More profit for your digital agency. How?


Many digital agencies seem to be struggling to achieve the profitability they aspire to. There are several reasons this is happening. Time to change a few things.

Most marketing doesn’t work.

It is progressively more expensive and results seem to be harder to come by (despite what we say to our clients)

eg more and more businesses are chasing similar adwords at increasingly higher prices.

Meanwhile most marketing of most digital agencies is predictable, clichéd, similar and, dare I say it, dull, unremarkable and unfocused.

Often the agency’s marketing of itself doesn’t focus on benefits; positioning is wrong because your customer understanding is wrong. There is no great commitment, no great customer engagement and the cost of winning customers is rising. It just doesn’t work like it used to. And that is a fact.

There are more and more agencies, competing more than ever.

The marketplace is too busy with too many agencies fighting for too few clients. (Or at least that’s how it feels.)

Too many agencies giving away services and IP at stupid knockdown prices we can’t compete with.

Too many players flooding the internet with their wonderful, too-good-to-true offers.

The marketing and sales landscape for digital agencies is looking pretty fragile.

  1.  It is clear that most ‘traditional’ (as well as digital!) marketing does not work as well as it used to.
  2. Despite what they claim, most digital agencies are falling well short of customer expectations especially in terms of customer service.
  3. Only 10% of any market and particularly in the digital/marketing industry actually buys on price despite what people tell you.
  4. Clients do not keep coming back because you don’t appear to care (enough) about them.
  5. Clients choose you because of your engagement with them.
  6. Once agencies (most!) could get away with murder because there was a surplus of client looking for a great digital agency!

Stand-Out Marketing

So, what is marketing of a digital agency that stands out, that ‘cuts the mustard’?

For me, ‘stand-out’ is about challenging and shaking the industry (and not simply about gimmicks) and ‘marketing’ is about revenue generating (which it should be). So, ‘stand-out marketing’ is inventing (new) methods to disrupt the normal way your industry conducts business.

We can now map out how to make your marketing stand out.

How to start creating some stand-out, disruptive marketing in the digital/marketing industry

To improve your whole approach to marketing you need to ask five questions of your clients and your business. This can be a quick’n’dirty exercise (grab a room with a flipchart and some of the key people in the business) or it can be constructed in a more methodical manner incorporating some research.

Ask the following five questions:

  1. What really hacks off your clients?

A clue: lousy or lazy service.

2. Why can’t you sell more stuff?

A clue: lazy marketing.

Another: you look/sound/talk/sell identical to your competitors.

Another: the adverts no longer work; word-of-mouth is what matters.

Another: shouting louder doesn’t attract attention any more.

3. What is your job from the client’s point of view?

A clue: it is almost certainly NOT what you do. People do not buy what you do; they buy what you do does for them. They buy the afters, what is left after you’ve ‘delivered’. They want more, better leads. They want more profit, more easily….

4. What is the usual way of doing things?

A clue: the usual way is almost certainly boring, dull and predictable.

5. What could/should you be doing?

A clue: this is where the hard work starts.

A few more clues might be required here. A few ‘starters for ten’. You could sell on:

  • low price – probably a hiding to nowhere especially if your competition can go lower than you
  • high price –
  • no price – why would you do that?
  • payment by results – that is neat from the client’s point of view.

You could be the:

  •  best
  • slowest
  • fastest
  • first
  • last
  • only…

I am sure you get the idea.

When everyone goes zig, you could go zag.

After all, why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition, especially when the competition might well be cheaper or faster or friendlier?

To blindly follow the pack is a mug’s game; in a team of husky dogs pulling a sledge, the only ones with a good view are the ones at the front!

What I refer to as stand-out or disruptive marketing is an alternative to the way you do things now. In your heart of hearts you know that you could be doing so much more.

To quote Jerry Garcia: “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

It works for a specific selection of digital agencies already. They are different. They do things differently. They stand out for being different. These are all digital businesses that are really well-connected to their customers. Maybe it will work for you?

Robert’s new book will be released in December, order yours with Crowdfunder