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Episode Eighteen – How to Market Your Agency

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Chris Simmance: [00:00:00] Hello? Hello? Hello, everybody. Hey Claire. Hey Jude. How are you doing? Hi. Hi. I, uh, I do this every single time. Every single time I’m watching that intro, I know I made it, but I always laugh at my own jokes every single time. I really hope someone else appreciates it one day. I

Claire Hutchings: had a little chuckle. Don’t worry,

Chris Simmance: Chris.

I can see you both in the backstage there. pruning and [00:01:00] prepping and getting ready and everything like that. You know, well, I mean, I was doing it as well. Don’t worry about it. Um, where, whereabouts are you today, Jude? You got your green screens. I’m guessing you’re working from your home office. Whereabouts is that?

That’s in London. And, and Claire, you are not at home because I don’t recognize the background, so I’m guessing you are somewhere fun. Yeah, I’m

Claire Hutchings: in Shor Itch. I was meant to be at home, had a mild panic train issue, so I came from Soho to Shor Itch. Uh, and I’ve been put up in a lovely at the Workers League in Hor Itch who put me in a nice meeting room and saved the day.

Chris Simmance: It’s nice to be, to be, uh, to be looked after, isn’t it? I think, so, um, I think, uh, I, I, I think when, when you have those days where you kind of, you need to get back for something and you kind of constantly clock watching, it’s, uh, it can be a bit stressful and then to, to, you’re styling it out. Well, Claire, you look like you’re fit and fit and ready to rock and [00:02:00] roll.

Um, we’re here to talk about, um, something pretty important. And I, I know it’s really, it’s, it’s, it’s important to me. It’s the, it’s the absolute epitome of what, um, you do, Claire. It’s a huge part of everything you do, uh, do. So, you know, we’re, when, I have a feeling we may well get a bit fun and a bit animated in here today.

Um, but let’s try and keep it nice. There might be some kids watching, you never know. Um, I know my mum’s probably watching. She watches all of these. So, hi mum, I’m famous. Um, and so if we’re all good. We can get rocking and rolling, I reckon. Um, so today we’re talking essentially all about marketing your digital agency.

Oh, little echo there. Um, marketing your digital agency is one of the key aspects of, of building your business. It’s not just about getting clients in, it’s also keeping clients as well. So, you know, tone of voice from the moment the client comes, uh, comes in from a lead all the way through to. Um eventual exit of that [00:03:00] client you need to have your marketing on point um, and I think the first thing we ought to do is a bit of a roll call though because Um, everyone recognizes this beard, um, probably but no one recognizes Um judith’s beard or claire’s beard because they don’t have one So jude, would you love I would love for you to do a nice intro to yourself.

Give us the the best intro you can Um, what do you do? And why are you so good at what you do?

Judith Germain: No pressure then. So what I would say about Maverick Paradox is we utilize Maverick leadership principles to catalyze transformation. So we enable you to thrive in complex, constantly shifting environments, enhancing leadership capability to make real change possible.

Um, so that’s what we do. I personally create clear thinking and decisive leaders. Um, And what’s brilliant about, uh, what we do is it’s very immersive and action orientated and people get [00:04:00] stuff done.

Chris Simmance: Yeah. Yeah. And you’ve been doing it for a good while now. So you’ve seen in different sectors, the, the, the, the trends change and, and things like that.

But I think the, um, one thing I’ve learned about working through working with you at the OMG center is that you’re, um, you are not your, um, hence the maverick aspect, I suspect you are not your four P’s of marketing or five P’s of marketing. You are not your. Um, here is a book on how to do, uh, a marketing strategy.

You’re, you are hands on, uh, and, and kind of at the leadership end of the, of this, of this, uh, tier, uh, spear tip.

Judith Germain: Yeah. I’m very much, and I hope Claire and I don’t come to fisticuffs because I, because I, I’m very much at the end of not looking for the hole in the market. I’m, I’m all about being the, being the person and calling people towards you.

So it’s a poor strategy, rather than a good strategy.

Chris Simmance: And, and then I hope, hope that this will compliment because I, I spend an awful lot of time trying to [00:05:00] get, get the right people on the right thing here. Claire, you, you and I met, um, actually only the beginning part of this year. And ever since I’ve, uh, I think we’ve probably.

Spoken and worked together quite a bit on a few different bits and bobs here here and there Um, one of the key things I think you you’ve done at chime agency this year is your agency benchmark report Um, but your your focus is is quite uh, well, it’s it’s quite intense from my point of view I love what you do and agencies love what you do.

So do you mind giving us your your your best ever elevator pitch? Sure.

Claire Hutchings: Hello, everyone. I’m Claire. I’m founder of Chime Agency, and quite simply, we do marketing for agencies, agencies, a few consultancies. They’re the only businesses that we work for, and we help them with everything from their positioning and the articulation of who they are and what they do and how they do it through to the kind of, um, the content campaigns and channels that they should be using to promote themselves.

That’s a succinct way to [00:06:00] get it, Chris.

Chris Simmance: You did well, you did well. It’s um, I think one of the things that, um, that you, like, do quite well, and both of you do quite well actually, is kind of getting down to the, the really important part of, like, all of this, everything marketing, and it isn’t often, um, where shall I have my, what size shall my logo be?

