Join the IMPACT coaches for a deep dive on a new topic every month in our free virtual event series.

Register Here

Join the IMPACT coaches for a deep dive on a new topic every month in our free virtual event series.
Register Here
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

A New Marketing Agency Model for a More Profitable Future

Here’s what to consider when setting up your marketing agency for long-term success. 

By Kimberly Marshall

A New Marketing Agency Model for a More Profitable Future

When IMPACT was in its infancy, we spent a lot of time learning about our clients’ businesses so we could come up with “the perfect” content marketing plan that turned prospects into valuable customers. 

This is nothing new. 

It’s the business model that most marketing agencies adopt: Learn as much as you can about each of your clients and create content you hope will generate the best results.

There was just one problem: No matter how much effort we put into our deliverables, and although we had a handful of clients that were happy with our work, it seemed we always had clients who said the content we produced just didn’t ring true. Sometimes it didn’t fit their brand’s personality. More often, though, it just sounded like an outsider had written it, so it came up short on authenticity. 

We were starting to see that no matter how talented our staff might be, it would always be difficult to create content for our clients that sounded authentic to their brand and moved their sales needle in a meaningful way. While it wasn’t clear to us at the time, we now know that outsourced content will never capture the soul of a brand or resonate with customers the way insourced content can. 

As such, we have since switched to a different agency model, where instead of creating the content for our clients, we employ a team of coaches and trainers who teach clients how to create content themselves

After coaching our clients in this way for the past few years, we’ve been able to help our clients create more effective, authentic content to grow their businesses. In turn, it’s been easier to grow our own.

Since we’ve adopted this new marketing agency model, our clients are generally happier and more driven to succeed, our employees are more fulfilled, and our business is more profitable.

In this article, we’re going to share with you why you should consider this business model too, by demonstrating:

  • Why this unique marketing agency model can benefit your agency.
  • How to implement this new model for a more scalable future. 

Let’s get started!

 Join the IMPACT coaches for a deep dive on a new topic every month in our free virtual event series.

Why coaching your clients to create content themselves is a better agency model

When IMPACT switched from creating clients’ content to teaching clients how to create their own, it wasn’t a random idea that came out of the blue.

IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo saw the potential in this new model after working with They Ask, You Answer author Marcus Sheridan, who was already training and coaching his clients to do the heavy lifting.

There was an interesting dynamic here: Instead of bending over backward to create content that he hoped clients would accept, Marcus’s clients were working extremely hard to create content that Marcus approved of.

Marcus was in the driver’s seat and the one in control of the client-agency relationship.

And it was working. His clients were succeeding in unimaginable ways, growing their traffic, leads, and sales faster than anything we had seen before.

Bob knew Marcus was onto something big.

After Marcus and Bob merged businesses, IMPACT adopted the same model. As a result, we saw our profit margins increase by about 10%.

This was largely because: 

  1. Clients were responsible for their own results and, therefore, became more invested in their own growth (versus depending on the agency). This resulted in happier, more successful clients and better retention.
  2. Employees experienced more job satisfaction by helping clients succeed in the long term versus running short lead campaigns that generated temporary results. They also experienced less burnout, resulting in decreased employee turnover.
  3. Few agencies embrace this model. This means it’s a major differentiating factor and can be helpful when we sell our services. 

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how powerful teaching clients to take charge of their own success can be — for the client and the agency.

This is why we believe the traditional model is broken and also why we’re so passionate about changing the way marketing agencies approach their business.

We believe coaching can help your agency focus on a major differentiating factor and enjoy the same success as we’ve seen by making this change that few agencies are doing.

How to build a world-class digital marketing agency with a coaching-centric business model

To switch your marketing agency model from doing to coaching, there are a few steps you need to take:

Focus on getting buy-in from client leadership

If you’re going to coach your clients to create content themselves, you have to start with getting buy-in from leadership — this will be especially tricky with existing clients.

If your client’s leadership doesn’t understand the importance of content marketing and becoming the No. 1 voice in their industry to grow their business in the digital age, your relationship will be doomed from the start.

But if you begin with a They Ask, You Answer workshop where you get all the decision makers on the same page — agreeing that today’s buyer has changed and your business needs to understand this and meet your customer where they are — you’ll have a much more successful journey leading your clients toward success. 

Develop client-facing coaches and trainers instead of content creators

Though you want to have content creators on staff for your own marketing efforts, or even hire them as trainers who can teach your clients from a place of experience, you should focus on building your staff’s coaching skills, such as communication and leadership.

We’ve found it’s effective to have trainers who can work with your clients’ staff, who will be implementing the work, with the coaches leading the pack and working with leadership. 

