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A System For Planning and Measuring Agency Marketing Growth

At Newfangled, we have created a brand new tool that will let you quickly assess your agency’s current marketing situation, set realistic single-year marketing goals for your firm, and measure your progress against those goals.

We’d like to invite you to join us for this free webinar to review the Agency Marketing Maturity Index.


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Mark O’Brien: All right, let’s get going here. Welcome to the Newfangled webinar, A System for Planning and Measuring Agency Marketing Growth. We’re really excited about this one because were presenting a brand new product that we’ve created. Not the kind of product that you sell, but the kind of product you use to create the right kind of experience. A lot of thought went into it and in many years it’s the culmination of everything we’ve been doing for quite a number of years now and it is exactly this. It’s a real tool you can use to plan and measure your growth.

To get into things here or to walk through the agenda, we’re going to start just by talking about the agency marketing model. Just to do a little bit of a refresher for those who aren’t familiar on what the fundamental elements of a digital marketing plan are for an agency. Then we’re going to into really the meat of the webinar, which is this tool that you can use to measure growth that we call the Agency Marketing Maturity Index. This is going to be what we spend the majority of the webinar on, going through that and looking at examples that are related to that.

Then finally we’ll take a look at the program that we use to implement all of this, just take a few minutes there. The webinar, I’m guessing, will be about a half hour or so of presentation and then of course we’ll open up Q and A. As you’re going through things here, as you’re listening to the ideas I’m throwing out, any time you have a question just go ahead and use your question panel, probably on the right hand side of your screen right now, and just ask the question as it comes up and then at the end I’ll run through all of the questions that are set up and we can see what happens there. It’s usually pretty exciting.

Okay, so the agency marketing model, the six fundamental elements of agency lead development. Again, the top we’ve got the tools. The website, a CRM, and automation tool. These tools have to be in place in order for the agency to have the right digital platform running. The website’s obviously self-explanatory. CRM, that tool like Sales Force or Microsoft Dynamics or Sugar, then automation tools like Pardot and Act-On, Marketo, things like that. Oftentimes agencies do have these tools in place, but they’re not getting anything out of the tools and that’s typically because the tools are not fed the right food, which is comprised of the contact and content strategy.

Both these things need to be in place in order for you to really get anything out of the tools at the top. Just buying an automation system, that’s really easy to do. Buying a CRM, that’s easy to do. Using those things properly is difficult and in themselves a little complicated technically, so there are some barriers there but you can obviously work through those things. If you don’t have the right contact and content strategy, you’re really out of luck.

Of course all this relies on positioning, what your unique value proposition is, the problems you’re solving for specific people in the marketplace. The sharper that is, the more effective all of this is going to be. There’s a bit of dependence going on here. If you have the bottom three elements, the contact strategy, the content strategy and the positioning, if you really have those three things worked out and you weren’t using the tools … Say you have the bottom three and you have a website, but you weren’t utilizing CRM and automation, you’d really be missing out. You’d be doing all the hard work. The hardest work really is on the content and positioning side, but you wouldn’t allow yourself to get the benefit of that work because you’re not using the tools. The inverse, as I mentioned earlier, if you have the tools without the bottom three elements, it’s unlikely those tools are going to do anything for you.

We need all of these things together. Anyone who’s paid attention to anything we’ve done over the past few years, you’ve probably seen this. You’ve heard us talk about this. Everything we do gets back to this in some way. What we’ve done to really talk about the details and the stages for these different elements is we’ve created this Marketing Maturity Index. This basically maps out those six elements plus the seventh element, which is the goal.

The reason we’re doing thing, thinking about marketing at all, is to generate opportunity. Generate opportunity among right fit clients, the people you most want to be working with, the people who’d be your ideal clients a year from now, free of the hardest of whoever the best fit client is today. We really want to think about the future and where we want the firm to head. If we have a marketing plan in place that is continually focused on the future growth and the elevation of the agency and continually focused on bringing the right people who help you realize that future, then the agency is going to be continually growing in the right way, but it takes marketing to do that. Agencies have a hard time marketing themselves typically. It’s very rare that an agency is good at marketing themselves, which is a little bit of a paradox, right? This is what you do, but it also makes sense because you’re doing it and you’re busy and you’re working for clients and you’re getting money and all that kind of stuff.

We really want to help you and help you understand that taking control of your marketing is really about taking control of your firm. This tool that we’ve created is going to help you do that. Basically we’ve got seven elements we’re going to run through. We’re going to run through them one by one starting with your website and then we’ve got this five stages from dormancy into maintenance into growth. First, what I’m going to do is I’m going to map out all of these elements for each stage so we’re going to have a really clear idea of what we’re talking about here.

We’re going to look at some examples of some live agency sites. Some of these tools, we’re going to take a little bit of a behind the scenes look to make sure that you all understand what I mean by these stages and what the examples of people who are living in those stages look like. Then what we’re going to do after we pretty thoroughly get into the index here is we’re going to look at where the typical agency is today, where the average agency is in terms of their own marketing. Actually give that a score using this index tool and then also look at what a reasonable year one plan could look like to make sure you grow properly along that index. Then at the very end of the webinar we’re going to look at an approach you can take in order to do that. This is going to be quite detailed, but hopefully for those of you who are pretty interested in your own marketing it’ll be quite interesting as well.

