What should a small business look for in an agency?
Your business could benefit from evaluating the relationship you have with your marketing agency.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello, and welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny. And today we’re gonna be talking about, what should a small business be looking for in an agency? What kind of a relationship should they be looking for? What kind of services should they be looking for? What should they be expecting when they start thinking, hmm… should we go outside?
[00:00:17] Kevin Dieny: Should we bring someone in? Should we get extra help in, you know, in this project we wanna do should. Build a partnership so that we’re more entwined. Do I just need this one thing made really quick? Uh, there’s a lot of different types of agencies. There’s a lot of different types of relationships. A business may have with a third party, um, to help me dive into this is David Bear.
[00:00:37] Kevin Dieny: David is a veteran of the direct response marketing. Uh, time of it’s still going now, but he’s a veteran of it. He’s really done a lot of it. He started his career selling classical music subscriptions. Very interesting. And that was on the Dawn of email marketing as well, since then his copy and his strategic guidance have earned his employers and clients millions in sales.
[00:01:01] Kevin Dieny: So he he’s someone who’s been in the agency world. I, I think someone who has. Also been there and through ups and downs of the agency, uh, times. So I thought he’d be a great resource to talk about this. Uh, so welcome, David. Thanks for coming on.
[00:01:15] David Baer: Hey, Kevin, thanks so much for having me.
[00:01:17] Kevin Dieny: So if we could, I, I always like to start as simple as I possibly can.
[00:01:21] Kevin Dieny: When we’re talking about an agency, I guess in your eyes, David, like what, what is an agency? What are we talking about in the today when we’re, when we’re like using the word, ‘agency?’
[00:01:30] David Baer: Yeah, I think it’s a catchall term and really, you know, it can be anything from a one person business to a business where there’s a.
[00:01:40] David Baer: What’s known as a full stack agency, which is an organization that really can do every implementation of tactical activity in marketing, whether it’s running ads or doing your copywriting or designing a website or, or, you know, doing print, uh, media, or what’s known as outdoor media, which is, you know, like billboards and things.
[00:02:01] David Baer: But there are, there are businesses that. All of that. And then there’s everything in between. Uh, something in between might be a small shop where it’s a bunch of contractors when they’re brought in as needed basis. There’s also, and we’ll, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of this. A lot of overseas outsourcing.
[00:02:21] David Baer: That’s happening these days, particularly in the two years, uh, leading up to now, since COVID where the world has gotten a lot smaller, because there’s so much more accessibility to people across the globe who have, you know, amazing skills and talents at much lower prices. And, uh, we, we we’ll, we’ll talk about that.
[00:02:39] David Baer: I’m I’m sure as we move forward.
[00:02:41] Kevin Dieny: I’ve always looked at an agency as we’re talking about it, like support for the business in the marketing arm, but there’s a lot of businesses that partner with other businesses that have more of an operational arm or supply chain. Right. There’s lots of interesting ways ES work with other businesses, but what’s.
[00:02:59] Kevin Dieny: What all of those entities that work with another entity have in common to me is the business’ success. Whereas any partner or entity that works with that business may not have that business as the number one priority, but that, that’s why they’re separate. That’s why they’re working, they’re offering services or something to help that business.
[00:03:17] Kevin Dieny: And, and in that mind, the, in that line, right, the closer aligned that agency or, or business is with the primary company. In achieving the primary business’ goals, the better off, I think both will be because they’re gonna be helping support, you know, what they both are trying to achieve. But primarily when you’re an owner, when you’re a business, small business, let’s say thinking about, you know, I I’d like to have a, a partner or a business help me support me, you know, get help with my marketing.
[00:03:47] Kevin Dieny: An agency is sort of where my, my head goes with that.
[00:03:50] David Baer: Well, I, I think first of all, the, the terminology agency is, is really about a service provider. And sometimes a, an external expert. And again, this is something I, I think we’re gonna be digging a lot deeper into, um, who, who has a, a, a skill set to be able to deliver something for a client that the client may not be able to, or may not be interested in doing internally in their business.
[00:04:17] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, so you just touched on it. Maybe you can spend a little bit more, why would a business want to hire an agency? A marketing agency?
[00:04:25] David Baer: There’s a long list of an, uh, uh, of answers to that question and it, it could be anything from, you know, they don’t know a darn thing about marketing and needs. Somebody who does.
[00:04:37] David Baer: Two, they don’t have the bandwidth internally in their business, whether they don’t have, uh, the expertise, they don’t have the time. Uh, they have not dedicated a full-time person to do marketing. And they’ve, they’ve sort of reached the cap of what that the person who’s, you know, 10% of their day or 10% of their week is, is, uh, allocated to marketing activities.
[00:05:00] David Baer: And this is, this is, um, probably among the most common, particularly in the. Business world. They may realize that marketing, which a lot of small businesses define as either lead generation or advertising. And there’s a lot more to marketing than that. Um, they may say, oh, it’s about time that we actually spend money on ads.
[00:05:20] David Baer: We’re not getting enough business right now. And so they’ll see that there’s something happening in the environment around them, that a, a point at which they need to make a decision to make this investment, but they don’t know what to do. So they turn to, uh, a professional to, to help guide them through it.
[00:05:37] David Baer: And. And extension of that is they have heard that, you know, tactic X. These days it’s TikTok. That’s the, that’s the hot thing. As, as we happen to be recording this advertising on TikTok is the way to build your business, right? And so they reach out to somebody who is an expert in whatever that thing is that that’s been recommended to them often by somebody who’s not fully informed about all of their needs within their business.
