Ep: 001 | Most Important Trends for Agencies in 2019

Episode Highlights

0:00 - Intro
1:33 - Kim Barrett and Your Social Voice
4:19 - The Death of the Term "Agency"
8:57 - The Era of Superniching
14:25 - Pay-to-Play Social Media
18:30 - The Importance of Video
24:49 - Summary and Closing Remarks

Episode Transcript

Charley Valher: Welcome to episode one of the Agency Valley Podcast. The podcast specifically for agency owners and I'm your host Charley Valher. Now in episode one I'm very lucky to be joined by Kim Barrett of Your Social Voice and we dive deep into what we believe are the most important trends for 2019 for agencies. Now there's a lot of trends out there but we wanted to get specific and the conversation kind of went in a direction I almost didn't expect. Kim had a few surprises on what trends he liked or dived deeper. I think you can get a lot of value as an agency earner in paying attention to these trends and it will certainly help you in 2019. So if you do enjoy this episode please make sure you do subscribe to the show and share with other agency owners.

[AV Podcast intro plays]

Charley: And we are live for Episode One of the Agency Valley Podcast. Very very exciting day. And today I am joined by the one and only, a good friend of mine, Kim Barrett from Your Social Voice. How are you doing, Kim?

Kim Barrett: I am doing super well Mr. Charley, sir. How are you?

Charley: Doing really well. It's a big day. As I've said, I'm really excited to start recording this podcast and start putting something together for agency owners. So many things to discuss. So I guess the first thing is though, because a lot of people may not have heard of you or heard of this podcast, did you want to talk a little bit about what Your Social Voice is and I suppose why anyone should listen to you about anything to do with agencies?

[1:33 Kim Barrett and Your Social Voice]

Kim: Yeah sure. So Your Social Voice. We specialize in Facebook ads and really we hone in on the expert, the thought leader, the “top-of-their-category” type of person and we help them scale the business with Facebook ads. And so we've been doing this now for... five years as an agency? So we've seen a lot of things come and change. A lot of interesting things happen in the industry, and you know we've been very blessed to have some good results not only for our clients, but for ourselves as well, getting to work on Clickfunnels, getting a 2 Comma Club Award, getting an award for the Marketing Hall of Fame, it is all based around bringing people into our agency and in helping them grow with what we do with Facebook ads

Charley: I tell you what, you're certainly one of the people I really respect in this space. I've seen a lot of people come and go in agency, and you've really kind of stuck it out over the years. Maybe you've just got that bit more grit than most, but this is one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show so badly, is I think you've been in the game long enough to actually have like a warranted opinion? Lot of opinions flying out there on social media right now. I just... I don't think they got the runs on the board to say that stuff.

Kim: Yeah, I would agree. It's very easy, I think, for people to throw things out there, and it's funny, you go into any kind of Facebook group and someone puts up a post and they get 150 comments. I'm like yeah, definitely, take the advice of the 150 people that have nothing better to do with their time than to sit there watching the Facebook group for questions. Yeah, definitely get them to help you.

The Most Important Trends for Agencies in 2019

Charley: [laughing] Well, that's where I know I'm hiring superior talent, it's Facebook comments. But not to digress too much-- We've got a really interesting topic, or a topic I think is interesting that we're going to discuss today which is the most important trends for agencies in 2019, because the game has changed in my opinion. What's your thoughts here, Kim?

Kim: Yeah, I 110% agree. It’s definitely changed and ever changing. I don't think there's ever an industry-- and you know, especially when you talk about agencies, especially in the digital side. I know some people that still are doing print, television, radio, and I know that they're definitely struggling. But I think especially for digital, especially cause it changes so fast, there's so many things that happen whether you're doing websites, Facebook, SEO or whatever. That's very hard to stay in front of unless you are probably listening and getting great advice like you'll be sharing on this podcast.

Charley: Nice little plug for the podcast, and guys if you do enjoy this episode please make sure you do share. We really appreciate you spreading the word for us. So let's dive in. I'm really curious about some of these and you gave you a little hint but kind of didn't tell me before the show on what you think the biggest trend is. So I'll let you lead the way here, what do you think is one of the most important trends for agencies in 2019?

[4:19 The Death of the Term “Agency”]

Kim: Well, it kind of sounds weird, but I call it the anti-agency. Right? And the reason why I say that is because there's so many people-- whether you do WordPress, whether you do Facebook, whatever it is-- I'd say it’s probably most prevalent in the Facebook agency space-- is that every man and his dog is somehow a Facebook agency. Right? It's like I plan to show a video of a guy opening up a box of cereal, pouring it out, and out falls a Facebook Ad certificate. And now there’s a Facebook ads manager and they’re suddenly an agency. So for me, one of the biggest things I am seeing in the-- especially like, we push towards it and push our clients towards working with agencies is going away from calling yourself necessarily an agency especially in the Facebook space.