Um, there are a lot more important things than that. So, as we jump into this… Um, anyone who’s watching at the minute, um, and has a question, you can put it in the comments, uh, in the, if you’re in LinkedIn, it’s below the feed. If you’re on a YouTube, it’s to the right. I have no idea about Twitter. I don’t think it works that way.

Um, it’s not even called Twitter anymore. Look how old and out of date I am. Um, so any questions, comments, stick it in the, in the chat there. Um, the, um, uh, the, the key thing is that we’re here to, to, to. Help you market your agency. Um, throughout the, um, throughout our conversation today, if you need to talk to, to Claire or to Jude or to me at any point, then you’re more than welcome to reach out and the [00:07:00] contacts are at the, at the end of the, uh, uh, the conversation here.

So you guys ready to jump in? Everyone fit as a fiddle. Awesome. And Claire, I think that the lighting turning off is actually better. It’s nice and it’s complimentary. I

Claire Hutchings: think if I was to stand up and walk around, they’d come back on, but I’m

Judith Germain: not going

Chris Simmance: to do that. Keep going, keep going. Um, one, one thing, one thing I often, um, think about a lot when I’m trying to work with agencies around, um, who they are and their priorities.

Proposition and the value that they bring I know it sounds really corny but I often have in the back of my mind the The who uh, who are you song playing in the back of my head because so many agencies don’t actually know who they are But also just as importantly they don’t know who their ideal customer is And then that means that the what they sell doesn’t match who they are and who they’re selling it to um I’m guessing that you’ve seen and heard and dealt with similar issues as [00:08:00] well there

Claire Hutchings: Yeah, definitely, from my, from my point of

Judith Germain: view.


Chris Simmance: quite sure who you’re directing that to. Oh, no, no, throw, I’m, I’m, I’ve got no rules here. I’m a maverick as well.

Claire Hutchings: We’ll go for it, Judith. Okay, well,

Judith Germain: yeah, because I think, I think what you’re going to say, Dix, is probably complement the bit, um, that I’m going to say, I think. So, for me, it’s… It doesn’t really matter if the business is 30 years old or three months old.

Exactly what you said is, is that they’re either not sure who they are in their business or what the business is supposed to do, or they’ve lost what, who they are when they’re in the business. And for me, I think any marketing has to start with who you are and where you want to be before you look at the client, because, you know, that comes from where you are.

So, yeah, so very much. So it’s all about. Who you are in business and I like to look at it from a perspective of I’d [00:09:00] like to say that I provide like a simulation so I take it from where they are and build it around them, whether it’s an individual or or an agency. And then you can take it from what’s the, what’s the core identity of the business.

What is the proposition that you’re using how does that, how does that reflect the brand, as in the personal brand. Thank you. And then as the agency grows, it becomes the business brand. How, you know, how does that work? How do you implement that? What kind of impact you have and what sort of talent base?

So once you know your core identity, that for me, that’s the real foundation that. Real marketing, the marketing that Claire does can actually start from that point. Because once you’ve got that foundational hub, everything comes from that point.

Chris Simmance: Yeah. And, and, and the thing, the thing that I, I found like really hard to, to, to, um, to do when I was running an agency.

And I know that a lot of agency leaders have been running for a little while, uh, do that. And it’s that losing the who you are bit. [00:10:00] And sometimes that starts with chasing cash. Um, sometimes that comes with hiring the wrong people because. That sort of guides the direction of the of the work that you do and sometimes it’s simply like trying to sell something You don’t really know enough or you aren’t really confident in and claire What’s one of the you know, when you work like some with some of these agencies that come to you directly What is it that like you?

um You find is kind of like the core like where they’ve gone off in the wrong direction. What’s what’s usually your

Claire Hutchings: Yeah, often it’s trying to do a bit of everything for everyone. Um, and they’ve tried either, and it happens almost at all phases of, um, an agency’s life, but it can either be right in the beginning when they’re first sort of setting up.

They’re trying to do too much for too many people. Um, and then when they’re getting the next phase of that is when they’ve grown over a period of time and they’re probably around the pushing for the 1 million [00:11:00] mark, maybe 10, 15 people, there’s like a shift and a change again, where the business has kind of grown quite organically over that time.

And they’ve lost that very concerted, um, focus of where they want their business to go. you know, the values of the founder and where they want to be going. And it can kind of get, um, it can get a bit lost then as well. Um, so yeah, definitely kind of trying to tag on too much sometimes, uh, and be all things to all people.


Judith Germain: I add something there,

Chris Simmance: Chris? Yeah. Yeah, please carry

Judith Germain: on for Claire was saying quite often people don’t know their own voice, so they listen to other people. Or they’ve tried to follow a particular guru, not knowing that that person’s journey and their ambitions and their values are very different from their own.

So that’s can, that can help with the getting lost because they’re following so many voices. They don’t even know what their own voice

Chris Simmance: is. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that like, um, you, you, you say, uh, Judith kind of, [00:12:00] um, before you touch the, the, the clients or before you go near the clients before you, you kind of like, you’ve got to look at like, where do you want to be in X amount of years time?

