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EPISODE 3 | Getting Agencies Ready for 2022 with Clodagh Higgins

Meet Our Guest:

Agency Coach,

Clodagh Higgins

Clodagh Higgins is an accomplished agency coach with over 25 years of global industry experience. She has worked in major roles with leading platforms like Hubspot and now works directly with agency leaders around the globe, helping them realize

and actualize their businesses’ maximum potential.

She is also the author of one of the most important books in the digital marketing space: A Happy and Healthy Digital Agency. This book is quite literally the definitive manual for running an agency successfully.

When Marcus and Tim first decided to launch AgencyTalk, they knew they had to have Clodagh on as a guest as soon as humanly possible. The overarching theme they discussed was how can agencies truly prepare to make a tangible splash in 2022. Here are some key takeaways from their conversation:

Prefer to Watch Instead of Read? Check Out the Video Here:

Takeaway 1:

Get Ahead of the Latest AI Tools

A popular topic among agency leaders is the role artificial intelligence will play in evolving digital marketing. Is the AI revolution already here? Is it creeping up? Should agencies hit the panic button yet?

As Tim notes in the video, most agency leaders are already using AI without actively realizing it. We all use everyday AI-powered apps like Grammarly and Google. Without them, we couldn’t do our jobs effectively.

So, if AI is already here, how do human-powered agencies remain viable?

As Clodagh suggested, agency leaders have to get hahead of the latest AI tools. Identify 12 major emerging tools and dive deep into one per month. As a result, your team will have greater expertise on them and will be ready to use them if they can help drive performance for a client’s campaign.

If a client finds out about an AI-powered marketing tool before the agency does, this can create a point of friction and uncertainty for the account relationship. The client could decide “this awesome tool can write blogs for us, so we don’t need the agency anymore.” However, when the agency can merge their industry expertise with the most innovative tools the results will always prove superior when it comes down to the reporting and results.

Takeaway 2:

Become the Expert Your Ideal Clients Want to Work With

Every agency should be sharing their team’s knowledge and expertise with ideal potential clients. This not only showcases your competency but also inspires your client’s confidence in deciding to work with you.

How do you build an effective learning center for your ideal clients? Here are some ways to get started:

  • Leverage your blog to provide insightful and contextual articles.

  • Create compelling videos that both show and tell what your client wants to know from you.

  • Start a podcast your clients would want to listen to on their daily commute. If we can start one, you can too!

  • Turn social media into an engaging virtual classroom for your ideal client personas.

Context is Everything with Your Learning Center

As Clodagh points out during her talk with Tim and Marcus, an agency needs to match their learning center’s content with the proper context. Two simple ways to accomplish this are by speaking to pain points in your ideal clients’ industries and by matching your tone and style to your target geographies and cultures.

Takeaway 3:

Build Confidence in Your Communication

In the agency industry, we love to make our clients happy. It’s what pays the leases for our office spaces. However, when the focus is getting the client to like you more than driving results for their business, this becomes an unsustainable strategy.

Make it your mission to unify the internal and external communications in your agency this new year. Know when to say “no” respectfully and build confidence in your team.

Agency-Talker Tips for Confident Communication

  • Understand the why behind your agency and filter that through your team and then to your clients

  • Pursue like minded clients that share your business interests and values

  • Role Play communication scenarios to help your team prepare for unexpected or uncomfortable conversations with clients

  • Unify your agency’s communication processes from sales to operations

  • When you say “yes” to something beyond scope, be transparent in how it might affect hours and budget requirements

  • Take care of yourself outside of work - eat well, sleep an appropriate amount of hours, and manage your time more effectively.

Takeaway 4:

Hire Intelligently

Hiring has never been more difficult, stressful, and important all at the same time. While we may want to rush to fill a void on the team roster, patience can pay off exponentially when you wait for a spectacular candidate to fill that seat. Simply put: spectacular people want to work with other spectacular people.

How do you find those people, though? It starts by understanding your agency’s identity, values, and mission. From there, hire proactively. It’s often far too late to hire someone when you need them. Hiring wrong people over and over again will cost agencies money and morale.

The One Big Thing:

Take Some Time to Remind Yourself Why You Do What You Do as an Agency Leader

At the end of their discussion, Tim and Marcus asked Clodagh what’s one big step an agency leader can take after listening to this podcast. Clodagh’s response?

Take a paper and pen, get out of the office, and ponder why you do what you do.

When we’re caught up in the constant hurricanes of client work, losing sight of the big picture becomes more than possible. We focus on the minutiae and the forest is easily missed for a few trees.

Think about why you started your agency, what your big-picture goals are for your team, and prepare to share those with the people you’re leading. Tell your team why you’re working with them and they’re working with each other.

Looking for more great insights for agency leaders? Check out the rest of the AgencyTalk Library here or tune back in soon for our next episode!


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