Last week, AgencySparks’ CEO, Joe Koufman, went on the biz1190’s Dana Barrett show, to talk about AgencySparks’ business goals for 2017 and the upcoming changes to the company’s business model.

Joe Koufman begins the interview with a little background on the history of AgencySparks. He started AgencySparks back in 2014 after he left his business development role at a large agency holding company. At that point, he knew that he wanted to start his own company, but did not want to start a marketing agency. He decided to form his business model around making connections, something about which he has always been passionate. 

Over the past three years, the AgencySparks team has made countless connections between marketers and specialist marketing agencies. As each new introduction is made, new insights about what works when it comes to the agency-client relationship rise to the surface. With these insights in mind, the AgencySparks team has worked on the evolution of the business model over the past few months.

AgencySparks has traditionally limited the amount of agency partners to one specialist agency in each category. While this business model has served agencies and clients well, it has not been without faults: 

  • Client-side challenges: Sometimes, clients approach AgencySparks asking for multiple agency recommendations in a particular discipline. Other times, client-side marketers place agency partners in an existing pool of agencies. To this point, Dana remarked, “As somebody who has had to select vendors over the years, you really do want to be able to compare. The one you recommend might be amazing but there could be a personality conflict.”
  • Agency-side challenges: AgencySparks has always proclaimed itself as a “dating service for clients and agencies.” But just like eHarmony cannot guarantee a kiss at the end of the first date, AgencySparks cannot guarantee that an introduction will result in closed business.

Joe Koufman: “You go into business thinking that it’s going to be about one thing… your customer tells you where you need to go. You just have to be open to listening.”

Click-to-Tweet: "Your customer tells you where you need to go. You just have to be open to listening." @GumboShowJoe

Armed with these insights, AgencySparks decided to shift its focus and address both challenges by including multiple agencies in each specialist category. This way, AgencySparks can take on a more consultative role when a client-side marketer reaches out for help, while reinforcing the initial goal of AgencySparks: to make connections.

AgencySparks intends to gradually implement this shift, ensuring category exclusivity for those agencies with a long-standing relationship. 

Additionally, AgencySparks will be launching a web training series designed to help marketing agencies improve their business development process. “The reality is, agencies are so focused on doing great marketing work for their clients, that they often put themselves last on the list… If you really want to be good at business development from an agency perspective, there are certain things you should do,” said Joe as they wrapped up the interview.

Thanks again to Dana Barrett for hosting AgencySparks on your show!

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