Innovation is the driving force behind success in a digital marketing agency.
Fostering a culture that encourages creative thinking, rewards fresh ideas, and inspires people to try new things is what makes an agency reach its highest potential – and become recognised as a valued contender in the greater digital marketing industry.
Digital marketing may involve a lot of admin and scheduling, but it is also largely an ideas-based profession. However, cultivating innovation and building a culture around it within your agency can be a challenge.
In this guide, we’ll focus on the importance of innovation and positivity in the digital marketing workplace, and how your management team can implement it in your agency for improved employee satisfaction, higher productivity, and improved margins.
Understanding Innovation in a Digital Agency
In the context of a digital agency, innovation means taking a more exciting approach to idea-generation and promoting dynamic, fresh methods of marketing strategy.
It can also relate to the way your agency manages its employees. In order to inspire original thinking and help your team produce creative new ideas, a conducive working environment is needed. Innovation benefits digital marketing agencies in a variety of ways, such as:
✅ Stronger, more effective marketing campaigns and content
✅ Competitive advantage
✅ Inspiring work environment for employees
Competitive advantages are extremely important in an industry as saturated as marketing. Without an innovative approach to both team management and idea and strategy development, digital marketing agencies can suffer.
The Importance of a Positive Culture
A positive culture is essential for promoting healthy dialogue and inspiration in any workplace, especially that of a digital marketing agency. But what does having a positive culture mean?
Positive workplace culture is about cultivating an environment that is supportive, comfortable, and inspiring for employees. Work should be a place that people feel energised by and excited to take part in. This is not only for the sake of productivity, but also for employee well-being.
A positive culture also creates a much more innovative workforce. When people feel recognised, supported, and appreciated, they are much more likely to come up with good ideas. Here are some tips for fostering a positive work culture at your agency:
Prioritise onboarding – Set the tone for a smooth, productive, and mutually valuable workplace dynamic by supporting your employees from the beginning. A strong onboarding program is key to a healthy, positive working environment.
Ask for employee feedback – If you aren’t sure what you can do to improve the quality and efficiency of your employee’s workplace experiences, ask them.
Define and implement agency values – employees derive a lot of value from values. What does your agency stand for? What values is it guided by? Develop a balanced, positive company identity and use it to inform the way you build your company culture.
Strategies for Cultivating Innovation
Cultivating innovation isn’t always a simple process. You need to create an environment that promotes inspiration, creativity, and good ideas, all of which are notoriously elusive concepts. However, there are some practical ways to cultivate innovation, such as
Encouraging risk-taking – Great ideas often come with risky, out-of-the-box thinking. Encourage your employees to think beyond the regular confines of digital marketing and be bolder with their creative ambitions.
Promoting collaboration – Innovation is often a group effort. Your agency can produce more original strategies and marketing ideas by promoting collaborative work.
Investing in continuous learning – Creativity needs regular refreshment and stimulation. Help your employees become smarter, sharper, and more skilled by offering them opportunities to upskill and discover new ways of thinking.
BFG is a South Carolina-based digital marketing agency that sets a great example of fostering a culture of innovation. With annual digital conferences aimed at fun networking and upskilling opportunities, weekly team lunches, and regular collaborations with the Savannah College of Art and Design, employees are constantly being invested in and exposed to new ways of thinking.
Building a Positive Culture
Building a positive culture for your employees is the first step in cultivating innovation in the workplace. But it’s not something that happens organically. It requires strategy in order to really kick off the ground. Here are some popular strategies for building a positive culture.
Promoting transparency – Transparency within a company breeds trust, and trust creates a secure environment for employees to explore new ideas.
Recognising and rewarding effort – Everyone likes to be appreciated for their hard work, which inspires others to do the same. Rewarding the kinds of ideas and behaviours you want to see more of in the workplace is a great way to make them happen.
Creating a supportive work environment – When employees are struggling with workload or mental or physical health, do what you can to help them out. Build policies that protect their well-being and provide resources for handling any problems effectively.
Building a positive culture is largely about anticipating your employee’s needs and making sure you have developed systems that can easily accommodate them.
In addition to promoting innovation in the workplace, building a positive work culture has many other benefits. It improves job satisfaction for employees, enhances productivity, increases retention rates, and generally contributes to a more cohesive and energising environment.
Overcoming Challenges in Cultivating Innovation and Building a Positive Culture
Creating a culture of innovation is not always easy, especially at the level needed by professional digital marketing agencies. Let’s take a look at some common challenges in cultivating innovation and building a positive culture, as well as some practical solutions:
Lack of communication or team cohesion
Poor communication is the root cause of many problems within a team-based atmosphere, especially when it comes to generating ideas and thinking creatively.
Much of innovation relates to group thinking and collaboration, which can be tricky to sustain with many different minds and opinions on a team. People can get moody or overly directive, sparking tension and disconnection within the group.
Solutions: Encourage management to set high standards for respectful communication, and delegate roles and responsibilities in a clear way. If your team is remote, consider using a collaboration tool like Slack or Asana to facilitate better communication.
Using the wrong tools
Creativity and innovation can be fickle concepts to harness. And without the right tools, employees may struggle to get their ideas across or explore them to the degree they need in order to become actualised ideas.
Solutions: Keep up with the latest industry tool trends and discuss your team’s preference for equipment and methods of brainstorming with them directly.
Keeping team morale high
Without a solid strategy for keeping team morale high, your agency can suffer. Employees are first and foremost humans, and humans are complex, emotional beings with a wide range of needs in order to lead happy, balanced lives.
While you’re not responsible for your employee’s greater sense of purpose in life, you are responsible for making their lives supportive, balanced, and inspiring while at work. Without a high level of team morale, your agency’s productivity and innovation levels will drop.
Solutions: Invest in fun, creative, and inspiring team activities. Create opportunities for employees to work together in both focused and relaxed environments.
Build policies that take care of employee health (both mental and physical) and establish strong relationships with the people in your agency. Listen to their opinions, offer upskilling opportunities, and recognise hard work and sportsmanship when they occur.
Innovation Breeds Success
Innovation is undoubtedly one of the most important qualities of a successful digital marketing agency. It keeps teams generating bright new concepts, heightens competitive advantage, and creates a more inspiring and fulfilling work environment for employees.
You can foster a culture of innovation and creativity in your agency by encouraging risk-taking, promoting internal collaboration, offering upskilling opportunities, and defining agency values.
Share Your Thoughts And Experiences With The Community
Sometimes the best inspiration comes from engaging with those around you. Leave a comment down below about your own experiences regarding innovation in the workplace and share some thoughts about how you plan to build a positive culture in yours