If you are in the process of choosing a marketing agency for your business, then I’m sure you are overwhelmed. In fact, according to the most recent IBIS Industry Report there are 7,200 digital marketing agencies in the United States. Before I came to work for Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, it felt like I received a postcard, email or phone call from half of the 7,200 every day. It was crazy!
What you need to know is that many of the tactics and services offered by marketing agencies are similar. Yes, I said that, because it is true. Often times offerings will be focused around traditional or digital tactics. The two primary differentiators between marketing agencies lie in how they develop testing strategies and what culture they have established within their business. If a marketing agency does not have a fully developed testing strategy, the chances of them being good stewards of your marketing dollars are slim. A marketing agency cannot truthfully come to the table and say a particular strategy will work without testing. There are too many variables within geographies (city to city differences), customer types (gender, age, income, businesses, consumers), marketing saturation and marketing costs, to arrive at a final marketing strategy without testing. Marcia Barnes, CEO and Founder of Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, has written a popular article about testing that articulates, the testing strategies we utilize for our client’s campaigns. With that being said, let’s talk about culture.
At Valve+Meter we are intentional about our culture. We must be intentional for our clients. The culture of an agency impacts results. For Valve+Meter, all decisions that are made for our company and our clients, evolve around our four key principles of love, serve, transform, and be just.
Before we partner with a new client we engage in a process known as THINKFirst. As a team, we take a deep dive into their business looking at their leadership team’s appetite for success, degree of operational excellence, current marketing strategies and assets, all while developing a marketing cost per acquisition amount from a financial analysis. Our team is tasked with gaining an intimate knowledge of our client and falling in love with their business. At this point, we can properly start developing a series of testing strategies, because our minds and hearts are in the right place. If we do not love what our clients do, then it will be difficult to properly serve their business.
Once we have fallen in love with our client’s business we can properly serve them. We can then become the servant leaders described in Mark 10:42-45 [NIV], “Jesus called them [the disciples] together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Valve+Meter was established with serving our clients in mind. While serving a client is primarily fun and uplifting, that’s not always the case. In order to properly love and serve a client, we must have difficult conversations around underperforming testing strategies, required operational improvements to achieve success and various other opportunities for improvement around business and marketing. The concept of serving our clients well is made possible when we love and appreciate what our clients do.
The clients we engage with at Valve+Meter are unique in the fact that they are growth oriented. Surprisingly, not all clients want growth, some would rather maintain their current level of business. In order for a client to grow, they must have the operational excellence required to handle the growth from the marketing strategies developed. The entire Valve+Meter team believes that marketing is a variable spend, not a fixed expense. We don’t create budgets. We create strategies to achieve results by testing a campaign or tactic. When it works, we scale it to provide new customers to our clients. If it does not work, we quickly remove it and move on to the next campaign or tactic. This concept creates an environment of good stewardship and growth.
The goal of our team at Valve+Meter is to truly transform the business of each client we have the opportunity to serve.
Valve+Meter longs for the day that buying “leads” is in the past. So much so, that we are changing it with our approach to marketing and most importantly our approach to marketing cost per acquisition. With the evolution of many digital lead generation strategies, there are too many tactics positioned to provide low quality leads for clients. This is a problem in the marketing industry. Valve+Meter was created to be the solution.
Truly, this is the differentiator for Valve+Meter. Simply put, we hold ourselves accountable. Our team’s ability to provide results for our clients is paramount, so much so, that we develop a gainsharing agreement with each marketing performance agreement based on the lack of results, expected results and transformational results provided and the needs of the client. As marketing professionals with business backgrounds, our team takes pride in providing our clients with customers, not just leads and we love it!
In summary, do your research when you partner with a marketing agency. Learn about their culture. Learn about what drives their employees. Learn about their testing strategies and how to spend your marketing dollars wisely. Fall in love with your next marketing agency as they should fall in love with you.