May 16, 2022 Content Chat Recap: 2022 Marketing Agency Roundtable

2022 Marketing Agency Roundtable

Marketing strategies changed drastically in the switch to all-remote work, and the return of in-person activities requires a mid-year pivot. In this #ContentChat recap, the community explores how their clients’ needs have changed and what marketing activities we expect to gain traction.

Q1: Let’s start with a quick celebration. What recent client project(s) are you most proud of? Can you share a link?

The community has a lot to celebrate, including a Fast Company article placement, website redesigns, rebrandings, and growth in their brand networks.

A1: I’m going to have to go with working with the amazing + inspiring @jerrehian on her recent Fast Company post: https://t.co/yLBzmQyRwG https://t.co/MkOoCEb0gE

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

A1b: It’s also exciting to see the @Ripple website redesign I worked on live! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

It’s always exciting to see a new website or overhaul go live.

Then there’s the google analytics anticipation to be sure you didn’t make the #SEO overlords angry. #ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) May 16, 2022

Website builds can be so fun! Especially when you know they’re a massive improvement. We’re working three or four of them as we speak. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

A1: I’d have to say our ongoing in-depth blog content in a difficult industry has made me proud. We’ve been blogging for a collections agency weekly for over 7 months. https://t.co/zW0WEUsupY#ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

A1b: Though we’re also on the cusp of launching two rebrands, which of course I can’t show!#ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

A1: We’ve managed to add some new members to our content distribution network.

Come join free! All agencies welcome.https://t.co/8VIRnapH8G

#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

Q2: How have your clients’ marketing needs changed this year? What is top-of-mind for the business executives you partner or speak with?

Marketing teams across industries are closely reviewing budgets and prioritizing activities with a clear ROI.

A2: The biggest thing we’ve seen change this year is people are looking at their budgets really closely. There’s a whiff of recession in the air and that has most people clutching their pearls. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

I second this. Anything nonessential or without clear ROI is buh-bye. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

If true it might be a hard time for branding agencies.

I’ve had companies improve the brand and overhaul the website before starting PPC for lead gen.

Good branding is an imperative to get ROI out of any marketing channel.

Trust me, I’m not a branding guy. 😃 #ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) May 16, 2022

According to the community, our clients are investing in new hires…

A2a: It’s been great to see clients investing in new hires. The upside of the #greatresignation is I’m seeing folks like @FrameableInc and @hitchtalent being able to hire top talent, that I then get to partner with on content marketing.#ContentChat https://t.co/uijeQ8t9Jl

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Bolstering their thought leadership, including seeking ghostwriters…

A2b: I am also seeing a lot of interest in thought leadership and ghostwriting support, other than for conferences and live events. Still not seeing as many clients pursuing in-person event opportunities. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Investing in lead generation to maintain their position in the marketplace…

A2: We’re just starting to see a shift from brand awareness and credibility to lead generation. Some of that is summer cycle, but some of it indicates a belief in future economic downturns. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

A2: Maintaining their position in the marketplace. I guess with a recession coming, firms are looking to scale back on the growth aspects.#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

Prioritizing community engagement through in-person events, newsletters, and narrative-driven success stories…

A2: I’ve seen some return to in-person events that was missing in recent years, but combined with the multi-year trend toward more content marketing and ongoing engagement. Newsletters, podcasts, narrative success stories. #ContentChat

— Ross Romano 🚢✏🏴‍☠️ (@RossBRomano) May 16, 2022

There are so many ways to reach your community now. That’s an upside of the past 2 years when we couldn’t rely on the same-old-events. 🙂 #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Rethinking their virtual event strategies…

We’ve got a couple clients who are actively seeking live events, but I’m not seeing any real interest in virtual events. Not sure if that’s lack of ROI, or just being tired of them. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I think virtual events have been a real mixed bag for clients. For every amazing event like @MarketingProfs #B2Bforum folks participate in a dozen meh virtual events that feel like a webinar with little attendee engagement. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

I agree. I think a lot of these events need to focus on promoting the key speakers who are good at speaking rather than letting everybody have at it.

Some of these office ppl are BORING 🤣#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

I find many events really lean on the speakers to do all the session promotion…which can mean you miss out on some hidden gems who aren’t as self-promotional, too. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Yeah, particularly for the workshops and smaller sessions. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I don’t have the focus for a multi-day virtual event. I tried it once and only once. #ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) May 16, 2022

Yes it’s exhausting. Made it to day 2 and said uncle after that 🤣#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

Yeah, I’d agree with that. Notably, I find that orgs that had great live events transitioned well. Others just saw opportunity to make a few bucks. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Agree on the latter. I suspect those folks won’t find much of a recurring audience, however! 😉 #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

I certainly saw the same in a previous role (lack of ROI from virtual events). Most folks I know are all-in for in-person and not engaging much with virtual events. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@mg_content) May 16, 2022

Virtual events can be “turned on” in the background on a spare device while folks multitask at work, too. Whereas that’s a lot less likely in person. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

And pursuing guest spots on podcasts.

