You and your clients know that marketing is a crucial component of business—but not just for the obvious reasons.
Yes, you help clients reach and exceed their marketing and business goals, but that's not the only way you can provide value. You can also act as a teacher and coach, relaying best-practices, expert knowledge, industry trends, and more. Clients can use the expertise you provide to show their own value to their bosses. In turn, that reflects positively on you.
Offering such information also helps your direct client or point of contact be better prepared for internal conversations. Maybe you offer a new idea that the direct client takes to the senior team, and it turns into a huge success. You've helped your points of contact look like they've gone above and beyond for the company. Providing that kind of value will encourage them to go to bat for you in important decision-making conversations.
Ensuring direct clients have in-depth knowledge of recommendations and strategies is also vital. They aren't always the decision-makers and so they might have to share or present your agency's recommendations and strategies internally. When they have the rationale and reasons to believe in the strategies and campaigns you've created and they can anticipate the questions internal team members might ask, they can better sell the plans to senior team members who make the final decisions.
Even if your points of contact don't have the answers to all the questions their internal team might ask, they'll have a strong enough knowledge base to hold conversations about the marketing strategies and so they will feel more confident about following up with answers.
Getting marketing strategies and campaigns approved is great, of course, but going above and beyond for your client also helps you in the long term. For example, although delivering campaign reporting is expected, providing speaking points and a powerful story for clients to relay internally helps set them up for success—and it gives them credibility to ask for increased resources or a larger budget to implement strategies and recommendations in the future.
We all want to showcase our value to coworkers and superiors. You can help your direct clients do so—and therefore showcase your own critical value—by going the extra mile with these three steps.
1. Bridge knowledge gaps
It's likely there is a gap in expertise between you and your direct clients, specifically if they've hired or retained you for niche or specialized work. You can start to eliminate that gap by equipping your clients with marketing knowledge that relates directly to their business.
Your clients most likely understand the basics of marketing (how it influences bottom lines, how ROI works, etc.), but they might not know best-practices or the "why" surrounding specific marketing channels, such as direct marketing or direct mail.
One important way you can bridge gaps is in relation to their audiences. An outside perspective can help your direct clients better appeal to their customer base and reach new avenues with fresh strategies. By educating clients with case studies, presentations, and the like, you are providing them with the knowledge they need to better market their product or service. You have the best-practice marketing knowledge, and they have the insider company knowledge.
At our agency, for example, we often work with a hybrid of the client's marketing and product teams. We frequently educate them on the best audiences to target and the best channels to use, or we provide a recommendation to build a full campaign: target, timing, and channel use.
2. Offer industry insights
Show your value to direct clients by going above and beyond. You don't have to confine your education efforts to campaign-specific information. Exceed expectations by showcasing your knowledge of industry trends, for example.
How can you do that? Through communication. You probably receive newsletters, attend webinars, and continue your marketing education in other ways.
If you stumble across an article that doesn't relate directly to the strategies and campaigns you're creating for the client but nonetheless relates to the business or a recent conversation you had, pass it along. Your client isn't going to have the time to keep up with the marketing industry the way you do.
When educating clients, though, don't just send them a link, an article, or another form of content. Instead, summarize what you're sending them and highlight why you think it matters to them. That will help them see immediate value even if they don't have time at that moment to read.
Also, look at what your clients' competitors are doing. If your client works in banking, for example, see how other banks are promoting their free checking campaigns.
Conveying that kind of information shows direct clients that you aren't working on their strategies in a vacuum and that you're aware of what succeeds and what fails in the industry. Providing the extra information allows them to make more informed decisions around their goals.
3. Showcase your unique expertise
Let's say your point of contact comes to you for a simple direct mail campaign. You could simply deliver on the project. Or you could go the extra mile and provide more value by thinking broadly about how you can develop a stronger, more cohesive campaign.
Are there other channels that will provide more ROI that the direct client hasn't thought to use? You might suggest organic social media and a new landing page that can work in tandem with the direct mail campaign, for instance.
Even if your clients choose not to follow your recommendations, imparting that additional expertise shows them that they are working with someone who's invested in their company's success and is focused on results. Don't be afraid to push back, either. As the marketing expert, you have a better idea of how the industry works.
For example, focusing on only a direct mail campaign during the holidays might not be the best idea because everyone is doing a direct mail campaign during the holidays. Your direct client will need to stand out with an omnichannel strategy; give them the proof points to show that.
The recommendations you give might not be huge dollar asks, but giving direct clients the "why" and richer campaign information is important to the overall strategy. The goal is to build trust and provide well-thought-out suggestions that direct clients will want to bring back to their team for approval.
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When your points of contact can show a new level of marketing expertise to their decision-makers, it's a win for everyone. They showcase their value to their team, and you showcase your value to their company.
More Resources on Proving Value to Marketing Clients
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