One of the main challenges facing advertising agencies today is how to find well-rounded solutions to problems that arise in their day-to-day. This increasingly demanding market requires innovative answers to new challenges and roadblocks. What does this mean? There’s more competition looking to meet the new needs of the market, with greater innovation at a lower price. This is why it’s essential to understand what strategies leading agencies are putting in place to attract new clients and retain existing ones.
To learn more about these strategies, COR interviewed Edgar Natush from House Dentsu, Coral Arnedo from Grey, and Luz Irene Mendoza from TBWA, three of the most important leaders in the world of advertising and marketing. They talked to us about how they’re being more innovative in retaining their clients, how to find new business opportunities and how platforms like COR help to achieve these goals.
The three all agreed the following 3 points are key:
The three were unanimous on this point and stressed a transparent and healthy relationship with their clients from the very get-go is essential. For Coral, managing client expectations, explaining how you work and how much you’re willing to negotiate are three fundamental points for the selection criteria. With the basics clear, it’s easier to set your long-term vision for choosing clients that mutually benefit both parties. This is a better approach than going into survival mode, and accepting any client with no clear rules, as this is potentially damaging in the long run. When things are transparent, the client can see for themselves the data on how their project is progressing.
Natush believes clients like having greater transparency as it lets them know the cost per hour as well the ebbs and flows of the business. He added:
“Having real-time visibility over our agency is a powerful negotiating tool. As COR measures profitability, we have greater data transparency, which allows us to make more accurate decisions and have more data-driven conversations with our clients. Throughout my career, I’ve struggled with project management, but thanks to tools like COR, we’ve managed to keep a specific workflow for each job. This means we’ve become good at execution”
Transparency is a key part of any negotiation, as is measuring profitability:
“With COR we can calculate and measure our team’s efficiency, progress, and delays. These metrics aren’t just important for our profitability, but they also give transparency to our clients. Armed with this info, we’re much better placed to negotiate higher fees with our clients as we have data to back up our claims. It allows us to optimize our resources to achieve better results”, Edgar concludes.
Focus on talent
After a year in which the rules of the game changed, agencies have found themselves with higher staff turnover than before. Many have had to be creative in finding new ways to retain staff and avoid turnover affecting their work.
For Coral, while junior talent can lack commitment and determination, he recognizes that agencies don’t do enough to develop their talent and help them grow. And this causes frustration and makes creatives look for new opportunities.
“It’s essential to ask yourself: how are you going to develop the people in your organization? There’s the human side, like inclusion and feminism. And there’s the new way of working: being more flexible, understanding the profitability and efficiency of your teams as well completing tasks from home. All this teaches us an important lesson”, states Grey.
At the same time, there need to be clearer career paths, as well as defining how you’ll help your team members grow. It’s a demanding market, and the human side to things is often left behind.
Younger generations want more time, more holidays and remote working. So agencies these days need to meet the new demands of the people who’ll be dedicating their entire career to an agency.
“One of the takeaways we had from tracking time through COR was seeing how commutes and lunch breaks have disappeared” Talent is spending long hours in front of the computer, and we need to take action to address this, both on a personal, generational and regional level to understand these widespread changes”, adds Coral.
He concluded that staff turnover isn’t ever going to go away. But it is important to think about the value we provide as a company, and how to be much more human with our employees and colleagues.
At Dentsu, they’re working on longer-term development for their collaborators. This plan promotes freedom of thought, diversity, and respect as the most contributing factors to engagement and retention. However, before this, agencies need to define their values to set and lead their team towards their North Star.
For Edgard, to maintain this balance and strong communication, you need to be pro-agency and pro-client. And his agency is constantly looking for new ways to add value to their team and individuals within it.
Today young creatives want other ways to express their creativity and not just spend their whole time working in an agency. Working from home and with the many resources available these days, many creatives demonstrate their adaptability by running their own freelance businesses. One of the biggest challenges for an agency these days is integrating this new way of working and making their talent feel valued. And for this to happen, agencies need to lead the changes so that brands too can contribute.
Specialization and technology
Natusch believes that specializing your services in a certain area is essential and that agency business models have changed. They need to focus more on innovative processes. New tools and specialization are key in generating new business and going digital.
Grey’s CEO added there needs to be a selection criteria for longer-term clients. His plans for this year include growing his existing clients and finding new business opportunities for them.
“Focus on innovation: platforms like COR allow for more agile processes as well greater efficiency and connectivity”
These days agencies can look for talent and clients from across the world: remote working has led to a global talent market that’s even more competitive.
When asked about this issue, both Coral and Edgar agreed agencies don’t need to be constantly on the lookout for new clients. Instead, they can look for growth opportunities with their existing clients, and help them to keep improving and innovating.
For Grey’s CEO, it’s important to deep-dive into your client’s organization – and not just the marketing side of things, but also the broader business. Being able to create a strong relationship with your clients and solve their problems is important, as is being flexible, agile, and providing new solutions. You need to have a big-picture understanding of the business and get involved in all of its mechanics. With greater competition, the strategy needs to be uncovering new opportunities for your clients.
“COR allows us to analyze the day-to-day of the business: the staff, the costs, the delays, and task forecasting. Over time these insights meant we could make a data-driven estimate of how long a project would take. It’s a time management tool, and this allows for forwarding planning”, states Edgar.
“It also assigns clear timeframes and gives an almost panoramic view of your business. You can see how tasks are assigned with your team, and see who can take on more work and who’s saturated. It gives you a clear snapshot of who’s working on what and the capacity of each account”
Any agency looking to scale its business needs to have the following factors in its DNA: transparency, correct time management, team motivation, innovation, and technology. Platforms like COR combine these values and make achieving goals easier while looking out for both the client and the agency.
COR is a project management software that, through Artificial Intelligence, helps agencies manage and structure their projects and activities. By standardizing and simplifying operations, COR helps agencies prime themselves for groth. With COR, you can:
1) Achieve scalability: It provides the analytics necessary to guide profit growth
2) Define project timeframes: perfect for estimating growth periods, with a system that tracks time spent on each task and project.
3) Manage teams and resources: Task delegation means you stop overloading your teams with work, and also gives a more accurate picture of the man-hours required.