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Coaches, Consultants & Strategists

A New Marketing Agency Model for a More Profitable Future

Dia Vavruska

By Dia Vavruska

Mar 16, 2023

A New Marketing Agency Model for a More Profitable Future

When IMPACT was in its infancy, we spent a lot of time doing what all agencies do.

We learned about our client's so we could come up with “the perfect” marketing plan that turned website traffic into leads and leads into valuable customers. 

It was nothing revolutionary. It was the model most marketing agencies followed and still do. 

There was just one problem: No matter how much effort we put into our deliverables, we always had some clients who just didn't get the results they wanted.

Traffic would come in and not convert. Or the leads would come in and be a poor fit. 

Over the years, we began to see that no matter how talented our staff might be, it would always be difficult to create content that sounded authentic to our client's brand and moved their sales needle in a meaningful way.

While it wasn’t clear to us at the time, we now realize that no one can know a business, brand, or its customers as well as those who work in it everyday. In other words, our clients themselves. 

So we made like Ross Geller from Friends and pivoted. 

We  switched to a different agency model, where instead of creating content and implementing inbound strategies for clients, we employ a team of coaches and trainers who teach clients how to do it for themselves

Our clients are happier and more driven to succeed. Our employees are more fulfilled, and our business is more profitable. 


Why "teaching them to fish" is a better agency model 

Switching from being a traditional agency to a coaching and training company  wasn’t out of the blue.

IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo saw the potential in this new model after connecting with author Marcus Sheridan, who was already training and coaching his clients to do the heavy lifting at his former agency The Sales Lion.

There was an interesting dynamic there: Instead of bending over backward to do work he hoped clients would approve and see results from, Marcus’ team taught clients to do the work themselves. 

This put Marcus and The Sales Lion in the driver’s seat and in control of the client-agency relationship.

And it was working.

The Sales Lion's clients were succeeding in unimaginable ways, growing their traffic, leads, and sales faster than anything we had seen before.

Soon after, The Sales Lion became a part of IMPACT and the whole company adopted the same model.

As a result, we saw our profit margins increase by about 10%, but that wasn't the only benefit we saw.

Clients were happier and more invested

No one knows a business better than those working in it everyday. So, of course, as clients took more ownership over their marketing execution, results began to improve as well.

Clients were happier and since they became more accountable for their own results, they became more invested in their own growth as well.

Employees experienced more job satisfaction 

By helping clients succeed in the long term versus running short lead campaigns that generated temporary results, our in-house staff also thrived. They experienced less burnout and we saw less employee turnover. 

Differentiation from traditional agencies

As great as this "teach them to fish" model is, not many agencies are embracing it.

That makes it a major differentiating factor that can be helpful in the sales process.

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 more profitable agency by pivoting to coaching

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 clients to take ownership of their marketing implementation, you have to start with getting buy-in from their leadership.

This can be especially tricky with existing clients who are used to you doing the work for them.

If your client’s leadership doesn’t understand the benefits or importance of owning marketing in-house, your relationship will be doomed from the start.

Marketing will be less likely to get the budget or resources they need to accomplish its goals or the support from others in their organization. 

The best way to avoid this is aligning everyone from the get-go with what we call an "inbound culture" workshop.

In this meeting, you run through discussions and activities to 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.

Then you can go into why your team will be able to do this better than any agency could. 

Develop client-facing coaches and trainers instead of strategists

Though you want to have great marketing strategists and content creators on staff for your own marketing efforts, focus on building a team with strong coaching skills such as communication and leadership when it comes to client service.

At IMPACT, we have coaches work with the C-level executives on the overall marketing plan, and then more tactical trainers teach content managers and videographers to create the necessary content and marketing materials.

Client content managers will be doing a lot of the work and come to your coaches and trainers 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 they're hitting metrics and implementing the overall marketing plan effectively. 

They need to work with your clients’ marketing and sales teams

The best coaches and trainers will know how to effectively communicate and work with individuals at all of these levels and be able to put together a keen strategy. 


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 Certified Partner 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 Partner 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.

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.

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