This is a bit of a touchy subject. And much like Donald Trump, I'm sure I'm going to offend some potential allies with this post. As a career technology salesperson who has turned his attention to helping marketing professionals, I've learned quite a bit about the challenges marketers face. I really wish I could take back all those things I said about "What the hell does marketing do, anyway?"
First and foremost, I had to put myself in my marketing team's shoes (historically speaking). The audience they were marketing to was also being marketed to by 10's of different companies and angles, and it had and continues to be incredibly hard to rise above the noise.
Many companies decide to hire marketing specialists to help them with this challenge — they hire a marketing agency. They go through an exhaustive interview process to find that right "one", sign a contract, and the agency goes through their normal process of business analysis, website redesign, content creation, event marketing, newsletter marketing, etc. And yes, that work definitely has an impact.
An Opportunity for Agencies to Rise Above the Crowd
But as an agency, all your competitors are doing business analysis, website redesign, content creation, event marketing, newsletter marketing, etc. What very few of your competitors are doing is connecting that work to sales. Why will this set you apart? Because without sales, every company dies! The C-suite knows this, and they're looking for a holistic solution — a solution that most agencies don't provide. This is an opportunity that smart agencies are taking advantage of.
Technology as a Value-Driver and Differentiator
Many agencies take a “rinse and repeat” approach, providing the same set of services month after month, doing the same thing regardless of whether it's delivering consistent ROI, and collecting their retainers. What they're not doing is keeping a pulse on new technology and methodologies available to them, looking at new ways they could increase ROI for their clients.
For example, Google announced a new type of individualized marketing called Customer Match, which in short, allows you to upload a list of email addresses and serve ads to those specific individuals. BRILLIANT! Side note, thanks for educating us on this Shawn Fitzgerald. How many agencies have heard about Customer Match and used it to boost their clients' performance and lead quality for the sales team? In my experience, not many …
While not a plug for Seventh Sense, ("Yes it is Mike"), most marketers don't take the time to learn about new technologies like Customer Match — or send time optimization. (In short, send time optimization allows a marketer to stop asking the question of "When should I send this email?", and allows them to personalize the send time to each contact. Lots of benefits here, like increasing open, click and conversion rates, but also decreases in unsubscribes, better deliverability, and waking up dormant contacts that would have never have seen your email if you'd kept sending at the same time.) I've even heard a top-tier agency say, "Yeah, we're not that advanced," and refuse to hear more.
If your agency is on the forefront of new technology and methodologies, bringing the best to your clients and delivering the best ROI they can get, do you think you're going to lose clients to your competition? Again, I'm a career salesperson, and can tell you NO.
So the question to you is: is your marketing agency taking advantage of the latest and greatest, or are they retaining and repeating? If it's the latter, get in touch and I can point you to some agencies that truly believe their clients' success is their success. A prime example is Elyse Meyer at Prism Global Marketing. She and her team are forward-looking and know what technology can do for their clients. As a result, they have an impressive roster of clients who not only stay with them, but also spread the word and send referrals. You can experience the same thing, and set yourself apart, if you get out there and test new technology and methodologies.