It’s been a busy week here at DSM. We’re honored to be named to the INC 5000 list for 2018 and also love our interview with ROI-NJ. (Check it out here.) All the craziness leading up to these honors has caused a lot of introspection at our agency.
When Darren started DSM in 2007, he did so to do things differently. To put it bluntly, it felt like most of the agencies he worked at were more or less scared of losing their clients. That fear stopped these agencies from being transparent and letting clients know both what worked and what didn’t. He decided to build a marketing agency that would defy this status quo and put the emphasis back on transparency in agency-client relationships. Now, in an age when we’re surrounded by data, we’re seeing a new version of the same old problem (more on that later).
We’re grateful for these awards, not just because they are in recognition of our hard work, but because they’ve provided an opportunity for us to take a step back and reflect on how we got here…and where we’re going. We feel that both of these honors (and the success we’re seeing) are a direct result of our philosophy to do things differently.
“Think Silicon Valley meets Mad Men.
(I would totally watch that show.)“
We’re Old School. And Proud of It.
In this effort to build transparent agency-client relationships, we’ve mixed new-school marketing technologies and capabilities with an old-school approach. Think Silicon Valley meets Mad Men. (I would totally watch that show.)
When we’re talking to prospects who have worked with agencies in the past, we hear the same pain points. They feel inundated by charts and data that they don’t understand. They feel their old agency was too “pie in the sky” and didn’t try to learn the nuts and bolts of their businesses. What’s being lost in these relationships is a genuine understanding of what it will take to help a company grow.
I don’t need to tell you that marketing isn’t a plug-and-play game. What works for one company rarely works for another, and to understand and help a business, you need to hear from their experts. We make it a point to sit down (in pretty intensive sessions) and analyze our clients’ businesses, as well as the people who work there and the customers they serve. From Day One, we make sure that we not only have a solid understanding of a company’s operations, but also what their business objectives are, both short- and long-term, and how we can align with them.
We also make a point to ensure that our clients understand and learn the “why” of everything we do. When we send reports, it isn’t a knowledge dump of a bunch of charts that just go “up and to the right.” We explain what everything means, both in actionable next steps as well as the big picture. We believe transparency in data isn’t about data dumping and showing off what you have. Rather, agencies should help clients understand the ins and outs of every outcome and make sure they’re seeing the right data. By sitting down, closing our laptops and having these conversations, we’ve been able to capitalize on opportunities that would have been overlooked if we were just sending an automated report every month.
If You’re Skimming this Blog, Stop Here. Read This S#!t.
Our mission is not to reinvent how our clients sell. It’s to better enable them to be successful in that endeavor. In order to do that, we have to stay nimble as an agency. A business’s needs change on weekly basis. Shouldn’t your marketing agency be able to adapt to those changes? That’s why the best marketers are business people with an expertise in marketing, not marketers with an expertise in business. Yes, there is a difference. To get better perspective on whether your agency is doing it right, ask yourself the following questions.
- Does my website deliver me legitimate leads? Does it look like it was built 15 years ago by some kid in the garage? (Typically, we see a correlation there.)
- Do I have the data regarding who is on my site, what their journey is like and what messaging, if any, resonates most with them? Am I doing anything with that data?
- Is my “marketing” agency just showing me a bullshit chart that goes up and to the right without any measurable increase in my business?
- Have I ever really seen a commensurate return on my marketing and advertising investments?
- Is my brand an accurate representation of what we do? Does the message we put into the marketplace really tell our story?
The Grand Finale, People.
Despite all of the innovation marketing has seen in the last century, the industry really hasn’t changed all that much. In this “Age of Information,” we’re seeing a growing need for an “Age of Understanding.” Marketing is all about empathy; empathy for your customers, for your employees and for your business (in that order). We’re excited to be named to the Inc. 5000 list and be featured in ROI-NJ, but we’re just getting started.
You could continue working with the standard “data-driven” agency run by a bunch of Fortniters, or you could give us a call and talk shop. At DSM, our stance on marketing is the same stance we have on just about everything else: be empathetic, be genuine and FSUITW (ask us what it means some time).
Enough About Us
We want to hear about you. What’s pissing you off, from a business perspective? What’s holding your business back from reaching the next level? We can’t promise that we’ll solve all your problems, but we can promise you this:
- We’re going to listen. Really.
- We’re not going to recite a menu of one-size-fits-all solutions.
- We’ll be brutally honest about what we can, and can’t, do for you.
- We’re going to change the way you think about marketing agencies.