What the Top-Performing Digital Marketing Agencies Do Differently 

Answer: Pay relentless attention to and focus on the boring operational stuff!

The best-performing digital marketing agencies in the industry didn’t achieve their current standing by chance. It took laser-focused strategy and relentless attention to all the right areas of their operations to optimise their processes in a way that allowed them to dominate their sectors. 

If you’re in the agency business, or you provide marketing services to other businesses, I’m here to share the secrets of the most successful agencies with you. As I explore what these agencies do differently and how it benefits them, you’ll gain valuable insights that you can use to make your business more efficient, more profitable, and simpler to run. 

The benefits of operating your agency along the same lines as the top performers are myriad. Using their strategies as inspiration will enable you to design your digital marketing agency and its services in a way that makes them: 

  • More scalable  
  • More repeatable 
  • Adherent to a much higher margin 
  • Available to clients at lower, more competitive prices that speed up your sales cycle 

My advice will assist you in building a business that is much more successful and valuable. 

What the Top Digital Marketing Agencies Focus Relentlessly On:

1. Attention to Sustainable Delivery of All Services

Without focusing on sustainable and consistent delivery of every single service your digital marketing agency offers, you run the risk of losing clients to companies that specialise in the skills you’ve under-focused on. Even if your team has consistently brilliant ideas, failing to execute them perfectly will render your campaigns and services lacking. 

Every aspect of the core services your agency offers needs to be delivered properly. From design and deployment to audience targeting, customer engagement and more—including even the simplest, most mundane of considerations.  

The best digital agencies in the world can impeccably execute every campaign they run, without fail. They analyse the case studies and success stories of other leaders in their fields to gain valuable insights into how best to provide their clients with the exact services they need.

2. Proper and Robust Awareness of Client Utilisation

Client utilisation is another essential metric that the leading digital marketing agencies focus on at every point in their operational journeys.  

Client utilisation can be defined as the amount of an employee’s time used for billable work on a client’s given project.  

Without assessing this metric, you could be pricing your services incorrectly and putting your agency at risk of undercharging or overcharging for your work and expertise. Furthermore, knowing your client utilisation rate allows you to use your resources wisely, without wasting time or manpower hours that your bottom lines simply can’t spare. 

The focus here should always be on how your agency is managing the time your employees spend, and how that time is being used to achieve your agency’s goals and your clients’ requirements. Every project and client utilisation rate differs.  

There is no one-size-fits-all approach in this regard.  

You need to be aware of your client utilisation at all times to effectively optimise the way your team spends its time and resources.

3. Proper and Robust Awareness of Staff Utilisation

Time is an endlessly tricky commodity, especially in the world of business. If you don’t plan and use your staff resources effectively, you could waste valuable manpower hours, overpay for labour, and suffer from financial and client losses in the process. 

This is why tracking your key metrics is so important.  

If you want to get the most value out of your company and staff’s time, it’s crucial to determine your staff utilisation rate. This will give you a clear idea of how efficiently your employees are working, and how you can motivate and encourage them to do better. 

Staff utilisation rate is the amount of time your employees spend working on client-facing tasks, compared to the amount of time that they have available for work. Its measurement differs from agency to agency. But essentially, it can be defined as the amount of billable time you can extract from the total available time of your employees.  

The world’s top marketing agencies use this metric to optimise their internal processes, maximise their outputs, and ensure that every campaign they create is granted the same level of attention to detail as the next.

4. The Ability to ‘Live in the Important, Not Urgent’

Most successful agencies tend to use a system like the Eisenhower Matrix (also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix) to help them decide on how best to prioritise tasks according to their importance and urgency. These systems allow them to schedule less important tasks for a later time, for delegation, or for complete elimination to streamline their processes. 

Top performers know that living in ‘box 2’ or the ‘Important but not Urgent’ box allows them to better plan for the future, delegate appropriately and also to manage any unplanned work (in Box 1) better, without causing friction internally. 

By focusing on the Important stuff that isn’t urgent, they have more time to prepare and are more proactive to mitigating future issues and they have more ‘headspace’ to allow themselves to properly switch their context between tasks. Doing this means better output, less stresses and less tasks slipping through the cracks.

5. The Ability to Tie Cause and Effect of Activity Better to Reduce Client Churn and Identify Upsells

One of the best-kept secrets of successful digital marketing companies is their ability to use their everyday systems and software to maintain effective reporting structures and track the progress of each of their clients on a consistent basis. Without these processes in place, you simply cannot measure your agency’s progress or your clients’ progress, which leaves the path forward murky at best. 

Using your systems and programs to tie cause and effect of your activities to your progress will enable you to identify opportunities to upsell services to your clients. It will also help you to pinpoint strategic ways to keep them on board, keep them satisfied, and keep them coming back to your agency time and time again, thereby guaranteeing your ongoing income. 

Digital Marketing Success in a Nutshell 

The most successful digital marketing agencies on the planet rose to success by honing their focus on the most crucial —and often unassuming—aspects of their operations.  

They prioritise the sustainable delivery of all of their services, they calculate staff and client utilisation rates to guide their strategies, and they prioritise tasks to streamline their processes and use their time in the most efficient way possible.  

Follow their lead, and your agency could be a leader in your industry within just a few short years!