Okay, so the first thing we’re going to look at here is the website. At the dormancy stage, we’ve got a twenty page brochure, right? This is very typical. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. A twenty page brochure could be a fine website, a very pro website, one that reflects well upon the agency, but it’s not going to do anything for business development. It’s not going independently attract, inform, engage, and nurture unaware but highly qualified prospects. We can take a look at an example of what that might look like.

This is an example of a site. Good site, lots of good information, very clear on the services, portfolio, reasons why you might want to hire the firm, lots of good stuff. Nothing wrong with this at all, but it’s not going beyond this. It’s not really going to do anything, like I said, to attract, inform, engage, and nurture qualified prospects. If you do want to market, you’re going to need to start thinking about taking control of the website. Taking control of the website looks a lot like moving up on this index.

At stage two, we’ve got the same brochure, and this is oftentimes the next step an agency will take, but there’s a blog, right? Oftentimes there’s a signup for that blog. Typically that blog is more about internal cultural things and it’s more about the agency and the work and that kind of thing than about the client and the pain points, but it exists. In an example I pulled up, I don’t know this agency at all, but this is an example of a site that’s a good brochure site, but also does have that blog.

This is somewhat typical of what an agency might do as their first step. When we go in and click into the post, you can see here that they’re active, right? They posted just last week. That’s the third post this month, so it’s an active blog, but the blog is the only kind of strategy element going on right now. When we get here we see that, okay, this is an article, great. Some imagery and things like that. I’m sure it’s very well written. Then there is that signup, right? “Sign up for our newsletter,” which we can assume is a blog digest of some sort, right? That’s very much typical of what a stage two website might look like.

Then as we progress we get into stage three. The site we just looked at very well may be close to stage three. I’m not sure how long they’ve been blogging for, but if you actually blog consistently over years you’re going to end up with a site of a certain size. That’s something that will be more valuable for sure. The more content you have on the site, assuming the content is pointed properly, the more leads it’s going to generate, but still we’re relying just on a single content platform.

Once we get up to a level four, and level four is really the goal. In order to have… Through the forms here, we want to get to something that rounds up to a level four. Level five is the dream, right? Four is the goal, five is the dream. The dream is attainable in different ways and different elements of the dream here for these seven elements will seem more attainable to some of you than others, but as long as you’re shooting for level four, you’re going to be in good shape.

Here we’ve got a deep, intuitive, expertise-laden site with multiple CTAs per buying stage. Then the dream would be four to six content types, with of course buying CTAs, two to five thousand unique visitors per month just coming in through organic search and such, and then fifty to a hundred conversions per month. We can look at an example of a site that is a strong level four I would say. This is a firm out of Charlotte, Crafted. They specialize in working with manufacturers. They’ve got a lot here. It’s a really strong site, very well designed site, very intentionally planned site, but we’ve got lots of good content, blogs, white papers, and webinars, and we’ve got lots of great calls to action that do speak to different stages in the buying cycle through the stage four, for the contact, for the purchase stage, stay informed for people who are researchers or evaluators, and then a really nice evaluation calculator for people who are in the evaluating stage, which is great. You can even call it evaluate.

Hopefully that’s helpful on the website side, three examples of a brochure, agency site with a blog, and then more of a full featured website that has all the tools that we’d want to see on a site that would support the development. One of the takeaways I hope you have from this, from this webinar, is that it’s really about all six elements. We just looked at the agency marketing model, we looked at those six elements. It’s about all six coming together. We’ll see that by the time we go through all six and then we look at the seventh, the realization of generating opportunity on a regular basis, that the average score you have for the six is going to pretty much predict what your score is going to be for the seventh role of generating opportunity. That’s interesting. It’s not just the website or just the CRM or just automation. It’s all six elements coming together in a very intentional way.

The next thing I want to look at is CRM. Dormancy, obviously there’s no CRM and that’s very, very typical for many agencies. Probably the next most typical thing is that there is a CRM, maybe someone purchased a license for Sales Force, say, but it’s not used. It’s not used because it’s difficult, right? Sales Force or really any full featured CRM out of the box is just hard to use. It’s an incredibly powerful tool. It can do anything and because of that it’s really hard to do anything specifically out of the box.

Again, as an agency, especially the people in the agency who would be dealing with this, which are most likely going to the marketing and sales staff, CRM can be really daunting. It is quite technical, especially to get it wired up properly and to make sure it’s working for you. There are a lot of barriers, but still growth is necessary. At the maintenance stage, the CRM is used by an individual, so a person inside of the firm is really empowered. They understand how to use the CRM, they are using it, and so you’re logging sales activity, and that kind of thing. Stage three here is perfectly suitable, but for CRM to really play a major role in the overall business development process for the firm, we need to have more people involved and make sure the CRM is fully integrated with the website and with automation system.

