I have been working with small, medium digital agencies in US for the last 10 years now and I have broadly classified the agencies in 3 categories.
- Small Agency with superstar marketer as the leader- team size 1 to 5 ( other people doing development , SEO , Social media , or account management)
- Small agency with Sales superstar – team size 1-20 ( rest as above)
- Midsize agency typically a partnership – team size 10-50 ( separate sales teams , account management teams , creative , SEO , development and content teams + have some big ticket brand as their major pillar )
The 4th category is the big wigs 50-500+ people Digital agencies which I am not touching upon in this blog post. (names like IProspect , Razorfish , MediaWhiz, and so on)
In the first 3 categories of agencies that I mentioned above – have always felt there is a huge scope of business growth , not just from acquiring new clients , setting up global teams all over the world but also maturing their own processes and creating a vision of who they really are as a company.
Some of them do really good work and have very sharp focus. However, the downside is none of these agencies are thinking Global or expanding beyond US shores in search of clients, partnerships or business ventures. Some of them do have production or development or SEO teams outside the US ( in countries like Russia , Philippines , India , Ukraine , Romania , Brazil or use online marketplaces for finding talent which again comes from these countries)
However all of these agencies have work , portfolio , case studies , knowledge which if applied in the right way can get them 5x customers just on the strength of them reaching out and thinking expansion beyond their cities , states or even country.
I have also observed that a lot of these agencies shut shop since the partners move away in separate directions or merge into someone other bigger entity. Basically, the original entity didn’t set for itself a bold and big enough AIM and VISION to last the mile.
However stories of small becoming BIG are far and thin !!
Lets look at the big boys in Media, Agencies and look at the Digital family trees of the Top 6 on AdAge Digital Agency Family trees.
Top guns like WPP , Dentsu , Havas , EuroRSCG , Aegis group , Inter republic, Omnicom , Publicis - all have offices , joint venture companies , new brand extension or sub divisions in all growth oriented countries like China , India , Brazil , South Africa , Russia and so on.
They are continuously gobbling up agencies who are in the local countries and if they have a multinational foot print – even better.
Agencies focused on industries , services – even better targets !!
Look at the search engines and social media giants – Google , Yahoo! , Facebook , Twitter, Linked In – all have global office , country specific portals , engines for all these countries and in fact more.
The reason they have millions and billions of dollars’ worth of valuation and money to invest – NO!!
The reason is simple…they are thinking SCALE. They know if they have global presence they will have economies of scale working to their advantage.
They could tap into a customer in Brazil who wants to expand into US and get 2 accounts at the cost of sales of one and vice versa.
None of these BIG companies opened 10 office at once , they opened them 1 year at a time but slowly grew a network which now spans multiple continents , countries.
So this year, here is a quick tip on taking your business global and expanding horizons.
- Identify global opportunities with your customer base and ask them in meetings if they are looking to go global. Where are they setting up office? How can you get involved in their marketing efforts? Is there someone from your extended production ( offshore teams who can bring local knowledge and value in their multi national campaign ?? )
- Read global search engine marketing and social media trends
- Learn a new language or travel to an international location this year ( mix pleasure with business !! )
- Make friends with people at conferences from all over the world. You never know a potential Joint venture partner might be there ( chances of meet multicultural people is the highest at SMX , SES , Pubcon , Ad Tech and such conferences) . All of them happen in US and all of them attract audiences from all over the world.
- Talk to industry peers who already have office in another country and learn from their experience.
- If you have a development partner who you have been working with for years – understand from them their motivations and ambitions for their business. Try to read if there are synergies there?
Lastly remember – local, state level , country level , international – all these destinations start with you !!
Thanks in our next edition we will take some examples of agencies who expanded their horizons from small local players to now multinational players.
Mohit Maheshwari is partner at NEW MEDIA GURU (NMG). He bootstrapped his company from his brothers apartment in London and now runs a digital production center in New Delhi , India with clients and agency partners all over the US and UK. He also consults agencies in US and UK in setting up global offices and teams for various web development and internet marketing related functions like SEO , SEM , PHP / Open source , .net and mobile development.