Another year has come and gone: now it’s time to take stock and get an agency plan of action together for the coming year. What follows is a short list of essential things, a “to do” list if you will, of concrete steps your agency can take to move your business forward this year.
Take a Fresh Look at the Business Landscape. New industries are emerging with plenty of growth potential. Your mix of clients should reflect industries that will continue to grow over the next five to ten years. Be realistic about clients that have cut their marketing budgets; are they really likely to apportion more marketing dollars next year? Go out and replace lost dollars with growth-industry clients.
To Do: Rebalance your client portfolio.
Learn from Your Mistakes. Take the time to review your business in the past year. What worked for your agency? What didn’t? What could you do better in the new year? Did your agency make mistakes that you can learn from going forward? If you had a tough year, planning now can change the forecast to brighter skies ahead.
To Do: Look back in order to move forward.
Take On a Start-up Client. While it is certainly prudent to work with established companies with good track records and stable marketing budgets, consider also taking on at least one start-up. Your expertise will add great value to their company, and you may end up with a client for life.
To Do: Invest in a start-up.
Hire Great People. Now is the time to recruit top talent. Look to your target industries to recruit under-utilized talent seeking a fresh opportunity. Many people, through no fault of their own, have been unemployed but are now out there banging on doors.
To Do: Let the world know you are hiring.
Embrace New Technology. Your clients now demand their marketing partners be expert in using interactive media to communicate their message, and these tactics must be part of your agency strategy going forward. Remember: the idea is still king, but it is key to communicate the idea in ways that reach your audience, whether through traditional or digital media.
To Do: Live and Breathe Interactive Media.
Grow Your Business. What is the state of your clients’ businesses at the end of this year, and where can you help them grow? Now more than ever, your clients need your help. Help them review marketing strategies, reposition products and restructure programs to boost sales. Don't neglect client internal marketing and communications needs; HR, inward marketing and lead processing could all be client areas in need of an audit and improvement. Doing so will help grow your agency. In addition, aggressively target new business prospects. Now is the time to figure out your agency new business strategy for the next six months. Pick some “choice” A-list prospects and set your new business goals, then go full tilt after some big account wins.
To Do: Focus on New Business.
Revisit Your Brand. Take a look at your agency brand and how you communicate it to prospects. Has your agency brand changed over the course of the year, or should it change in response to new competition or changes in your market? Who does your agency want to be in the new year? As part of this process, we recommend taking a look at your agency website as a key part of communicating your brand. Think inbound/pull strategies, mixed with more traditional outbound/push marketing, to develop a stronger brand and reputation.
To Do: Communicate Your Brand.