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A new ebook by web design and development platform Wix looks at the changing role of digital marketing agencies, challenges they face, and how they’ll be impacted by digital marketing trends.
In October 2018, Wix met with a group of digital agencies to discuss the current state of the industry, assess some of the challenges that agencies face, review opportunities for growth, and reveal exciting new trends.
Content produced in collaboration with Wix.
Increased competition among top challenges for digital marketing agencies
The Wix agency panel was asked what they consider to be their biggest upcoming challenge. The overwhelming response was increasing competition, with 50% of agencies indicating this was an issue. Other challenges stated include adapting to new technology, hiring/retaining the right people, and increasing regulation/stricter privacy standards.
And some good news—of the agencies who participated, all of them provide website creation as a main service offering and do not foresee demand for this service diminishing.
With competition high on the list of upcoming challenges, Wix stresses the importance of focusing on local markets as an outlet for agency growth.
“We predict that the appeal of globally-offered services will continue to diminish, precipitating the resurgence of the local agency.”
To leverage this trend, Wix recommends that agencies focus on their immediate surroundings and foster relationships with local businesses.
The changing face of competition
One of the challenges highlighted in the report is the emergence of clients as competitors. Increasingly, clients are performing digital marketing tasks in house, a trend facilitated by the emergency of DIY ad platforms such as Google and Facebook Ads.
Now more than ever, agencies must prove their worth to clients who may not see the value in outsourcing a service they feel they can do in house.
One way agencies can stand out and offer value is in how they position themselves. Are you a generalist or a specialist? Are you global or local?
Per the Wix report:
“We predict that over the next few years, agencies will have to better define their role in the client’s journey towards success, choosing between a generalist or specialist approach and deciding whether to position themselves as global or local.”
Digital marketing agencies as educators
Wix recommends that agencies take a proactive approach to presenting their value as strategists, not just vendors hired to execute a specific task or service.
Agencies can do this by educating clients on the value of creating a sound digital marketing strategy, something they’re uniquely positioned to do well because of the breadth of experience they have in the industry.
To this end, Wix predicts that agencies have a clear approach to defining their key selling point. In some cases, this may be to focus on one or two specific services such as SEO or content marketing and in others, a more holistic approach may make sense. Either way, it’s the agency’s job to communicate how they are uniquely qualified to deliver the services they’re selling.
Wix also predicts that taking a local, rather than global, approach to agency identity can be particularly beneficial when trying to differentiate yourself.
Opportunities for growth
The agency participants in the Wix study listed the top growth opportunity as “offering higher-end design” followed by offering additional marketing services.
Agencies that can offer an integrated approach to digital marketing demonstrate real value to clients who may be overwhelmed with the many moving parts involved with launching a successful digital campaign.
Wix recommends that agencies position themselves as business solutions providers rather than focusing on purely on digital services. This stance enables agencies to charge more for higher-end design because it offers more value to the client in the long run.
Agencies as trend identifiers
Agencies have a responsibility to stay on top of digital trends so they can offer strategies that are both emotionally appealing and cutting edge.
Currently the top digital trends in marketing include website development, SEO, and social media marketing, but there is diminished demand for Email marketing and app creation.
Trends come and go, so it’s important for agencies to stay abreast of new and emerging trends constantly, a challenge that can be difficult considering the fast pace of change in this industry. Technology trends that are currently driving digital marketing growth include zero-code web development, virtual/augmented reality, voice-activated systems, AI and IoT (Internet of Things).
For more information about how your agency can navigate upcoming challenges and find continued growth and success, download Wix’s ebook “Digital Agencies in 2020: A Glimpse into the Future.”