That’s not the business strategy so much, but it really does tie quite, quite closely into it. And. That should be very much like a, and I hate to sound like some, some guru or something or other, but that should be like your guiding star. Like that should be the thing that you think I still in 10 years time, regardless of what I financially or from a business point have that needs to be still quite.

That’s, that still needs to be very present in why I do what I do and who I am doing it. And that’s, that falls into leadership and all sorts of things. It’s not just marketing, right? Exactly. Um, where, where do you start? No, go on Claire, please. No, no, go on. No,

Claire Hutchings: I was just, I was going to say, I think, um. It’s one of the best things about independent agencies when they’re founder led is that actually that those values of the founder [00:13:00] can really help steer your whole team.

It’s what they buy into when they start working at your agency. So regardless of the marketing kind of external comm stuff that’s going out to prospects and clients, actually, it’s much more holistic than that. And being really clear on what you want as a founder. It really helps guide the whole business and helps, um, it’s what’s really special when you’re joining an independent agency, I think, as well.

And one of the reasons why we love working with indie agencies rather than like big network agencies is because when their teams are all aligned around that vision, mission, values. It’s really, really special. Um, and so that work, I completely agree with Judith, that work up front is really important and we love it when an agency comes to us and they’ve either worked with someone like yourself or Judith or a non exec director or a coach that sort of helps them get to that point and they already understand that.

our life and our job a lot easier.

Chris Simmance: Yeah, I totally agree. I think just to add

Judith Germain: there is all businesses [00:14:00] start off with a personal brand of the individual, but that founder needs to understand at what point do they need to develop their own brand for the company and to start to pull the brands apart a bit.

So that they’re tangential, but they’re not the same, because you can’t scale, you can’t grow. If the business is the founder’s brand, because it’s going to be curtailed. You won’t be able to stretch, you won’t be able to grow, you won’t be able to adapt. So you reach a pathway, and Claire’s might find it as well, you reach a pathway and you say, right now, we need to start to grow the business brand and have clear steps so that you don’t lose the people that came to you with your personal brand, but you still have that business brand that’s starting to grow apart from you, and that’s how you can scale.


Claire Hutchings: needs to happen a lot sooner for most agencies than they think as well, because there does… The first probably three years of your life running an agency, almost all of [00:15:00] your, um, all of the work that comes in, all of the leads are going to be through the founder or the leadership team. And that, that won’t ever die and stop, but it will change.

And it, they will, those leads will start to drop off. You will, um, saturate your network. Um, and so the sooner that you start working on your agency brand and having something that your agency and all the people within it can stand for, number one, it supports your personal brand and gives you something to talk about at speaking opportunities or networking events or whatever it may be.

But it also is something that like the whole team can rally around and it builds value in your business. Beyond you because if you know that in the future you do want to exit that business or you want to scale to more than 30 50 people Um, you need to move shift the value from you as a founder completely agree

Chris Simmance: Yeah.

And I think that, um, the, the, the personal brand bit, like you say, Judith, it kind of, it needs to have a, there needs to be a separation for the, for the [00:16:00] business. And, and Claire, I, I, I agree from a, from an absolute perspective of I’ve done it twice in the wrong way. And I was the businesses, um, and it’s very hard to, to, to extricate yourself from that, especially with a massive ego.

Um, so. You know, it, you have to, you do have to kind of swallow the, swallow the, the pride a little bit and, and, and realize that the people that you’ve hired and the business that you’ve got on the businesses brand itself can be its own, its own thing. It just has to feel very much like who you are as well.

Otherwise you won’t like working in there. I think one of the key things, once you’ve got that, who you are in, in, in, in play is kind of the, who is the customer, who is the person that you want to work with and that idea of finding that ideal client thing, it’s. Bloody difficult. And I know we’ve got, you know, half an hour left, but I think an entire flipping webinar could be on the ideal customer stuff.

The, what, what would be if an agency is knocking on your door right now, Judith, and they say, um, what one thing do I need to do [00:17:00] today? The first thing I need to start the journey of, of, uh, defining who my ideal customer is. What, what would you say? And what’s the blank slate beginning piece going to be?

Judith Germain: I’d say, stop, what’s your proposition? And then let’s look at, let’s look at what that is. And then let’s walk me through. I get them to walk me through how they work with certain clients. And I, um, pull from that, what the proposition, what’s their processes and what is common between, and then at that point goes, Oh, it seems to me that your client base is here, there, and there now let’s, we get the agreement with that, then we work it up into a proper.

This is what the client is, but it has to come from, I think if a business has been going for a while, it should come from where the clients are to check. So that enables us to check the right processes that you use. So like for me, my processes is strategize, innovate, execute by process. [00:18:00] Everyone has their own, every business has their own.

Make sure that is correct. And then you can say, right, your strategy is here. Is it the same sort of customers that you are? on what’s different and then work up from that point. So my first step would be to

Chris Simmance: say stop. And, and then the set, the follow up to this then, um, for you, Claire, is that you’re working with a lot of agencies that have been going for a while, enough, enough time to, to, to go, I’m smart.

I need a marketing agency to help me. Um, where do you go from the position of. You’ve got to work it out from a running start. They’re already moving. So where, how do you start to sort of unpick some of these, um, potentially bad habits, but also just maybe just incorrect reasoning.

Claire Hutchings: Yeah, it’s really, it’s really interesting.