Podcasting has been an interesting story. We’re seeing a shift from creating them on their own to participating in existing podcasts. We’ve got a couple great partners for that. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I started more on the PR side and engaging with outside pods but also got many companies to create more of their own branded content over the past handful of years. A necessary corrective to media contraction plus more chance for in-depth storytelling.

— Ross Romano 🚢✏🏴‍☠️ (@RossBRomano) May 16, 2022

Q3: What challenges are your agency currently facing that the community may be able to help with?

John is looking for funding, and insights on how to be a marketing automation reseller.

A3: Not sure if the community could help, but we’re growing crazy fast, and I need funding if we’re going to maintain our ability to serve our clients effectively.#ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

A3: Something the community might help with – anyone have luck as a marketing automation reseller? #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Not a reseller but offering the services to our clients. So far it’s worked well to pitch it by saying what it’s helping to do. Not selling it automation bc the client then thinks they can get a “robot” from anywhere to do the same thing #ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

Yeah, we’ve done similarly, but I’d like to get more bang for the buck out of my software partnership. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Ross advocates for partnering with a few niche agencies to effectively support targeted client needs, instead of trying to be a catch-all.

A3: I’ve been advising, when possible & manageable, to have companies worth w/ a few narrowly-focused agencies with channel expertise vs. comprehensive agencies that are good at 2 things and lump 5 other things into a contract. #ContentChat

— Ross Romano 🚢✏🏴‍☠️ (@RossBRomano) May 16, 2022

A3: Not always possible to do everything at once, but at least start with 2-3 areas in which you can have real success and then grow from there. Better use of resources for the majority of companies. #ContentChat

— Ross Romano 🚢✏🏴‍☠️ (@RossBRomano) May 16, 2022

A3: So to that end, I’m consistently building a network of partners, collaborators, referrals, etc., to ensure it’s clear who’s best at what — enable companies to have the most time spent on each task by the person/agency who’s best suited. #ContentChat

— Ross Romano 🚢✏🏴‍☠️ (@RossBRomano) May 16, 2022

I love this! And it’s how we structure things with our consultancy as well. I love working with @NeoLuxeMktg for instance, on projects that go beyond our usual content marketing/social/thought leadership scope. #ContentChat https://t.co/E7xUmx24PY

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

I’ve always been a fan of this approach, whether it’s an agency or a piece of software. Find the person or technology that is the best at what they do and not mediocre at 10 different things. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@mg_content) May 16, 2022

As discussed, ROI is top-of-mind for business leaders. Given this, creative agencies may have trouble finding new clients.

A3: Our agency really thrives on the creative and most people we serve are looking for more traditional marketing approaches. #contentchat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

So what is traditional marketing these days?

I think of direct mail, OOH, TV/radio, print advertising.

But maybe traditional these days is PPC, retargeting, email…
#ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) May 16, 2022

I am thinking traditional as standard B2B sales and marketing tactics and approaches. We end up doing a lot of copy for brochures, websites, and blog articles. It lacks the magic of some of our more fun campaigns, to be sure! #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

Oh, that’s interesting. I never really considered how our respective positioning changes the work we get (duh). We get very little of that kind of work. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Are the brochures delivered as PDFs, print, or both?

I created several brochures for B2B mfg companies the past few years but I could never get them to use them.

They wanted to hand them out at trade shows and sales visits, which weren’t happening during COVID. #ContentChat

— Tod Cordill (@todcordill) May 16, 2022

It is challenging to decide what methods to pursue at scale.

A3b: Our other big challenge is deciding what methods to pursue to scale. For example, do we want to spend time on online courses, or pitch more on-site company trainings, or conference workshop addons? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

This all day. We just had a meeting today where we decided to delay a new product launch and focus more on our current core. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I can relate!

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) May 16, 2022

Many communities are experiencing burnout, which has shifted how and where they connect and engage online.

