When trying to scale an agency, one is pretty likely to come across a few obstacles.
The business world can be rather brutal to service-oriented businesses that want to ramp up. This is the direct result of fierce competition among companies that do social media and digital marketing.
Brian Regienczuk, CEO at Agency Spotter, reveals that in the United States alone, there are more than 120,000 marketing agencies.
Already in a full-on panic? Don’t be.
Even though setting a course for growth can look like an unfeasible milestone, there are still foolproof ways to get your marketing agency rolling.
In this article, we will look at several ways you too can scale your marketing agency. Whether you want to take on more clients, expand your services or experience overall business growth, we will show you how it can be done.
Scaling a marketing agency is an entirely different animal than growing any other type of business.
Agencies usually have a business model that depends on the quality of services provided as well as efficient collaboration.
The quality of services is strongly correlated to the number of people working at the agency and their expertise. In order to retain current clients as well as sign new contracts and thus succeed in scaling, agency management needs to have complete confidence in their workforce.
Are you that confident?
Who is, really?
Research has revealed three major obstacles that could hamper scaling efforts of any marketing agency.
The following diagram proves this point:
Therefore, simply increasing the number of customers and resources may not result in expected growth even though these seem to be right moves to scale.
To know what resources are needed at the agency at any given time, can be challenging.
What if you hire new employees and clients don't renew contracts?
What if clients come out of the woodwork but you don't have time to hire and train new staff?
Agencies could potentially find themselves in a situation where they've lost some of their clients, yet need to cover their employees' salaries. On the flip side, it is dicey to take on new clients without having the right number of people already on board, ready to work.
Balancing clients and employees had become the real test for marketing agency growth.
The secret sauce to scaling an agency for growth is knowing in which kitchen you stand, what you have in the fridge, and how fast you can deliver a meal to your clients.
Not surprisingly, companies don’t all deal with cost and revenue in the same way, as their business models differ.
To refer back to the earlier metaphor; we all have different kitchens.
Whether you deliver services or products should not matter; your chances for successful scaling will vary.
Before making any decisions in terms of attempting to scale your marketing agency, ask yourself if you want your business to be more service-oriented.
Inc. reports that running a service-oriented company puts you at a huge disadvantage when it comes to scalable growth. Take any agency that delivers marketing services, for example. Service businesses, according to Jason Albanese, Inc.’s contributor, are often complex and people-oriented, making it harder to eliminate redundancies and increase automation.
On the contrary, product-oriented marketing agencies are easier to scale as the resource-client dependencies are less noticeable and less impactful.
By delivering value through a product complimentary to services, or instead of services alone, agencies are less susceptible to risks related to hiring resources.
The majority of marketing agencies are service-oriented. This does not mean scaling is out of the question.
We can instead learn from the experience of the best companies out there with this business model.
The inventiveness of Uber, for instance, manifested itself in offering a service through a product-oriented business model. Drawing from Uber’s experience, a marketing agency can adopt a similar approach that allows scaling despite being service-oriented.
Product-oriented services in the marketing industry are often related to technology. One of the main benefits to adopting such an approach is that it can help cut spending by employing technology advancements.
Ultimately, less time is needed, and less human resources are needed for client collaboration.
There are many ways marketing agencies can shift to products.
One way that helps a marketing agency become more scalable is by using a social media management platform like PromoRepublic.
This can be accomplished by streamlining collaboration processes and digitizing some parts of the work previously done by members of a marketing team.
Tools like PromoRepublic include smart posting features and thousands of premade post ideas for different industries. Tools can save your marketing agency time and money, but more importantly, scale your business for growth without too much risk.
Another option would be to use the above-mentioned tool as a white-label solution (branded as you wish) and become an agency that offers both — services as well as products.
If this method of scaling your service-based agency doesn’t appeal to you, try one of the following alternative methods.
May we suggest approaching the matter of scaling with a 360-degree view?
Take a good hard look at your agency from different angles. Get a snapshot of what your agency is doing now. Look at all procedures and systems.
When doing this self-audit, it is important to not cherry-pick certain problems, and ignore the rest.
Ultimately, the successful scaling of your marketing agency will depend on several factors including
By improving, adjusting or streamlining one or all of these factors an agency could easily scale and grow.
This is an important question that needs to be addressed.
The following image provides statistics about what works best for generating new leads for marketing businesses.
It is clear by looking at this data that asking current, active clients for referrals and through positive online or offline reviews marketing agencies can grow their client base significantly.
Always remember to keep websites updated and fresh to create the best user experience and the most creative display for anyone visiting to learn more about products and services offered.
The takeaway for marketing agencies here is that before trying to increase the client base and resources a solid plan of execution needs to be in place.
The ability to pivot and digitalize a service-based marketing agency will come with obvious advantages over competitors.
Everything else will fall into place.
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