Digital marketing is changing at a rapid pace – shiny new technologies, tools, and platforms that promise to be game changers, and clients looking to work with an agency that understands their industry, their brand, and their needs to get them ahead of their competitors online. With Digital Marketing Agencies (DMAs) evolving at an equally fast pace, what makes a successful agency, well versed in the digital marketing landscape, and a step ahead of other DMAs? As Digital Brand Expressions (DBE) consistently earns high marks from our clients, our strategic partners, and our employees, here are some of the factors that we think make DMAs stand out:
- DMAs should be original, different, and creative. Do things that are difficult and take time to reproduce. Visitor generated content vehicles like blogs, forums, and user reviews are hard to duplicate. And the more diverse the better! Encourage everyone in the agency to participate so that over time your blog posts and social sites are reflective of the entire culture.
- Be a “strategic thinking” DMA. Look for game-changing information and developing trends that push to the outer limits of the digital ecosystem. Powerhouse players like Google share their insights into the future – and not just next calendar year. DMAs striving to stay on top of the competition need to look past the breakers to what they can get to on the horizon. The "Point of Views" DBE has been sharing this year have been very well received…they help others to see what we’re seeing on the horizon and why those things are important.
- Never stop innovating – stay one step ahead. A lot of DMAs are stuck in a rut, repeating the same “cookie-cutter” approach to campaigns and promotions. Instead of agencies wasting time thinking about what they have done “before” they should instead invest time thinking about what they can do for their clients in the future. We take this to heart here at DBE. We invest in “what ifs” and brainstorming sessions to keep our team in innovation mode so that we challenge ourselves to think “new, better, different.”
- Successful DMAs need to tie online and offline together. Just because DMAs are not an integrated agency does not mean they shouldn’t take the time to see how this could benefit the client offline and pose possible campaigns that could be explored with another partner. A lot of DMAs do not have the skill set in-house with regard to traditional off-line material but that does not mean that they shouldn’t be working through their client contacts to assure that the strategy and messaging with what the client is doing both online and offline is in sync. Cross-channel campaigns include offline events such as direct mail, trade shows, tours and/or networking events. For DBE, this is where are strategic partnerships come in—by keeping our clients’ needs in focus, a key component to our success is to ensure we have the right partners by our side for traditional marketing, branding, research, and other types of marketing that our clients need.
- DMAs need to understand consumer behavior. For example, competitions on social media sites like Facebook bring in not just email addresses but people who are engaging with the brand and who have opted in. This opens up the ability to communicate with them information that motivates them and responds to their needs and continues to build the relationship and loyalty. By partnering with clients DBE gains valuable insights from their research of their audiences that overlay with their own research and analysis. Presto—more EQ (emotional quotient) marketing for our clients and their brands.
- DMAs should have a great content development team led by an even greater content strategist (or two!). There is an explosion of content creation services and software. Content marketing is the core of every marketing initiative for B2B and B2C. The search engines are focused on creating the best possible experience for their users, which means sites that offer the most relevant information stand to gain the most visibility. Investing in original, high-quality content is essential to SEO success in the search climate, and the benefits of producing visitor-friendly content go far beyond rankings. And it can’t just be well written. A key component to content marketing strategies is to understand the context in which it will be encountered and how to charge that encounter with high EQ.
- DMAs need to look “under the hood” internally and objectively at where they are holistically as an agency. They should be able to measure their success - where they are succeeding, falling short, and where they should be fine-tuned. At DBE we do this constantly. It’s painful sometimes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Honest introspection always yields improvements.
DMAs need to focus on making their agency unique - know the competition, highlight the agency’s qualities with stand-out pitches, and make sure the message is clear to the client that you have what no other DMA has – the people at your agency. Share your team’s assets and invaluable skills with your clients. Don’t hesitate to talk about real people, real results, and how you will tailor your skills to their needs. And ALWAYS tie back to the client’s goals.