The term ‘digital agency’ is no longer a new or mysterious phrase. Instead, it has become more of a buzzword that is overused and often misused. Though the phrase may seem quite uncomplicated, it’s the ambiguity of it that can sometimes be confusing. CommonPlaces has always considered itself a digital agency, but in a time where everyone and anyone can say they are a “digital agency”, we understand the importance of clarifying exactly what that means for our audience.
This section could fit into your abbreviated business plan, but I personally like it kept in the marketing plan since the strategy you select will play a very significant role in how you create your marketing messages. Answer: What you will charge for your products/services? Why did you select that price point? What variations will you have on your standard pricing (coupons, discounts, etc.)?
Marketing has changed more in the past 10 years than it had in the previous 100—launching us out of the age of TV spots and print ads and into the age of websites, online video, social media, and Google. Consumers today are connected to the web 24/7—U.S. adults now spend upwards of 6 hours per day consuming digital media, and that doesn’t count those whose jobs are internet-dependent.
It's also important to understand exactly what motivates customers to buy. Are your clients looking for savings or a way to simplify their lives, for example, or are they just shopping for pleasure? Ask yourself why they would buy your product or service. In the same vein, you may want to know what keeps customers away from your competitors’ products or services. Are they too costly? Do they lack something unique? These insights will help you develop a product or service that outshines the competition.
When you work with us, don’t expect to get locked in to a marketing tactic just because it’s trendy or “cutting edge.” Instead, you’ll create results-driven marketing programs that hold steadfast to your “APM”— audience, purpose and messaging. So, whether through marketing automation, digital advertising, content marketing or a campaign that knits them all together, expect your marketing programs to fit your business needs and objectives.

After you have identified your buyer personas, the next step is figuring out how these personas think and ultimately make the decision to buy. According to Hubspot and adopted by all those who believe in the inbound marketing methodology, there are three steps in the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Each of these stages are major opportunities for you as a marketer to nurture your potential customer by providing valuable content about the product and or problem they are trying to solve for. Here are three stats from a Forbes.com article that prove just how important content is in nurturing a prospect throughout the buyer’s journey:


Standard to any business or marketing plan is the SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis should help you clearly define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so that you can develop goals and objectives that are on point and tied to your overall mission. The SWOT analysis will also enable you to understand what differentiates you from your competition and how you should position yourself in the market. It will also help in developing your messaging and your unique selling proposition. Brutal honesty is imperative to a truly insightful SWOT. Use bullets and aim for 4–5 in each section. Limiting your lists will help you to focus on the most critical points and help retain focus.
For those that don't know, Cyfe is an affordable ($19 per month for premium, cheaper for annual billing) dashboard which enables you to create customized widgets for an all-in-one business platform. It's surprisingly easy to use and customize, and it provides social monitoring capacity, which is pretty much the other half of the keyword research equation.
SmartSites is a full-service digital agency located in Paramus, NJ. Founded in 2011, SmartSites has a team of nearly 30 designers, writers, developers, marketers, and problem solvers who work tirelessly to make websites successful. SmartSites offers its clients creative ways to build, plan, and promote their website. They focus on SEO, web design, PPC, and social media marketing.