[00:06:09] David Baer: And so it may or may not be the right thing to do.
[00:06:11] Kevin Dieny: Now, something that we’ve talked about. You know, before the, before we were sitting here today, recording, this was the, uh, something you’d mentioned about like the commoditization of agency, tactics of agencies, sort of having a specialized leg gen focus and that kind of getting out of hand in the terms of like lots of bus, lots of agencies have that.
[00:06:32] Kevin Dieny: So if you could talk a little bit about that, cuz when a business is thinking about an agency, right. Better to just like, have a relationship where it’s fairly disconnected, let the agency just run its specialized tactic of Legion and not connect them to the inner workings of the business. I mean, in your experience seems like it, this is something you could absolutely be able to share your insights on.
[00:06:53] Kevin Dieny: And it’s something we had talked about before, which I thought was really interesting.
[00:06:55] David Baer: Yeah. I, I have been in both roles of, um, running an agency as well as hiring agencies. And, uh, now these days I actually work to improve agencies, uh, who are my clients. So one of the big challenges is that a lot of agencies have historically been positioned around.
[00:07:19] David Baer: A specific skill set. And so you, you said lead generation, for example, and frankly that’s how both the marketing and advertising industry has worked in terms of let’s focus on the, the thing we specialize in, the thing we deliver. And it’s absolutely how businesses have been trained to think about purchasing marketing or advertising services.
[00:07:44] David Baer: Right. So let me let. Explain what I, what I mean by this? And then we’ll get back to answering your question. Typically, a business does not have the way that they have a, uh, a financial guide through a, you know, an accountant or a legal guide through an attorney. Somebody who guides them through the ins and outs of marketing.
[00:08:06] David Baer: Instead, what they do is they engage directly with a sales professional. Who’s representing a specific solution. That might be the person who’s selling advertising time or space for radio or newspaper, or it might be the local rep for, you know, Yelp or somebody who specializes in running ads on a certain platform, whether that’s online or offline, but what they’re not engaging with is.
[00:08:35] David Baer: Typically the bigger picture of, well, what what’s right for my business, what strategically should I be doing? And so, because most agencies are positioned around the tactics, a Facebook ads agency, a a search engine optimization agency, a website design agency. And because as I said earlier, we are now so much more accessible across the globe.
[00:09:01] David Baer: Well in the marketing world, we now have competitors in other countries that have different, um, financial standards of living where somebody can charge a heck of a lot less and be qualified to do the work. At a much lower price. Now, whether it’s here domestically in north America or in Pakistan or India or Philippines, or any Nigeria or any other country where, um, people have the ability to live on a lot less money, there’s also a wide range of quality that you get for whatever you pay.
[00:09:37] David Baer: So that’s a completely different point. And I, I wanna make sure that’s. So th this is a big challenge for both business or owners, as well as those who are in the agency world. How, how do you differentiate yourself outside of price, obviously, uh, to be able to figure out, you know, I’m, I’m investing in a commodity here, is that really the right, um, service provider?
[00:10:01] David Baer: Is that the right solution for my business is it’s, it’s a much more complicated subject than most businesses. Um, really take the time to think about.
[00:10:10] Kevin Dieny: It makes me think that there’s like a lot of things in a business that they may think like, Hmm, like this agency’s helping me with this. I wonder if they could help me with that.
[00:10:19] Kevin Dieny: There’s there’s areas where an agency probably could be a little more invested in the strategic side of a business. If allowed. I know that from being in an agency. That was scary for the businesses that we worked with and from being in a business, like feeling like, I don’t know if we’re gonna be able to get these, get the agency up to speed or, or on the same page as us.
[00:10:39] Kevin Dieny: Like there’s, there’s that I don’t know that, that worry and that fear on both sides. And so like, what you’re talking about is being able to overcome that and have the agency be a little more entwined in the strategic operations of the business. So that truly it is its goals and how it’s helping the business is optimized.
[00:10:57] Kevin Dieny: And does. A little bit wider of a connection in the business and the business allows them and gives them the tools or the information, the knowledge equity they have, which kind of only exists in that business and enables to allow the agency or their, you know, the team on the other side, to be able to do something with that. Right.
[00:11:18] David Baer: Yeah, you, you said something there that I wanna, I wanna, um, come back to, which is a business will think, huh? I have this agency and I want this other thing done. I wonder if they can do it too. And I’ll tell you what that, that experience was like from an agency owner’s perspective. So. I used to run an agency.
[00:11:36] David Baer: I started back in 2010 and our focus was Facebook ads, right back in 2010. This was a fairly new thing. And I had a good number of clients who would hire me because again, that was the hot new thing at that time. The way TikTok is, uh, now I had people who came to hire me to run Facebook ads, or just to figure out this whole Facebook.
[00:11:57] David Baer: And then I would, you know, have a subsequent meeting with them a few months down the road, or, you know, talk about this, the, the success of, or, or the, the, the challenges around the campaign that we were running. And, uh, inevitably. They would tell me about some other thing that they were doing in marketing typically, because I was trying to, um, get to what was behind the work that I was doing with them.
[00:12:20] David Baer: Like what, what were the next steps? And what’s the follow up and all that, those sorts of things. And they would tell me something along the lines of, oh, you’d be so proud of me. I just hired somebody too. And then they would. Basically, this is what I heard, do. Something that I could have hired you to do, but you didn’t tell me you did it.