And it, and it’s, there isn’t really a one size fits all approach because it kind of depends where. where they are on their journey, right? Um, often I think I find that agencies can be quite binary in where, in what they [00:19:00] think of as an ideal customer. They’ll be quite like sector focused. Um, and actually there’s quite a lot of different ways of cutting that as a persona or as a type of personal type of business to To go after I remember chatting to an agency founder once who had done a big audit of their um of their clients and they realized that actually they were a multitude of different sectors, but 90 or 98 of their clients were Still found a led and they were women owned bame owned or lgbtq Owned and they were like, oh actually that therefore There’s a different persona.

There’s a different sort of um client there and it’s not quite as uh It’s a bit more grey area than just we work in the travel and tourism industry, um, and we deliver websites for them, for example. Uh, so yeah, helping them look, look at their current work and current profile in a slightly different way.

Um, we would, we’d try and do if that’s an issue for

Chris Simmance: them. And I know, um, for the [00:20:00] Like I say, we should, we should definitely be doing about eight more thousand hours of webinars on this stuff, but, um, I think when you know who your audience are, who your customer is, and you know, who you are and you know, your proposition, what, like, what the heck is it I’m, I’m selling, then you need to move into this, you know, um, building an effective marketing strategy.

And I know I’ve called it the Judith Jermaine approach, but I know that this does encompass a huge amount of your, um, core identity. Um, work, I know it is that, that you’ve got to know where you want to go. Um, and you’ve got to maintain like a decent level of consistency, but where do you start? What we’ve got the value proposition.

We know who we are. We know the ideal client. What, what’s, what’s the approach there to starting your, um, um, a marketing strategy from your perspective, Judith. I think

Judith Germain: I always look at it first. You do the business strategy before you do the marketing strategy. So I like to look at the whole business and where it’s going.

Then, then looking at when it gets to Martin, looking [00:21:00] at which sector in the business are you really focused on? Are you in the low hanging fruit? side, or are you actually cash flows, brilliant, looking to expand or whatever it happens to be. And then when it comes to look at the market strategy, the next step for me is looking at the solutions that you provide.

People tend to be very functional, you know, say for example, I worked a lot with marketing people who say, well, what PR is like I do PR marketing and branding. What does that mean? You know, so it’s like one of the solutions that you’re providing, what the challenges you’re providing, and we then tend to work those up into viable, uh, services or products lines.

Um, so looking at. How well is that aligned to what they want to do? What the, what the client wants to receive and is it positioned in a way that makes it easy to buy, you know, because quite a lot of [00:22:00] people tend to use a lot of jargon because SEO is in all this sort of stuff. It doesn’t mean that your end customer understands what that thing is.

So I like to. I like to help them create service bundles or product bundles that are easy to understand and easy to buy rather than, um, we’ll pay you every month for some digital marketing, but they don’t know what that

Chris Simmance: is. And I don’t know about

Claire Hutchings: you, Judith, but I see quite often, um, agencies trying to, Uh tm their process their how the way they do it and actually usually those processes are almost always They’re pretty similar across the board and um I I think yeah trying to productize the services and what the offer and the proposition is is a better way of Trying to have something that’s ownable than um, then just leading with the process

Judith Germain: Yeah, because I think when you have an external that’s involved they’re not bought into The like chris says [00:23:00] the ego or the history.

It’s just No, I don’t think people will buy that, or yes, that’s viable if you just change it this way, you know, because you, the only skill in the game you’ve got is to make sure that they succeed.

Chris Simmance: Yeah, and, and, and I think that, you know, um, there’s, there’s no point in doing any of this without kind of knowing what the outcome you need from your marketing to be.

And, and, and I said it kind of at the top of the show that, um, It isn’t just getting in new leads. There’s, there’s a retention aspect to marketing as much as anything else. Um, but where do you start Claire? When it’s like, when you’ve been brought on with an agency, we’ve got quite a lot of the, the, the beginning parts in place.

And it’s now at the point of where we’re, you know, deciding, defining what some realistic goals might be. I know all agencies are different and they’ve all got different, um, uh, maybe niches or different service services and regions that they’re working in. But like, how would you. How, how would you test whether a goal was [00:24:00] realistic for, for part of their strategy?

Claire Hutchings: Oh, interesting. How do we test whether a goal is, I mean, the, the goals are gonna be very much led by the business strategy as well. Mm-hmm. And also like the budget and the resources that they’ve got available to them too. Um, and, and so that always has to come into play and how they structure their teams, how they’re actually physically gonna do the work to, uh, the, the, the marketing.

what needs to be done. Um, that would always have an impact because if they’ve got a huge marketing department versus actually the reality is it’s going to be the founders, VA, EA, that’s doing a lot of the doing. Um, and they’ve, you know, a 10 grand budget versus 150 grand budget. That’s really, really, it’s a big spectrum.

Um, and so that would. Obviously stay, um, stay the goals and the ambitions, um, to align with whatever the business goals are. Um, and yeah, for us. [00:25:00] In terms of consistency and getting that, you know, the consistency of drumbeat, it’s definitely looking at the people and how you structure your teams, whether you’re doing it internally and trying to spread marketing across your whole business or across a portion of the business is very different to having a dedicated marketing person or to bringing in outsource support from someone like us or freelancers or whatever it may be.