Then of course the dream version of this is the entire business is run through the CRM. This is something that I first got turned on to by Blair Enns. He dragged me out to Dream Force, I think five years ago now, 2011. He’s been a big performance salesperson for a long, long time. We went to these sessions, session after session it seemed, of people talking about the Wall-To-Wall Install. What the Wall-To-Wall Install is is basically the entire business running off of Sales Force behind the scenes. What that really means is that all of your key data points are connected into Sales Force somehow. I saw the power of that and I was just blown away. We’ve done a lot of work here at Newfangled to make that happen, specifically Lindsay Barlow, our Sales Force administrator and Dave Mellow, our senior developer did a lot of programming and planning and strategy work to create a Sales Force install that does actually map everything.

Now at Newfangled all of our time sheet data, all our project data, all sales and marketing data, all accounting and billing, everything is inside of Sales Force. It’s possible end to end reports on pretty much anything and to really see the data based relationships that are running the firm behind the scenes.  That’s true for all of us. There are data based relationships that are running the firm, we just don’t what they are.

There’s a ton of power in that and it’s entirely possible for a firm like Newfangled, we’re not a huge firm, to do that. Bank of America also runs that way. GE also runs that way off Sales Force specifically. The dream level here is something that may not be the dream for every agency and that’s okay, but I think it’s important to know what’s possible on the CRM side. Certainly stage three or four would be fine. Just a quick run through here, just to look at some of the basic elements of Sales Force, if you want to get to that basic three or four level you’d have some basic things set up. You’d be using Sales Force for leads, for your contacts, for campaigns, opportunities, reports, and dashboards.

Any time you’ve got a campaign which could be an event or a webinar like that or even a newsletter blast if you wanted to go that deep, you supervised a campaign and because a CRM is tied in with the website and the automation system, we’re going to have a very clear understanding of who is part of this campaign, who got all the emails, who actually ended up attending, are they associated with any live opportunities or will they eventually become associated with live opportunities. Again, you can start seeing relationships being marketing efforts and sales efforts, but of course inside of everything, inside of Salesforce, you have the actual opportunities themselves when someone gets in touch with you about a project specifically, about a relationship. That’s when that person becomes an opportunity and ideally there’s at least one person inside the system who’s actually shepherding this through and who’s managing all of the information inside of Sales Force.

If that is okay, that’s working properly, then what you’re going to be able to do is see a very clear relationship between sales and marketing and that’s the point. Then of course we’ve got reports that basically speak to what’s going on and what this relationship is and then dashboards that pull together all of the reports. This is only possible if you’re doing all of the other things and this is all dummy data so don’t think you’re seeing any inside baseball here for Newfangled.

If you don’t have your leads and contacts and opportunities and campaigns and reports all set up, you can’t have dashboards. A lot of firms will see this and say, “Yeah, I’d love to have this at my fingertips,” and for good reason, right? Basically this just allows you to see the truth, see what’s actually happening, but also make better decisions based on trends you see, right? This is what it would look like if you were at level three or four of the index. There’s a lot of power in that. We’ll also look at, coming up in a moment here, marketing automation and revenue attribution, and that’s something that is only possible if the CRM is running properly.

With automation, again the dormancy is there is none. Very typical inside of a lot of agencies still. There was an RSW report recently that talked about marketing technology. I think they did it in partnership with Mirren. It was really surprising to see how low the adoption rate for marketing automation still is. The report basically said that most agencies want to be doing it, but few are actually using it of the few who have it in the first place. That’s stage two, right? When you’ve got an automation tool but you’re basically using it in the same way you use constant contact. It’s not really doing anything special beyond basic email functions.

Again, stage three we start to get into something that’s going to actually have an impact on the business. When you’ve got automation program set up, you’ve got lead scoring set up, and the automation system is actually integrated with the website. Then stage four we’ve got CRM integration going, we’ve got revenue attribution, and because of those two things, because you have fused your sales reality with your marketing reality, you’re able to make data-driven marketing decisions and that’s great.

We also reference complete progressive profiling here and that has to do with the integration with the website. For example, let’s take a look at how that would work. Just to stick on the same site here, with progressive profiling, basically what that means is that as any page loads on your site, behind the scenes in real time, this system, which is comprised of the site, CRM and automation tool, are basically communicating all the time and it’s asking three questions. It’s asking, okay, who is this individual? How have they engaged with us previously if they have? What do we know about them? Based on the answers to those questions, because that data again resides in these systems and is instantly accessible, we actually are able to build out these forms based on this person.

If you fill out this form, first name, last name, and email, and then you actually submitted it then you’d get three more questions that relate more specifically to what kind of lead they might be. Maybe their location, maybe their title, maybe their job responsibilities. It’s different for every agency based on how you qualify your leads, but it’s really important to think through those things and think about what the six to twelve fields may be that you need in order to properly score people, right? That’s what progressive profiling is about.

