programmatic Buying & Real-Time Bidding Best Practices with Jay Friedman

If you’ve been in the agency business for any length of time you know that nothing is static in our world. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a constant state of change like our industry is in now. Many of these evolutionary changes in our business surround digital media buying, programmatic buying, and real-time bidding in the digital paid media space.  These things are no longer an option anymore; they are a necessity. This is a topic that I know you’re hungry to learn more about, so, in this podcast, Jay Friedman and I talk about the ways agencies can use these tools to effectively market themselves and reach their target audiences in the digital media space. In this podcast, Jay will help you make sense of this changing environment by showing you: how programmatic buying flips the status quo by asking the questions that really matter when starting out what it takes to get started and build momentum how you can get the results you want when starting in the digital media space the steps he recommends agencies take to effectively use programmatic buying and digital media for success how agencies can become more educated and find the right partners to effectively market themselves in the digital media space. ways agencies can utilize programmatic buying for better accuracy in targeting to their audiences. Jay Friedman is a nationally recognized and accomplished digital media expert, speaker, writer and author. Jay has been with the Goodway Group for the past 10 years in their digital division.  You'll find him often at some top industry conferences, writing for lead industry publications and websites. He's even written some books. Some of his latest books are the 7th [...]

By |December 9th, 2015|

Podcasting for Profit and Understanding the Power of Podcasting with Douglas Burdett

Podcasting seems like the “it” thing lately. On top of that, podcasting for profit is growing rapidly on its own, and can be done without appearing too ad-heavy and spammy. It’s a great weapon to have in your arsenal and you might have thought about giving it a go but stopped short wondering, “Where do I start?” and “How do I differentiate myself in the vast podcasting world?” Well, my guest, Douglas Burdett asked himself the same questions and came up with some successful and profitable answers. In this podcast, Douglas and I delve into the power of podcasting. Among other things, we cover: carving out a niche for your agency what it takes to get started and build momentum how to create a podcast that attracts how a podcast can help grow your business how podcasting for profit works the impact podcasting can have on your agency Douglas Burdett is a B2B marketing agency principle and a former Madison Avenue ad man. His aptly named agency, Artillery, (he was a former artillery officer), helps agencies get found online, convert website traffic to leads, and nurture leads towards a sale. Douglas authors two marketing blogs, Forward Observer and Fire Support, and he hosts The Marketing Book Podcast. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/douglas-burdett/) and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web. If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom [...]

By |December 2nd, 2015|

Hey agency owner – do you have an integrated digital strategy?

Having a flexible, integrated agency with a digital emphasis isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.  It’s the rare client that doesn’t just assume that you have some expertise in digital.  And yours would be the rare agency if the transition from a purely traditional strategy to integrating digital hasn’t been a bumpy one. It isn’t easy.  And it gets more difficult if you treat digital like an add-on – something that’s separate from, or worse, secondary to the rest of what your agency offers. So where do you start and how can you make it easier?  I wrote the following article for LinkedIn to walk you through the must haves in any integrated digital strategy.  For those of you who have walked through this particular fire, what challenges have you faced and how have you achieved success

By |May 30th, 2014|

How agencies should use content to attract prospects

Content marketing is all the rage but most of it is just packaging. Frankly -- agencies have been using content marketing for decades for their clients.  It's not new.  But what I think is new is the idea that agencies should use content to attract prospects for themselves. This type of content management strategy was the focus of an article I wrote for The Agency Post before the holidays. Agencies are, by their very nature, superb story tellers.  And they have an incredible depth of knowledge when it comes to marketing strategy, their own agency's niches, etc.  I get the whole "we're too busy doing it for our clients to do it for ourselves excuse" but honestly -- that needs to stop. In theory, agencies should be perfectly structured to create content so intriguing that people never want to leave the conversation. But the reality is most agencies practice a conservative approach with their content management strategy because they are paranoid about sharing anything of genuine value. They fear their competition might see it or that they might turn away potential clients because of what is posted. They’re also afraid that if they give knowledge away for free, the reader might never become a client. This is why most agencies are still just curating content or talking about their business, which of course means they’re not inspiring anyone. They are simply restating their company slogan or biography to exhaustion. If what you have to offer is high quality and helpful to the client, he or she will come back. Today, the model for professional services new business efforts is -- you give first.  Share something of value.  Demonstrate your expertise.  Show me you know your [...]

By |January 9th, 2013|

Hey agency owner – how do you deal with digital?

Not too long ago, anyone and everyone with a computer who knew how to build a website was opening up a digital agency. Traditional agencies fought against that with hiring a digital ninja or two and creating a silo within their agency.  Sometimes they were treated as two separate entities but it was clear that the expertise was contained within that department either way. As the market has evolved,digital has become the norm audit’s no longer a secret sauce for agencies. Now, an agency with only a handful of people who are digitally savvy is considered behind the times.  As you know — everyone has to be these days. I spoke with Digiday about how digital should be part of every agency staffer's role and every strategy offered to your clients and that the time for the digital jedi has come to an end.

By |December 15th, 2012|

Building your agency’s internal content strategy

Over at The Agency Post, I talked about my concern that agencies don't seem to have their act together when it comes to their own internal content strategy. As I said in the post -- what I find both interesting and frustrating is that agencies know how to create and implement marketing and content strategies for their clients. However, when it comes to their own efforts, they forget the basics. Instead, their efforts are often haphazard, sporadic and tactical rather than strategic. I then laid out how I think agencies should think about their own content strategy and the key components.  I'd welcome your feedback on the post.  (Read it here)

By |December 11th, 2012|