To stand out, agencies need to define their own Customer Experience – and it’s new-business who can lead the way.
From the acres of column inches devoted to Accenture’s purchase of Karmarama to Gartner’s oft-quoted prediction that “by 2017, 89% of marketers expect Customer Experience to be their primary differentiator”, it’s fair to say CX is the modern battleground for brands.
Channels and services have proliferated. For consumers, it’s never been easier to switch or harder to choose. Assurance from brand recognition has reduced and the role of CX in driving advocacy has skyrocketed.
We’re all becoming more demanding. If any touchpoint fails to deliver, we’re off.
Too much undifferentiated choice
Agencies face similar issues. It used to be so simple – few channels, well-defined boundaries, clear market leaders and informed, confident buyers.
But now, just like with brands, choice outweighs buyer knowledge. Agencies are largely me-too and far less memorable for it. Worse still, generalists routinely pile into any emerging discipline with the flimsiest claims of capability.
Understandably, clients are fed-up. As MoneySupermarket’s Dan Bolger puts it:
“The best agencies focus down and knock it out of the park, rather than those who over-promise and endlessly under-deliver”
So how can your agency’s own CX help the cream rise to the top?
Customer Experience helps clients to buy
The best agencies do the best work and create the best outcomes. And that’s bloody hard, so they probably have a bespoke, collaborative process and a desire to validate and improve results. All of which suggests a strong internal CX.
If that internal experience is your agency walking the walk, then new-business is you talking the talk.
Having evolved from the traditional hard sell, modern new-business makes you easier to buy. Rejecting the jazz-handed land-grab, you make getting-to-know-you more valuable by only reflecting genuine expertise in everything you say and do.
Less fluff, more substance. Help only the right clients choose you.
Designing the agency experience
Sorry, there are no magic spells. To convince clients you’re a great agency, you do need to be a great agency. But if there’s magic behind closed doors, you can bottle it up and sell it.
CEOs should empower and support newbiz practitioners to design the agency experience from the inside out.
- Make newbiz bespoke – reject so-called ‘best practice’ and reflect real expertise
- Commit to standing out – differentiate through strategy, brand and deciding what you will – or won’t – do.
- Be more customer-centric – ensure it’s all about the client, not just the work, darling.
This forces you to serve a discrete audience and back-up your claims. Tools and processes become specialised, refined and repeatable. And everyone shows knowledge and passion in equal measures – no passengers allowed.
Time to take a stand
It’s a complex world, over-serviced by chancers. Clients are desperate for clarity. With Econsultancy’s top 100 digital agencies (whatever that even means now) dominated by the likes of IBM and Accenture, it’s clear we ain’t in Kansas anymore.
So if you’re serious about standing for something and cutting through the noise, perhaps it’s time to rethink the new-business remit?