There is a group of digital agencies that grow nine times faster than the average. They are 50% more profitable than the average. So, what’s going on?
Doing the research for the Grow Your Digital Agency book, it was easy to see that high-performing service firms are the ones whose clients believe in the business. The ‘positioning’ (and ‘targeting’) talks to clients in a way that the client can relate to and understand. The agency understands the client’s needs, hurts and wants, and has a solution. The likelihood is that the agency is a specialist and not a generalist. That is the Grow Your Digital Agency ‘ology’.
High-performers have always had a particular profile; they have always been identified as being different from the average.
So, how do they drive their growth?
They could just spend more on marketing and sales. But the high-performers don’t do that. They just become qualitatively better at the marketing and sales aspect. High-performing agencies do not spend the most on marketing and sales (proportionately), because they are already very good at it. They are simply more effective, so they don’t need to compete by spending the most – obvious really!
The high-performers actually spend less than the average on their sales and marketing activities. The high-performers’ marketing spend isn’t quantitatively higher; it is qualitatively better. They spend less and get better results.
Every agency says pretty much the same boring thing, selling similar services to similar people using similar straplines, and getting similar people with similar qualifications to sell similar services at similar prices. Clients have switched off; shouting louder just irritates them some more.
The days of interruption marketing are over: people trust referrals, recommendations, word-of-mouth and reputation way more than any paid-for sales campaign. In fact, most people believe that businesses lie in the adverts!
The high-performers, meanwhile, focus on client needs and priorities. They are not mesmerised by their own reflection. They focus their limited budgets on specific target customer groups, and use a clear and easy to understand message. Again, simple when you think about it!
So, who are these agencies that grow nine times faster than the average, and are 50% more profitable than the average? How can you join them? What do you need to do? The starting point, I am afraid, comes straight out of day one of your Marketing 101 class. You have to create and communicate a clear position that demonstrates how you can help your target clients… unequivocally.
A totally compelling proposition becomes seductive. As a starting point, ask yourself if you consistently communicate:
1. Your overt, quantitative business benefit
2. The real reason you can deliver
3. The dramatic difference between you and your competitors
I meet very few agencies who have actually done this properly. As a result, they deliver average results.