Demand for marketing services has been growing rapidly in recent years, with digital ad spend alone expected to reach $281.32 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12%.
Understandably, a market this size will draw a huge number of new entrants who are all trying to get a slice of the pie. It can be easy to fall into the trap of attempting to compete on price alone, but it’s better to stay ahead in other ways to maintain your profits, always keeping your agency’s client relationships at the center of your consciousness.
To stay ahead of the other agencies that are after your clients, you need to focus on ways you can show you go the extra mile and how you can offer a top-notch service. The goal is to be able to charge premium prices while providing heaps of perceived value and making the most of your team’s capacity.
This requires you to think differently from the average agency so that you can be considered an industry leader. Here are three ways you can do that.
Empower clients to improve customer communications
Some marketing agencies will help a company to generate leads but then take a back seat and not be too interested in what happens next. By following through to the next stage, you can show you care about the client’s results.
What you should aim for is the done-with-you model, as it helps you build the best relationships with your clients – essentially, you’re simultaneously executing tasks on their behalf and training them to take over. This way, when further marketing opportunities come up, you’re well positioned as the natural choice, since you’re already established as a trusted advisor and enabler.
One great way to implement the done-with-you model is by using a custom app. Here you can enable your clients to create stronger bonds with their own customers. It’s okay if you don’t have the technical expertise to build a custom app, as you can partner with vcita to easily develop a co-branded product.
Customers can log in, and then you are able to track their progress and guide them. In particular, you can focus on the more complex parts of their customer communications, such as nurture messaging, appointment scheduling, collecting payments and maintaining CRM.
This tactic is being used by some of the top marketing agencies in the world. For instance, FCR Media, a Digimedia Top 100 agency, used vcita to build their app Sitee, which aims to empower small businesses in Belgium with the digital tools that can move the needle for them.
“Sitee is actually a combination of all of our services that we already offer as our agency’s managed services,” explains Bart van der Heijden, Director of Strategy and Innovation at FCR, of the strategy. “We want small business owners to reach more customers, save time on doing business, get paid faster, and manage their reputation. What we tried to do with Sitee is to group all of that into one self-service platform to cater to all these different customer journeys.”
By offering Sitee, FCR is able to stand out from their competition and offer more diverse services that their clients love.
Give away your ideas
Is your agency’s playbook and other intellectual property your “secret sauce”? It makes sense that many agency leaders have a natural instinct to protect their ideas at all costs. But the truth is, ideas are cheap – what really matters is execution.
Companies can find plenty of marketing strategy theories online for free, but an agency truly shines only by adapting the theory for different scenarios and executing well. Clients are paying for support, not just the ideas.
Erik Huberman of Hawke Media has a distinctive strategy that’s helped him build the fastest growing marketing agency in the United States. He gives away his entire methodology for free, too, despite it being built up through years in the industry. Erik does this through his book The Hawke Method, which he can give to potential clients as an immediate value add.
By noticing the confidence that Hawke must have to give away his ideas, he instantly builds trust, authority and affinity.
In theory, others could steal his methodology and apply everything themselves for a fraction of the cost of engaging a marketing agency. In reality, it allows the client to truly buy into the way Hawke Media works and makes them realize how difficult it would be for them to try to implement the strategies themselves without the machine of a marketing agency behind them.
Although anyone can self-publish through Amazon, gaining a book deal with a major publisher is also a strong differentiator in terms of validation and social proof. But even on a smaller scale, you can achieve the same thought leadership effect by sharing your ideas on a prestigious podcast or by gaining a reputation for giving away valuable information on your social platforms, in the form of regular quick tip videos.
Build a network of spokespeople
In the past, marketing agencies have sometimes worked in silos, where all they needed to think about was how to create high-ranking pages and slick user experiences. The primacy of the website as an owned media hub has been challenged by the growth of social media, and there are many businesses that make do with a minimal website and focus their audience acquisition efforts on their social media instead.
All this has meant that influencer marketing has become increasingly important. The influencer marketing industry was set to grow to approximately $13.8 billion in 2021.
For many businesses, the ROI of using the top tier influencers may not be worth the expense. It can be difficult to find the right people to work with and larger influencers may have more stringent terms of engagement. Micro-influencers have much higher average engagement relative to their following and are likely to be more excited by new opportunities.
Yet it’s difficult for brands to create networks of influencers through cold outreach.
This is an area where you can stand out amongst the competition. One social media agency, Laundry Service, built a network of 1000 influencers who are ready to work with them and promote their customers’ brands. If you can offer your clients something targeted for their niche, then you provide a strong incentive for them to pick you over your competitors.
In this way, a marketing agency can almost become like a modeling agency, where clients come to you not just for your own expertise but the roster of people you can mobilize to work with them. You win by being able to attract more clients but you can also take a cut of the transactions between the companies and your influencers as a finder’s fee.
Alternatively, you can take a proportion of the influencer income as a reward for earning them sponsors.
With rising demand for marketing agency services, don’t let yourself be drawn into a price war. Instead, focus on establishing yourself as an industry leader. You want to focus on the services that many competitors won’t offer despite the services having such a great impact on customers. By the time everyone else tries to mimic what you’re doing, you will have already built a strong reputation that is hard for other firms to compete with.