And you kind of need a slightly different strategy for each of those approaches, but whatever you do, however you structure it, you. always need really clear goals, um, a decent brand tone of voice, having all the positioning stuff in place that we spoke about, um, and giving them, giving whoever it is that’s going to action it, a budget, whatever that may be, no matter how big or small, because it will help them be more consistent and help you be more

Chris Simmance: strategic.

So realistically, we’re saying personal goals lead into business goals. Or strategy, personal strategy, business strategy, marketing [00:26:00] strategy, the marketing strategy, then realistically will be led by whether or not I can afford to do it and whether it’s realistic. But one thing I’ve noticed in the past and before we kind of move on to like tailoring those plans, and one thing that I’ve noticed in the past is that you can have A rock solid marketing strategy a rock solid business strategy But if it doesn’t work if it isn’t connected to where you want to go the commitment to that marketing strategy almost always falls and um, it may well be that you are You get a bit excited about the marketing strategy But you don’t really align it to something because it’s really cool You get to do a bunch of dancing tiktoks or something like that Um, the, uh, a real strategy is a little less, um, say fun that you can enjoy making them, but they’re, you know, they’re, they’re, um, more led by realistic, um, aims and expectations.

And if your expectations, if your marketing strategy aren’t necessarily aligned with your personal expectations for three, five years in the future, someone of those three things, isn’t [00:27:00] going to be happy. Um, Claire, I know, I know that you, um, because you work with lots of agencies and we’re talking about different shapes and sizes and colors of agencies and all the different wonderful things that they all do, sometimes even size of agency is a factor in how hard they can hit with their marketing in a, from a budget and scale point of view, but also there’s, um, there’s a huge part of, uh, the fit for them personally and professionally.

And I know that, you know, you. You you spend a lot of time kind of making sure that the your team tailor things in the right ways It’s not cookie cutter. Um for for for these for uh for agencies where where do you where do you? Um, Where do you uh balance the the the need for you know? There are some things that you just have to do and then there’s these are bespoke Um for different agencies like a personalized style of plan.


Claire Hutchings: Yeah, they’re definitely a balance between having kind of um, the drumbeat marketing content stuff that just shows that you’re alive and [00:28:00] kicking and there, there’s a balance of that. And for some agencies that may be quite simple and basic and actually be able to be handled within the team really relatively easily.

Um, and then there comes this point where actually your agency really needs to have something that it can stand for and be known. Known for and our stance on that is that there isn’t really a silver bullet. I’ve had this question asked a number of times um By agencies like if there’s one thing I could do What’s the one thing if you were to put your money in one area?

What would you

Chris Simmance: do? I know I mean

Claire Hutchings: It really does depend on on all of that work that’s that’s gone before um, what your goals are and who you are But um, the one thing the closest that we’ve got to a silver bullet is practicing what you preach. So, um, if you are a PR agency, uh, making sure you have, you do some earned, um, you get do some earned media coverage.

If you are a PPC SEO agency, making sure you’re using that channel, [00:29:00] uh, most effectively, that’s, that’s the closest we can get as a starting point is practicing what you preach. Um, and then ultimately. Where we, where we wanna get to is, is helping an agency find that big, kind of hero moment. The one big thing that they can ladder back to their, to their positioning that will fuel their full funnel from awareness, from pr, from speaking ups for the founder, and tapping into the founder’s personal brand all the way through their sales funnel.

Um, down to down to prospecting, sales calls, pitching proposals, all the Ps. Um, you know, what’s, what’s the one thing that they can create, create and really own and become known for? And that’s what we try and help them

Chris Simmance: do. And, and some of these, um, hero moments, key aspects of, of, um, marketing for an agency, you might, you know, you do your, your baseline be on Twitter and whatever else, but some of these hero things are like genuinely known for moments.

[00:30:00] And that’s where someone will say, Hey, did you read that industry report on PR? Yeah, it was done by PR Corp. That was great. The

Claire Hutchings: example I use, the kind of classic example that I use is Adelman’s trust barometer. Um, you know, they’re big, massive independent agency, but, you know, all over the world and they are known for trust.

They are the comms consultancy that are known for trust and their trust barometer has been going over for. Probably decades now and that’s that’s the one that most people know of but actually it can be done Something like that can be created to a greater or lesser lesser extent by almost any agency of any shape or size or color um, it’s it’s finding the one thing that that really Uh kind of chimes to them ladders back to them and how they operate and if you can build something that Uh becomes part of how you operate and how you deliver your services It means you can bring everyone in the team in on it.

It’s not just the founder. It’s not [00:31:00] just them It it can become yeah part of how you structure your business and operate

Chris Simmance: I’ve, um, I’ve just had a really good question come in on the chat, which I think ties nice and neatly into this kind of adapting embrace adapting to an embracing change point on that slide there.

