Marketing Agencies: How To Compete in a Crowded Market

Marketing Agencies: How To Compete in a Crowded Market

Kayla Graham

Tyler is the CEO at clearmotive, a full-service marketing agency based in Calgary, Alberta. Tyler has been with clearmotive since 2005 and in a senior leadership role since 2009. Through his years in marketing, he’s learned a few ways his business can differentiate itself from all of the great competition out there.

Remove the “fluffy” marketing speak

As one of hundreds of marketing agencies, how does Tyler’s company set itself apart from the competition? He points out that it is hard to differentiate. There are great companies in town that do similar things. They all have great people and great data. It’s often left to whether or not your prospective client connects with you and vice versa.

Tyler shares that they’ve leaned in on their operations and execution side. They want to partner with people and help them execute. They want to elevate internal teams. They want to support the coordinators with 17 KPIs on their dashboards and help them look like rockstars. You also have to chase results. You have to understand your client’s business well to do that. Campaigns have to convert.

Tyler’s team can get a campaign to market within 12 days of an approved brief. He believes it’s helpful to be very structured and analytical. You have to move away from the fluffy marketing speak.

Embrace relevant selling

Tyler loves relevant selling. What does that mean? You have to truly understand what your client values. It’s not usually what they tell you at first blush. Do they value the ability to edit? Do they value responsiveness? Those things never seem to come up in the RFP brief. You have to understand the nuances of what they value. It’s easy to say—hard to do.

You have to learn how to read between the lines and unpack on an analytical level what they value working with you. You have to move that to the front of the sales cycle so that it stands out. In this cluttered world, this matters more and cuts through the noise.

How to accelerate the partnership process

Finding out what matters often comes with experience and building a true partnership. How do you accelerate that process? Tyler has found that you have to throw the kitchen sink at it. Build a level of empathy and understanding. You do the pitch, win the business, then find out as quickly as possible what is important to the business—and their individual struggles.

Are they struggling to be heard? Do they know how to do what they’ve been asked to do? In larger enterprises, people are often fighting for their place in the hierarchy. They’ve found success in connecting with those people as the doorway into the organization. If you do ten things and find out only four of the things mattered, you do more of those things the next go around. It comes down to trial and error and paying attention.

As service providers, you have to adapt to your client’s culture. The partnership has to fit a certain set of values. If the values don’t align in the initial stages, it will be difficult. Mistakes will be made. At the end of the day, It’s a lot of humans in a messy experience.

What if your team isn’t a good fit?

Marketers and agencies don’t want to talk about scenarios where they aren’t a good fit for their clients. How does Tyler combat that? Tyler will work to identify who is the best fit. He points out that you can’t be afraid to move people out and around. People can change—but Tyler doesn’t expect someone to join his company and change who they are. But agencies try to do that all the time.

If a team member doesn’t jive with a client, you can shuffle them around to find a better fit. You have to be transparent about it and explain to this person that you’re seeing a disconnect. Break down what’s going wrong, try to fix it, but be quick to change when necessary.

To hear more of Tyler’s thoughts on marketing—and why businesses need to stop chasing “unicorns”—listen to episode #19 of the Content Callout podcast.