The number one challenge most marketers face today is to develop creative and innovative campaigns that make them stand out in the market. This does increase the demand for creative professionals; but it also brings with it, a sense of urgency and a need to collaborate with the clients, which is the toughest part.
The amount of incoming requests that come in and the strict deadlines associated with them make it very difficult for creative teams to manage their projects efficiently. This gives lesser and lesser time for creative companies to market their services efficiently.
Making beautiful design projects that impress their clients is not the only job of creative agencies. They also have to respond to emails, pour through spreadsheets and worry about their revenue.
They have quite a few challenges that they need to overcome when it comes to marketing their services.Here is a low down on some of these with ways to solve them:
#Finding the Right Talent
As a service-based business, it is the labor of talented professionals that creative agencies have to sell. So the only thing that sets apart a creative agency from the rest is the quality of talent.
The foremost challenge it faces therefore is to acquire and retain such talent.
Here are a few things that creative agencies can do to find and retain quality talent:
- Break your boundaries and consider even those candidates who live away from your geographical area. This way you will have access to a larger talent pool. It might get tough to manage remote workers. Nevertheless, those efforts would be worth the trouble.
- Fix a fair pay rate to value your employees and compensate them for what they bring to the table. You may not be able to give large raises at one go; but you can still give those small increments on a continuous basis, making them feel how much you value their labor.
- Encourage your employees to share their ideas and opinions and listen to them when they do. You have to be honest while considering their feedback and you have to take their complaints and issues seriously.
#Standing out from the rest
The ever-increasing demand for creative professionals has given rise to a sea of creative agencies. You have been highlighting the unique selling propositions of your clients’ businesses.
It is now time to make your creative services stand apart from your competition. It is not just about offering powerful ideas, following an integrated approach or providing end-to-end services. This is what every creative agency does.
If you want to differentiate your agency from the others, here is what you need to do:
- Put in efforts to understand yourself. Make a list of the problems that you solve… the businesses that you help. Evaluate your design process and compare your pricing with your competitors. Find out what value you add through your services.
- Zero in on your core strengths and commit to them. It could be corporate design or print design or anything else on those lines.
- Go that extra mile to insulate your clients from tedious work. You can put in efforts to gather details about contact information, colors, preferences, and logins instead of bombarding your client with questions.
- Establish sustaining relationships with your sub-contractors so that you can provide quality services to your clients.
- Always put the customer requirements first, whatever be the nature of the project that you undertake.
- Make sure the pricing model that you use appeals to your prospects
- Establish yourself as an authority in the industry.
- Put in efforts to figure out your client expectations and live up to them
Most creative agencies don’t follow a structured process to manage their projects. At some point of time this inability of theirs can end up destroying their agency.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to manage your projects efficiently:
- Make sure all your employees are made aware of the advantages of following an effective project management system. Check those egos at the door and ensure their willingness to follow the process.
- Use the right tools for communication. Make sure everyone is comfortable using those tools.
- Arrange the process so that work can be carried out without any miscommunications or interruptions. For instance, you can start every project with a proposal, create a statement of work, and design each phase of project. Make sure the process is visible and understandable by everyone so that there are no confusions and no deadlines are missed.
#Irregular cash flow
Out of the many problems that creative agencies face, cash flow is one of the biggest. There are two types of creative agencies that complain about cash flow problems…
The first category includes agencies that fail to pitch their services to new clients on a continuous basis.
They focus more on completing the work and once they do, they will have no new projects to look forward to. So, you have to keep hunting for more projects even when you have a lot of work on your desk.
The second category is of agencies that focus on one-off projects and fail to maneuver their clients into retainer relationships. A lot of their time goes in sending proposals.
Here are a few ways for agencies under both these categories to fix their cash flow problems:
- Put in efforts to grow your business on a continual basis. Keep sending proposals and marketing your services, even when you have enough projects.
- Work out excellent deals on monthly retainers and convince your existing clients to go for the same. You might earn less per hour; but you will still have a sustainable and predictable income that will help you operate and grow your business without any hassles.
Strong leads are crucial when it comes to selling your services and creative agencies are not an exception.
More and more agencies are focusing on obtaining leads. It doesn’t matter how great your sales people are and how effective your proposals are, without a pipeline of leads it could be very difficult to sell your work.
Here are a few things you can do to collect more leads for your business:
- Establish an effective online presence. Own a website that communicates your brand in a clear way. Showcase your samples and highlight your brand values. Put up a few testimonials and give a breakdown of your work process. Let your audience understand whom you have helped and how. Establish social media profiles to engage with your audience.
- Select a channel that gives you a unique presence. It could be content marketing, a YouTube tutorial channel or even a branded app. Make sure your proposal process is simplified so that you spend less time pitching your services.
- Streamline your process and add in a few more resources to grow your client base. Completing your work without sacrificing quality is only one wing of your business. It is very important that you put in efforts to grow your business.
These challenges are common for all creative agencies, irrespective of their size or volume of business. However, they can be defeated systematically if you figure out an objective way to approach them.