It’s never been easy to run a small business.
Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year of beginning operations. Worse still, by the end of their fifth year, roughly 50 percent have faltered and, after 10 years, only a third survive.
Marketing mishaps -- where business owners often fail to prepare for the marketing needs of a company in terms of capital required, prospect reach, and accurate conversion-ratio projections -- is among the four most common reasons why small businesses fail, according to Investopedia.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the global COVID-19 pandemic that’s closing business doors everywhere.
Vendasta Vice President of Revenue, Neal Romanchych, says he believes COVID-19 puts a lot of pressure on businesses to adapt and transform to how customers transact online.
Right now, there's a lot of pressure on the retail world to survive and thrive. And if they want to do so they have to transition to doing business online. Digital marketing agencies can help these businesses get online and thrive at the same time.
Managing online reputation and building robust ecommerce for online transactions are more important than ever. And businesses need help. They’re looking to trusted experts like digital marketing agencies that can help them with the right software products and services.
But, these agencies have their own share of challenges to deal with as they themselves look to transform and be better equipped to support their customers.
Challenges that digital marketing agencies face
Many digital marketing agencies struggle with the following:
1. Supporting the move to online
According to a McKinsey global survey, in just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business.
Companies have accelerated by three to four years the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and internal operations. McKinsey adds that today’s consumers have made a dramatic move to online channels.
To be where their customers are, businesses likewise must move to build out their online services and solutions, and establish an ecommerce presence.
Digital marketing agencies may need help if they don’t have the relevant solutions and services to help their small business customers move quickly to online.
2. Vendor clutter
Vendor clutter -- the need to manage multiple vendor contracts, subscriptions, and solution passwords -- makes business life difficult and complex for many agencies.
Vendasta Chief Executive Officer, Brendan King, says he believes it is among the biggest challenges that digital marketing agencies face today.
There are approximately 8,000 marketing technology tools available and, with so many choices, finding the right solutions can be an overwhelming experience for agencies.
The answer may be to streamline vendor management through a single and robust end-to-end ecommerce platform.
3. Building brand awareness
Digital marketing agencies run the risk of losing important brand awareness and cachet when using named third-party digital solutions to serve their business customers.
In such cases, the third party stands to gain the branding benefits rather than your agency.
Ideally, you want to be serving customers through your own branded products and services so that they see you as the expert -- especially if you’ve worked hard to earn their confidence and trust.
“White-labeling” from third parties means your agency can put its brand behind proven solutions and services, and present these as your own.
4. Failure to keep things simple
According to Vendasta Chief Customer Officer George Leith, digital marketing agencies often fail to keep things simple in terms of providing solutions to their customers.
There is so much that agencies can do because of the new marketing tools that come out all the time, but the best agencies and the ones that enjoy the most success are those that have simple and clear-defined goals and processes to service customers.
New marketing tools are being created all the time. However, agencies may be overwhelmed by a multitude of newer ways to solve existing customer problems and, as a result, run the risk of using the wrong solutions if they’re experimenting too much.
Leith recommends agencies should look for simple and clearly-defined solutions.
They should stick with the things that have worked for them in the past, based on data, instead of experimenting with new and less-trusted solutions, he says.
5. Training and knowledge
“Gaining knowledge about the latest business and marketing concepts is a huge problem for digital marketing agencies,” King says.
Agencies need to stay current with the latest trends and insights related to business concepts including sales, marketing, advertising, and ecommerce. And they need to be trained on the solutions they use to serve their small business customers.
However, agencies, especially those that are smaller, often struggle to find the time needed to stay up-to-date with constant market changes in business and technology.
Training often gets relegated to a secondary consideration as limited resources make it difficult to offload responsibilities and many agencies run so lean that staff spend most of their time involved in day-to-day operations.
6. Fulfillment challenges
Once things scale for a small digital marketing agency, it can be challenging to drive success if they don’t have enough employees to fulfill their customers’ needs.
The reasons could include a lack of finances to hire employees or the unavailability of the right skillset. In such scenarios, most agencies look towards outsourcing the extra workload.
Small agencies can fulfill their customer needs by outsourcing work to a white-label company and serving them under their own brand -- avoiding the need to hire and train additional staff.
How can Vendasta help digital marketing agencies
Vendasta can help digital marketing agencies win with their customers.
Vendasta gives digital marketing agencies a platform that allows them to scale. We provide them not only with solutions to sell, but also the knowledge and training about how to get the best out of those solutions. Finally, we can even step in and help them fulfill those services for their customers, if needed.
Through the Vendasta Marketplace, agencies can access more than 200 re-sellable digital products to sell under their own brand and can choose solutions needed to serve their niche markets and specialized customers.
Vendasta’s white-label products mean agencies don't need to build or invent the tools themselves. Plus they can add a wide range of white-label marketing services delivered by Vendasta to their customers, without needing to hire and train new employees.
Vendasta also helps eliminate vendor clutter plus streamline business operations by managing all services through a single end-to-end commerce platform. Market, sell, and fulfill through one connected platform.
And finally, Vendasta Conquer Local Academy is a resource to help agencies stay up-to-date on trends and gain the knowledge to become digital marketing experts.