In my first article for WAYA, I outlined briefly some of my biggest pet peeves about dealing with clients and in the second I looked at the kind of agency services B2B companies need. If you don’t fall in the B2B category then this article is probably for you. I look at agency services B2C clients should be looking for in this article starting with FMCGs, then social media platforms, F&B, followed by e-commerce and mobile apps.
A Fast Moving Consumer Goods company is defined by high volumes (product output) and low prices, it relies heavily on mass consumer awareness and the conversion happens in a physical location. Therefore, the most important strength the marketing and advertising of an FMCG company should focus on is measuring awareness by setting measurable KPIs within the following set of services:
The most important service you’ll need as an FMCG company is mass awareness best delivered through robust advertising content capability. This will rely on producing either content fit for Television ads or Social Media ads. The number one consideration for an FMCG company towards an agency will be 1) can the agency deliver robust creative and media production capability and 2) when the content is created how will it be distributed. Depending on the budget of the FMCG company, there will be a choice to either advertise on TV or Social Media, or both.
Social Media management and ongoing content creation is essential As an FMCG company in Egypt your main consideration in picking a social media agency will be to look at their creative output, their media buying (distribution) capabilities and of course their ability to produce video content quickly and efficiently without incurring the large fees of an advertising affair.
Social listening which is the process of monitoring all your social media in a systematic way. Where has your brand been mentioned? What are your customers saying about your brand? Are you leveraging this analysis by creating content that answers your customers’ grievances? This service should be done by an all-in-one tool such as Hootsuite or AgoraPulse and as such you as a client should be empowered to ask how the agency does its social listening. The availability of a tool usually signifies that you’ll pay a higher retainer as these aren’t cheap enterprise solutions for agencies.
Influencer marketing is super important to grow your business as an FMCG company. This service has as an end goal the creation of User Generated Content, contests, social activations, etc.
Social Media Account Without a Website
Two scenarios ensue from being an organization that only has social media in its digital asset infrastructure. The client is either a brick and mortar business in which case the same set of services are important as in FMCG (with less focus on Advertising and social media content production replacing it) or they are selling products only via Instagram and Facebook DMs (a very ineffectual setup but one that many small companies are still stuck in).
As a brick and mortar business, the one thing you need to check for with the agency is how it can deliver offline/online measurability, how can it leverage Facebook’s multiple tools and advertising techniques that allow you to know if people who saw your message came into your store.
For both scenarios the most important power you’ll want to see from your agency is the ability to buy ads from Facebook that translate into direct messages in your inbox. That is the only final conversion that can exist between you and the agency.
We can say to a large extent that an F&B organization has a mix of a Social Media account with no website and an FMCG set of services. An F&B should not spend huge sums on advertising.
F&B companies should however be with an agency that can produce video and photographic and graphic content at scale on a monthly basis. This is a crucial point, the volume of video and photographic content that comes out of your social media pages is much more than what an FMCG company will produce. Therefore, it is important to compare prices between agencies and know exactly what you are paying for (videographer, editor, graphic designer, etc). Social listening and influencer marketing are also crucial for an F&B outlet.
Ecommerce and mobile marketing, more data less fluff
Before we dive into Ecommerce or Mobile App clients it’s important to mention that if you are a startup seeking funding from a venture capital firm (i.e. you are seeking to scale your business rapidly in conditions of uncertainty), you shouldn’t outsource your marketing.
Seeking services is important, especially if founders are not knowledgeable in key consulting areas. Although, outsourcing is not scalable on a long-term basis. This may sound crazy coming from the founder of a performance and growth agency selling marketing services, but it is my duty to inform startups of this crucial fact. The exception to the rule is if startups have a great agency providing proper returns that cover all marketing expenses and at least 2X returns on the advertising spend (depending on the product). If not, startup founders should consider building their own internal marketing capabilities. Furthermore, venture capital firms will not fund ventures past a certain threshold (i.e. Series A) if your marketing or development is outside of your organization; again unless there is an economic logic to the outsourcing that corresponds to your growth drivers.
