Clients depend first and foremost on execution, and that requires a strong team. But how do you attract and retain such a team? Our gang of passionate “PZ’ers” are here — instead of somewhere else — because they wanted to work for a place that is really about expertise in this particular field. This being their chosen field, it wasn’t good enough to work for an agency that was all about “get them in the door, then figure out how to do the work later.”
The agency that is just a pretty-looking wrapper isn’t doing the client any favors.
To retain the best, it helps to have leadership that believes passionately in the transformative role of technology like search and keyword advertising. Leadership that has published leading books in the field and consulted with the best minds in the business on how to program conferences like SES in evolving trends in organic, paid, analytics, social, and how user experiences intersect with business results online. Leaders who have the ear of companies like Google and Microsoft. Leadership that is grateful for the opportunity to work in this field, but also willing to speak up in trade publications like ClickZ when companies like Google are playing magic tricks on unsuspecting advertisers (see: Match Type Mayhem: Did Google Just Exit the High Road?).
Seth Godin once wrote, in an essay about what’s wrong with most SEO providers: “Andrew Goodman is good.” We didn’t really offer SEO at the time; mostly PPC. Regardless, we’re still blushing.
You don’t need that kind of team every day. What you mainly need is for a highly accomplished team to deliver on project requirements. But every so often, you want to turn to your agency and ask: I heard so-and-so. Is it true?
Our clients can think for themselves. But when they tap the agency’s expertise, they’d like to think they’re asking a leading expert (a) who might actually know the real answer; (b) knows other people with the same level of expertise; (c) will tell the truth.