Three Techniques for Creative Agencies to Stay Relevant in 2023
The latest episode of Kantata’s Professional Services Pursuit Podcast, hosted by Brent Trimble, features Sunday Dinner Founder, Ad Age 40 under 40 recipient, and brand strategy thought leader, Lindsey Slaby.
The episode dives into how the marketing and advertising industries have evolved over the years and the growing challenges they face. Lindsey is one of the top consultants in the space and pulls back the curtain back on the changes big brands need to see from agencies, giving insight on how agencies can be an essential marketing and advertising partner in 2023 and beyond.
The blog below focuses on three strategies Lindsey outlines in the episode that will help marketing and advertising organizations set themselves up for success in today’s market. To learn about some of the other topics covered in the discussion, listen to the entire episode or read the transcript here.
How Creative Agencies Can Stay Ahead of the Curve
Below are three of the many ways that agencies can ensure they remain competitive in 2023.
1. Remember the power of creativity
Lindsey emphasizes the importance of producing quality work, and shares her worry that hyper-focusing on margin or revenue fails to take into account a critical success factor for marketing and advertising agencies — the power of creativity. “I’ve always believed in the power of great work and I think quality and profitability go hand in hand. Whether that’s how you are thinking about agencies and how you use them or building your team internally. And there is a mutual desire in this industry to not just get stuff done with anyone at the lowest cost but to make meaningful things. I fear as we enter 2023 that the word “creative” is dropping.”
When the focus shifts to optimization in creative agencies, it’s key to remember that it’s not just about optimizing business models, but doing it in a way that gives creatives the right tools, processes, and opportunities to focus on delivering high-quality, valuable work. Lindsey recognizes this is no easy task, and requires a comprehensive approach, “What I’ve learned from all my experience is, you have to get the foundation fixed to set these talented shops up for success.”
2. Focus on retention
Recently, Lindsey has witnessed a hyper-focus on retention — across both agencies and their clients. Lindsey shares that organizations are turning to agencies in order to “get better at full 360 customer loyalty, CRM, and connected experiences. We’ll be seeing retention methods dialing up in the coming year.”
Hiring has slowed down across the board, a trend Lindsey has noticed across organizations regardless of their size, goals, or the products or services they sell, which has resulted in a greater focus on retaining the talent businesses already have and capitalizing on the things they are exceptionally good at.
Lindsey shares that “agencies have to figure out what they’re going to deliver and how they’re going to fill in those gaps based on this freezing of hiring that’s happening. And that’s not going away.” Filling those gaps can be difficult, but many times organizations are simply not equipped to acknowledge the wide array of services that their organization is actually already capable of selling.
3. Sell a spectrum of services
Lindsey suggests taking a step back and really recognizing not only the services that your organization is exceptionally great at delivering, but the entire spectrum of services you are capable of delivering. She suggests, “Whatever you do at whatever core category, show me the different areas where work gets handed off generally in different phases and color in really darkly what you kick ass at. Then shade things that maybe you know you can do but you don’t always do… That’s what I wanna see in your deck… I wanna know what you are awesome at and what your core focus is.”
Lindsey pushes her clients — especially those in the creative space — to not only focus and sell their “hero products” but to find the value in some of the less exciting, yet equally valuable, services that their team is capable of delivering. “Those things that you come to the table with that you think are just part of you and are not that exciting are sometimes your most powerful tools in your toolkit. And I think people are sometimes scared to do it. They’re scared to sell. Especially if you’re a creative agency and you’re run by a bunch of creatives.” Lindsey pushes the agencies she works with to be confident in an array of services, and suggests being truly confident when pitching even the not-so-exciting projects to clients.
Want to Learn More?
These three suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg from Brent and Lindsey’s conversation. If you’d like to learn more about how to appropriately model your agency, market your services, and pitch your projects, listen to the entire podcast episode here. Subscribe to the The Professional Services Pursuit Podcast to stay up to date on the latest expert advice, trends, and best practices surrounding the professional services industry.