A research by Krataion Consulting

Research description

Digital marketing agencies face multiple challenges at a global level that require a strategic approach, innovation and flexibility to adapt and respond to ever-changing conditions. The dynamism of the environment, the constant changes and the growing demand for services related to digital marketing, as well as the high rate of staff turnover, the difficulty in finding qualified staff and the strong penetration of automation technologies are some of the main challenges they face. In addition, competition is constantly intensifying, which makes it even more necessary for digital agencies to define their identity in relation to the role and the services provided in order to maintain their competitiveness.

The Main Internal Operational Challenges of Digital Agencies in Greece

In order to identify the challenges faced by Greek digital agencies in order for them to develop sustainably and efficiently, Krataion Consulting, having many years of experience in the digital ecosystem and in supporting digital agencies in matters of administration, internal organization and change management, carried out a quantitative survey in approx. 330 employees of digital agencies from different departments and with different work experience, in Greece and Cyprus. The research was based on 3 main pillars:

  1. Structure and procedures of internal operation,
  2. Customer management and experience, and
  3. Attracting and retaining talent

Analysis of main findings

The 5 strongest elements of digital marketing agencies according to employees:

  • Support among colleagues: the good atmosphere and working relationships characterised by friendliness and cooperation are elements that employees can rely on and cultivate their company culture.
  • The ease of cooperation of the clients with the agency which stems from the availability and immediate response to their questions.
  • Employees’ sense that their role meets their expectations and capabilities: Regardless of their performance in the role, employees express satisfaction with the nature and match of their skills to the role, but are not sufficiently sure about the responsibilities and the results they should bring.
  • Trust that the CEO has a clear vision of the direction of the company: The respect and trust of employees towards the CEO is a major finding of this research, highlighting at the same time the responsibility but also the opportunity arising from the exercise of a modern, human-centered and inclusive leadership model.
  • The personal relationship and interest that develops between supervisor and subordinate: interpersonal relationships remain among the most powerful factors in the employee experience and improve the corporate environment, regardless of whether the company takes organised actions for the “well-being” of employees.

The 5 most basic challenges of Greek digital marketing agencies regarding employees:

  • Absence of an organized training and professional development plan: The procedures related to the further training of personnel and the connection of the development of the employees with the company’s goals seem to be lagging behind. In most cases, fragmented training efforts are made that do not cover all employees and there is a lack of managers who can organize a systematic training.
  • Absence of a talent attraction plan to enhance the company’s image and USPs: One of the biggest weaknesses in the ecosystem lies in finding talent. With an abundance of potential employers in digital marketing and at the same time a shortage of a suitable workforce, it is important that digital marketing agencies take care of how they position themselves in the future employee market.
  • Absence or non-systematic implementation of a mechanism for receiving feedback from customers: The basis of customer centricity lies in having procedures to listen to the opinion of customers in order to understand what their problems are and what they really need so that these elements are taken into account in the designing products, services and experiences that create WOW experiences.
  • Absence of corporate goals and lack of employee involvement in the formulation of corporate strategy: A practice that is not utilized efficiently at all by the majority of digital marketing agencies is the alignment of the team around the direction of the company and their participation in the formulation of corporate goals (planning & retrospective meetings).
  • Internal communication (routines in the way of communication, tools) are thought of as inefficient: In particular, they do not help timely flow of information, exchange of meaningful feedback between employees and their involvement in important decisions of the company. The routines and tools on which internal communication is built need to be a priority for digital marketing agencies, both for better absorption and knowledge management and for a more meaningful and faster flow of information within the organization.

Proposals for improving  the way of internal operations and organization 

More than 76% of the respondents state that they are positively related to the operation of the company they work for. Specifically, they argue that their companies are on the right track and are made up of talented employees. However, it is clear to them that improvements are needed in terms of internal coordination, organization and communication. Combining the experience and expertise of Krataion Consulting in the field of digital marketing companies as well as the findings of the specific research, we propose the following 4 actions:

  • Start with your purpose and values: Discover and highlight the unique purpose of the company and capture the values ​​that govern the way it operates. The purpose and values ​​can be the compass in the way the company is managed by the General Manager. Specifically, they can be a factor in hiring or firing employees, a reward criterion and, of course, decision-making regarding the course of the organization.
  • Systematically measure the customer experience and the degree of satisfaction they receive from your services: Determine what are the characteristics of the experience you want to provide and systematically measure through questionnaires or interviews with your customers. Schedule a meeting with the client at the end of each project. It’s important to listen to your customers and make improvements based on their feedback.
  • Employee at the center: Make shaping and optimizing the experience and well-being of the company’s employees high on the management team’s priorities. Start by listening to the opinion and needs of employees, prioritize the most important ones and take action together with your employees. At the end of the day effective change happens with the people, not to the people.
  • Redefine internal communication: We live in an age where the challenge has shifted from finding information to validating it, organizing it and disseminating it effectively. There are plenty of tools to take advantage of. However, it is important to ensure the basics. First, make clear to the employees what they are working for and what they need to achieve. In addition, make sure they are able to find the needed information to complete their work and that they have a safe environment and corresponding “routines” so that they can express their opinion and ideas freely.

It is normal for every organization, every team and every person to evolve, therefore to change. Digital marketing agencies are part of this ever-changing ecosystem. Especially nowadays, with uncertainty and constant crises of all kinds, an organization’s ability to change, adapt and evolve increases its resilience. Success in implementing a change takes time and depends on many factors. However, “the beginning is half the battle” and this research attempts to provide stimuli and suggestions for steps that will strengthen the efforts of companies to develop sustainably and efficiently in the digital economy.

See the related research infographic here!