Adapt or Die: How to Survive The Agency Onslaught
You hear it all the time: ‘The agency model is broken’ or even ‘The agency model is dead’. Advertising, marketing, financial services, real estate agencies… they are all struggling in some way or another. But will agencies become extinct? I don’t buy it. There are challenges, yes. The business world is rapidly changing, and some agencies will not make it. Since sticking your head in the sand is not your best tactic, why not explore how you can adapt and thrive in an increasingly technological world?
As a small business owner, I often work with agencies. Hardly a week goes by when I’m not in contact with our external marketing, accounting or recruiting team. Some experiences have been bad, most were good, and over the years I’ve developed somewhat of a knack to quickly assess if the agency is going to be a fit. If it’s a fit, it rocks! I get to work with highly specialized people who bring in a ton of experience. Wouldn’t know what to do without them.
I connect with agencies on another level too, as many of our customers here at PieSync work in agencies across various industries. Our offering fits well in a typical agency setting where the need to share contacts and the practice of remote work often go hand in hand.
When I talk to our users in the business, it’s clear the agency model is under attack. Although each industry has its own particular battles to fight, there are 3 common challenges faced by every agency.
What Challenges Do Agencies Face?
Finding – and keeping – motivated and skilled people in an agency is tough. Really tough.
The need to keep up with technological innovation in your field on the one hand, and knowing if new tech is worth the investment on the other, is keeping many an agency CEO up at night.
Even the best agencies struggle to find customers when buyer’s budgets are low and industries are rapidly changing.
How Technology Impacts Agency Life
Listening to our users made me think. While PieSync is only a small cog in the intricate machinery that is necessary to keep an agency running smooth, the people behind these challenges are very important to me.
The tech challenge ties back to why I started my company: I want to help people combine different business software applications such as Google Contacts and CRM systems.
The talent and customers challenges intrigue me in the light of the general changes every industry is facing.
In a direct or indirect way, technology plays a part in every single one of them.
Mobile, big data, cloud… these tech trends are here to stay.
As a Maker of Technology, I feel it’s my duty to think about the impact of technology on people’s life.
Notice the fancy title and matching capital letters I’ve given myself? I’ve been calling myself Maker of Technology since Product Hunt granted me that title last week. Apparently I also move across the room in a more stately manner now. Product Hunt, the website where you can discover all kinds of new technology, featured our startup on the front page for a whole day, which makes me very proud. My colleagues tell me it’s been enough now and can I please just be Ewout again, so I’ll use the title for the last time in this post.
All joking aside, I do feel technology vendors have a responsibility towards the people they want to help.
New technology often stirs controversy:
- A CRM system is great, but what about Bob’s tried and trusted rolodex?
- Real estate websites that combine listings and show every single property are useful for buyers, but where do the real estate agents come in?
- Online platforms where businesses can sell their invoices sure are handy, but are they just the perfect reason not to call a debt collection agency for help?
How Technology Can Help Agencies
I did some research to see if technology can also help agencies to thrive in the rapidly changing world we all live in.
You can read my findings in an upcoming 3-part blog post series, each post with a focus on a specific industry.
Next week, the agency series will kick off with an article on the challenges Real Estate agencies face, and how technology can provide some answers.
The following week I’ll focus on Financial Services, to then round the series up with a post about the challenges faced by Creative Agencies such as Advertising, Communication, Marketing, PR and Media Agencies.
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What can you expect?
- A lot of industry-specific research about trends and challenges.
- Numbers and graphs.
- Stories of the people in the field.
- Some cool things to try with your agency.
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