Um, and, um, there’s, there’s a, um, when things aren’t going so well. You need to adapt, you need to embrace some change. Also, when you’re making a marketing plan, you need to embrace the change and stick to it because sometimes making changes doesn’t feel all that, all that comfortable. And I know Judith, you work with a lot of agencies and lots of businesses where you do the uncomfortable bit quite.

early doors in order to, you know, not just get it done, but also be able to progress with quite a lot of the important bits. Um, but when it comes to, uh, having to make change because ROI isn’t, isn’t doing so well, um, we, we, you need to, you kind of, I’m sorry, it’s. do this, but I can still see you. Um, so Andy’s just [00:32:00] asked, uh, in your opinions, how do you measure ROI on marketing budgets, especially when talking about digital marketing agencies?

God, Andy, you write a lot because often you end up in potential clients, radar, not going to read the entire thing, but is there a general rule for measuring? return on investment for some of the um, less directly proportionable, um, aspects of marketing. So, you know, it’s, you’re on the radar. Someone knows you exist.

Um, is that, how do you measure your ROI there? What would you, what would you look at Judith? Where would you start with knowing whether or not any of the stuff that you’re doing, that’s the leading things way before a lead comes in, um, are doing their, their job.

Judith Germain: I think for me, I think it depends on the strategy you’re going for, but if you’re going for a poor strategy, then it’s simply enough to drop, um, tests into, into your market pool to see how well known you are and what response you’re getting.

So, for example, if you’re somebody that spends a lot of time on LinkedIn, [00:33:00] because that’s a primary source for you, how well are you known on LinkedIn? How many comments do you get? How many, how many? Cause sometimes the inquiries come a year later. Um, yeah, it’s quite often. I mean, I’ve had people that said I’ve been following you for a year and a half and now we want you to do

Chris Simmance: this.

It’s like,

Judith Germain: yeah. So I think if you’re, if you keep dropping stuff in and it’s complete silence or you’re going networking events and no one’s hearing for you. I tell you what, actually, this is a funny indicator. An indicator that you’re doing well with your marketing is when other people want you to buy their stuff.

The better your marketing is, the more people say we could help you achieve X, Y

Chris Simmance: and Z. All right. Yeah, there’s often an indicator of how much spam you get as well. Claire, where, where do you, where do you sit in terms of, um, like measuring whether or not there’s a return on investment from marketing budgets?

Because, you know, absolutely that you’ve kind of got to prove its value, but it’s also. Quite hard when quite a lot of agency marketing is [00:34:00] turn up at event do a couple of posts write an article You can you can measure some of this but like where do you sit on that?

Claire Hutchings: Yeah, totally. So there’s a lot like like you both said there’s a lot of kind of um Tactical kind of kpis that you can measure to get a sense of if you’re moving in the right direction That is that’s one thing.

Um one of the reasons why we are more and more talking to agencies about these big hero moment pieces is because You really can attribute ROI to them, um, because if it’s something that can fuel the big brand awareness piece and that kind of feeling that you get when you walk into a room and people know who you are, they say, Oh, I saw your thing that you did.

That’s like the feeling bit. Qualitative, untangible bit that you can’t quite put a number on, but if it’s something that actually really fuels your full funnel so that when you’re getting, you’re getting leads in and people are saying, I’ve come to you because I downloaded your report or I saw, I saw.

the webinar that you did, um, and you’re tracking [00:35:00] it properly, everything is kind of like, hooked up to your CRM, you’re, uh, following people through, nurturing them through, through that journey, through your funnel, then you can really start to attribute ROI to it, because it’s one big campaign that’s, that you’re pushing people through.

Through to become yeah, ideally an end client But the bit that um is often missing is like your current clients as well and how you use that to um, develop them and you you can It may be easier in some ways, um, to start to attribute ROI to your current clients as well with your, with your marketing, your content.

Chris Simmance: I often look at stuff. Sorry, Jude. Um,

Judith Germain: I’ve got to say the other thing as well is that how long does your sales conversations go? So when you’re first starting out or you haven’t got your marketing message in right, sales can take a long time. But as you get tighter with that and get more well known. the sales calls a lot shorter.

It’s not unheard of for people to phone up and just say, how much is it? [00:36:00] Because they’ve done all their research already and they just want, they just got money in the hand and they want to spend it. So that’s, that’s quite a good measure is, is how short are the sales calls that you need to

Chris Simmance: make?

Absolutely. And, and, and similarly to that, I find that, um, When, when you have a, uh, a sale or a lead that comes in that almost has the same, aside from it, definitely being a referral, it feels like it’s a referral. You feel like you already knew that personal, that person feels like they they’ve come through someone that you know, um, that often is a good indicator that the marketing you’re doing on a larger scale externally is, is, is also, um, working out.

I’m, I’m a big fan of like looking at, um, things that are leading indicators of future success. So. You know, okay, um, you can’t do the maths effectively, but a million impressions online over the course of x amount of time Mathematically if that turns into this many visits to the site turns into this many other things You can apply similar kinds of things 100 telephone calls or 100 [00:37:00] Handshakes at networking events usually turns into three pitches and I and I sell one in three So therefore I need to make 100 introductions 100 Handshakes Networking events that often have 20 people at, I need to go to 20 networking events in order to say hello to a hundred people, to get three pitches, to do one client, you can, I like being a bit nerdy and I’ve got a spreadsheet for everything, but, um, you can, you can measure some of those leading indicators as future guidance towards the ROI, because it can take months and some of the bigger pieces of marketing, like the hero stuff you’re talking about, Claire, that’s not, that’s not, um, do the research and bam, it’s live.