At IMPACT, our coaches work with the C-level executives on the overall marketing plan, and the trainers teach content managers and videographers to create content based on the They Ask, You Answer content marketing framework.

Your clients’ content managers will be doing the work and seeking your approval as they come to you for advice to be sure the content they’re creating is on track and strategic enough to grow the business. Your coaches will work with executives to be sure you’re hitting metrics and implementing the overall marketing plan effectively, helping your clients hit their metrics and goals from all angles.

Work with your clients’ marketing and sales teams

You can train your clients’ marketing team to create content, or you can work with both their marketing and sales teams in tandem to help them achieve greater results. 

When your clients form a revenue team, by having key players from their sales and marketing teams meet regularly to create content around the shared goal of getting better leads and increasing sales, your clients’ marketing initiatives are far more successful.

This is because sales has the insight that marketing needs to better understand which pieces of content will turn prospects into customers.

Coaching your clients to tap into this knowledge makes your services extremely valuable.

Fast track your marketing agency success with coaching

When IMPACT first embraced a coaching and training agency model, we didn’t realize how much it would transform what we do — and how it would improve our clients’ results.

We believe this business model will do the same for your agency, and with our They Ask, You Answer Certified Coaching Program, you can work with us to fast track your success in this new marketing agency model too.

Set a time to meet with one of our coordinators, who can answer any questions you might have. 

IMPACT's Certified Coaching Program will help your agency:

  • Learn the They Ask, You Answer framework to help your team members become more effective coaches and lead your clients toward bigger growth, faster.
  • Find its niche and set itself apart from the overcrowded marketing agency landscape.
  • Strengthen communication skills so your agency can feel confident in providing clients with more value.

With this simple shift in approach and skills, your inbound marketing agency will be able to better meet the needs of your clients and set them (and your agency) up for long-term success.

Join the IMPACT coaches for a deep dive on a new topic every month in our free virtual event series.


Coaches, Consultants & Strategists
Published on July 27, 2022

Recent Articles

12 Tips for Improving Team Communication in Every Workplace [Infographic]
October 13, 2022 • 5 min read
7 Hiring Tips for Attracting Talent in a Competitive Job Market
August 24, 2022 • 8 min read
4 Reasons Why It Pays To Invest in Your Agency Staff
August 17, 2022 • 5 min read
4 Mistakes Coaches Make When Helping Their Clients With They Ask, You Answer
August 10, 2022 • 7 min read
4 Ways To Still Grow and Invest in Your Marketing Agency During a Recession
August 3, 2022 • 5 min read
A New Marketing Agency Model for a More Profitable Future
July 27, 2022 • 5 min read
Considering Starting Your Own Marketing/Consulting Business? Here's Where To Begin
July 20, 2022 • 5 min read
6 Tips for Producing Better Content Marketing Results for Your Clients in a Crowded Market
July 13, 2022 • 7 min read
7 Skills Every Business Coach and Consultant Needs To Have
July 6, 2022 • 8 min read
How To Coach Your Clients To Create Content Themselves
June 29, 2022 • 6 min read
Certified Coaching Program vs. They Ask, You Answer Certification: What’s The Difference?
June 22, 2022 • 4 min read
How To Prevent Employee Burnout at Your Marketing Agency
June 15, 2022 • 7 min read
Marketing Coach vs Agency: How To Explain the Difference to Prospects That Just Don’t Get It
June 8, 2022 • 7 min read
How To Charge Your Coaching Clients
June 1, 2022 • 5 min read
How To Give Feedback to Clients: The Right Message at the Right Time
May 25, 2022 • 6 min read
How To Respond to Client Feedback
May 18, 2022 • 7 min read
5 Cornerstones of Successful Inbound Marketing for Marketing Agencies
May 11, 2022 • 7 min read
How To Identify Client Pain Points
May 4, 2022 • 4 min read
How to Embrace 'Imposter Syndrome' and Help Clients Create Better Content
April 27, 2022 • 6 min read
How to Help Your Clients Overcome ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ and Grow Your Agency
April 20, 2022 • 7 min read
How To Be Sure Your Marketing Agency Has the Right Pricing Structure
April 13, 2022 • 6 min read
Best Books on Growing a Business (for Marketers and Consultants)
April 6, 2022 • 6 min read
What Services Should I Offer Clients as a They Ask, You Answer Certified Coach?
March 30, 2022 • 7 min read
Business Made Simple vs They Ask You Answer: Which Coaching Certification Is Right for Me?
March 16, 2022 • 5 min read
How To Reduce Employee Turnover at Your Marketing Agency
March 9, 2022 • 10 min read