Every year, I get to hang out with 30+ digital team members from various AMI agencies hailing from California to Connecticut and everywhere in between. They come together once a year to pick each other’s brains, learn about new tools, and share best practices on how to manage a digital marketing team. One of the things that impresses me the most about them is that their focus is bigger than tools, tactics, and techniques. They’re also asking about agency new business strategies, how to help the agency’s social media get on track, and how to streamline processes so the agency is more profitable. These are employees who care about their agency and the agency’s performance. As I listen to them strategize together on how to bring even more value to the shop and your clients. I also identified some unspoken needs that would make a digital marketing team’s work easier and better. Require everyone in your agency to get some basic digital certifications so they have a better understanding and can work together better in identifying opportunities, writing proposals, and spec’ing projects. Use your agency as the test dummy — try video, voice, social experiments — but be out there and be bold. Be smart about tools versus time. You may be saving a buck or two by having them do something manually but if there’s an automated tool out there — use it so they have more think/learn time. Keep your own digital saw sharp — there’s always something new to learn and as their mentor and leader, you chart the course. I’m impressed and encouraged by the drive, curiosity, and hunger that these professionals display. It is definitely to your advantage to help [...]
Remember the good old days when we could just share the monthly Google Analytics with a client and they were wowed by our prowess? Sadly, those days are gone. One of the biggest challenges facing most agencies is how to help our clients understand the numbers and what they mean. They’re no longer content to see the data, they want to know how to use the information to make better decisions. If you have someone on staff who can interpret the data and translate it, you’re one of the fortunate few. Most agencies are struggling to level up their internal analytics team to truly deliver on this client demand. I recently wrote a story for Smart Insights on how agencies are solving this problem. This isn’t going to get easier and clients’ expectations aren’t going to get smaller. How are you prepping your team for this ongoing need? The agencies that get a handle on how to interpret the data and use it to guide future decisions are going to have a very compelling story to tell. I’d love to hear how you’re solving this need. This was originally published in the AMI weekly newsletter. To subscribe, click here.
Study after study tells us that CMOs rank lead generation as their #1 priority and one of their biggest sources of frustration. So if we practice the tired “what keeps you up at night” exercise — I think we know the answer. Most of our clients and prospects need to generate more qualified leads and they admit that they don’t really have the tools or know how to do it. I speak at conferences where I am surrounded by agency owners who drive leads for their clients. But even among these agencies — there’s still a lot of discussion on how to develop a better strategy and how to help the clients embrace the technology that is part of the solution today. The truth is, many business leaders and many agencies (maybe you?) haven’t yet embraced the 2020 version of driving leads for our clients. There are lots of reasons why (cost, complexity, lack of content, etc.) but the truth is — if our agencies don’t figure out how to deliver on this need, someone else will. I don’t believe it’s optional today. A story I wrote for Forbes on marketing automation highlights this topic. How are you bringing new leads to your clients and what role does marketing automation play in that model? By the way — this isn’t just a challenge for our clients. How are you driving right fit prospects (not just anyone who walks in the door) to your agency? This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter. To subscribe, click here.
I learned a few things spending two days with 30+ agency employees who are charged with delivering digital (websites, digital media, SEO/SEM, Adwords, apps, marketing automation, etc.) to agency clients. We did a deep dive into how they’re getting it done and how they’re staying current. One recurring theme kept cropping up and that was the idea that agency owners and your account service team need to stay current too. You don’t need to know how to do it, but you sure need to know how to talk about it and sell it. You and your AEs also need to, if you haven’t already, wrap your heads around the complexity of the work and how fluid it is in terms of the tools, techniques and unfortunately, the time it takes to get something done. Bottom line is that the agencies that are making money on their digital projects are the ones who are working together to assemble proposals, timelines and setting client expectations. That last one, in particular, is a doozy!
During a recent podcast, my guest, C.C. Chapman, made a rather blunt statement about agency content creation. His assertion? Every day, agencies violate the “speak human” mantra. Instead of treating potential and current clients respectfully, they throw out acronyms and gibberish, making readers scratch their heads and ultimately turn away. And we have the audacity to wonder why clients are tuning us out. To be sure, Chapman is the no-nonsense, straight-shooting author of books such as Content Rules and Amazing Things Will Happen. In this case, he's also brutally correct. If agencies want their content to have punch and traction, they need to stop writing for each other and begin writing for people who aren’t enmeshed in agency jargon. In other words, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and start creating content your clients can actually appreciate. Differentiate, for goodness’ sake. What separates one agency from another? It’s not all the bold logos or shiny websites — every agency has those. Instead, it’s the culture and brand, the community of individuals who make up the agency. To truly distinguish itself, agencies have to define their uniqueness. Are they playful? Outdoorsy? Musically inclined? These are the differentiators that matter. When a prospect has to choose between three relatively similar agencies, chemistry counts. Where does content come into this picture? Most clients do their homework online by examining digital footprints. According to Demand Gen Report, roughly half of all clients will read no fewer than three content pieces before contacting a prospective agency. Besides, marketers recognize and respect smart content. According to a survey by LinkedIn, nearly three-quarters of marketers have a content strategy for their businesses, allocating as much as 46% of their budget to content marketing. If an agency’s web presence [...]