Other examples of this, of what goes on inside of a fully functional automation system, is anonymous and known visitor tracking. This, basically for all of these automation systems … You can see we’re looking at Act-On here. That just works out of the gate. That starts happening. Once you integrate the site and the automation system, then we’re going to be tracking people, but there’s a lot of power in this too. A lot of our clients, they start their day by going to this screen and just taking a look at who’s been on the site in the past day and they basically plan their business development activities for that day based on this information and looking at who’s on the site, how they’re engaging, what they’re interested in, that sort of thing. That’s really helpful.

Also at this stage, if you do have the system integrated with the CRM, you’re able to just set up triggers. You can say, “Okay, anybody who is part of an opportunity …” Say on the CRM side I’ve got an opportunity listed because someone’s gotten in touch with us about a job or whatever it might be. We’ve got contacts inside the CRM. We have individuals assigned to the opportunity. People at the client who we’re engaged with, right? It could be anywhere from one to however many people. Usually it’s two to four people who are involved. We can set up alerts, again, because the automation system and CRM are connected. You can set up alerts that will allow it to tell you when a contact who’s associated with an opportunity shows up on your site.

Again, it’s just about sales intelligence. It’s about you understanding what’s going on. It’s about being aware of the activity that’s already happening sort of right underneath your nose and these tools allow you to do that without spending too much time. Again, I mentioned earlier, lead scoring is a key part of automation. This is a basic default lead score sheet. Again, default Act-On info here, not private Newfangled info or private info of any of our clients. You could basically set up scoring to observe demographic info that we’re learning about or behavioral info.

This ties right into progressive profiling. You can see here … We keep going back. This is the site, the CRM, the automation. The site, CRM, automation. They’re all talking back and forth all the time. If that’s not happening, we’re not a stage three, four, five, right? The real integration of these systems is what makes all of them work and all of them perform to their peak levels. With scoring on progressive profiling on the site, when we’re asking those questions, okay, who is this that’s requesting his page? How are they engaged with us? What do we know about them? Then always putting new questions in front of them that are based on the original question set that you used to assess lead qualification.

Basically we’re filling these things in as it happens and we’re able to give positive or negative points to any key attribute. This is a very basic version of it, but here where you can put in, like I mentioned earlier, title as you or job responsibilities, location, things like that. Then also of course activity, so watching and giving positive or negative points to page visits, to emails that are open, to links that are clicked, to forms that are submitted, to assets that are downloaded, any of those activities that happen on the email side or the website side are tracked and can be scored positively or negatively. We do all that so that when the right person gets the right score, you’re notified and you understand when it’s time to get in touch with somebody if they haven’t gotten in touch with you first. That’s what that all adds up to.

The other key element of this is revenue attribution. This is incredibly powerful and works when the CRM and the automation system are integrated where you can see the relationship between different marketing activities such as emails sent out, learning pages set up, different campaigns, whatever it may be, and actual closed business. Again, this is demo information but you get the gist. We can click here and see all the opportunities that have  contacts in them who have done a certain thing. In this case, visit the home page, for example. A basic example but you get the gist.

That allows you to make data based marketing decisions. What is driving sales? What has historically had an impact? Webinars on this topic tend to out-perform webinars on that topic, things like that. You can decide through looking at a report like this. We get a lot of power, but only if these tools are used properly. The dream, the level five for automation is a lot like what we just looked at when all the systems are integrated and automated and the key staff has complete control of it. They’ve have their palm in the basket ball of automation. They feel really comfortable, they can go in and do anything they may need to. Oftentimes, that key staff would be one or two individuals. It’d be rare that many people inside the agency would have the technical mastery of an automation tool, and that’s okay.


We covered the first line of that agency marketing model chart we looked at. The website, CRM, and automation. Now we are on that second level, the fuel level. We look at the contact strategy and the content strategy. The contact strategy side, again, dormancy in you’re not really sending out any emails to anybody. Which is, unfortunately, where a lot of agencies are. The next step up is where the next most agencies are, where a few hundred unqualified contacts are on the list. That’s usually people who have just … maybe former clients, friends, family, former employees, just a random person that might sign up for a newsletter by chance, a few hundred of those. You may send out two to three emails per year for a big announcement when you hire or something, or maybe if you move offices or meet somebody on the holidays, that kind of thing. Not really going to move the needle there for you.

The main insight, once you get to level three, there are 1000 or 2000 contacts. You’re sending out emails more predictably. Maybe every other month, or a quarterly, or something like that. That can start to have a real impact once you get to that level. Of course, the ideal area here, not the dream, but in number four, where things are really moving is when you have 3000-5000 contacts. You’re sending out 3-4 up out emails per month, which sounds like a lot. But if, the next row we’re going to look at, the content strategy is correct and you’ve got the right 3000-5000 people and you are positioned. Again, lots of integration here, lots of codependency going on here. If that’s all working well, this works.

All these numbers, all these perspectives, all of that is based wholly on our experience. What we’re seeing work and not work with all the agencies we work with. We are not here to make any of these stuff up, we are here to observe what is moving the needle for our clients and to see the patterns there. We have access to all this data for all our clients. We’re able to do some pretty significant pattern matching. That forms all these decisions, and that’s what we see, 3000-5000 contacts is typically the sweet spot.