And the reason being is that every single person is exactly the same. And like we even sometimes position ourselves as like a managed marketing service where we look at a lot of different areas rather than just a Facebook ad agency because now, if you look at the other levels of market sophistication and the level of acceleration of that industry, like there's probably 95 that can probably walk outside and poke a stick and find a Facebook ad agency these days. So I think the-- like, spending the time to differentiate and identify yourself as something potentially more than that is very, very, very important. Especially when there's such high levels of competition and new people come into the marketplace that, you know, have never had a client before and suddenly they are an agency as well and are going to do it for one tenth of the price that you charge.

Charley: So that's really interesting, so I just want make sure I've got the right. Because I want to dive deeper into this one from here. You think effectively the terminology agency is almost becoming commoditised to an extent. So it's not that we're changing the what we do, but how we frame it up has got to be looked at differently to avoid commoditisation and being put in with the pack.

Kim: Exactly. Well, I mean it's the same as being an entrepreneur. It’s like now if you're an entrepreneur, you probably sell weight loss shakes out the back of your car. Like, you’re a network marketer or something like that, you know, like I think the term gets just abused, and I think it's gone the same for agencies. And just because you've done, like you have this certificate, does not mean you now are an agency. So I think the terminology around it, and I just asterix especially in the Facebook space. I think that’s probably a big one, but I definitely see it across many now. I think it's really, really important to have a point of differentiation around how you position and what you call yourself, versus just going oh yeah we're an ad agency, and then it's because otherwise you fall into the same kettle of fish as everyone else.

Charley: So we've actually had this happen in a few other fields, and I feel like coaching is the one that stands out to me, is that you know, quite a while ago coaching-- especially online coaching-- was a new thing and it was a name people gravitated towards. And then over time I know people that are coaches that actually now call themselves advisors or consultants, because they don't want to be lumped in with that crowd. So I guess I'll ask that if you're an agency right now, particularly, in let's say some of these marketing trends, this may not apply to some areas. What else do you call yourself?

Kim: Well, that's why I think it really comes down to what you do. So for us, a couple of the terms that we've tested when we do sales calls and whatnot and see the response, we've tested “managed marketing service”, or “managed marketing company”, or even just using, like okay, we are a company that does excellent-- even if you do ads or build websites, as opposed to calling yourself an agency. Because I think as well, a lot of people now are used to dealing with someone who then just goes and chucks the work out to someone else, and that's kind of as well what they perceive to be an agency, if you will, in some spaces, and it's just kind of like and they feel like they're paying middlemen, versus going no, we are, you know, like we are a structured, strategic, thinking marketing company. We also apply the tactics for you.

Charley: Interesting. One I've actually seen thrown out even more, is like media buyer, in that space seem more popular now as well. Alright, well. Look, I'll take that as a trend, I actually think we're going to see more of the diversification in name and what you've called from here. But that's going to be one I'm taking note of, it's one I'll be paying attention to. If you are someone that's looking at that right now, I mean we'd love to know your thoughts. If this is something you were seeing as well or something you are changing from your perspective.

Kim: Yeah, 100 percent. What about yourself? I'm very interested to hear more of yours, because you shared a few of them with me and I do quite like a couple of those for sure. What would you be your number one for 2019?

[8:57 The Era of Superniching]