[00:12:39] David Baer: And I didn’t ask.
[00:12:41] Kevin Dieny: Hah hah hah… oh… man. So how did that feel? How did that go?
[00:12:46] David Baer: Well, it, it, it, it felt terrible because I realized, well, I’ve made a mistake here because I haven’t been clear to my client, the full range of things that I can do for. And I’ve really set up the relationship around something that undermined.
[00:13:05] David Baer: What they think our relationship is about and what they think my area of expertise is. And so that was, that was actually a big shift in the way that I, uh, structured my business. Once I saw that as a pattern that kept being repeated, I was like, I gotta do something about this, cuz clearly I’m doing something wrong.
[00:13:23] David Baer: Uh, that, that these guys are going somewhere else. And then proudly telling me I hired somebody else to do something.
[00:13:29] David Baer: Yeah,
[00:13:29] Kevin Dieny: wow, that’s really, and see it happening over again. Or a couple times it’s like, okay, I’m getting the signal. So you mentioned something, uh, about relationships there too. And to me, the relationship that it’s, let’s say simplest, right?
[00:13:45] Kevin Dieny: Is that is something you’ve you’ve you’ve referred to before as a vendor type relationship. Like the most basic I could possibly see is like, You hand me like things that are completed or you hand me the leads or, you know, it’s very vendor based, like put money in, something comes out and, and that’s really the limited amount of interaction that’s there.
[00:14:05] Kevin Dieny: Just like the bare minimum. Now along, let’s say the spectrum, you increase the relationship quality. And at the far end, I would say it’s something kind of like what’s been described to me is like, they almost have like a. At like seat at the table, like they have a seat in the decision table. Like they may go, you know, before we do anything, let’s talk to my partner.
[00:14:25] Kevin Dieny: Let’s talk like that’s the quality of relationship at one end of the spectrum. That’s very ingrained, very much established, like there’s trust there. There’s also like a, a good. A good, healthy sense of like, you know what, let’s just make sure that this is gonna work best for the business and not like, you know, leave parts of ourselves out, which like if an agency has that sort of a relationship, any partnership has that sort of relationship.
[00:14:48] Kevin Dieny: That’s amazing. So if so between vendor. If you want to describe again and then all the way to like the far side, you see it, how does that go?
[00:14:58] David Baer: Okay, well, this is a loaded, uh, topic. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a topic which I’m incredibly passionate about and in fact, have built an entire business around now supporting and, and, and, uh, oh, good.
[00:15:10] David Baer: Yeah, working with agencies. So let, let me, let me, um, tell you about, um, The typical agency. And again, there’s plenty of exceptions to this, but the typical agency, uh, basically says, yeah, I can help you with Facebook ads. Yeah. I can help you with SEO. So tell me, what would you like to do? And that’s where it ends, right?
[00:15:32] David Baer: They, they are relying still on the business to guide the strategy around that particular tactic. OK. So. For a business that is really just looking to outsource their team and hire somebody who is a contractor to fulfill some very specific task that they’ve figured out internally exactly what they want to do.
[00:15:58] David Baer: This approach works. But for most businesses, they haven’t actually figured that stuff out. They don’t know what, you know, what is the best way to run ads? Should I, what types of ads should I run? What should the, um, uh, you know, the goal of this campaign be, uh, how, how should I structure it in terms of the, um, Interaction with the person who does click, should I be collecting leads or should I send somebody right into, you know, a sales process?
[00:16:27] David Baer: Uh, if I’m gonna have a form for them to fill out, what’s the nature of the data that I’m collecting there, um, where where’s too much friction versus, you know, not enough information, where’s the right balance. Now, most businesses don’t know that stuff. And sadly, most marketers. Don’t tend to get that deep into thinking through all of the types of questions.
[00:16:50] David Baer: And there’s a lot more, right? Like, you know, are they joining an email list and how many, uh, emails are, are, you know, being sent out to follow up on getting them to, to move through this short term, initial nurture, uh, what is it that’s being said to them, et cetera, um, which is going to inform who are we targeting and, and all of those things.
[00:17:10] David Baer: That’s really not something that a typical service provider is trained to or really thinks through what they are really good at is the delivery of the technical tactical work. Now at the other end of the spectrum, what you’ve just described is what I would refer to as a trusted advisor. And that’s the relationship that I, I said, you know, earlier most businesses have a trusted advisor around certain activities in their business.
[00:17:39] David Baer: It might be around financial management. It might be around legal issues. It might be around operational organizational structure where they tend to lack having a trusted advisor. Is in marketing and or sales. And, and frankly, I believe sales is a, a subcategory of marketing. Um, and, and therefore would be well, um, uh, you know, positioned to invest in somebody to help hold their hand or guide them through it.
[00:18:08] David Baer: If they don’t have those resources internally. Now what’s in between. Is where I think there’s a lot of agencies that lie. And, and this is something that I think is important to stress because what I, as I browse through lots of agency websites, I see some, um, lip service to the word strategy. And I talk to a lot of, of agency owners who believe they are strategists.
[00:18:39] David Baer: And when I try to dig into what they actually mean by that, well, it’s, it’s one of a few things. It’s either that they are strategists of a particular tactic. So they are, you know, website optimization strategists. They are, you know, search engine optimization strategists. They are, uh, YouTube, um, you know, strategists, whatever it might be, but they’re not holistic business growth or revenue growth strategists.