There are, of course, some industries where there aren’t that many, right? When you simply don’t 3000-5000 prospects. But that’s rare because even if you’re in an industry where there are only 500 business you might possibly work with, oftentimes, within each business, there are many different types of people you want to speak with, anywhere from 4-10 different roles inside of a business that would be involved in a purchase decision to hire services like yours. Typically there are at least 3000-5000. We have some clients who have tens of thousands of contacts just because they serve a broader industry.

Finally, the peak performance angle here is annual less purchases. You’re actually getting in 500 or 100 new prospects per month through these 500 to 100 conversions on the website. That’s exactly how that’s happening, right? Still, 3-4 blogs per month and the heavy based automated program. Again, we are seeing the integration within the content strategy, the website, the automated system, and the contact strategy all coming together.

On the content strategy side, of course, dormancy is doing nothing. Level two lines up really nicely. All these line up pretty nicely with the website where there’s some blogging going on but it’s not the kind of blogging that’s going to move the new business needle. It’s the kind of blogging that’s easy to do. It’s more typical where you are talking about yourselves really. There’s not much empathy in your blogging.

Then stage three where you get to a point where you can actually start to expect some level of impact is when you’re relying half on a single-thought leader who is screening monthly content. This is happens a lot when maybe the owner of a small agency or a certain thought leader at a larger agency is just inclined to write a lot and it’s okay for them. They enjoy it. It’s part of what they want to do. Or they are incredibly disciplined and they make themselves do it or some combination of the two. That’s good. That can absolutely have an impact, but it’s really a step on the road.

The better situation is when you’ve got a group of people inside the agency who are creating 3000-5000 words of this exact kind of content. This expert and decks-able educational content, right? That’s all about and solely about … these 3000-5000 words are solely about the overlap between your expertise and your prospects pain points. Once that’s happening and it’s happening consistently, that’s when you can expect for this to have an impact on your situation. Then, of course the ideal approach which, got a number of ratings, is now our embodying, is a complete multimedia approach. With 10000 plus words per month.

This is a example of that, this webinar. This webinar alone will probably end up being 10000 words as you can tell, I talk somewhat quickly. I can get a whole lot of words into each minute. An hour long webinar, it’s going to be around that 10000 words. Just this and then we, of course, transcribe it, and put it on our site. We’ve got podcasts that are about to launch. We’ve got white papers and cap-letters and blogs, there is a lot of things going on on the site and it easily, all together creates 10000 plus words per month. That’s where you’re basically doing all you can, that stage. We can look at an example of that but I want to actually go through positioning first so we can look at a few sites. Two sites specifically that really do well with both positioning and content strategy. So we are going to hold on the examples just for a few minutes.

Stage one here is a full service general list. Again, lots and lots and lots of agencies there. Stage two, you might have a few defined segments and they’re few. There are some agencies, particularly large agencies who list their areas of expertise by industry and they’re 10 different industries, right? That’s not really … you’re still at stage one if you’re doing that. What is typical is that agencies will test the waters with positioning a little bit by [widdling 00:29:34] down to a few. That could work, it just really depends on the situation. But you’re not really going to start seeing an impact here until there’s very clear differentiated positioning going on.

When we speak at events, one of the things I always like to do if we’re speaking in a room that’s small enough. If we’re speaking to an agency network, they’re usually anywhere between 20 and 80 people in a room. It’s a small enough group where I can actually poll the room and in advance to the event i’ll send out a survey. I’ll ask, “which of you, or do you …” because the survey is going to each individual, “do you have a positioning statement on your home page that clearly differentiates you from the competition?” I ask that every single time. Typically about 70% or so of the attendees say, “Yes, absolutely, we do.” Typically, the reality is that maybe 5% do. There’s a real, real big stretch there. Quite considerable divide between what people think about themselves and what the reality is. A lot of agencies, they’re sort of killing themselves. I think that these people are not lying, they believe it, they believe that these words they’re using on their home page do differentiate them but it doesn’t take long to show them how they don’t.

You have to really think about that. Are these words that you’re posting on your home page, are they actually keeping you separate? Are you living that dream? It’s not just enough to have on your home page, your content strategy and your contact strategy of course completely fueled by this. Their contacts are comprised solely of the people and not target segment. The content is written only about what you know those people in that target segment care about. Again, lots of reliance here.

After the next stage, the proudly recognized category leader and at the dream stage basically you have no competition. You are the absolute best in the business, everybody knows it. You are the top choice. It’s simply a matter of people can afford you or not, and most of them can’t. That’s a great place to be. That’s what that road looks like.

Let’s look at a few agencies now that are doing really well with this. Here’s one, Zehno, they’re out in New Orleans. This is a great positioning statement to me. “Zehno gets your institution noticed with an insider knowledge of how higher ed works and an outsider view of how it should work smarter.” Then they list in their services that they offer specifically within this positioning. This is what they do. This is all they do. The portfolio, the entire content platform, which is rich and diverse. Blogs, white papers, webinars, and then access to different collateral for their speaking engagements they’ve done which they do quite a few of. All of it is incredibly focused right around this, right around Higher Ed branding and marketing. Some really specific stuff. They’re definitely nailing this and doing what they need to do to create this system on the content side and the positioning side.