Be that as it may, whether you want to seek funding or grow your business at your own pace (which is the case for most ECommerce businesses), here’s what we deem relevant as services that should be mastered by the agency you are working with or your own marketing team:
Being an ecommerce website is tough. The most important service, one that lies outside marketing and advertising, is the website development service. This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make as an e-commerce company and as you grow your business you’ll need more technical requirements from developers and marketers to be able to test variations of your website’s creatives and functionalities to squeeze the most out of your incoming traffic. Consider this evergreen article by BigCommerce on what to consider when building your e-commerce site as well as this article on what platform to consider in e-commerce once you’ve made the decision to go with a SaaS company (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce). Services the agency should have mastered are SEO, CRO, media buying and email marketing automation.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’, when done right and invested in properly. According to Search Engine Land if we take a look at any website’s analytics, a general rule of thumb is that the majority of traffic comes from direct (user puts name of website directly in browser) or organic search traffic (user lands on website through a search query) 53% of all traffic to be exact, in contrast to paid traffic at 15%. It is therefore one of the most important investments any ecommerce website can make early on with regards to their websites in order to be found when user intent is most present. Furthermore, we’re putting SEO as the most important service for an ecommerce website. Media Buying or Paid Ads (I.e. Facebook & Google Ads) are deemed less important because a business should not rely on traffic from Facebook and Google to sell its products. The smarter long-term investment is to rank consistently on Google for your products or services, it’s literally free traffic.
CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization is an essential service to long term success and requires that developers and marketers be in the same metaphorical room on what types of experiments will be prioritized in order to keep your users on your site and provide a seamless experience from start to finish.
Media buying (Paid ads) – The agency you work with needs to know Facebook and Google ads perfectly. It is completely within your right as a client to ask the agency to show the credentials of the team in that regard (experience or certifications)
Email marketing automation is very important. Between welcome emails, upsell emails, new product emails, etc. All of these types of emails have to be sent out to the right segments of your customers at the right time, which is why we’re saying email marketing automation and not just email marketing.
Of course, you need creativity to display your brand properly on Social media but the whole focus you need to have to grow is on scaling your creatives and your ads not just to be “creative” for the sake of creativity but to be objectively creative, to know how to test all creatives against audiences and see which ones resonate better with your target.
A mobile app is nothing like any other type of client. Firstly, because a mobile app’s entire marketing is its experience when on the app. You can market the app on every single channel known to mankind, but if your app is crap (pardon my French) then no one can help you. This is why marketing an app has its own term and it’s called Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing.
Growth marketing is basically the nexus between data analytics, engineering, and marketing. Any startup that has an app as a product needs to learn the growth hacking way and that isn’t something you can outsource; most of the time. Nonetheless, many agencies do specialize in growth hacking and help apps design the methodology and team structure needed to have this internal capability.
If you’re a mobile application owner or entrepreneur it is urgent for you as the founder to be very well-read in growth hacking otherwise don’t start an application. This is not to discourage you from pursuing your dreams but the amount of failed apps in the world is staggering. In 2019 the statistics according to Investopedia were at a 90% failure rate for nascent startups. The latter begs the argument that we shouldn’t be blindly encouraging people to start a startup based on nothing but sheer motivation. It takes possession of a certain knowledge mix to reach Series A or get to a satisfactory exit deal.
If you do go to an agency for marketing services we suggest you seek strategy services from the agency in question, media buying to acquire new app installs, analytics and email automation, all can be provided by an agency that knows the special pedigree of app marketing.
In conclusion, today agency-client relations in Egypt are at a turning point especially after the digitalization of so many brick and mortar businesses due to COVID-19. With so many clients and people complaining that agencies aren’t up to par or are a wasteful endeavor thought leaders, professors and must unite in the advertising and marketing community to create proper taxonomies and categories of what constitutes a digital marketing agency, a market research agency, an advertising agency, a branding agency, a digital media agency, a performance marketing agency, a growth hacking agency, an SEO pure agency, etc.
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