[00:19:12] David Baer: Ultimately is what the agency’s job is. It’s to drive more revenue to the business that might start with lead generation, but ultimately there’s all the steps that happen after lead generation that an agency can, and often should be involved in if they’re going to be able to deliver the best value to the business overall.
[00:19:37] David Baer: And the business goals are usually not. More leads. The business goals are more or consistent or predictable revenue.
[00:19:46] Kevin Dieny: What’s really interesting there is like how much the agency side of that feels like it’s so right on the ball. Because like when you have a little bit more of the customer journey for a business and you can see, okay, here’s how the business is making money.
[00:19:58] Kevin Dieny: Here’s how the business wants to make money. Here’s how things are flowing. Here’s like areas where we can strategically help and influence the business on the total flip, other side of. Is the business opening their doors to the agency. So why would a business struggle? Why do businesses struggle opening their doors and letting that, that level of a relationship develop with an agency?
[00:20:20] David Baer: Yeah, well, first I, I think it is in part because they don’t know any better. Right. The, the way that they have been trained, as I explained before is really about, you know, um, the sales of a tactic. And so if nobody has said, Hey, you know, there’s a holistic approach that you could be taking. No, nobody is out there, uh, uh, promoting that as, as the better route.
[00:20:46] David Baer: Right, when I say nobody, there’s, there’s very few of us who are out there promoting that, but there’s a sea of people who are saying this tactic, that tactic. Right. And so I, I think in part it’s, because that’s just how we, all of us. Both in the marketing industry and, and, and in the, you know, business owner world have been trained.
[00:21:08] David Baer: So I, I think that that’s, that’s the biggest piece. Now. I, I have rarely encountered a business owner who, when we sort of break down the opportunity that they have to not be tactical first, but rather strategic first. Right that they go, uh, no, I’m good. Just send me leads. And so I, I think that it’s really that they’re just not having the right conversation and not being presented with the right information.
[00:21:35] Kevin Dieny: Gotcha, so here’s one that comes from kind of my experience. So here’s a question for you. So how important is it that the business understand what the agency is going to be executing? The, the strategy, the tactics, the whole execution, because. There were times in my experience where like, I felt like, how am I gonna be able to explain this?
[00:22:01] Kevin Dieny: This is some of this gets kind of nitty gritty. And at the same time, you know, maybe high level, isn’t gonna be impressive enough. Maybe this won’t explain the value that we’re providing enough. There’s a balance there. And I, and I know some business leaders are different than others. So like, but how I’d say in general, how important is it that the business really understands what the agency is trying to execute for them?
[00:22:23] David Baer: I don’t think that the individual specific tactical, uh, activity is critical for them to know in detail. However, if they don’t, again, it’s, it’s all about, uh, foundation and perception. So the foundation of the relationship is I’m investing in this agency’s work. And we have agreed that here is the strategic approach we are taking to, you know, this outcome that we have both defined and agreed upon.
[00:22:53] David Baer: And then I’m, I’m putting it in their hands to execute on the tactics that they, that they, uh, either have have said are going to be the right tactics to achieve that strategic approach. Businesses don’t need to get into the weeds with that stuff. Now they’re welcome to if they want to, but if you approach it that way, where there’s an understanding about sort of the bigger picture and how this activity fits into it, you get a lot less pushback or resistance from a business because we’ve, we’ve sort of worked together.
[00:23:27] David Baer: To come up with the big overarching plan that this is a piece of if however, they don’t have that foundation, uh, that they’ve bought into. Well, then it’s a heck of a lot more challenging for them to, you know, be presented with something and, and then turn to the agency and look at it and go, why the heck are we doing this?
[00:23:48] Kevin Dieny: Hah hah hah… right right, right. Like I remember sending over, we were like, well, we agree. We’re gonna test ads. And we have something like 12 segments. So if we’re gonna test them, we need, you know, at least minimum one and one, one control, one test. So with 12, that meant 24. And, uh, we were like, okay, we’re gonna be sending over the, like the 24 vari, like the 24 total things over to you.
[00:24:11] Kevin Dieny: And they’re like, man, that seems like a lot. Damn, don’t worry about it. And then later on they saw an ad, they saw one from, and they were like, I didn’t approve this. there there’s there was like that. And so like for me, it was like a dance of, okay, how much. Of this does need to be approved and looked at every little, granular bit.
[00:24:29] Kevin Dieny: And then to the other extent, like I work with some who are like, great, fine, you know, just tell me at the end of the month, how things work. So that relationship finding, I guess the tone of that relationship, the pulse, the pace, the, the need for the things explained. Was definitely something that you kind of have to, to get used to or learn as you go from the, from the agency perspective.
[00:24:49] David Baer: I look, I I’d say that a lot of, a lot of businesses would be very happy to just hand off everything to an agency and not think about it. But in, in fact, you know, the work that the agencies are doing on the, on the business’s behalf are the driver to continuing to stay in business and to grow. And so it it’s, it’s kind of misplaced to, to have marketing, be a, an afterthought for the leadership in, in a business that said most agencies also, uh, put themselves in the position of a situation.
[00:25:28] David Baer: Like the one that you’ve just described, because I’m gonna assume that the relationship was not based on. Full understanding or buy-in on the part of the client, uh, of exactly. What needed to be done to achieve their goals, what the individual pieces were to, to achieve their goal. And frankly, um, it, it, it probably the 24 ads were not presented in the context of here’s the process that we pursue and we’re going to be split testing.