Another great example of this is Rattle Back, the marketing agency for professional services firms. As Blair Enns would call it, that’s their positioning statement. Their reassurance statement is, “We help architecture, engineering and consulting firms attract clients online.” They get a little more specific about what they mean by marketing agency and what they mean about professional services firms. Here, again, really deep content strategy. Blogs, articles, webinars, and e-books.

There are a lot of different ways of going about this. We are big proponents of diversified content strategy. We saw on the metrics, the index rather, that on the website, the content at level two, we’ve got occasional blogging. It’s really about the blog. Once you get to these higher levels, it’s diversified. There are different types of platforms. That’s very important. It’s important because that allows you to have more CTAs. If you just have a blog, then you’re going to have a blog sign up. That’s really the only pre-purchase CTA you’re going to have. Once people sign up to your blog once, that’s all they can do. That’s the only way they can engage with you on their side until they’re ready to fill out like a contact form or some other purchase-stage form. But when you have webinars or podcasts or events or white papers, each one of those things could have their own Call-To-Action.

For example, this webinar. There are a lot of people on this webinar who have done all kind of things with NewFangled. Who have signed up for the blog web, downloaded white papers, filled out cap-letters. Each time you’ve done that, we’ve learned more things about you because each of these assets is a unique opportunity to engage and to learn more about the people we’re serving. A diversified kind of strategy is critical for all these.


This is obviously taking longer than I thought it would because I can’t stop talking. There’s a lot of details that is important and it was booked for the hour. Hopefully you’re not struggling through this. We probably got a quarter of here before we get to Q and A, just so you know.

Let’s take a quick look at what this all adds up to. The only reason you would market, would choose to market in the first place is for this goal right here at the bottom, the right fit opportunity development. In dormancy stage, your marketing system is not generating any leads. Then you might get a few low quality leads that trickle into the website. Whatever that be, people just happen to stumble upon your site but who aren’t really a good fit and frankly aren’t what you’re trying to follow  up with.

Then level three, people start to notice, right? Maybe it’s not the prospects specifically. Maybe it’s people who host events or a consultant in the industry who start to realize that you’re doing something. They might send some people your way. But then four, this is where we want to be, that’s pretty cool pipeline of leads created and nurtured for the system. This is when the engine is turned over, and you’re really using it. You’re relying on it. You’re expecting it to be a main contributor to your business development system. That’s what it’s all about.

Five, this is just a how you do business development, right? You might do other things in addition, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that but this is really the core engine. We’ve seen a great number of agencies go through this transformation where they’re not really doing any marketing at all but through adapting each of these systems individually, they end up just becoming marketing powerhouses. Once you start to taste that success, once you see this system work once or twice, then it’s really easy for the whole firm to buy in. It’s really easy to generate the energy. It’s easy to make the commitments to counter-creation and things like that. But it’s that space between deciding to do it and seeing results that’s the most dangerous space to operate in.

Agencies live in that space all the time. They will start a thing. They’ll decide, “we’re going to adopt automation, right? That one thing. That’s going to do something for us.” It’s not going to do anything for you because in a vacuum. It’s operating by itself. “We’re going to adopt CRM. It’s a little complicated. We don’t really have time to learn that. We’re going to build a new website.” Okay. But if it doesn’t have all those other stuff, it’s not going to really do anything for you. You’re going to be excited about it. It’s going to be a better brochure but it’s not going to move the needle. Agencies are constantly living in this gap between deciding to do something with their marketing and actually seeing results. If they don’t get to the results side, it doesn’t stick. This index is all about showing the necessary relationship between all these key elements so that you can understand that. So you can actually put together a plan that will stick and will generate results.

What we talked about was using this tool to assess where you are and where you can go and to track your progress along that path. Let’s take a look at, here using this tool, what a typical agency and I don’t care if it’s a one person agency or a 3000 person agency. Lauren Siler and I were recently in Manhattan for a number of meetings. We had 5 group meetings. One was with a 12 person agency. One was with a 5 person agency. One was with a 120 person agency. One was with a 2000 person agency. Then we had a 300 person agency there as well. That’s the 5. We met with all of them in a span of 2 days. Completely different agencies. They happened to all be in New York, but that was it. It was just shocking to basically have the exact same conversation, hear the exact same stories at every single agency.

Marketing an agency is hard. The barriers that you experience are the barriers you experience regardless of how many staff you have, right. A lot of the smaller agencies assume it’s easier for the bigger agencies and vice versa. It’s not easier for anybody. There are different challenges in some ways but the primary challenges are exactly the same. Head count doesn’t factor into this at all.

Let’s look at what a typical agency is doing today, what’s very average. Lot’s of agencies, they have a brochure website with a blog and they’re updating it, who knows how often. Maybe once a month, maybe twice a year. On the CRM side, very typical for an agency to not have a CRM. Same with automation surprisingly today. On the contact strategy, oftentimes, there is a list somewhere that’s getting used sometimes. On the content strategy, again, they’ve got a blog and they’re occasionally using it but it’s really not about the overlap between their expertise and the prospects pain points. It’s really about them, cultural elements, awards won, projects launched, new hires, things like that.