Yeah, it might go live.

Claire Hutchings: And that’s like to that’s Andy’s point there that he’s just added in another another kind of comment saying you initially need to measure return on attention. So people noticing you rather than actual ROI. And yes, absolutely. Those bigger pieces, you first. So so I I can speak relatively [00:38:00] authoritatively on this because we did it for ourselves.

We wanted to be our own best case study. So we did our own piece of research, um, looking at agency marketing. And, um, initially almost immediately I was walking into rooms, into networking events and people that I didn’t know were saying, Oh, I think I, Oh, I know you. Yeah. I’ve downloaded your report. That was really good.

And it’s, it’s now kind of, we did, we did win work very quickly off of that, but now three months on. the leads that are coming through are saying, we saw a webinar you did where you spoke about your research and it is, it’s fueling it, but that’s three, four months on. And sometimes depending on your sales cycle, um, and seasonality within your industry, that maybe that could be even longer.

Um, so yeah, I, I agree with Andy there too.

Judith Germain: I think that’s so true. I remember, uh, being a columnist, uh, for a magazine and I turned up at their conference and all these people kept coming and telling me all this stuff and I couldn’t figure out why and I suddenly thought, oh, they see me each month and they think they know me, which is why they’re telling me these deep stuff.[00:39:00]

Um, because it’s just that brand awareness sometimes, isn’t it?

Chris Simmance: Yeah. Um, I’ve got a question that’s come in from Kevin here. Um, and I think, I know my, my gut feeling in the answer and I have a feeling knowing both of you and what you’re going to say. So I’m going to put this, put this question up and Judith, you go first.

So Kevin says, do you advise boutique at slash SME agencies to participate slash also spend in marketing awards to show potential clients some credibility? So where do you sit on that?

Judith Germain: I think that if you’re going to pay to be in an award and you only win the award because you’ve paid for it, that doesn’t give you credibility.

If you, if you’re paying to speak at something, um, and it works and it makes sense in terms of your marketing and the return on the investment, then yes, do it. Personally, I think it’s better to build up a brand. So people pay you to talk. That’s, that’s my preferred method of getting paid [00:40:00] at speaking events rather than paying.

But you know, if it’s the right, if it’s the right, um, place and you know that you, you know how to convert. That money into sale. Yes, but that only works if you have a great proposition and a great way to convert. Otherwise you’re throwing your money away. If you don’t have a proposition and you don’t know how to capture that sale.

Chris Simmance: Yeah, and Claire, where do you sit on this? I know that QIIME won an award and I know that awards are a big part of the digital agency space. Um, there’s, there’s, um, there is, to Kevin’s question, I guess, the answer isn’t yes or no. It’s a typical agency, it depends, but the depends piece is quite important, isn’t it?

And I think that, um, what’s your stance on this one? Yeah,

Claire Hutchings: I think it really depends on the awards. So if you have a very strong sector focus in your positioning and they are sector awards, um, and you are, so we’ve, we’ve got a client, for example, who they [00:41:00] are a, um, they’re an agency, a web agency that works exclusively with a visitor attractions.

They put a piece of work in for an award that we had worked with them on a big hero moment. Um, that was up for an innovation of the year awards within a very specific sector. sector awards, the museum and heritage sector awards. That makes total sense. They’re like in there for a piece of work that they’ve done, that they’re providing the industry, um, talking to, to all of their potential customers and clients, that makes total sense.

There are, there are awards that, yeah, that have QDOS within. Either our marcoms digital space or within our sector that that absolutely if you have the right Uh, if you have award winning work enter them but I think part of entering awards for me is being really honest with yourself as a Leader and as an agency because just because you’ve really enjoyed working on something Just because it’s had pretty good results or [00:42:00] just because actually it’s really creative Um doesn’t necessarily mean it’s award winning.

So you’ve got to be really um Yeah, take a good hard look at the work and make sure all of those things are in are in place if you’re looking at entering campaign work in I’d also say that entering awards is part of a broader fame strategy if you’re wanting big awareness for your agency And it’s because you know that you’re needing to go on a big recruitment drive or you know It needs to be part of something else.

So we entered a lot of agencies Last year, beginning of this year, because it was important for us to, as a new agency, we’ve been going 18 months to move away from me and my personal brand and to start doing stuff for us as an agency brand. And so it was part of an awareness, um, strategy. And so that’s why we entered awards.

Um, if we’ve not got the work to enter and you will not as an agency, you will not every year have award winning campaigns. So doing it just as par for the course. Isn’t probably the strategy that I would [00:43:00] take, but if you’ve got a particular hero campaign or it’s part of a wider strategy, then absolutely.


Judith Germain: agree. I mean,

Chris Simmance: just conscious of time. Well, Kevin, hopefully we’ve answered your question. Sorry, mate, if we haven’t, but you know that both Claire and Judith have got hours to talk about this stuff. So get in touch with them. You’re more than welcome to, to, to, to speak to them specifically about this.

Um, on the, the last kind of key part here, I, I feel that, um. It’s better to have three leads from expensive marketing that are the right three leads than 3000 terrible leads. Um, the, you, there’s, there’s a lot of different ways that you can do that. And I, I know that there’s some agencies that scattergun email outreach, and there’s some that, you know, Get awards, uh, in order to build trust, but there’s quite a lot of, um, different ways you can kind of focus on this.

