IS YOUR AGENCY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC?

When I was on the client side working for a B2B tech company years ago, I was tasked with finding an agency that could redesign our identity system globally and develop our first ad campaign for the trades. It was my first B2B job, so I wasn't very familiar with the agencies that would be right for us. And I was asked to focus on New York agencies when I lived in Atlanta, so again, I wasn't sure who would be ideally suited to the unique challenges we faced. When I researched companies online, I discovered something that I continue to see to this day. Agencies of all kinds (consumer, B2B, creative, design, direct, PR, digital and social agencies) do a terrible job communicating the problems they solve for clients. Instead we use our web sites and capabilities materials to focus on what we 'sell' and what we 'make.' What we 'sell' is our departments or services. For example, we sell analytics. We sell creative. We sell strategy. We sell media planning and buying. We sell design and production. These are our departments. These are silos within our agency that we combine to solve problems for our clients. But these are not the problems we solve for our clients (which is the only thing our clients really want to discover when they visit our site). What we 'make' is advertising in some form or another. We make collateral. We make PR programs. We make integrated campaigns. We make digital campaigns. Or whatever. These are our products. We often tell our clients they need to be less product-centric and more customer-centric, but we rarely take our own medicine. During this review many years ago, I noticed that one agency stood apart from the rest. It was Siegel+Gale, which opened its site with a flash movie (okay, it was 2001) depicting the common problems B2B companies experience as they grow their brand. They listed all the problems we had, and they linked their case studies to these problems. They were immediately the front runner in my mind, and we went on to hire them. If you want to make your site more customer-centric, develop a catalog of the common problems you solve for your clients and align your cases to these problems so your prospects can search by their problem. Interestingly, Siegel+Gale still does this on their site today. Kudos for being ahead of the curve and truly customer-centric. http://www.siegelgale.com/business-challenges/

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