Then positioning, let’s be generous and say that maybe the agency does have a few defined segments that are actually meaningful. Or at least they believe they do internally. Then because of all these things, every once in a while, a few low quality leads do come out through the system. That gives you a total score of 1.7. it’s very, very typical. I know a lot of the agencies who are on this, would probably line up pretty well within that number. They’re within a few points at the direction of that number. Notice that, if you can still see in the ghosted background here, that 1.7 is the average obviously of these seven elements. But the right fit opportunity development, that last element on line 7, that’s a 2. It’s almost … your right fit opportunity score, the honest right fit opportunity score is almost always going to equal the rounded average of whatever the score is.

Now let’s take a look at what a very reasonable growth path would be for an agency who is committed to improving their marketing over a 12 month period. It takes 12 months, that’s what we’ve seen. It takes roughly 4 months to get the system in place. Then 8 months to use those systems properly and to effectively change the culture in the firm so that the firm does become a strong marketing organization.

On the website side, going from a 2 up to a 4 would be very reasonable. On the CRM side, going from a 1 to a 3. That would be enough if an individual in the firm is effectively using the CRM and that sales data is getting stored in there, that’s good. That’s a great start and integrating it with the automation system and the website is not that big of a deal. On the automation side, going, again from a 1 to a 3, huge job. Going from not having anything at all to actually using the core tools properly is great progress.

On the contact strategy side, going from a few hundred contacts to to 3000-5000, again, entirely possible. Especially, or really, only if you are positioned and you’re able to purchase a list which, if you’re working with us, we can walk through every step of the way to build, using the services like Win More, or something like that. It’s entirely possible to make that jump in a 12 month period.

On the content strategy, going from occasionally blogging about whatever to stage 4. A diversified team creating 3000-5000 words of content per month. Again, with the right plan which we’ve been able to put together, that’s entirely possible in the first 12 month period. On the positioning side, this is hard. In oftentimes, our clients are working with people like David Baker from ReCourses, or maybe Blair Enns, or maybe Tim Williams. Blair is in a little bit of a different business now. He talks a lot about positioning, but you would hire him really for the sales process. You get positioning as part of that. Then Tim Williams, he is also more involved in pricing and costing these days, but also is a positioning expert. David Baker is the guy who is still primarily doing this. That’s his primary focus, well, one of his top focuses at least. You can hire him just for that service but that’s a lot of work. That’s hard to do.

Definitely going from segment 2 to 3 is entirely possible in year one if you’ve got the right guidance and you’re able to commit. In the right fit opportunity development because of all these changes, going from a 2 up until a 4 is incredibly possible. If all these other things are in place, then that 4 which is rounded. It would be a 3.6 round up to a 4 for level seven then that’s a very clear growth path that would be possible. I’ll show you how it’s possible. This is the way we do it with our clients. You could follow the same method on your own if you’d like.

Basically as I mentioned, we’ve got 4 months of setup time to get the infrastructure in place and then 8 months of coaching and training and ensuring that the cultural change has happened, or is happening over the course of the 8 months. We first like to kick it off with the information and architecture and visual design website consulting to make sure that the website is the right supporting tool. Sometimes, in order for your site to be the right lead development engine, sometimes it might be a rebuild for you which you can do however you like. With us, on your own, with different party, whatever it might be. Oftentimes, a rebuild is not necessary. You’ve got a lot of the elements, just missing some of the critical ones. That’s more of an update. In any case, that’s going to take time. We like to get started there to make sure that you’ve got what you need make sure the website is the right supporting tool.

At the beginning, we’ve got to get the content strategy and the contact strategy figured out. Assuming the positioning is already in place which there is a prerequisite for this. We need to make sure we understand what the contract strategy is and who these people are that we are going to be sending these emails to. Without understanding that, having the other tools in place including the website, once we get into the second stage of it, it’s really impossible. The content and the contacts, that’s the fuel of Ed. We have to have that in place before we understand how we are going to properly set up everything else.

After that, it makes sense to get the CRM set up. Often times, you might have a CRM, you’re just not using it. It’s a matter of just learning about how you operate as a business development organization and taking the time to customize the CRM to your needs and being sure you’re properly trained on it. That’s a key element. After that, same thing with automation. You’re either at stage 1 where it doesn’t exist or at stage 2 where it exist but it’s severely underutilized because you don’t know how to use it. Again, making sure that you’re empowered there, that it’s set up for the way you operate as a business development organization and that the key individuals inside of your firm are trained properly.

Finally, months 5 through 12, once the system is in place in the first 3 months then the second two thirds of the year making sure that you’re using these things properly. Really keeping your eye on the ball in regard to automation and content. Those are the two things that are most likely to slip and the two things that are really most essential to having this whole system run. The outbound engine and the inbound engine. Outbound with automation and inbound with the content. The content is fueling the outbound as well.