And one thing I, I, I quite like to look at when [00:44:00] I’m, when I’m talking to agencies myself is if the lead comes in and it isn’t going to be fun to work with, it isn’t a fit for me. The fee isn’t going to be able to be paid, then I’ll flee. And by flea, I say, thank you very much. This isn’t the right time to work with each other.

Um, but there’s quite a lot of, um, uh, different parts of this. You know, you’ve done your marketing strategy. You’ve got, you know, that people are seeing you and you have got that, um, as Andy put it, return on attention that you’re measuring, you can see what’s going on. How are you, um. How are you, how are you pushing this?

What, how are you turning this into the right kind of clients? Uh, Claire, what, what, what, what do you typically do, uh, with agencies when it comes to sort of attracting the right people and making sure that you’ve got some kind of, um, delineation between the ones that aren’t quite the client you need?

Claire Hutchings: Yeah, I think it’s doing that work up front. So before you get into doing anything and before you get, and it’s sort of what we were talking about, about earlier. So before you get [00:45:00] into, um, whatever that big hero moment is or whatever the tactics are, it’s been really clear about who the audience is, what is right and what is not, um, your business.

And we go through similar to you. We, we score all our clients and prospects on a fun fame and fortune, uh, ranking. Um, and I know that like, Lots of agencies will have their own kind of, um, new business criteria that they’ll, that they’ll use, but, but have a criteria and be really strict with it. Um, it’s really difficult in really challenging times, which our industry is in at the minute, All of us can get detracted by shiny objects a little bit.

Um, and veer from that idle customer profile. But as much as possible, trying to stay strong and true to that, um, will serve you well in the future.

Chris Simmance: And, and Judith, I, I, I, I like to, I feel like I beat the same drum all the time, but I always say to. say to agencies when they’re, um, when they’re [00:46:00] doing any marketing from going to a networking event, being on a lovely webinar, um, going and writing articles, whatever it might well be, you kind of have to make nurture in your nature.

So you, you, the, that tiny touch point with some person you’ve never met before that you would normally not consider even as a client right now, you kind of nurture it in a nice way. and years into the future, you know, some of this stuff doesn’t, it takes a long while for them to knock on the door and ask you, you know, how much, um, the, how, how do you, where do you, how do you balance this sort of stuff when you’re, when you’re working with agencies?

Like where’s the balance between, um, nurturing potential leads, um, and kind of making it a nature within the business. But also not, you know, overcooking it because, you know, it costs money and time. Well,

Judith Germain: and nobody wants to be spammed at either as well as me. I think if your marketing is clear, part of it, I think, is making sure your marketing is clear as to what a good customer for [00:47:00] you is likely to be.

So that when you are actually marketing, whether it’s content marketing ads or whatever, you’re making it really clear, this is the type of person I want. I think for me, I think nurturing. I, I’m, I love farming. I, I much prefer to be a farmer than a, than a hunt. Hunt my prey and kill them, type person, . Um, and I think that comes down to having a strategy.

However loosely that is built around touch points, but meaningful touch points. So for example, if I’m talking to you, Chris, and I know you’re interested in, in certain things, if I come across an article or something like that, I’ll send it to you because I know you’re interested in it. And I do it because I know it’s useful for you.

Not because I want you to buy something next week. And I think when people know you’re trying to get them to buy, it’s just. It doesn’t work. So I make sure that like, if I go to the networking event, I’ll only take someone’s business card if I actually want to stay in touch. If I don’t want to, I just don’t take it.

So that I don’t even spend that time. And I think if [00:48:00] people can see that your, you and your agency is honest and transparent in its desire to help you, then you’re going to be the person they’re going to contact when they need you, because you’re there all the time. As people have said to me, you’re there all the time.

I’m not there all the time. It just, it’s just that. I see something that people, I remember all. Six months ago, Claire says she was really into this. I’ll send it to her. You know, because that’s just who I am and who the business is and that’s what our clients like anyway

Chris Simmance: And it and it and it works quite well because you know, it is genuine you do give a damn.

Um, so Um, first of all, thanks both of you for being on. I know that we could have made this several hours long We probably should try a version of that and with some coffee at some point Um anyone wanting to get in touch with any of these guys follow the links type the things in And say yeah hellos and have a chat Um, uh, Jude, you’ve got two Twitter things.

So I put both there. I’m not sure which one you prefer, but all of the other links point to LinkedIn’s [00:49:00] and profiles on various places and things like that. Um, if you want to have a chat with, uh, Claire at chime, build a hero moment for your agency, give her a shout. I’m sure she and the team are ready. If you want to go hard and you want to get that proposition right.

And you want to get it done properly. Judith is your person, your go to. Um, so speak to her. She’s a machine at this stuff. Um, Thanks so much for you, uh, to you guys for coming along. Um, massive appreciation. Um, this has been a, well, I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t know about you two. Yeah, it’s been fun. Awesome. Yeah.

Thanks Chris. Thank you so much. And, uh, and everyone else enjoy the rest of your day, whether you’re starting it or ending it and we’ll hopefully see you all at the next one. So. Bye[00:50:00]