Why Your Agency Must Adapt… or Die with Elizabeth Sosnow

By Jason Swenk on May 24, 2017

Do you know what you need to do to stay relevant and significant to your clients? Let’s face it, marketing is an ever-changing industry. And in the agency world, it’s survival of the fittest. So we must adapt or die! Here’s a great story about how one agency transitioned their business model in order to continue to thrive. Think about Blockbuster video – they didn’t adapt to the needs of the industry and are now extinct. Don’t be the next Blockbuster -adapt or die.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why it’s important to adapt in the agency space.
  • 3 Keys to an agency transformation strategy.
  • Why and how you can use vlogging to generate leads.

Elizabeth Sosnow is Managing Partner at Bliss Integrated Communications, a 50 person agency in New York City. She’s on the show today to tell us how Bliss transitioned from PR to an Integrated Marketing agency in order to stay relevant in a changing industry. Plus, she shares some great tips on vlogging.

Why It’s Adapt or Die in the Agency Space

Bliss was founded over 40 years ago as a PR agency with a specialization in health care, financial and professional services. Elizabeth says, though, in recent years they faced challenges during the collapse of the traditional news media industry. They quickly released it they needed to make a change in order to adapt to the needs of the industry. That’s when Bliss reinvented themselves from traditional PR to Integrated Marketing.

Their game plan was to use their in-depth knowledge and insights in their niche to pivot the agency. If they’d been generalists, they’d never have the expertise to fall back on. Consider this just another reason why your agency should have a niche 🙂

3 Keys to an Agency Transformation:

It’s hard to change – especially when you’re already an expert at what you do. But, along with the decision to transition the agency from PR to Integrated Marketing, came the realization that Bliss was entering a new playing field.

Elizabeth says the theme of the transition was “know what you don’t know.” Meaning, they weren’t going to bulls*t themselves, their clients/prospects, or competitors into thinking they could do things they couldn’t do. Instead, she says agency leaders did these 3 things:

  1. Hired an outside source to educate their team on everything from operations to pricing.
  2. Worked hard and put in additional non-revenue generating hours for agency growth.
  3. Understand their limitations and concentrate on keeping control of the top level marketing.

How a Vlog Can Be an Agency Growth Strategy

People don’t want to read anymore. That’s why I’ve had a lot of guests on the show talking about the importance of video marketing and live streaming videos. But what about vlogging? It’s a smart content vehicle that isn’t being used much. I just started my vlog – you can check it out here. Elizabeth recently started one too, so she and I chatted about why and how.

Why vlog? Well, people like to consume information in multiple ways, all at once. Think about it – do you usually watch TV while also on your tablet or smartphone? So we have to reach and garner awareness when and how we can, right? This interview alone can be watched in video form, listened to in podcast form or read as a blog post so we are able to reach people in a variety of formats.

The goal of a vlog is to give your audience a authentic and genuine glimpse into your world. Elizabeth compares it to a lesson she learned as a high school actor. She says actors are translators for the audience trying aiming to tell a story and garner a reaction. The same is true of a vlog – if it’s done well you’ll get attention or a reaction from your audience.

How to Structure an Agency Vlog

Very few agencies are vlogging. In fact, the only one I know of who’s doing it right is Gary Vaynerchuck and his show, DailyVee. Gary vlogs to promote his personal brand as a growth strategy for his agency, VaynerMedia.

If you’re working on building your personal brand, it might mean footage of your daily activities and what makes you, you. Like my new vlog here. If you’re using a vlog strictly to promote your business, it might mean more of a candid and unrehearsed snippet full of business tips, like the one Elizabeth does for Bliss. Her vlog, Marketing Espresso Shots, is a 90-second bi-weekly, “quick jolt” of integrated marketing tips.

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency Faster?

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We do this by bringing together successful agency leaders to share strategies, offer advice, and reveal what’s working (and what’s not working) in their agency. The truth is, whatever you want to accomplish in life, nothing will help you go further, faster than getting the right adviser in the context of motivated peers. If you want to GROW fast and smart, Digital Agency Elite mastermind will help.


What’s Next for Your Digital Agency?

No matter what your agency specializes in or the services you offer, you must have the ability to adapt as the industry and technology change.

Through my experience running my own digital agency and helping other digital agency owners, there are many topics I can offer guidance on whether you are an established agency facing struggles to new agencies unsure of what the different phases of growth you will experience will look like.

As you continue to grow your agency team, I can show you how to recognize when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team to perfect your business strategy by creating a process for performance-based pricing and how to keep your big-name clients happy.

Are you ready to create something cool and want more advice? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks, and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my YouTube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

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