It's called working in the advertising and marketing industry.
When you consider that a 60-second spot at yesterday's Super Bowl XLIX fetched NBC a record $9 million, you can understand why the stakes are particularly high in an industry where competition is stiff, and brands have the upper hand in the relationship.
According to Outsell’s 9th annual Marketing & Advertising study, U.S. Advertising and Marketing budgets rose to $432 billion in 2014.
Those are some not-so-little numbers. Since everyone wants a piece of the action, what steps can a small agency take to stand out in an industry dominated by giant agency conglomerates?
If size doesn’t matter, what does?
Here are five ideas you can implement in small measures, starting right now.
1) Promote Yourself
Seeing as you’re in the business, self promotion should be an integral part of your daily activity. Start by using your website as a branding tool. Next, take every opportunity to promote your existing clients. This will remind them they made a great choice. Enter award competitions. The returns they generate in terms of media coverage and networking opportunities is second to none.
2) Publish Original Content
It’s simple. You should be seen as an expert in the field. To do this, you must publish original content. Whether it’s an industry blog, viral videos, or your own predictions for the future, create a unique voice and brand personality, and promote the heck out of it. Holiday cards like this one by Ogilvy Paris are a great opportunity for agencies to promote their skill sets.
3) Adopt New Technology
What clients want isn't that hard to figure out. They want the best value for their buck. One way to deliver this is through the adoption of trends and technologies available to the modern marketer. There’s an app for everything these days. If you can deliver easier project management workflows, clearer reporting, or a more transparent process, we can guarantee you’ll have a happier client.
4) Outsource Talent
Start building a roster of highly skilled freelancers you can work with on a per-project basis. This does not imply you lack core competencies within your organisation. It just means you’re either pushing the envelope creatively in terms of skills or filling a need based on time constraints. Sourcing experts when you need them keeps perspectives fresh and overheads lean.
5) Expand Your Menu
Expand your offering to deliver services that bring value to clients who already trust you. If your agency already specializes in events, brand activations, and experiential marketing, why not offer data capture too? Take advantage of the latest tech and research data capture apps like QuickTapSurvey that provide high value at low costs. Not only does it show clients that you are invested in their success, it also helps create new revenue streams. You may not remember this, but there was a time when Starbucks only sold coffee.
New clients are hard to win and existing clients are hard to retain, so small agencies must think creatively to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market. We hope some of these ideas will help you do just that.
Originally published Feb 2, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017