If you’re running a marketing agency and want to attract ethical brand clients, you probably know a fair bit about offering and delivering marketing services to your clients. However, with the pace of digital transformation, new trends emerging all the time and exponential growth in the importance of marketing ethics, you may make some strategic and tactical errors when selecting the best mix of your digital marketing services.
Views For Change founders Nicola Telford & Ozzy Flowers are previous marketing agency owners, and all these pitfalls we are going to mention that you should avoid are based on common mistakes experienced, some of which they admit to making themselves at the beginning!
A quick note on the rise of ethical brands
Ethical brands have been on the rise for quite a time now, and every year customers spend on these brands more and more. B Corp is a well-known example of ethical brands, which are still for-profit companies, but they have other goals and focus on social and environmental performance ahead of profit. Businesses must meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency. This move started in 2006, and the first companies were certified in 2007.
In the meantime, ethical consumer spending increased enormously, and just out of curiosity, from 2019 to 2020, it increased by 24%, with the size of the market at £122bn, proving that this is a space you can’t ignore. Worldwide known brands such as Ben & Jerry, Innocent and Alpro are B Corps, but also marketing agencies that meet the same requirements as their B Corp clients such as Mightybytes, Nice and Serious, and Reward.
To attract ethical brands like these, there are some common pitfalls your agency should avoid, so let´s summarise them.
Not knowing how to approach pricing is the most common pitfall for many new agencies
Deciding where to pitch your pricing can be hard, especially as a new agency or targeting a new client audience. Not sure where to start? You can find some costing approaches that will help you build a cost plan and communicate it to your clients so they can evaluate how it fits within their budget. By choosing one of these models, you will ensure that you have all elements of your activity captured in pricing your services.
Frequently, agencies ‘give away the thinking’ in an attempt to secure production or design work. However, make sure you include it, as the most value lies in it, and it is crucial to capture your value proposition in your pitch.
Forgetting the importance of transparency
Transparency is especially important when pitching to and approaching ethical brands.
As an agency, your clients deserve your transparency, so you should inform them about your service cost upfront, which means no hidden fees later down the line.
In terms of data usage, you have to be transparent as well, especially with consumer data.
Regarding communication transparency, it is beneficial to propose collaboration. So, as well as detailed reporting that goes beyond vanity metrics, you enable clients to verify and approve deliverables before they go live. And, ensure you establish clear delineation between their spending on paid ads and costs associated with managing them.
This is essential because ethical brands want to know what you’re going to do to ensure it aligns with their values and principles. This is exceptionally the case for B Corporation clients, who are responsible for ensuring their supply chain meet their ethical requirements.
And because we want you to succeed with ethical brands, we have a top tip for you: to incorporate transparency by pre-arranging regular meetings with clear agendas to hold your team accountable!
Not having a client services or account management function
Many agencies can get away with the ‘do-ers’ in the business when starting out and managing client relationships.
However, as you grow, broaden your offering and take on new clients, it’s important to have client-facing team members in place to ensure you meet your client’s needs.
Having an account manager has multiple benefits, as the manager builds strong relationships with clients and is a mediator between ‘do-ers’ and clients.
Having ‘do-ers’ is non-negotiable as they are responsible for marketing roles, but having an account manager takes you to the next level.
This role will grow the opportunities by learning what the clients want to achieve and building long-term partnerships.
Chasing the money
If you have the attitude ‘say yes and work out how later’ to your work, you’re going to run into a trap that many agencies fall into, especially when new opportunities present themselves and they’re hard to say no to.
In this case, the importance of having a clear value proposition can’t be understated, and you should stick to it, otherwise, the services you exist to deliver will end up being watered down elsewhere.
The importance of a value proposition for a marketing agency lies in expressing why the clients should choose you over the competitor, and this can be done by highlighting the unique value only you can provide and differentiating you from the competitors.
It articulates everything they need to know when they land on your website, and it increases their understanding of what you do.
For your inspiration, in this article are mentioned agencies that have chosen niche markets or service offerings to differentiate themselves from competitors to increase their value propositions.
Pitching your services without a plan
Whilst it can be tempting to just ‘go for it’; doing the thinking, and planning, is vital to agency success.
Without planning, you can end up watering down your brand or promising things you at the end realise you cannot deliver. Your marketing agency can´t afford this as it may cost you the client.
But if you want to find out how to get those pitches to ethical brands right, we have summarised it for you in our article: 7 Ways to Ace Your Marketing Agency Pitch to Ethical Brands in 2022.
Stagnating, not innovating
Ethical brands are at the forefront of change-making in business, and as potential clients, they expect the agencies they work with to innovate and pitch new ideas to meet the client needs. But to attract them, your marketing practices have to be ethical. Marketing can be a sticky area for the most staunch ethical brands, so considering ways in which you can offer new ideas to excite your clients is paramount to success.
If you want to belong to marketing agencies that appeal to ethical brands or position themselves to support B Corp, you should think about ways your marketing agency could be more innovative, as these brands are looking for such agencies, and the importance of innovation is critical to growth strategy as highlighted by 84% of executives.
Are you ready to succeed?
Then, The Views For Change platform offers this innovative opportunity, through which you can create social impact in your marketing campaigns by rewarding actions with charitable donations. Book demo to find out more!