In the marketing and advertising worlds, there’s nothing more important to business than being the best at what you offer. Creating a unique menu of services isn’t easy. Especially when agencies want to stand out as experts in their field. Moreover, it’s not a quick process.
Digital Third Coast, a Chicago-based agency that offers PPC, SEO, and Digital PR services, wanted to find out how other agencies chose their offerings. In a survey of leaders across the country, many executives said their offerings have evolved over the years as the industry changed. Today, their menus are a carefully curated assortment of marketing services – most often 4-6 services – that have grown and changed to answer for client needs and changing demands.
Other companies, like Epic Marketing Consultants, grew their overall service offerings based on client demands. “We come from a place of ‘yes’ for our clients,” according to Epic’s CEO, Nancy Dilbert.
And it works for most. Nine out of ten said they’re satisfied with the number of services they offer, but about half are still open to the possibility of adding more down the road. Those dissatisfied with their offerings most often said they’d like to offer less.
When executives were asked what to remember when growing and expanding, one theme was consistent: do what you know.
“Be very good at what you offer already before expanding further, and choose new offerings where it makes sense,” said Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner at Kick Point.
“Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Focus on one niche industry and figure out how you can provide that niche or demographic as much value as possible,” adds Jon Boles of Avintiv Media. “Test the waters and figure out which service offerings you’re a rockstar at.”
Sharon Ainsberg of SHO+CO put it simply: “It’s always smart to think about where your expertise lies and how you might expand into neighboring offerings naturally.”
But in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic, which shows no signs of slowing, how have agencies adapted when it comes to their service menu? Roughly three out of four leaders say they’ve been forced to change their service offerings, with 60% amending their offerings, increasing prices, or offering fewer.
It’s not all bad, however: 61% have actually begun brainstorming and offering new services, or reducing prices.
Miami-based Crea7ive has found the pandemic “an opportunity to pivot into a product or more specialized agency,” said PIa Celestino. Celestino went on to say the agency has “been thinking about it for a long time and these times, as hectic as they are, present an opportunity to change and evolve into something new.”
Others, EVISION, Madison Taylor Marketing, and Espresso B2B Marketing, have chosen instead to just refine their offerings.
The biggest takeaway? That no agency offered everything all at once. They all started small and gradually grew to fit their team, their clients, and their goals – and have remained flexible and open-minded through Covid-19. As one leader said, the pandemic has been a “humbling experience” – one that many have used to hone their offers and focus further on their business model.