I’m keen to see a new type of digital agency evolve. A modern model which looks a lot like this:
At the ground level, is the buzz. These are the young social media types that get stuck in to all the conversations and communities surrounding their client. Their role will be to find, learn, participate and produce content on behalf of their client. The client might not have the time or the knowledge to participate, but they can hire people to do it on their behalf, people who know the rules and etiquette of social media.
Above that are the copywriting/SEO/Website gurus. These are the guys responsible for the traffic once it reaches the client’s website. They analyse, optimise and convert. They continually monitor and tweak the copy and web design to increase the conversion ratio of the visitors. They can assess the sources of the traffic and identify to the guys below what isn’t working, what is working, and where they can focus their efforts.
At one step higher are the CRM gods. They are responsible for talking to these customers and involving them more in the activities of the business. They will turn these customers into experts and then evangelists. They help supports these evangelists and assist them to produce their own content. They can effectively become both liaisons and perhaps even consultants on the future efforts/direction of the client’s business.
In time, these evangelists can replace the buzz and the younger social media gurus can move up a level on the client’s account, or switch to another account. Of course, you also have the management, the people responsible for keeping the entire machine well-oiled.
In this model, the agency can charge by results i.e. the actual improvement to the business as opposed to charging by the number of hours spent working on the account.
Perhaps most importantly, you can also improve upon what you do, you can always get more involved, speak to more customers, test/tweak more ideas on the website.