Charley: Yeah. So something I've seen overwhelmingly happen in the agency space and I suppose I've been in the agency game in some way since the yellow pages was still the thing. Let's put it that way. I've been in the sport a long time. And when I look at it right now, I feel like 2019 is the year we've really hit a tipping point for agencies, which I'm calling the era of superniching. I want to elaborate a little bit more because I’ll use  a little bit of a story. When I first got online and I was in an agency, I'll just tell you what we used to do. We used to do PPC which was Google AdWords. We would also do SEO which mostly consisted of buying a million backlinks or some dodgy website and then writing your keywords in white text on a white page thousands of times, but we would also build websites, we would also do apps, like it was very, very achievable for a small team to be able to do everything, and then a few years later the market really gained some popularity in these areas of agencies or digital agencies in this example here got more and more competitive and more and more complex. So we started to see people break out and be like an SEO expert or in my case I really got into PPC which is very much, you know, Google AdWords and Facebook ads at the time. So we saw the first era of niching in one type of area. In this case by service really develop and then other people would niche and to say well right, I'm only working with gyms and doing like all the services for gyms. Now in the last 12 months, I noticed that we kind of hit this next point where the agencies I'm seeing be super successful are not only picking like one niche, but also like one service or one type of product or offering, we'll just call it one offering, but they've really even going more and more narrow. Where we see companies popping up and let's say just doing Facebook ads for e-commerce businesses in a certain sector or just working with service businesses. And I think there's a couple of reasons for this, is number one it's a time where certain industries have gotten so complex that to be across all the things happening is near impossible. So if you're an agency right now trying to service like different types of businesses, what you and your team has to know is insane. Like actually insane, and I suspect you're very tired and under-leveraged because if you just work working with gyms like you can leverage your knowledge across all the gyms, just as an example. And then I see this kind of like picking up more and more where we've covered like the leverage of knowledge and the complexity of things, but I'm seeing companies also being able to scale so much quicker because when they work with the client, the client feels like well this is for me, these guys really understand me. And I think it's really powerful being able to communicate. We just do this for a certain amount of people and that's-- sorry. We just do this type of service for businesses that are exactly like this. And that's why you should work with us. So I think that's why this whole superniche or the era of superniche is really taking off but I expect it to explode for agencies in 2019.

Kim: Yeah, I would have to 100 percent agree. And I think as you say like the more people that enter a specific marketplace, the more then you have to do and the bigger the deliverables get. I think you do have to have that otherwise it's almost impossible to really be like, if you look at it like, really any other industry big or small, it's like I'm sure when people first started building houses, there were just builders and they put everything together. I'm just guessing, I'm not a builder, like back-- go back before you know it all. Now you've got you know you've got the electricians you've got the bricklayers. They're different to the people that put the roof on. Like there's no generalist in those things because it makes it so much harder. And I even know like Chris, who I work with does funnels but he only does webinar funnels for a specific group of people and he still has more than enough business to keep him ridiculously busy. And I think it also makes it easier for people to refer, when they are referred they’re like, “I am in their capable hands.” It's like if you go to a doctor and they go, “Okay I'm going to refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist because you have a bad nose.” “Oh okay.” “He's going to know exactly what to do about this.” As opposed to going, “I'm going to send you to this guy, hopefully he knows what he's doing. He does-- uh, he also does feet.” You go, well, you know how well am I going to be looked after by him if you’re looking at my nose.

Charley: Yeah. And I just think about that, we’ll use, you know, shoutout to Chris, you're already on the podcast Chris. Me and Kim, big fan of yours. Who is the guy there, but it's like how hard is Chris to compete against considering like he's only doing webinar funnels? Like his knowledge is so leveraged there, that for any other agency to come into that space, he's almost got his little moat thing happening as well which is just another advantage and the referral thing. Like you said from there.

Kim: Yeah, 100 percent.

Charley: So that was my big one. That was like the one that I think most people should be paying attention to, and I sum it up in a quote that I've been kind of rolling through, is like you know, “Do less for fewer people, but far, far better.” Is kind of what I kind of tie into that, and this is something I think is heavily, heavily important. So that was my number one. Are you ready for number two?

Kim: Oh, I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m on the edge of my seat.

[14:25 Pay-to-Play Social Media]

Charley: I'm gonna call it, I know some people are going to disagree with this one, but 2019 is the year that social media is officially pay-to-play.

Kim: I will 100 percent agree. I’ll let you riff on that-- I got some thoughts on this for sure.

Charley: Well, I mean what's interesting is Facebook has been around a long time now and so have a lot of these other platforms like YouTube and everything else from there, and these platforms are free. But these companies have large, you know, stock takings and all the rest are at some point like the whole game, which it's always been their game, is to make money from these things. It is no shock, and like I think we've been given the free taste of the platter for a long time, but I certainly see how much of a push these companies are pushing towards, like revenue and share price, and things like that. Now, where it's like, you know, do you remember YouTube ads that used to be like five seconds?

Kim: Yeah.

Charley: Against 15 now on everything, and there's so many more placements and there's so many more things which just says, you know, YouTube's really ramping up ads. And then on the reverse, like Facebook is doing the same thing, and Pinterest has got ads now, and Twitter's got ads now, and like all these platforms are really highlighting it, and like-- and I want to make this really clear, I'm completely fine with paying to play on these things because they offer a great return. I just think we need to adjust our expectations to anyone that's out there at the moment. I'm just going to be like some sort of organic expert like that is going to be the way that leads for me. It’s just quicker to pay.

