I’ve worked with my fair share of marketing agencies in the past few years. Some I don’t work with anymore due to a whole host of reasons, but most I still do.

When it comes to inbound marketing, there are a few distinct categories that marketing agencies fall into.

The Bucket to Be In

These are agencies that get inbound marketing; they understand what it takes to truly practice inbound and how to share that experience with their clients. They have plans in place for content generation, whether that’s regular blog posts or good-looking downloadable content for various stages of the buyer’s journey. They are constantly poised to do well and win business from good clients because they look for the right traits in their prospects— mainly that they have a motivation to learn, adapt quickly, and consistently improve.

Obviously, I prefer to work with these kinds of agencies. They bring me clients who have a good handle on their goals, the scope of the work, and are invested in the process to see project success.

Where Most Agencies Are

Most of the agencies I’ve worked with think they understand inbound marketing, and they try to do it; however, because of a lack of time, budget, or know-how, they just don’t quite get there. They have a blog but don’t post regularly, or they have some content to download but it’s not quite right for the viewer or not great looking.

They still have success because they can sell inbound marketing and know enough to be experts, but their clients may eventually frustrate them with a lack of buy-in into their process.

The Rest

The rest of the marketing agencies out there are the ones that either know about inbound and don’t see the value in it, or are focused on more outbound and PR ventures. Their clients are generally larger and/or local and haven’t caught on to the inbound movement yet. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this bucket decreasing in numbers as either they get onboard with inbound or go out of business.

How to Change Buckets

The issue any marketing agency has is not what bucket their in, but how to change buckets and get to the one to be in. To do this takes humility and vulnerability (something I’m reading a lot about recently) and accepting that they don’t know everything and not every client is a good one.

Marketing agencies have to accept that they don’t know everything and not every client is a good one.

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Changing mindset is a priority over process, but changing process is still a vital element. Getting everyone in the agency onboard is important, too.

One of the things I absolutely love to do is talk shop with fellow designers, marketers, agency owners or anyone else in the service industry. How do we build our businesses to attract the clients we actually want to work with?

If this sounds like an interesting discussion, get in touch, I’d love to chat with you about it.