The creative agency industry is fast-moving – responding to world events in real-time and rapidly shifting client expectations. But what does the agency of the future look like? We partnered with SoDA (The Society of Digital Agencies) on a global survey to give us insight into where agencies are at today, and asked experts from top agencies like MediaMonks and Adrenalin to share best practices that will help agencies adapt and innovate. From client relationships to investing in talent, here are some highlights from the report:
1. Building trust
Clients today want more than a traditional agency model – they’re looking for a partner to work with them on long-term success. 55% of survey respondents said that their agency has longer client relationships than 12 months ago. By starting your relationship with your client with open and honest communication, you’ll earn their trust, setting your agency up for a long relationship and lots of shared success.
2. Establishing clear expectations
A majority (52%) of survey respondents reported that their agency has more clients now than 12 months ago. Establishing clear expectations is essential for maintaining a growing client base. Get on the same page by explaining the journey you’ll go on together. By building a collaborative relationship, agencies will find increased efficiency and success.
2020 SoDA Report: The Future of the Agency Model
Learn about the internal processes and client demands that are reshaping agencies.
3. Leveling up your agency
As your business grows over time, it’s important to take a step back and assess your agency’s maturity fitness level. 45% of survey respondents said their agency offers more services now than 12 months ago, while 38% responded that the number of offerings are the same as before. And when asked in which areas their agency needs to improve, 62% of survey respondents said a more profitable new business strategy. Leaders need to plan for a marathon not a sprint, starting by streamlining processes. By always looking for ways to ‘level up’ and optimize profitability, your agency’s maturity level will evolve over time.
4. Handling late-paying clients
Cash flow can be a major headache, and your agency’s financial well-being is heavily dependent on your ability to collect prompt payments. 64% of survey respondents reported that their finance team is challenged by following up on open invoices and purchase orders. A key strategy to protect your cash flow is to establish clear policies, while being unafraid to enforce them. Setting clear boundaries with your clients early on will make it easier expect payments on time.
5. Investing in talent
When survey respondents were asked about areas of concern, the top answer was attracting and hiring the best talent (54%). Regarding agency size, 43% of survey respondents said that their agency’s team has expanded in the last 12 months, whereas 32% reported that their team had shrunk. How can agencies hire and retain the best talent? Competitive compensation and perks are only one piece of the puzzle. Talent requires an investment in recruitment and internal culture. By focusing on the work environment, agencies can find themselves both hiring employees that are a better fit and that stay longer.
The above is just a snapshot of the full survey and real-life successes from industry experts. For more in-depth analysis of the survey data, be sure to watch our on-demand webinar. Read the full report for a deeper dive into best practices and tools you can use for the future of the agency model.