• Dear Agencies: Stop Being Interesting. Be Critical.

    By | April 27, 2017
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    This is a guest post from Kate Richling. Kate is the head of marketing for Birdsnest, a strategic marketing and business attribution tool for agencies. With Birdsnest, your Client Services team can bank, manage and track client activity and opportunities – turning every relationship into a strategic one. You can contact Kate on Linkedin or at kate@birdsnest.io..

    Research has shown much of the C-suite believes marketers and their agency partners live in a creative and social media bubble according to the Fournaise Group. In an effort to provide instantaneous results, they’re too focused on parameters like impressions, shares and downloads, the kind of data deemed “interesting, not critical” to the C-suite. It’s a major challenge when you consider the shifting responsibility of CMOs to deliver on business-quantifiable outcomes.

    Expectations for today’s CMO and required capability sets are shifting, upping the ante on demonstrating ROI and impacting business outcomes organization-wide. While consultancies continue to swallow up creative agencies, and other agencies founded and built on digital respond with consultancy-like services, often under the moniker Business Transformation, the race is on for client dollars. And who can blame any of us for trying – considering advertisers spent over $600 billion last year according to eMarketer.

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  • Clients vs. Financial Health: Are You Making This Common Agency Owner Mistake?

    By | April 13, 2017
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    This is a guest post from agency consultant Karl Sakas (@KarlSakas).

    Argh. You just finished a call with another unhappy client, trying to smooth things over.

    You promised them free work to keep them happy, but that’s going to make the overall project unprofitable… and now you need to break the news to your team.

    What’s going on here? The truth is, you’ve made a key agency management mistake. You’re putting clients first, at your agency’s expense.

    When you make that choice, the outcomes are predictable—unprofitable work, low team morale, and stress levels through the roof. So how do you turn things around? The key is to shift your priorities.


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  • Point Pricing: The Story of How We (Finally) Eliminated Hours from Marketing Agency Pricing

    By | March 23, 2017
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    I spent the first six years of my marketing agency career chasing hourly quotas instead of results. Our goal was to bill a minimum of five hours per day. 

    Yes, we cared if the client was happy and successful, but the fundamental economic driving force behind the firm's existence, and my career potential, was the billable hour.

    I discovered early on that the billable-hour model was a flawed, archaic, agency-centric system that wrongly tied agency performance to outputs, not outcomes. 

    In 2004, four years into my career, I became highly motivated to build a more efficient and profitable solution that shifted the focus to client needs and goals. 

    The idea was centered on making services tangible with clearly defined costs, features and benefits, almost like buying a product off a retail shelf or signing up for a software service.

    My theory was that if clients understood exactly what they were getting, and agreed ahead of time what it was worth, then we could remove the mystery from the equation and focus on delivering value and results. 

    The problem was that the billable-hour model was the only one I had ever known. How would I build an entirely new financial model and productize a service business?

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