The perennial complaint made by agency leaders when talking about their own new business and marketing efforts, is that they suffer from cobbler’s children syndrome – all the great minds are busy on client work and the agency brand has to come second (but good work begets good clients – or it used to).
What Kristian Gough, Managing Partner of Incite New Business, a sales and marketing consultancy for marketing agencies, brought to light in his talk was that this situation needs to change, and change quickly.
If agencies don’t start taking their own marketing more seriously then they will continue to lose ground to large technology and consulting firms. It is not a coincidence that the top 5 digital agencies in the UK include: IBM, Accenture, BAE Systems and Deloitte. When it comes to leading the debate and taking share of voice, agencies are falling seriously behind.
You can download a copy of the full presentation here, which contains some eye-opening stats that every agency MD should read. However, for the time poor (and that’s half the problem), here’s my top five take-outs of the talk:
- Clients contact agency suppliers much later in the buying process, many are 50-60% of the way into the buying cycle before they will even make contact with an agency.
- Clients use Google and social media to self-educate and they buy from those that educated them. 50% of agency selection searches involve online research. In January this year there were over 60,000 searches for the 400 keywords incite monitors to track agency purchase intent. If you are not creating content that reflects your clients’ needs and interests, (and 78% are looking for information around their business challenge), you will not be found, considered or contacted.
- Recognize that clients are not often in a buying mode and buying cycles are long. If your only call to action is: Contact us if you want to buy it; if your only content are case studies showing you can do it, then you are only communicating content that a client will find interesting once in a blue moon – when they are actively buying. When 75% of buyers say they want vendors to curb the sales messages, you can see why.
- Decide what you are good at and stick to it - clients pay a premium for specialists and having an agency brand is critical to that. Using content that educates clients as to consumer insights and trends presents an agency as an expert and a peer. This is critical to generating a premium partner led relationship and building a valued agency brand.
- You need structure, tools and processes to manage an effective agency marketing program. Once the brand works is done you need: personas, an editorial plan, content, workflows an inbound platform, a CRM. Waiting for people to find your content won’t work, promote it, use your owned, earned and paid channels and follow up interested subscribers, not cold leads.