We have all heard it time and time again – content is king. Our clients are investing more in content every year. According to Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud research, 77% of companies are planning on increasing content marketing budgets in 2016 and beyond. The impact of content on marketing success is well documented. But ironically, advertising agencies don’t follow their own advice when promoting their brand to potential new clients, and that impacts new business success.
Agencies face the same challenges as their clients; lack of awareness, lack of understanding, and lack of differentiation. You can read more about this in a previous post. It’s a complex problem to connect with diverse prospects in a way that builds awareness, understand and differentiation. And, it is even harder to reach that 3% who are actively in the market to hire a new agency. Agency budgets for self-promotion including content are often non-existent, and most have little appetite for producing meaningful content or even a simple blog post.
The good news is that there is an ever-increasing number of tools available to manage content and distribute it to broad and diverse audiences. In a future post, I’ll share the tools I use and others I’ve explored. More good news, good content will improve SEO, which helps marketers find you when they are looking and helps you become more of an authority on the subjects you want to own. But of course, agencies know this too. If you have any doubt read a collection of very smart advice about content in this post on The Social Media Hats.
The bad news is that more content is produced than ever before, and the sophistication of content marketing is making it harder to stand out. What was, not so long ago, an easy channel to dominate has become crowded and competitive. Now more than ever, the right approach and strategy tempered with an understanding of the capacity of the agency are essential to new business success. Agencies should devise their own content strategy that is customer-focused and aligned with the prospect’s journey of awareness, understanding, and differentiation to separate themselves from the thousands of other choices.
This all makes sense but how do we design a strategy that is right for agency prospects? I just completed a survey of over 150 marketers representing companies small to large and brands in both B2B and B2C industries. I asked them what things they want to know when searching for a new agency resource. The top five things are expertise in my industry, client successes, expertise with my audience, use of new technologies and fresh creative. Agencies need to structure their content efforts around these five, or four, or three areas to satisfy their prospect needs. By focusing their limited time and resources on content that answers these questions first, inquiries and opportunities will increase.
Remember, marketers are evolving too. They prefer to be self-directed and self-service before ever engaging. Statistics show that a prospect will have traveled more than 60% through their journey before ever contacting you. We are all more accustomed to the do-it-yourself approach in all aspects of our life from banking to healthcare and travel to shopping. Agencies that tailor their business development efforts, specifically their content strategy, in the same way, will find improvements in prospect response. Content when, where, and how their customer wants it and content that quickly satisfies their key five needs is the right solution for increasing new business yield.
When I approach business development for my clients, I structure a content strategy around this philosophy and content is the king. My post, Prospect Opportunity Timeline addresses the When. The post, How does a marketer want to learn about new ad agencies addresses the Where. And the post, Advice from your future client addresses the How. If you need help or want a more detailed explanation, please call.
I’ve seen first hand that aligning your marketing efforts around the power of content and using the right approach to the content will improve your pipeline, your win rate and the success of your company. After all, new business IS the future of every agency. #LetsGrow!
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