In a direct distribution channel, the product or service goes directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. In a one stage distribution channel, it goes from manufacturer to retailer to consumer. The traditional distribution channel is from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Outline all the different companies, people and/or technologies that will be involved in the process of getting your product or service to your customer.
The landscape of global agencies has become crowded and confusing over the last 10 years. While huge agency networks and holding companies are the vanguard, there has been a convergence of consulting firms and tech giants entering the frame to compete as well as in-house agencies. All of this continues to blur the line between what is considered an agency and who is best suited to help your global marketing, advertising, and digital initiatives.
Captured thinking: You don't allow your financial people to keep their numbers in their heads. Financial reports are the lifeblood of the numbers side of any business, no matter what size. It should be no different with marketing. Your written document lays out your game plan. If people leave, if new people arrive, if memories falter, if events bring pressure to alter the givens, the information in the written marketing plan stays intact to remind you of what you'd agreed on.
To be clear, a ‘digital agency’ still cares very much about the quality of design and overall aesthetics of every asset associated with a brand – whether it be print or digital. However, they also take special care to ensure that each brand asset and/or application functions in a way that helps companies to reach their goals. They have the tools and skills necessary to create ideas and assets and put them to work in the most efficient ways.
There are several types of marketing firms, and hiring the wrong one can result in a loss of money and time. It’s also important to consider budget constraints. A company should not hire a marketing firm that is beyond its budget, but it should also use caution if it chooses a less expensive (and likely less qualified) firm that may not be capable of delivering the goods.  
If you are extremely savvy with taxes then by all means do them yourself. However for the common person, there are so many nuances to running your own business that it makes sense to push this responsibility onto an expert (like your clients are doing with you!). You can save a lot of money by having a professional file your taxes on a quarterly basis, helping you along the way with write-offs.
Joint ventures and partnerships are agreements you forge with other organizations to help reach new customers or better monetize existing customers. For example, if you sold replacement guitar strings, it could be quite lucrative to partner with a guitar manufacturer who had a list of thousands of customers to whom it sold guitars (and who probably need replacement strings in the future).

This role acts as a subject expert in player experiences and utilizes innovation as well as practical and professional knowledge of marketing and game development for scratch and win tickets when promoting the BCLC entertainment experience to players, stakeholders and the public as well as acting as an internal resource and liaison within the organization.

If you have become skilled in digital marketing (paid specifically) you can essentially run ads for most businesses. However, you need to learn the target market and how to formulate effective messaging. This can take a lot of time when the business is unfamiliar or abstract to what you are used to working with, which inevitably causes issues early on if things aren’t going so well.
Unlike any advertising agency, The Marketing Company is a brand-marketing firm whose approach is more like that of a fully-integrated marketing department. This means not only creating and developing marketing messages to be distributed among all selected media and managing those messages, but also making sure that the messages and promises can be delivered. This means working with management and staff to ensure every detail of “the experience” a client or customer may have meets and delivers on any promises made via the creative process.
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You should allow yourself a couple of months to write the plan, even if it's only a few pages long. Developing the plan is the "heavy lifting" of marketing. While executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing's greatest challenge. Most marketing plans kick off with the first of the year or with the opening of your fiscal year if it's different.
If you wanted to create a marketing agency 25+ years ago, the barrier to entry was colossal. With a primitive digital landscape, the overhead to create such an operation was daunting, and nearly impossible without initial investment. On top of the startup costs, you were limited to physical and traditional media and the headaches associated with all but fabricating something that resembled ROI for your clients. Being “in the red” for a very, very long time was inevitable.
If you're a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they're the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas -- what types of topics would your target audience search that you'd want your business to get found for? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example -- selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools ... but I digress ;-) -- you might have general topic buckets like "inbound marketing," "blogging," "email marketing," "lead generation," "SEO," "social media," "marketing analytics," and "marketing automation."
FleishmanHillard is one of the world’s three biggest PR firms and is a member of Omnicom Public Relations Group. Founded in 1946 by Alfred Fleishman and Bob Hillard, the St. Louis born agency provides reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy services. They currently serve as PR agency of record for Bose, GM, Russell Stover, Western Union and more.
Today’s buyers are tech savvy, and want to find the best products and services at the best prices. You better believe they are going to shop around until they find what they feel is the best deal. If your business isn’t utilizing the latest technology and as many channels as possible to reach your target audience, you risk not being found in today’s online market.
Whether it’s growing your email marketing list or selling more products through your eCommerce website, our team brings the dedication and experience for all your digital marketing needs. Our headquarters is located in Arlington, Texas, but our clients can be found nationwide. Our capabilities encompass everything in the web design and digital marketing space, including web design and hosting, SEO, social media, PPC, content writing, email marketing and more.
Cardinal Digital Marketing partnered with another full-service agency in need of SEO, web design, web development, and digital marketing support. They assisted the full-service agency's clients with a range of services, including social media marketing, web design, reputation management, and analytics. Their work has allowed the full-service agency to serve more clients and achieve significant growth.
All of this advice stems from starting an agency by yourself. If you have a partner or two that want to do it with you, then it changes things quite a bit. With that being said, the profits are going to be split and you’re going to have to either charge higher rates or take on more clients to make it mutually beneficial to the point where it’s better than having a normal day job. Just something to keep in mind.
Carefully hone your online target audience. By hiring digital marketing experts who understand your target audience and Houston as well, you can avoid bringing unqualified customers to your site who may not convert well. At Thrive, our digital marketing experts do a thorough analysis of your perfect customer and design online marketing strategies to convert them into leads.
After being disappointed with their paid search results, a West Coast public university hired HawkSEM to boost its paid advertising game. The project is ongoing and includes Google AdWords and retargeting campaigns that aim to attract students to programs within the university such as master's or business certificate opportunities. HawkSEM takes a hands-on approach, developing the paid advertising strategy, creating ad copy, managing the university's bids, and tracking progress. The results? Forty-percent more leads at half the cost.
Marketing consultancy: Marketing consultancies help by auditing your marketing plan and offering suggestions. Consulting agencies are usually not directly involved in the implementation of a marketing plan—they simply do a deep analysis of the plan and present sound suggestions for actionables such as launching a new product or entering a new market sector.