What we like to do is have monthly meetings for both things where we look specifically at what’s going on the automation making sure you’re gaining the most out of it and looking specifically at the content strategy. Looking at last month’s content. Which topics resonated? Which topic sections were most interesting? Which themes are really working well? Then brainstorming on the next month’s content making all the assignments for who’s going to write what and what the due dates are and all that kind of stuff. There is a lot of work there that needs to be done. Oftentimes with content, a lot of firms feel like they don’t have the time, they can’t actually create content. They usually can but it’s all the other things, the copy-editing, getting content onto the site, planning the content, knowing what kind of content they should write, really an understanding of what personas the content is geared toward, doing the SEO. All the other staff that happens.

What we do, is we take all that away so you can just focus on writing and you know you’re operating in the right context, you know you’ve got the right plan. That’s just a quick tag on to what was really the main headline here this agency marketing maturity index. That’s all I’ve got to day. 

Now what I’d like to do is go ahead and checkout any questions you have. Any questions at all, just go ahead and ask them inside of that question panel. We’ve already got a few here that I’ll start to answer. We can just go ahead and see what comes up.

Whitney asked a question. Will you be sending out this PowerPoint after the webinar today? No. I will not be sending the PowerPoint out. We don’t release those. But this is being recorded. We will be posting the recording and the transcript on the site most likely within the next week. You’ll have that. That obviously goes for people who’ve registered but do not attend. They like get a link to the recording.

Kevin is asking, please describe the staffing plan to reach level 4 to 5. Yeah. That’s a great question Kevin. In regard to staff, you … basically what we’ve seen works really well and there different ways of approaching this, is that there is typically an individual inside of the agency who is spending roughly a quarter of their time managing these systems. They are the ones who get trained on the automation, they understand how the CRM works and that kind of thing, they’re probably critically involved in the content team if not as a writer, at least as a coordinator. One person is the point person who is empowered in all these different areas and understands the mission and understands the tools. They’re spending 25% of their time roughly. Beyond that, really it’s about the content. That’s the main time investment.

There are typically firms who are doing really well at this where at that 4 or 5 level, they’ve got 3 to 5 individuals in the firm who are each spending roughly 1 business day a month. Say, 8 hours, not consecutive 8 hours. But total of 8 hours a month on this. What it equals out to, between those two things is basically the equivalent of a full time employee between all those different resources and the investment that they’ve got percentage-wise. That’s what’s typical. Some agencies take more, some agencies take less but that’s a pretty typical approach.

There is another question about how to use the tool properly. How to use the index. Let me actually pull that index back up. Just so we can look at that as a reference tool.

Let’s see here. Okay. Give me one second.

Sometimes I lose my mouse. Okay. There is my mouse.

Here is the index. With the index, basically you can use it today to honestly plot out where you are. You can just take this, and take a screenshot or whatever it is you’d like to do with it. Then circle off the different areas, settle the total. Then think again soberly, not in an overly optimistic way. Really look at what a 12 month plan would look like. Then make a point of checking it on monthly basis. Check your progress against this on a monthly basis. Then reuse this tool as each year ends with each client to look at where did you start? Where were you a year ago? Where are you today? Where do you want to go next year? What’s possible for you next year based on the wins and losses, the victories you had approaching the system and the things that fell short of your goals? It’s a great tool you can use for that. I imagine this is going to evolve even if it’s not at NewFangled from year to year as new technologies become available and different elements become more important.

Rachel asks what’s our feeling on blogs with more flavor or personality. Not just focused on how your agency can relieve specific persona pain points, but does that show your staff as people doing people things that are perhaps tangentially related to the industry. This is a good question. Basically, I mentioned a number of times over the past 45 minutes that the content, blog or otherwise really is needs to be focused on the overlap between your prospects pain points and your expertise. That 3000-5000 words we’re talking about really need to be comprised of that.

I do believe that but that’s not to say there’s not a place for the other kind of content. We spoke about how the agency in stage 2, they’ve got a blog but its really more about these flavored topics that Rachel is talking about, more cultural elements. That’s okay, that’s good, there’s nothing wrong with that. That also brings out your personality of the firm. That’s quite important. But for business development specifically, especially when you think about the roles of attract, form, engage, and nurture, it’s that triggering with the pain points that’s really going to move the needle. Coming across as human is important and I and probably many other are going to argue that good writing I going to do that anyway so as they’re reading these expertise-laden posts, they’re certainly getting a sense for the personality of the individual, therefore, the personality of the firm. Adding those other posts over our cultural-oriented post, that’s great but don’t have that towards the word count that you need.

I’m going to wrap up now, especially because I told you it’s going to be about half an hour and it being a little longer than that. But any other questions, my contact info was on that previous screen and my email is where of course I’ll be happy to speak with you anytime and hope you all have a great day and that you see your summer is off to a good start. We will host our next webinar which is actually going to be with David Baker from ReCourses specifically on positioning. That’s going to be in August or September, in a few months. We look forward to seeing you then. Okay. Thanks everybody. Bye.