[00:26:01] David Baer: And there’s a reason we have this many ads because there are all these different permutations and potential directions that, you know, we may. Go or may discover are going to be winning, winning, uh, uh, messaging or, or winning visuals. And so we want to make sure that we find the best one that’s going to.
[00:26:25] David Baer: Minimize your investment on a per action basis per lead, per click, per whatever, so that we ultimately have a great campaign built for you. Now, if that was stated in advance of handing somebody 24 ads to review, do you think maybe they would’ve had a different, uh… response.
[00:26:46] Kevin Dieny: Right, yeah, like understanding or having the right expectations and process and what’s involved and, and knowing ahead of time, a little bit, like here’s here, here’s more, here’s like the context around what I’m asking so that you have a better understanding of it makes total sense.
[00:27:00] Kevin Dieny: So let’s say a business today has an agency, right. And they’re listening to this and they’re going, Hmm. How, how does my relationship with my agency, where does it fit into this, into this spectrum? So what would you say are things that a business. Today be looking at its agency and going, is this the right relationship?
[00:27:21] Kevin Dieny: Is this the right agency? Is this the, the right, um, strategic combination of things that I need from the agency to be successful? Or should I go, Hmm, may maybe I just have a BA a basic vendor type relationship. How would they know that? You know, like what would help a business sort of evaluate that?
[00:27:39] David Baer: Yeah, so I think maybe we talked, uh, briefly about the difference between strategies and tactics.
[00:27:44] David Baer: I’ve, I’ve made the assumption that, uh, you know, our, our, our listening audience knows what I mean by each of those words, but, you know, the taking a strategic and systematic approach to marketing is really what I’m endorsing, uh, and, uh, saying that agencies really need to play an active role in the bigger picture.
[00:28:08] David Baer: If the business doesn’t already have their, you know, their, their hands and minds wrapped around that already. And so when I say strategy, what I mean is how do you get from where you currently are? Your, what I call as is state to where you want to get to the, to B state and. When you think about all of the internal organizational, um, operational and external competition marketplace, um, et cetera, influences the environmental influences, right?
[00:28:48] David Baer: Those are things that are going to inform what tactically. You invest in. So, um, you know, if I’m in a, I’m a business and I want to grow, you know, my revenue threefold. Okay. And I know that there’s a certain, um, market segment that I haven’t gone after. That is going to help me get there. Well, there’s a set of tactics that I can include and I can rule.
[00:29:19] David Baer: Because I know that I want to go after these particular people and I want to put this particular offer in front of them. And oh, by the way, these are people who might be willing to pay more. So maybe I’m going to strategically consider my pricing structure for this new offer. Right? Those are a lot of pieces that an agency can and should have some involvement in whether it’s full ownership or whether it’s participation in the planning.
[00:29:49] David Baer: But if your current agency isn’t really privy to these types of things or your organization, your business, hasn’t really thought through either the strategic and systematic approach to all of this. Well, that’s where I think you need to go to an agency that you you’re currently working with and say, you know, I, I heard some guy on some podcast somewhere say some stuff that sounded really, you know, like a good idea.
[00:30:14] David Baer: Maybe we should have a conversation. And I think that’s a good starting point because I is that clear, Kevin, the, the difference between where I think most businesses and agencies are sitting right now and where they have the potential to sit.
[00:30:28] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I think it, it made me feel like you’re looking a little bit more long term, but not just long term, right.
[00:30:34] Kevin Dieny: It you’re also looking at it like, here are the areas of the business that are opportunities for growth, how to execute on all those things, but not just in, you know, a narrow way, but cuz anytime business puts resources into something, there’s almost always like a, like a secondary impact of doing that.
[00:30:54] Kevin Dieny: Like the way I know the way I understand it is like, sure I’m gonna run. I’m gonna run ads. I’m gonna run leads. But what about the team? That’s gonna get them how we know they’re gonna work. How do we know that we’re hitting them? Right? How do we know that those things are being, you know, moved through and being sold and they align with what the business wanted.
[00:31:09] Kevin Dieny: That gets a little more operational, which gets a little more strategic, you know, like, yes, we want to, you know, get leads from this group. Tactically, let’s send some emails, but how we treat them, what we wanna put in them, does it align with what’s already on our website? You know, there’s a lot of things from the wider picture that need to be.
[00:31:29] Kevin Dieny: Need to be like, confirmed or checked on or, or just supported in a business that, that, that goes to asking a lot more questions if you’re BI and it feels like the agency needs to be very much asking lots of questions to be able to get the information they need and the business could be thinking. This might be helpful for them to know or this is, you know, yes.
[00:31:48] Kevin Dieny: I’m gonna answer. I’m gonna help them find their strategic area instead of like, trying to make it like, you know, here’s, you’re just gonna live in a black box. um, that’s sort of what, you’re what, it’s what it makes me think about.
[00:32:00] David Baer: Yeah, so what, one of the things that I was sort of thinking about in preparation for our conversation today was how does a business shop for an agency?
[00:32:08] David Baer: And you, you brought up a really important point. An agency which asks the right questions is the agency that impresses me. Right. And so what do I mean by the right questions? Well, I want to know more than, you know, what’s your budget and how many leads do you want me to send you a month or some, you know, variation on that theme?
