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 startups for organizations like PwC, developed digital strategy and execution for global brands on both the agency and client sides, and spent some time as an analyst in digital transformation for award-winning analyst and advisory firm, Constellation Research.
He also has extensive international experience in driving measurable outcomes via digital customer experience platforms, digital strategy, and executing innovative content driven campaigns.
To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/gavin-heaton/) 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 line. Bringing his 25 years plus of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.
Drew: Hey everybody Drew McLellan here. I’m really happy to be with you again for another episode of Build a Better Agency. And really what I’m hoping to talk about today is a topic that I hear agency owners talk about all of the time, the struggle with being strategic and innovative. And even more so, a lot of agency owners will tell me that they focus on innovation and strategy, but it’s very difficult to teach into their organization. As clients are demanding more and more of that kind of work, agencies are struggling with how to deliver that. So our guest today, my good friend, Gavin Heaton, is gonna talk to us about that, but just a reminder that the reason that this podcast is around is a way to extend the work that Agency Management Institute does with small to mid-sized agencies and agency owners, helping them to improve their businesses and, as a result, the life that their business affords them. That’s the goal with this. So just wanting to make you smarter and better and your agency stronger so that all of the reasons why you take the risks of the agencies get paid off in the rewards.
So let’s dive into our conversation with Gavin. Let me tell you a little bit about Gavin. So Gavin is a marketing technologist, strategist and adviser. He is the founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook, which is a network of innovators and entrepreneurs that help businesses innovate, like startups. He calls it marketing led innovation and we’re gonna dig into that in a second. He’s also led new venture startups for organizations like PWC, developed digital strategy and execution for global brands on both the agency and the client side and spends some time as analysts in digital transformation for the award winning analyst and advisory firm, Constellation Research. In his limited spare time, he serves as president of a youth organization called Vibewire. Gavin is based in Sydney, Australia, and has extensive international experience in driving measurable outcomes via digital customer experience platforms, digital strategy and executing innovative content-driven campaigns. He’s got a background in enterprise technology innovation, digital strategy and customer engagement. And one of the things that Gavin really does is he connects the dots between disruptive technologies, enterprise governance and business leaders. So with that, Gavin, welcome to the podcast.
Gavin: Thanks Drew, I sound very impressive when you say it.
Drew: You really do. So in full disclosure, everyone should know that Gavin and I had been friends for many years and actually crowdsourced a series of books working with marketing professionals over the last decade and raised about $50,000 for nonprofits along the way. So we go way back. So this will be a fun conversation for me and to be able to share some of Gavin’s expertise with all of you. So let’s talk about sort of your background, Gavin. Give everybody a little more detail about sort of the scope and scale of your work because although your bio is impressive, it doesn’t even begin to even scratch the surface I think of some of the clients that you’ve worked with and the scale of projects that you’ve done.
Gavin: Thanks, Drew. So when I actually left the university where I studied theater, which was, you know, immensely valuable for working in technology, it really opened a lot of doors to the world of publishing for me because I had been working in theater and studied communications, the only thing I was really fit for was publishing. And then I realized really very quickly that digital and technology was going to be part of my future because publishing was already starting it’s down…its decline. And as a result, I jumped into whatever was available and people said to me, you know, “Can you do some online coding?” And I thought well I can learn that. I can try it. From there I ended up working with with IBM where I ran some writing teams, moved over to the online community platform system, which was way ahead of its time as it turns out. If we’d been working on that same system today, it might be still going. But it was just way ahead of its time and it was way ahead of the consumer markets that it was trying to reach, but it was a valuable experience for me to start to understand how people and technology come together.
And then shifting from there, I went into innovation management where I was working with IBM again on integrating large-scale numbers of their workforce, aid