3 Tools That Could Make or Break an Agency

Dipti Parmar
Dipti Parmar

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toolsMarketing is one of the most competitive fields in the economy, and it's not getting any easier. While new tools are giving agencies more capabilities and information than they've ever had before, access to these tools is a free-for-all, and there are so many options that many agencies don't know where to start.

Although most agencies will need more than a few tools to stay ahead of the pack, we've decided to single out just three and call specific attention to them. These tools aren't just an opportunity, but they say something about the state of modern marketing.

1. HubSpot

As the inventor of the term "inbound marketing," a phrase that is growing increasingly popular, HubSpot's set of tools can't be ignored as important options for modern ad agencies. As traditional ads increasingly lose their effectiveness, modern agencies must learn to adapt to the closely related fields of social media, email-list building, search engine marketing and blogging. HubSpot's tools accommodate these and more and should be viewed as the gold standard to compare against.

HubSpot's tools are divided into three categories: those meant to attract visitors, those meant to convert leads and those meant to close sales. Tools include:

  • Blogging software, including integrated call-to-action buttons, optimized landing pages, integrated social sharing buttons, mobile compatibility and informative analytics.
  • A social inbox, which allows you to view the entire interaction history of your audience members and segment them. You can target them by keyword use to keep messages especially relevant and predict roughly how many messages your audience members will actually see. ROI tools are also available.
  • Build forms and landing pages convert visitors.
  • Segment your leads so they can be targeted with more relevant messages.
  • Personalize your emails and send automatic follow up emails.
  • Sync with Salesforce.

HupSpot isn't necessarily the best fit for every ad agency, but it does offer the set of tools to compare against. If you aren't using any tools like these, your future as an ad agency looks a bit grim. Modern ad agencies must make an effort to retain their audience and build an online presence. Retained customers translate into increased lifetime value, and a base audience is necessary for continued growth.

2. WorkZone

Project management has changed over the years, and bloated tools such as Microsoft Project don't make the cut for many modern agencies. WorkZone and other similar tools have changed the way ad agency software approaches project management by relocating them to the cloud, making them easy to use and transforming them into collaborative interfaces. WorkZone is a bit under the radar compared to some of the other names in this space, but it's more than worth a look.

WorkZone embraces simplicity, and it boasts project management tools that some of the other edgy tools don't, such as:

  • Gantt charts that lay out the future of the project in an easy to interpret visual format.
  • Task dependency, so sequential tasks are automatically moved when prior tasks are rescheduled, and subtasks, so project management amounts to more than top-level, excessively simplistic to-do lists.
  • Time tracking and reporting, which is useful for billing and analyzing how work is being spread among teams.
  • A cross project dashboard that explains how much progress has been made on each project and when it is due.

Intuitive features that users will find especially helpful include:

  • Document sharing, including flexible permissions, file versioning and secure file sharing.
  • A full-text search feature, so documents can be retrieved even if the keyword in question isn't in the title of the document.
  • Image markup, which allows users to leave notes and feedback directly on images without damaging the image file itself.
  • Option for users to leave comments on documents or project tasks, which promotes discussion. You can set it up so relevant users are sent an email when somebody leaves a comment.
  • Status alerts that let users know when projects are falling behind schedule with option emails.
  • Create project templates so similar projects don't need to be created again from scratch.
  • The ability to block unwanted program features to keep things simple.

WorkZone incorporates all of these features in a simple-to-use interface that almost anybody can understand after toying around with it for a few minutes. While the learning curve is a bit longer for the project manager than it is for the ground floor user, this is more than made up for by the advanced reporting and project management capabilities that are lacking in most of the other comparable tools.

3. SurveyMonkey

Market research has changed, and few things embody this better than SurveyMonkey, an incredible tool that you can use to evaluate marketing campaigns, perform original research for content production and find ideas for future action.

You have two options when you use SurveyMonkey to collect data. You can either use your existing audience, or you can purchase visitors through the SurveyMonkey Audience, which starts at $1 per survey response. The advantage of SurveyMonkey's audience is that you can gather information about non-customers, specific types of people, or the general population and conduct original research.

Either way, the tool offers several features, including:

  • Fifteen types of questions, including rating scales, multiple choice and open response. The questions are fairly easy to set up with a straightforward interface.
  • You can add custom branding to the surveys in order to differentiate yourself.
  • Eliminate bias from your responses by using A/B testing and randomizing the order of the questions.
  • Collect responses from almost any device.
  • Leverage its reporting tools to create visual, intuitive and attractive charts and graphs, and use filters and cross tabs to grab more meaningful insight from the data.

There are a number of ways you can use SurveyMonkey to your advantage, such as:

  • Gauging brand awareness
  • Understanding how the public perceives you
  • Estimating interest in types of products
  • Measuring the influence of your campaigns
  • Conducting original research you can use to become a thought leader
  • Understanding the demographics and psychographics of your existing audience
  • Gauging your potential for growth in untapped markets

Needless to say, market research is much easier today than it has been in the past, and tools such as SurveyMonkey play a big part in that.

The modern marketer needs a collaborative workforce, a strategy for attracting, not just reaching, consumers and a way to take the pulse of their audience on a regular basis. WorkZone, HubSpot and SurveyMonkey can be very useful to that end. Needless to say, the tools aren't the strategy, but the strategy would be nearly impossible without them.

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