Developing a digital-first DNA with Chris Aarons

By |July 23rd, 2018|

Episode 146:

Why do some agencies seem to “get” digital transformation and others struggle to cross that hurdle? Even more puzzling – among the ones who do get it – why are so many of them struggling to make money at it?

These are some of the daunting questions I’m exploring in this episode with my guest Chris Aarons. We all understand that digital transformation is happening. Few understand this as well as he does.

What does it mean for an agency to have digital-first DNA? Chris Aarons’ book Digital Helix explores this idea and I asked him about it when we spoke. Part of this concept is understanding that everything is connected, and a digital asset is never “done” or complete. When we approach our work with that understanding, what we do for and with clients becomes less about putting out emergency fires or checking off the boxes on the latest trend. It becomes about a consistent and constant state of evolution.

Chris believes the larger value we can all offer clients is helping them recognize and embrace that reality and then together, looking out over the horizon and planning for tomorrow’s opportunities rather than focusing on today’s fires.

That’s how we add incredible value and earn our seat at the client’s table. In this episode we talk about how to make that vision a reality for your agency.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of an exploration mindset in moving you and your clients forward
  • What it means to operate with a digital-first DNA as an agency
  • How to encourage digital-first DNA thinking in your clients
  • How to develop ongoing conversations with clients rather than operating from a one-off proposal framework
  • Why talking with a client’s customers is at least as important as talking with the clients themselves
  • How sales are connective moments – not a journey
  • Why identifying the current problem is not the agency’s primary job
  • How to be relentless about getting better over time
  • When and how organic influencer models can beat the pants off of paid reach

The Golden Nuggets:

“When you can see ahead and solve problems for a client, you earn your seat at the client’s table” – @Chris_Aarons explains how agencies need to evolve their role on this episode of Build A Better Agency. Click To Tweet “I call it an EXPLORE mentality. What that means is you start with your eyes wide open, looking for what you might find, what you might hope to see, and what the client may have missed.” – @Chris_Aarons Click To Tweet “You can be like Netflix, taking a dying business model and upending it into a powerhouse. Or you can be like Sears, squandering a wealth of customer contacts into an ever-shrinking market share.” – @Chris_Aarons Click To Tweet “The client wanted me to talk to her team. I want to talk to their customers. I want to really find out what it’s going to take. When you offer that, you're going to be more valuable. The solutions are going to be better.” – @Chris_Aarons Click To Tweet “Sales are connective moments. The notion of ‘journey’ is cute, but people don’t buy because of a journey.” - @Chris_Aarons Click To Tweet “If the end goal for you is to check of a ‘did social media’ box, that's not my end goal. We're not going to be good agency partners for you.” - @Chris_Aarons Click To Tweet

 

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About the Author:

For almost 30 years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies and then started his own (which he still owns and run) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads Agency Management Institute, which advises hundred of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

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