A3a: I am trying to crack the nut on the right community platforms for the right audiences. I am seeing a lot of folks go inactive here on Twitter, and Slack and Discord communities are also seeing a lot of churn. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

I wonder if there is some mental health ramifications there? Are people just too burned out to watch several social platforms. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

And every platform is a hotbed of compassion fatigue. There’s no breaks. The best thing you can do is step away until you are charged up to fight again another day. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

I’ve been less enthused with most social media channels, likely from fatigue. I closed one account I had for a decade and have considered getting rid of Instagram. Burnout is tough and I’ve been trying to limit my doom scrolling. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) May 16, 2022

100% agree here and have been feeling social media burnout for almost a decade. When I’m working in it for hours every day, it’s the LAST thing I want to spend any of my spare time on. It’s hard to find motivation to log on at the end of the day. #ContentChat

— Melanie Graham (@mg_content) May 16, 2022

I think the burnout is a big factor. Checking multiple places is too much.

Now, OTOH, both Kupo and Baron Von Smooshikins are growing their Instagram communities…#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

However, TikTok may be promising for B2B audiences.

We’re doing some interesting experiments right now with B2B and really traditional consumer stuff on TikTok that are showing early promise. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I’m also exploring TikTok space for B2B, it’s slow but can be very creative there and reach the right target audience, with more focus on trends and video #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) May 16, 2022

Q4: What marketing trends or topics do you think will gain traction as we progress through the year?

Teams are hyper-focused on the ROI of their marketing activities, which could present an opportunity for creative campaigns.

A4: True to Erika’s earlier point, marketing focus on ROI is absolutely part of this. But I think it’ll swing in both extremes: A) ROI-focused and B) Total nonsense. People need diversion and brands are going to capitalize on it. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

John predicts that “content atomization” will gain traction, as well as video content.

A4: Something I’ve always preached now has a term – “content atomization.” Start with a channel-rich core and use it in as many ways as possible.

There’s always interest in video, and I’m seeing some companies move to video-first, because of the aforementioned.#ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

And podcasts will remain popular throughout the year.

A4: Podcasts are not slowing down. I am seeing more clients want to be podcast guests, and wanting to explore podcast sponsorships. #ContentChat https://t.co/unrvrhf4Ak

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

I agree with you, I accept to be a guest on a podcast but will not start my own anytime soon, unless I’d transcribe each episode and repurpose it as content across my other channels (but that requires many resources) #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) May 16, 2022

Agreed, though I am seeing fewer clients actually wanting to start their own. They’re seeing the crowded field and backing off. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Agree. Also, I think I scare folks when I walk through my prior show notes and distribution process. Podcasts are a ton of work! #contentchat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Yeah, I’ve scared off a few with my podcast marketing plan, too. I don’t think folks realize they’re creating something else they have to promote. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

I have several clients that are starting a podcast this year. Luckily, they realize it’s a significant investment. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) May 16, 2022

Q5: How are you staying connected with other marketers and agency owners? Are there industry groups, organizations, or online communities that you recommend?

Many local groups and organizations failed to stay together during COVID, but there are still plenty of ways to connect with your peers.

A5: Watching these As!

I let my in-person memberships lapse. The local groups I’d joined never really got it together with virtual meetings during the COVID turmoil. And I don’t want to throw good money after bad in the hopes they can get it together now. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Host marketing meetups at coworking spaces in your community.

A5b: I’m also going to try to be the change I want to see by volunteering to host a profdev for SMBs on a marketing topic at the coworking space I joined last Fall. I need to be around other business people! 🙂 #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

We’re doing something similar for the downtown business coalition in a nearby town. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

Check out #ContentMeetup.

A5a: I’d also say be sure to keep an eye on @dshiao for his #ContentMeetup sessions. So many fantastic people + topics, and lots of opportunities to chat with your peers.

#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) May 16, 2022

Join these great Slack groups for marketing and business topics:

What business Slack groups do you recommend? (This question is open to anyone who sees this) #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) May 16, 2022

Oh! Ok. I’m part of several small private groups and a few larger groups:
–CMO Coffee Talk
–Content Marketing Leaders
–Ladies Get Paid
–CMWorld
–SpinSucks
–Analytics for Marketers
–Women in Revenue #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) May 16, 2022

@OnlineGeniuses is one I prefer for marketing peeps #contentchat

— Abhishek Deshpande (@Fitehal) May 16, 2022

A5: Enjoying Growth Marketing Slack Group https://t.co/ib4PtKVqTK @DemandCurveMark #ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) May 16, 2022

Coordinate in-person coffee meetups to keep in touch with fellow agency owners.

A5: I’m probably failing miserably at this. I engage with a lot of marketers here. I also have one IRL agency owner I have coffee with a few times per year. There’s also a few partners who I speak with. #ContentChat

— John Cloonan | Audacity Marketing (@johncloonan) May 16, 2022

And join Twitter chats, like #ContentChat!

Twitter chats are the best😀 #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) May 16, 2022

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