Kim: Well, I think one of the big things is that I remember when I-- like when I was at university and studying marketing and whatnot, and I think a lot of people in probably the last five years if they’ve started up anything that has to do with online and they've had some success organically or word of mouth or whatever it might be is that they forget that. One of the big principles that they always hone in on is that 10 percent of your revenue should be directed towards marketing and advertising activities. And look at any of the big ones whatever in business, I think I probably spend more than that which may or may not be right. We go heavy on ours, but I think that, like you say, is that if you expect it organically to happen for you or to only rely on word of mouth, I liken it to like a bicycle wheel with only one spoke. It's like, yes sure, you may get around for, you know, half a meter or like in progression, but once you add all these other things and obviously you will have to pay for them, same as if you have a referral partner and you have referral agreements you pay. I think that it only allows you to grow faster and more succinctly, because it actually means you have to get your message tighter to be able to advertise, which means that you're you have a better service offering because you are spending money to do so.

Charley: I actually-- and a little side note here, I came across-- I’ve been cleaning up my Google Drive, which is a mission in itself because it's had several businesses and probably, you know, a good deal more than five years of files being in there since we've been using Google Drive, and I came across a folder in archive about, like we used to keep images of like, our best performing ads, as our own swipe files. And I came across one, I opened it, and I'm like, this would never work today. We used to get away with absolute crap, like the quality of our work and what used to work in the market. The bar was so low but it really kind of chimes in on like you do have to haul it all in. I like the quality of work produced and what you need to do to do well on social in my opinion is only rising there.

Kim: Yep, 100 percent and I just think is a lot of people have been let go for a couple of years where it’s been kind of like a little bit wild west-y and now it's going to be like the cream-- the cream is going to have to rise.

Charley: Absolutely. Absolutely. Alright, I've got some more on this list, but you feel free if you've got one you want to chime in on. I'm all for it.

Kim: I do, I think if you go for the next one I think you're going for, I definitely want to give some points on that one.

Charley: Well tell you what-- You can go for it. Lead in.

[18:30 The Importance of Video]

Kim: Well this one I think is the one and I think you’re leading for is video, and how important it is. And you know, for me like I've probably been onboard with that for at least the last two years, and I know that people like Sheryl Sandberg, which I think she is-- I think she's still the COO of Facebook, was saying by 2020 that it’ll be close to 100 percent of most social feeds apart from probably Twitter, is going to be video especially when it comes to for that distribution. But then if you look at everything that we consume from like entertainment, Netflix, etc. etc., everything that we look for now is video. It's very hard to win when it comes to writing something well, and it's very easy for people to skip over it. No not only obviously for a like a provision standpoint, but I think for anyone to stand out and to really be able to build a relationship with people, I think you have to do it as also a business owner whether or not you provide it as a service. But I think 110 percent as someone who is interacting with other people it’s something that you just have to do. And I've seen the benefit of it time and time again for us over the last probably two to three years that we've gone heavy on video for sure.

Charley: Well I'm all in on this one. I think that is overwhelmingly true and it's not to say you can't have a business and not to video. I don't think that's a fair statement to make at this point. But certainly... I will put it this way. Once upon a time I used to search a lot on Google. Like, you know, if I needed to know something or how to do something I would search Google. I now search YouTube. I find overwhelmingly I am using YouTube more for search because, like, I want to see a video of things and, like, almost expect it now. I expect that if I want to know, like-- literally this is me before this podcast by the way-- how to fit a certain bike tire to the wheels I have. It’s like I'm not googling that anymore, I want to see someone do it so I can copy them. [laughing] But I'm hanging out and actually consuming more video. Like the trend of consuming video and that being the expectation is is now the standard. Like, it's risen to that point.

Kim: Yeah, I agree. And I don't think you have to do it. Me, personally, I think you should be doing it if you want, like, if you still-- if you want to be like the cream of the crop and rising. And I think there's just so much more opportunity in video than anything else.

Charley: Yeah. I tend to agree with that as well. So video, big only up, and I mean we both produced a lot of video in 2018. And I’ll gauge your thoughts on-- Did you get a positive ROI from the video you produced in 2018.

Kim: On certain video, yes. On some video that we produced, I still... Well, I mean, it depends on your ability to measure ROI right? So for example, I do a live weekly show. No one specifically has-- that has then come into our business-- has specifically said that they've watched it, and I can't tell cause I’ve never liked, it but then sometimes people reference what I do there. And so it's like, whoa is that exposure and awareness. A-- something that causes other things to happen is very hard I think to be able to exactly draw the correlation. I would say yes, but I think if you looked at specifically certain things I would probably say no, if I was looking at just what I can tangibly measure and look at the output of.