[00:32:32] David Baer: Right, what I really want to hear an agency ask me as a business owner is. To, to really get a full needs assessment. Let me, let me tell you what I mean by this. Okay. And, and again, this is what we train, uh, our agency licensees to, to, to do, which is look into a business’s full range of revenue, generating, um, activities and dig into them because what, what, um, what they could uncover.
[00:33:06] David Baer: Could make, you know, the, the engagement of that agency, uh, the, the potentially the best investment ever. So let’s talk about sort of how, uh, a standard typical business structure works with services business. I mean, this could work with a, uh, you know, retail business, e-commerce business, basically any place where there’s relat.
[00:33:30] David Baer: With the buyer, uh, where that, that influences. So it’s, it’s not really, you know, uh, brand relationship, but business owner or employee relationship, or even, oh, you know, an eCommerce website relationship with, with a, um, uh, consumer. So obviously there’s the, where, where are the leads coming from? How are we getting the leads to the business in the first.
[00:33:58] David Baer: If you are doing a good job of that as a business, um, how were, are you capturing leads from people who come to your website, into your store, et cetera? Right. I know so many stories that I could, I could share of times that I was in a retail shop and asking lots of questions. And, uh, this happened to me not too long ago.
[00:34:22] David Baer: I was in a hat shop and, and I remember. It was like, you know, quarter to five, they were closing at five o’clock. I had some, you know, deep questions. I was asking about some reasonably, uh, expensive merchandise that they had. We were leading toward a sale and they basically said, Hey, we’re closing up. Um, I’m not, and I gotta run outta here.
[00:34:43] David Baer: I don’t have the time to answer all of your questions. Do you wanna come back another time? We can finish this? Okay. Sure. And I left. Now they had no idea who I was. They had no guarantee I was ever gonna come back. They were the one who ended the conversation. They didn’t capture the lead. Right. They had so much opportunity to, once you do capture leads.
[00:35:05] David Baer: Um, the next question is really, do you have, uh, a way to nurture that relationship as you’re trying to move them forward in a buying relationship, right? You want to get them to move from. Being a lead, being a, a prospective customer to becoming a customer. And very often businesses will ignore those who are not ready to buy now and forget about them.
[00:35:33] David Baer: And very often, you know, it, uh, I don’t remember the exact statistic, but in the, in the car industry, most people who are shopping for cars don’t buy right away. It’s something like nine to 12 months down the. And, and, and, and here in 2022 that given, uh, the, the, uh, issue of inventory availability, it might even be further down the road, no pun intended.
[00:35:58] David Baer: Um, what if, once you do nurture them to the point of them being ready to buy, do you have systems in place to convert that sale? Do you have onboarding systems in place? Do you have a, uh, systems around customer delight to make sure that you are building a relationship with somebody who then wants to champion your, your business wants to invest further in what you have to offer?
[00:36:24] David Baer: Do you know, do you have systems that are going to. Easily and appropriately present additional offers to them based on who they are. Right. That are programmatic around what they bought this. Maybe now they should buy that, right? Like, like Amazon does recommending, Hey, people who bought this also bought that.
[00:36:42] David Baer: You want that too. Do you have systems in place around, um, managing and orchestrating referrals? Right? These are all places where a, an agency could have the opportunity. To engage with and support the business’ revenue growth overall. And so any agency that is talking about that stuff, Well, I would be super excited to have a deeper conversation with them because they really get the big picture.
[00:37:11] David Baer: Whereas most agencies are, are focusing on a much, much narrower area within that.
[00:37:17] Kevin Dieny: I guess like what you’ve just said makes me think. Okay. Yeah, that sounds really golden. That sounds really awesome. At the same time. I wonder, I wanna make sure. That I, I understand it right too. What sort of requirement does having a better relationship with an agency put on the business like debts?
[00:37:37] Kevin Dieny: That also sounds like it may need, you know, a meeting or a couple meetings or, you know, opening your doors to the agency may mean, you know, some of your team need to ha will need to have some meetings with the agency. So they have a really good understanding of either the product, the service, what is being delivered, what makes it unique, like maybe a couple.
[00:37:56] Kevin Dieny: A regular ongoing meeting with the owner or with executive leadership or something like, and for the small business, I know I’ve heard this where they go. I barely have time it as it is. So like, the relationship is gonna be limited by my, my availability, my time, which is tough because they may go, I’d love that relationship to be better.
[00:38:15] Kevin Dieny: I just don’t know if I can carve out the time because I, you know, operationally, organizationally in the way my business is being run. I’m just overtaxed in time. So it’s like, should a business think about what is gonna be required of them? When they enter, like in a, like the kind of relationship or enter into having an agency support them because there are, I think some requirements that will be beneficial for both of them, but they both have to be willing to, to do that, to go there, right.
[00:38:47] David Baer: You’re absolutely right. And you know, there’s this, this factor involved here called human nature. And, and I think, you know, where, where I would go with that is many businesses and business owners are never, ever gonna have the willingness or, or, uh, capacity. And, and, and no, I should say willingness because they can create capacity, right.
[00:39:09] David Baer: But the willingness to create capacity to take this kind of approach on. And so it is much, much easier. For us as humans to, uh, choose the, the, the option that is, um, has less friction has less, um, required of us, even though we know that it may not, um, result in, in the same quality of outcome. And so I, I would say, look, this is, this is something that every business owner needs to look internally and say, you know, Is it that I don’t have the time or is it that I have chosen not to prioritize the time.
