One of the things that has really helped us to set our agency apart is our unique business model. It is turning into a boon for our agency time and time again.
Our agency is a virtual advertising agency. Basically, what that means is that everyone who works for us works from home. That translates into lower overhead for our clients and a lower hourly cost to our clients. It also means a more focused utilization of our clients’ marketing dollars since we don’t have to pay for receptionists, building rent, fancy conference rooms, furniture, office equipment, etc.
Why virtual, you ask? It’s funny, but after years of working at larger, full service advertising agencies and managing some of the agencies’ larger accounts, I realized that many of my longtime clients had never even set foot in the agency. I even had a client with whom I worked overseas for years and the two of us had a fabulous working relationship–even though we never met!
So, who needs an office!? Between the power of the Internet and just picking up the telephone now and again, there was really no need. Unless it was just to keep tabs on everybody and make certain that they are doing their work. But I realized that, if you work only with self starter-types who are experienced with managing their time and who feel accountable for themselves and making certain they produce the best possible work, you don’t need to manage someone in person. They can manage themselves as long as they meet their deadlines.
As much as I love having face time with the people I’m working with, you can just as easily pick up the phone and call someone to chat as to walk into their office to chew the fat. And when face-to-face brainstormings are needed, there are plenty of coffee shops stocked with caffeine and sugar laden goodies that serve as awesome conference rooms for creative types.
With much less water cooler gossiping and more concentrated, less interrupted computer time, I find that we are more productive and produce a better end product. That also means a faster turn time and better strategy and creative for our clients, which they love. Go figure!
The other nice thing, that I’m seeing is really helping us to win business, is our ability to piece together work teams to meet the needs of our clients rather than just staffing teams based upon who has the bandwidth that is already on-staff. Since we don’t have any full-time employees, we can matchmake a powerhouse team based upon their experience. For example, we just won the Fredericksburg CVB account partly because we were able to build a team to work on their account with an average of 15+ years of tourism expertise and experience. They were truly impressed!
The current economic situation has also helped us tremendously. Marketing and advertising dollars are often the first place that companies look to trim their spending when the going gets tough. Needless to say, moving to an agency that is full service like a larger agency but has lower overhead, lower costs, straight-laced billing (no confusing line items and unexpected charges due to larger agency administrative and overhead expenses), more experienced teams with outstanding creative product is pretty much a no brainer! Or at least many of our current clients find that it is!
So that’s the scoop on a virtual advertising agency. Not that other industries couldn’t operate as effectively on a virtual platform. Do you know of another successful virtual company? Do tell!
For more information on virtual advertising agencies, I recommend this great article.