Improving, One Piece at a Time

Margin is the engine that drives growth. The more money your agency can make for every £ you invest gives you a greater opportunity to invest in your technology, staff, and overall offering. It also means more profit, which will make you a more attractive proposition if you’re looking at an exit.

If you make wholesale changes to the way your agency runs in too short a time it can be destabilising, causing confusion for clients, and affecting staff morale. Even with the best intentions, and the clearest objectives, changing too much too quickly might not deliver the results you expect.

Making Marginal Gains

2023 is the 20th anniversary of England winning the Rugby Union World Cup. Under Clive Woodward, the team adopted an approach of making incremental improvements to all areas of their preparation and play which gave them the edge over competitors. A few years later, David Braillsford and the UK Olympic Cycling team undertook a similar approach, and became the most dominant team in the world over successive Olympics as well as creating the foundation for the Ineos Grenadiers (formally Sky) cycling team.

Making lots of incremental improvements and taking advantage of the marginal gains in performance that they yield has a cumulative effect that can transform a business or organisation.

An Agency Comprises Multiple Systems…

To successfully deliver campaigns for clients means that a typical marketing agency comprises of multiple functional units that need to interface properly for things to work.

Simplifying Complex Systems

A digital agency might have individuals or teams responsible for design, development, content creation, photography, SEO, paid search as well as client services, project management, and office support. Each of these teams will have a subset of systems which run within them, and the processes they follow may differ considerably.

…Which Can All Be Optimised…

Digging deep into the organisational behaviour within a complex system like a digital marketing agency is like opening a can of hyperactive worms. Fast moving chaos that just about manages to stay constrained into a functional unit.

That chaos might seem daunting at first, but as you observe what’s happening, it becomes clear that each of the worms is trying to get somewhere, but needs to crawl through the swirling that surrounds it in order to get there.

By picking through the system, you identify which worm is crawling toward which goal, which worms are getting lost, and which worms are getting in the way, and it’s this understanding that allows you to make things better.

…One At A Time

As you free up each of the struggling worms, and make the path to their goal simpler, they’re able to get to their destination quicker – a marginal gain in performance. With each worm that is freed up, you might also benefit other areas, and make the next improvement more apparent.

These individual small gains become cumulative, and lead to better efficiency, more work getting done, and ultimately better results for clients.

Getting Started

As I said at the beginning, margin is what provides the basis for investment and growth and drives profit. Taking the time to identify where the barriers to efficiency are in your agency and then working to remove them will increase your margins. We can help you start to improve performance and help your agency make more money.