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Olga Andrienko

Pizza Time with Aussie Marketing Agencies: How to Build an Effective Team and Deal with Clients

Olga Andrienko
Pizza Time with Aussie Marketing Agencies: How to Build an Effective Team and Deal with Clients

This Thursday we hosted the second edition of Melbourne Pizza Time, an online event for Australian marketers. We held this event because we do not currently have a presence in Australia and we’d really like to, plus we wanted to connect with some Australian experts in person.  We decided that the best way to do this was to have some pizza together while chatting about the online marketing world.

This time we discussed how to build a perfect team as well as how to effectively manage client-agency relationships. Here’s some takeaways from our amazing Australian experts.


What are some essential roles in any effective team?

David Jenyns: I think content creation plays a really important role. Because you can’t have an SEO strategy unless you have a content strategy—they go hand in hand. Content is like the starting blocks for a lot of the work that we do. And most businesses consistently struggle with writing content, so you need to have someone who takes ownership of creating it and then syndicating it across the Web. So I think that a content creator is one of the most important roles in a marketing team. And I believe that it has to be an in-house person, because if you hire ghostwriters and other outside providers, they often won't understand your business’ message.

Jacquie Baker: Campaign architects are truly important to the success of your campaign. It is essential to ensure that someone is looking at the whole picture, that someone is making sure that your whole campaign accomplishes the big goals that are really important.  Because if it seems that you're doing a good job, but your end-result is still not achieved, that means your whole campaign was not optimized.

Is it better to have in-house specialists or to work with an agency?

Hunter Boyle: An in-house employee has another level of business knowledge. A big part of that is that they have access to all of your business’ history – not just your analytics, but also your campaign history, knowledge of your future plans and other things that an agency wouldn’t always know about. On the other hand, when you are constantly in your in-house environment, you sometimes get so close to the product, that you don’t always see the nuances that would really matter to customers, or that would be great to feature in content.

David Jenyns: Because we are in an online space, everything's moving and changing so quickly, and it's very difficult to focus on your business and at the same time to be aware of everything. So it makes sense to work with someone who is on that 24/7 and who can bring that knowledge in. So I think it’s best to have a perfect combination of an in-house team that works with an outside provider if you want to see optimal results.

How can you educate your clients?

Jim Stewart: One of the things we've done over the last couple of years is to set 39-day goals for our clients. That way, during this period they understand exactly what we're working on and what results we are expecting. It’s all about being transparent for the client.

David Jenyns: I think that very often managing expectations comes down to what metrics the client is focusing on. Do not let them focus on things like “how many backlinks you're gonna build me,” and “how many first page results you're gonna get me,”—these are pretty poor metrics. And you can talk to them and help them to understand why these are poor metrics – because not all links are created equal, and you'd prefer one good-quality link over thousands of low-quality links, and so on.

Ask them what they are looking for, what metric they’re going to use to judge the success or failure of this campaign. And once you understand that, make sure that they're looking at the right things, and explain what the right metrics are.

Hunter Boyle: Another thing is that most clients constantly struggle with analytics, with going beyond the numbers. I feel like one of the biggest things that you can do is to explain what these numbers really mean for their bottom line, for their process, and for customer relationships. Curiosity is really important for the in-house side – it’s not about just getting the numbers and saying, “Yeah, it sounds good,” but it’s also about asking questions and making sure we’re putting more than just numbers in our reports.

What should you do if your client’s goals are met and the campaign is over, but they’re still not really happy with the results?

Hunter Boyle: One of the biggest things to keep an eye on here is just to celebrate your success when you have it. If you have, for example, created some type of conversion optimization project or something that has pushed your organization and your team into the direction that you haven't gone before – even you didn't get a 300 percent revenue increase, if you got only 70 percent or even if you got a bit of a loss – take time to appreciate the fact that you've done something that a lot of companies still have not done. They haven’t taken that risk; they haven’t gone out on that ledge. Nothing is perfect and very few things are going to go exactly as you planned, so figuring out the best ways to carry on from there is one of the best things that you can do.  

Stay tuned for the next SEMrush Pizza party! We'll announce the dates of our upcoming online event very soon.

Olga Andrienko is the Head of Social Media at SEMrush. Olga specializes in conversion and relationship marketing and has increased SEMrush social engagement by 400% in one year together with her team.

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