[00:39:54] David Baer: And, and you can tell I’ve had this conversation with many, a business owner because that that’s really, I think where the, where the answer lies. And, uh, again, I, I don’t know too many business owners who are gonna say, I heard some guy on a podcast who suggested that maybe I need to prioritize my time differently.
[00:40:09] David Baer: And poof, I had an epiphany, but I hope that somebody does.
[00:40:12] Kevin Dieny: Hah hah… hope it’s inspiring. Okay, so now here’s a little flip to this, the sort of alternative that I, the way I see it to an agency is, and still having the need, right. The business needs there, the needs are still present and still wanting to achieve those is to just bring people in-house.
[00:40:34] Kevin Dieny: So the case is always there, right? Like in-house versus. Agency third party help support. And sometimes it’s a, sometimes it’s one and then another, you know, get things going and then I’ll switch to the other or I’ll do both. I think there’s a lot of different paths a business could take. But what would you say about those paths and some of the, you know, like how do you look at a, a business who’s like, ultimately.
[00:40:59] Kevin Dieny: It probably would serve us best to be more in-house or maybe it would serve us best to have a combination or to just utilize the strategic, uh, trusted advisor as you’ve described it. So how do you look at that? That landscape?
[00:41:11] David Baer: Yeah, I, I think that I am less an advocate of, uh, hiring agencies than I am an advocate of, uh, approaching your marketing strategically and systematically.
[00:41:23] David Baer: And so if that means that you are going to run things in house. And through your strategic development, you determine that there are things that need to be done, tactically, that you can either hire additional people for based on their skillset or outsource to somebody based on their skillset. That’s that’s the way I would go.
[00:41:47] David Baer: It. I don’t think there’s a real difference from my perspective on whether you should do it in house or, or job it out to a partner. What I think is important is that you invest in your marketing, uh, with a bigger picture in mind. You, you said longer term. I, I think it’s not just longer term, but, um, considering all of the possible revenue generation op options that you have, because a lot of businesses are, are simply not.
[00:42:17] David Baer: Thinking as strategically as they could be about the goal that they have. So if the goal is make X amount of revenue, there’s a lot of ways you can do that. And, and so it, it may be a pricing strategy. It may be, you know, that you change the market focus. It may be, you know, so many other things. And that has nothing to do with whether you have an agency or whether you have somebody in house.
[00:42:39] Kevin Dieny: Okay, so let’s say you’re the business, small business that’s decided I want to go look for, to hire an agency that fits a more strategic model. Um, cuz I would like to have a more trusted position and I want them to find and help me. You know, move forward with growth opportunities, revenue generating opportunities, just like you’ve just said.
[00:42:58] Kevin Dieny: So what tips would you have for the business leadership business owners? Like who are facing that and wanting to hire the right agency?
[00:43:08] David Baer: Sure, well, if, if somebody has been sitting, listening to everything I’ve been preaching and says, wow, I really love this duffle. Then he should just come, uh, to, to us and find one of our licensees.
[00:43:19] David Baer: Who’s already doing all of this. Um, that said, I think that, you know, uh, finding agencies, which focus on a strategic approach, Is important and understanding that it, that you need to vet them a little to understand if they are using lip service around the term strategy, or if they are actually invested in thinking through, you know, The types of things that I’ve discussed, whether it’s revenue generation overall, whether it’s understanding the market and where they hang out and therefore we’re going to select these tactics versus those tactics.
[00:43:58] David Baer: That’s the type of thing that I think is really important for businesses to listen for as they’re, as they’re, you know, talking to. Potential service providers, because you’re gonna get a sense of whether they really get it, or whether they’re just trying to sell the thing that they happen to do, which is really what so many marketing service providers and agencies, uh, do in reality is, is, you know, find a reason to, to get that, uh, square peg in the round hole, no matter what.
[00:44:31] David Baer: Uh, because there’s always, you know, everybody always needs our solution and therefore we’re going to show them exactly how our solution is, you know, always gonna, always gonna fit their need, right.
[00:44:40] Kevin Dieny: That is daunting. And I say that because it can be so easy to be sold to and be like, like there are great sales people.
[00:44:50] Kevin Dieny: There’s great pitches. There’s. It might even be looked at what we’re talking about right now. Sounds like a great pitch. but honestly, like getting just like you said, venting them enough, getting to, okay. They actually in are invested in the strategic approach, figuring that out does seem a little, that’s the daunting part, the way I’m feeling right now, that seems like it is a little difficult.
[00:45:12] Kevin Dieny: And so I, I guess a tip for that. Do you have anything to help a business owner? Who’s like, I just don’t know… hah.
[00:45:18] David Baer: Well, you know, I, I, yeah, I gave you a few areas where, where business, uh, revenue could come from outside of what a typical agency tends to focus on. Um, uh, talking about. And so I would ask an agency where, you know, let’s use customer delight as an example, right?
[00:45:38] David Baer: This is really about operational, uh, and communication. So what I mean by customer delight, it might be, you know, um, overdelivering in, in certain ways that are, that are really getting customers to go. Wow. I, I knew I was buying this, but I wasn’t expecting that. Wow. I love you. And so if you, if you, you know, present that, Hey, um, you know, we’re, we’re working on getting more leads in the door, but we also have some questions about, you know, improving our custom delight stuff or, um, or, or more consistent referrals.