J. Walter Thompson is the world’s best-known marketing agency and has been building creative solutions that make enduring brands for more than 150 years. A true global agency, JWT has more than 200 offices in over 90 countries with nearly 10,000 employees. The WPP agency is agency of record for Church’s Chicken, U.S. Marine Corps, Subway and KPMG to name a few. Learn more.
Email marketing is huge, too. Billions of people use email and billions of messages are sent on a daily basis. The vast majority of retailers identify promotional emails as their primary mechanism for customer loyalty. Those who buy stuff through email promotions spend more money than those who buy stuff through other means. Most importantly, the ROI on email marketing is great: $44 per $1 spent.
Burson-Marsteller is a global public relations firm that is part of Young & Rubicam group, which is a subsidiary of WPP. Established in 1953 by Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller, the agency now has a worldwide network that consists of 77 offices and 85 affiliate offices and operates in 110 countries. Burson-Marsteller has worked with Ford, Thomson Reuters, Blueair and more. Check out Burson-Marsteller on Agency Spotter.
The first step in creating your buyer personas is to brainstorm who they could be. Once you have your full list, identify the ones who have similar needs or roles and consider merging them. From here, prioritize your list of personas by considering their impact on the final purchase decision, their relationship to your company, and the size of the audience persona group. Once you’ve finished brainstorming, create your actual personas.

When you tell people that you’re going to run your own agency or consultancy, it carves into their mind that you are going to rent out an office space and hire a bunch of employees. More often than not, that is the worst decision you can make. If you’re like 99% of the population, chances are you have bills that need to be paid. If you want to get started and grow, you are going to have to make sure you can personally survive first.

Marketing companies can help your business develop a strategy, plan and manage campaigns or may provide specific services, such as telemarketing or market research. You can retain their services for a specific project or have them do work for you over a period of time. You also can hire individual consultants or freelancers with specialist marketing skills to plan and manage projects.
A beer festival in Edmonton hired Adster Creative to perform their digital marketing campaign. The event had historically been successful, but the owner wanted to boost performance with targeted marketing. Adster Creative delivered a highly customized AdWords PPC solution, as well as social media management and SEO focused on backlinking. Their efforts were a success, with a 67% lower bounce rate and 39% longer average session duration.
I really don’t know if I could take a word out of this mission statement or even replace one word. Of course, knowing the brand’s portfolio and the brand value the group of companies has established over these years does help to make this mission statement a lot more powerful than it would be for another company just starting out. This is due to the brand perception and, well, they have earned it!
You can't do a marketing plan without getting many people involved. No matter what your size, get feedback from all parts of your company: finance, manufacturing, personnel, supply and so on--in addition to marketing itself. This is especially important because it will take all aspects of your company to make your marketing plan work. Your key people can provide realistic input on what's achievable and how your goals can be reached, and they can share any insights they have on any potential, as-yet-unrealized marketing opportunities, adding another dimension to your plan. If you're essentially a one-person management operation, you'll have to wear all your hats at one time--but at least the meetings will be short!
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