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As the founder of Group8A, a boutique marketing consultancy, my two biggest challenges are:
While my first priority is serving our clients, I know how important it is to spend time and effort improving our agency. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand.
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As our business evolves, here are four things we will continue to focus on, which we recommend any marketing agency to devote resources to as well.
At the moment, my company is accepting limited applications from companies interested in retaining our services. Yet, we continue to advertise our brand. Even if we weren't seeking new clients, we would never put our promotional campaigns on-hold. The more brands discover our work, the more likely they may be to work with us in the future. Generally, this ongoing investment comes in handy when we are actively prospecting for new business as our ads help us keep our sales pipeline full.
When we advertise, we also gather data about how receptive potential clients are to ways we may phrase or position our offerings. With this feedback, we learn about how else we can communicate our business and promote our services so that when we are ready to take on new clients, we have the right copy and language prepared for the perfect sales pitch.
In a small marketing consultancy, everyone within the organization should know which brands are on the current client roster, what projects each team member oversees and where progress is on all of the business' current initiatives. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The overhead costs of internal communications are huge because the team is not only responsible for providing reporting to clients but to their colleagues.
To manage this effectively though, a regular, all-hands meeting schedule is important, even if it is a 15-minute catch-up meeting every morning or an hourlong team recap each week.
It is rare that the skills a person has learned in college are all they will need to succeed in the workplace. That said, employers have an opportunity to help their staff develop the knowledge needed to accomplish more on the job. Thus, it is important that agency leaders provide team members with the option to attend industry conferences, enroll in skill-specific coursework or participate in professional workshops. Studies even show that the ROI of employee training is huge; a report by HR Magazine reveals that companies that invest $1,500 or more on employee training per worker per year have 24% higher profit margins than businesses that invest less in enriching the skills of their staff.
In 2009, skeptics believed social media was a passing fad. That same year, I founded Group8A. I spent a lot of time convincing brands that social media would soon be a necessary component of their overall marketing strategy. Naturally, many disagreed, and now they regret not adopting social media sooner. Those that knew social media would change the way brands communicate with customers agreed to let us pilot a social media program for their business, and they have reaped the rewards of their early investment in social media.
Although we weren't experts in social media at the time, our clients were willing to partner with us to explore ways to grow using social media, and it was the perfect arrangement. We quickly learned what worked and what didn't and replicated that across all of the social media campaigns we ran. As an agency, we helped our clients capitalize on an emerging trend and were able to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation within the industry.
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