Charley: So I want to frame this up in a different way because I think, you know, the subject of video can go many things, we're referencing like at the moment using it ourselves for the growth of our own businesses. But I think there's a very important spin on this as well. Let's say you're a web design agency. Does this mean it's time for you to start building sites and go, right, as you are you'll building a website with us, we want you to make videos for your about page and start incorporating more video into those types of services, or if you're an Adwords agency for example, is it time to say, well, we want to be doing more on YouTube, like YouTube ads and having clients come through that stream is going to come bigger. If you're an SEO, is it you know creating videos for the articles you're trying to rank for to increase your page times? Like I feel like there's application, not just as the person sitting here going, all right, I'm gonna start making videos in some form to grow my business, but also should I be incorporating this to my clients having success in working with us.

Kim: I think that one as well is definitely a resounding yes because I feel that it's going to be something like-- it matches with what you're doing. Like, I think that is a resounding value add and if you look at, you know, one of the big things I like which is the Preeminence of Jay Abraham, and talking about that. It is in the best interest of people for you to start doing that, or like start providing or offering that for them. So-- and if you can't that's cool as well, like find a referral partner who can. But I would highly-- I would highly be recommending it to clients depending on what you're doing, because it is only going to add value. And I think it's also not future-proofing, but it's setting people up for like-- for success within the next 12 to 24 months versus going oh, this is like-- this will be okay for right now, just do this, versus going, well if I think about your long term strategy, like this this will be beneficial for you.

Charley: It's interesting, but I don't think you can use the excuse of video as expensive anymore, because it’s not.

Kim: I know.

Charley: My phone here shoots ridiculously good videos that I think are good enough for a lot of businesses. The only one I would probably avoid, if you are a video production company, you should probably use the cameras you have, like an iPhone video may not cut the mustard if that's your specialty. But you would have the equipment anyway. But for most businesses even to just start shooting things with their iPhones and budget mics and all the rest is making this mega-available. So I don't see any reason why any agency couldn't step up to the plate here.

Kim: No, 100 percent I think it would be-- This is more valuable, it’s better, it lets you do a better job, like I think it's just all around win.

[24:49 Summary and Closing Remarks]

Charley: Yeah well-- look, Kim, I think we've covered some really important points here and I want to loop back around because I want to summarize this quickly here is like, what we're calling is the most important trends for 2019. Number one is being careful of the use of the word agency as it becomes more commoditised, so you know, referencing can you use different terms or ideas to stand out or be seen as something different, because you know maybe people have had a bad experience with an agency and they don’t want to hire agencies anymore. They want to hire specialists or something to that nature. Number two we look at is the year of superniching. The idea of focusing on one service and one niche so that you can really like hone in on being great in an area rather than being too wide and I suspect feeling very tired and stretched. Point three we've made is that social media is paid to play, like I wouldn't be setting up any form of organic on social media. To be honest I would always factor in some campaign budget to boost content or run ads or whatever it is from there. And then our last one is using video in either or both in some cases here, The idea of using video to grow your own business, so using that as the medium you use to release out to attract leads and business and convert sales and so forth. Or then using it for clients to help them have more success with their agencies. So they’re the main points. I'm feeling pretty strong about them. I'm willing to back them with my seal of approval. How about yourself, Kim?

Kim: Yep. 100 percent. I definitely think we'll look back at the start of next year and I think we'll be pretty accurate.

Charley: Well hopefully we'll still be doing this in a year and we can come back and do the most important trends of 2020 and we'll see how close or no close we are but I'm feeling very confident at this point.

Kim: Yep. Me too.

Charley: All right, so that's it guys. This is episode 1 of the Agency Valley Podcast. I hope you've enjoyed the episode and please make sure if you have enjoyed it, please subscribe and share it out to people you think it will be helpful to. So big thank you for Kim for being on Episode 1. Hoping to have you on for many more episodes, it looks like. Because your experience is just so valued here. So thank you so much.
Kim: Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

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Brad Sugars

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Dubbed as “The Turnaround Kid” during his early years in business, he quickly accelerated from being a simple business consultant to being a very in-demand speaker and multi-awarded coach at events in the field of marketing, systemization, and sales. Presently, Brad continues to lead more than 15,000 business owners who are ‘Billionaires in Training.’ His books, videos, eBooks, white papers and other business tools are available online.

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