Laura Silver is blue door agency Based in Toronto, he specializes in public relations, digital marketing and graphic design.
Almost every day, we are confronted with news stories that suggest we are headed for a recession. For a young company just starting out, there is nothing more terrifying than this. Are employees concerned about security? Will demand for our products and services be reduced or eliminated altogether?
As CEO of a communications agency, I’ve found that marketing, in particular, is often the first item to be crossed out as budgets get tighter and anxiety becomes more prevalent than strategic thinking. This often stems from the idea that marketing is simply buying big billboards on the highway, but it’s much more than that.
So how can marketing agencies thrive in this economic climate? They need to position themselves with the C-Suite and demonstrate value across all areas of their clients’ businesses. Here’s how agencies are leaning on this opportunity.
1. Show how you can serve your clients when they need it most.
In the future, we expect that demand for communication support that goes beyond conventional PR will increase. This can take the form of problem management plans, internal communication protocols, media monitoring, and rapid response protocols. As such, marketing agencies must demonstrate their ability to serve their clients where they need them most, when it matters most. It’s time to focus heavily on meaningful communication and long-term planning, rather than one-off projects and vanity metrics.
Consider setting up a dedicated meeting to reflect on how you can take advantage of the current situation and services to show how you can support your clients during difficult times. Take the opportunity to cross-sell services to existing clients and highlight why those additional services will be useful in the coming year. Finally, update your marketing materials and offerings to incorporate your understanding of the economic climate and how you are helping your clients succeed during this time.
2. Use audits.
I always fall back on the old saying. In retrospect, I think this applies to pretty much anything you embark on because it helps you plan your next steps properly.
From a marketing perspective, this means taking a deep dive into the client’s previous communication plans and auditing what’s working and what needs to be improved. With a global crisis looming, organizations want to understand how they can do better, and it’s an opportunity for government agencies to become auditors of previous work. Conduct a review of employee engagement tactics, company culture, issue management plans, social media protocols, or other collateral. Once that’s done, you’ll be in a position to advise what needs to be improved.
3. Demonstrate your worth.
During the crisis, as organizations look to find better value in every deal, large and small, agencies need to identify ways to demonstrate irreplaceable value for the work they deliver. This can come in the form of attribution. That means you need to move away from “impressions” and start talking about the actual return on investment for your work. Today, all marketing is measurable and every practitioner should set goals and focus on achieving them. For example, if you’re running a digital advertising campaign, you’re tracking click-throughs, cost-per-acquisition, website traffic, engagement, and other quantitative factors that help clients understand the value of your work Please confirm that.
Agencies should also clearly articulate what they do and how it helps the company achieve its goals. This is only possible if we listen more and speak less. Before you start working with clients, understand their key company goals and what your work will be measured by. For example, if their goal is to make a new website stand out and attract more unique visitors, your program and results should tell the story of how you are doing it (e.g. , media article backlinks, SEO practices, etc.). When reporting on campaigns, make sure to use available data (e.g. Google Analytics) to show how your work is changing through traffic growth, unique user counts, etc. .
During a recession, every dollar counts. As such, agencies need to be very focused on how to demonstrate high value at every turn.
4. Support clients’ ESG initiatives.
We also hope to see increased interest in organizations looking to develop or improve their environmental, social and governance missions, including how they contribute to the planet socially and environmentally. . We’ve seen organizations lean into these priorities to attract new clients and retain employees during times of uncertainty.
From a marketing perspective, we can demonstrate our experience with major ESG initiatives including roadmap creation, narrative building, positioning and strategic partnerships. Have you supported clients writing sustainability reports? Do any of your clients have community goals that you support with your collateral? Highlight and explain how you contributed to that important work.
In uncertain times, everyone becomes more cautious about where their money goes. Marketing professionals and agencies must ensure that they are seen as important commodities, not budget items. This requires thoughtful and purposeful communication with clients, and pitching ideas that will soften the current economic climate. At the same time, agencies need to position their clients in the best possible way so that they can continue to operate, attract new business and maintain a happy and healthy workforce.
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