For those of you who follow my blog regularly (so both of you); you might know that I have recently made a change in my career; moving from Deloitte Consulting to HKLM – a strategic brand and communications agency. As part of my new role as Head of Digital Marketing I am looking at ways to augment our delivery.
To do that I am essentially looking for some specialist partners who will be able to help us in some areas where we don’t have the immediate capacity. In other words I am looking for specialist agencies offering web design; development; digital marketing services; app design and so on. I am looking for the best of the best.
The fact of the matter though is that it takes a lot to find these nuggets of brilliance among the chaff of marketing mediocrity scattered about the South African digital agency landscape.
The Shop Front
I know I am probably preaching to the converted; but I cannot stress enough how critical it is to ensure that your website; your shopfront – as a digital agency – needs to reflect what you can offer to the market. I know, I know, “mechanics and their cars”, “teachers and their children”. I am afraid there is no excuse.
As a matter of fact – if as an agency you cannot find the time to devote the proper time and resources to your own website – then hire another agency or freelancer to do it for you! Create a JV! Pay them real money! The bottom line is that a mediocre to substandard website is hurting you; it’s killing your chances of competing and ultimately is going to see you and your staff very shortly in the UIF queue.
The First Impression
My second observation has been a more subtle one as it has less to do with the online face of your agency and more to do with the physical impression when someone walks through the door.
Over the past two weeks I have met with about 15 different agencies. Agencies ranging from 4 employees through to those pushing on 50; so the following has nothing to do with the physical size of the agency; but rather that all important first impression!
So as part of my introductory email I very clearly stated what my intention for wanting to meet with these various agencies has been. I have clearly offered further information about the kinds of work we are looking at delivering as well as the mutually beneficial reason for our meeting… The least you can do is make sure that you don’t look like you have turned your pajamas inside out and come to the conversation ready to engage in quality dialogue that sells your agencies capabilities and more importantly lets me know that you are not a self-absorbed ignorant and belligerent tool!
In all honesty though; the ability for an agency to sell itself does not start and end in its ability to make a great online impression and potentially deliver good work. The credibility of an agency lies in how it positions itself offline – in person – face to face – probably more than just online.
People buy from people. People form relationships with people and at the end of the day it is those relationships that turn into business and business into profit.
I was not expecting for the red carpet to be rolled out and champagne to be opened at my arrival (although it would have been nice!). I was actually just looking for a spark of business acumen that could ignite into a bigger conversation.
The point I am trying to get to is that the first impression of a client or a potential business partner is as critical as the face you are projecting online. I have written this from my point of view as an agency looking for another like-minded agency.
But remember that this is equally – if not more relevant – for a client looking to give you money!
Make that first impression count and last!!!