[00:46:12] David Baer: Is that something you have any experience? Just a simple question like that will help inform whether this is an agency that thinks beyond the, the sort of standard stuff. I, I think, I think that’s probably a, a, a, you know, where I would start.
[00:46:28] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, wow, that’s, that’s really helpful because like, I, I’m constantly trying to put myself into both these shoes in the top, in like the, you know, there’s two sort of perspectives here.
[00:46:37] Kevin Dieny: There’s the business, there’s the agency putting myself into the shoes of the business or the agency? What, what would they be thinking? What are they doing with, how are they gonna be evaluating this? Cuz at the end of the day, you know, the, the takeaway I’m hoping from this episode two is like, I have a better idea.
[00:46:52] Kevin Dieny: One, of my business. And if it could potentially utilize an agency, number two, if I decide I want an agency, or if I have an agency, am I get, am I going to get everything I possibly could out of it? What’s the best, uh, ideal picture relationship, the best, like it could be like, are there revenue opportunities that.
[00:47:14] Kevin Dieny: Gonna be open to me that I’m not aware of. Um, a little bit of that feels like might little might need some humility might need to be like, yes, my business might need this, but at the end of the day, it’s like, look, the business wants to grow. What is it gonna do to achieve those goals? What is it gonna do to achieve its growth that it needs, that it, it has to go after that it is hungering for, and some of them aren’t.
[00:47:34] Kevin Dieny: Really interested in growth, but the ones that are, you know, are they evaluating like a partnership as an opportunity for growth? So those are some of the things, you know, in totality from this I, I was looking at, was there anything that we didn’t talk about or we missed David that you wanted to mention?
[00:47:49] David Baer: You know, I, as you were just talking about this, uh, one, one thing popped into my head, which is that we, we, we don’t do direct client services anymore, uh, except on a rare occasion when, when our arms are twisted and we happen right now to be working. Somebody in the home services industry. Now, if you are in that industry, you know that, uh, you are, or you believe you are incredibly busy and have no time for any of the stuff we’ve been talking about.
[00:48:16] David Baer: Okay. However, um, there are a few enlightened souls, like the, like the client who hired us, who, when they start thinking about their business in a different light, uh, they had some personal goals. They had some, you know, we’re using the, the business as a vehicle to be able to, uh, invest in something specific in their future.
[00:48:36] David Baer: Uh, you know, they. You know, spend time elsewhere in the world doing mission work, you know, for, for people, um, those sorts of things, it really helped reposition why they actually would even think about going through a process, like what I’ve been describing, because ultimately the business is there for.
[00:48:59] David Baer: Another purpose other than just to exist, right? It’s, it’s there because you have a mission to help people through the business. You have a goal to make, you know, uh, money or, or build generational wealth for your family, et cetera. And so when you sort of step back from every piece of the, you know, marketing strategy versus tactic conversation that we’ve been having and think about what does this business mean to me in the first place?
[00:49:27] David Baer: And why am I doing this? It really helps to then make the, the, the link between is approaching my marketing differently, really worth the, the time that it would take to, to, to do so because of what my specific personal, uh, goals are with the business.
[00:49:50] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that’s really interesting to consider too. That’s like a different thing altogether.
[00:49:54] Kevin Dieny: I wouldn’t have even thought about in this episode. So thank you David. Now, if let’s say someone’s like, all right, I wanna follow up on, ask a question. I wanna learn more about you. I wanna learn more about your company. You know, you mentioned like find one of our licensees. How can someone reach out to you?
[00:50:09] Kevin Dieny: Connect with you, learn more?
[00:50:10] David Baer: Yeah, totally. Uh, we are, um, easily found online at thepreparedgroup.com. And, uh, like I said, we don’t do client services. Uh, we , uh, pre pretty much, uh, every week we are approached with, Hey, can you help me with this project? And we are so pleased to support the, uh, agencies who are working with us, um, by, by introducing those, uh, those folks who are interested in, in this approach to them.
[00:50:39] David Baer: And so I’m more than happy to, to. To chat with anybody who wants to reach out to understand this process, uh, a little bit more deeply. There’s plenty of information on our site that sort of digs into the way that we do this. Um, but if somebody wants to reach out through the website, they certainly can as well.
[00:50:55] Kevin Dieny: Okay, and, and if let’s say there’s an agency, who’s like, I kind of like this idea and they wanna learn more. Is there anything different for them or, or just go through the website?
[00:51:03] David Baer: Yep. They can come to the website and they can go to the licensing page. So it’s the prepared group.com/licensing. Uh, and that’s where you’ll get all the details of the, of the program that we have.
[00:51:13] David Baer: And, uh, look, it’s not a, what I have explained here is not a fit for everyone. If an agency has been looking for a way to be able to deliver the stuff that we’ve been talking. We should talk. We may or may not be a good fit for, for you, um, and, and your specific goals, but there’s, there’s a process for figuring that out and, and having a conversation is, is the first step.
[00:51:36] Kevin Dieny: Well, everybody, I hope you got a lot out of this. I hope you’re thinking about well. Hmm. How should I approach the. You know, looking for an agency or the relationship you have with your current agency. Uh, thank you everyone for listening, David, thank you so much for coming on and helping us really expanding this topic into a lot of depth.
[00:51:53] Kevin Dieny: I think that’s been really helpful for everyone.
[00:51:54] David Baer: Yeah, indeed. Kevin, this has been a real treat. Thanks for the invitation.