The calendar has turned over to the second half of quite an eventful year.
The current economic outlook can seem frightening. Agencies are facing a number of headwinds as inflation is dampening corporate spirits (and spending) and consumers are on edge. The world is a bit of a mess right now with Covid, war and food shortages. Agencies everywhere are finding business development to be a greater and greater challenge.
This is the perfect time to remember that your agency can help master its own destiny with a focus closer to home: current clients. Maintaining and growing your current clients is essential to making your numbers and providing a successful platform for additional growth. So – just what can agencies do to be indispensable and create opportunities for organic growth?
Here are four efforts any agency can put into practice that can solidify your relationships and naturally create opportunities for additional business.
The key to consistently growing your existing clients is to create an endless stream of discussions about their business – which can often lead to opportunities for your agency to help even more. Job #1 of course is to simply do great work. We won’t discuss that in this article because it is so painfully obvious. If you aren’t delivering on your existing SOW with distinction, you don’t deserve additional work.
Assuming you are delivering great work, here are four ideas that can add value and lead to additional opportunities for your agency:
1. Provide a Competitive Review: Your clients need to understand their competitors’ strategies and tactics in order to stay current with their own marketing activities. Providing an updated competitive review to clients is a fine way to highlight your commitment to their business and to showcase your focus on their success.
Has their positioning changed? What is the focus on their current campaign work? What search terms are they buying? Has their media mix changed? What are they doing to navigate the current economic climate? You should be able to answer questions like these with facts.
Once you have your arms around what the competitors are up to, the key is to then be able to discuss the implications of these findings to your client’s business and provide recommendations on how they should address your findings. Tying your analysis directly to your client’s business is a great way to further bind you to the client.
2. Prepare a Key Marketplace Trends Report: There is a wealth of up-to-date free content available on the internet regarding topics like customer trends, consumer trends, media trends and hundreds of other topics. Curating trend information regarding topics that are important to your clients can be done quickly and cost effectively. Once collected, it is relatively easy to turn such curated content into helpful reports for your clients, focused on their business challenges and needs. And be sure to add your own POV on what these trends mean for the client’s business and what you recommend they consider where possible.
3. Lunch & Learn Series: Agency executives see a broader range of business challenges every day than their clients do. And agency executives need to dive much deeper into many marketing and advertising capabilities than clients. The result is that agency executives have a uniquely deep knowledge base in several areas that can benefit your clients.
An easy way to leverage that knowledge to help your clients and further cement your relationship is by hosting a regular Lunch & Learn session. The idea would be to hold regular sessions that go deep into a specific topic. Choose topics that will benefit your client counterparts but are easy to prepare for, like a session on programmatic, or paid search, or CRM. Monthly or quarterly Lunch & Learn sessions provide important opportunities to connect with a broad range of folks from the client. The prep for a single Lunch & Learn session can then be leveraged across as many clients as you choose to engage in such meetings.
4. Updated Strategy: A refreshed look at your client’s customer facing strategies can be a powerful way to create important conversations about the client’s business and how your agency can help. Where possible, and certainly for important clients, we recommend that agencies make such a review a routine part of their relationship management efforts. This typically involves taking a fresh look at the client’s brand, competitors, and target audience. Look to derive important new insights where possible and recommend strategic evolutions as appropriate.
Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.