Evolution Is Essential

A successful business can’t settle for the status quo.

Starting and running Agile Marketing Collective, a marketing firm here in Roanoke, VA, has been an incredibly fulfilling and challenging adventure. But as a business owner or leader, do you find it tempting to settle for the status quo? Does it seem enticing to forgo innovation, lock down a system, and just coast? I feel strongly that evolution is essential for the growing, productive business, and Agile has undergone some major customer-oriented-changes in the last couple of years.

How do you define evolution?

I define evolution as the ability to observe and adapt. It is a willingness to innovate. We’ve been on a two-year journey to intentionally ponder lessons learned and consider how to evolve our marketing firm. And as an agency, we’ve taken some pretty drastic steps, changed our business model, and dedicated resources to those changes.

Here are a few of the changes we’ve made.

Though no business will ever be perfect or run at maximum efficiency, it is important to put the next brick in the wall…to do the next thing. Here are some of the changes we’ve made in the past two years:

1

We love WordPress, at least now we do. When I first studied web design at West Point, WordPress was a clunky, nearly-unusable platform that required technical expertise to produce lackluster results. Business owners shuddered at the name “WordPress.” Because of these factors, Agile has historically favored platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, and Magento. But WordPress continued to innovate in the background, and article after article detailed the vast improvements of the WordPress platform. The new WordPress finally launched in 2018, and we went to work testing every single aspect of the new version.

Timelines are the name-of-the-game in website development. “When will my site be up?” is a common and extremely reasonable question when beginning a project. Our team explored the new WordPress (and were blown away), found an incredible page builder that allows our clients to edit their websites even easier than a Squarespace website (with no coding required), and has cut our website launch times in half. In half…in…half. Half. Plus, WordPress integrates with WooCommerce for an infinitely scalable e-commerce solution. We still use and love Squarespace, Shopify, and Magento for certain situations, but we are offering even better service and outcomes for our clients with increased tools in our belts.

2

Running a marketing firm is equal parts technical marketing and project management. You can be the most creative and innovative marketer on the planet, but if you can’t manage a project, you’ll never get your client to the finish line. Creating a scope – defining everything that is included in a project – is one of the most essential project management skills out there.

That is why we’ve worked to define every step of each project, discuss those steps with potential clients, answer questions and gather feedback and insights, provide guaranteed pricing (as long as the scope doesn’t change), and check off those steps along the way. Each client of ours now has their own secure dashboard that is available 24/7 where they can see the status of their project, download invoices and receipts, raise support tickets, update their account info, and much more. This brand new site (which you are on right now – welcome), has allowed us to integrate this dashboard so you have only one stop to access every bit of information you’ll ever need.

3

Customer service isn’t an addition to what we do here at Agile Marketing Collective. Customer service is the core of what we do, and marketing is just a part of that service. Our team is ready to answer a call or email any time of the day. We’ve begun scheduling additional time in our calendars to meet with clients, call and check-in even if there isn’t something we need, and keep a steady amount of healthy communication going during each project.

This steady communication helps us identify possible issues, gather really helpful and insightful thoughts from our clients, and accelerate project timelines. Our intentional shift to being customer service folks (that also market) has had a big impact on our business and the businesses of our clients.

4

Over the years, our team has noticed the incredible confusion and frustration clients experience with their hosting companies. Hosting, in case you don’t know, is housing your website files on a server so they can be accessed via the internet. We’ve helped clients with their hosting companies, called them to discuss technical details, and tracked down usernames and passwords. But when we switched over to WordPress, we also did the same extensive research on the fastest and most reliable hosting companies out there.

We created WordPress websites with over ten hosting companies and tested site load speed, site uptime, security (we have a background in white-hat hacking), and other nerdy, technical features offered by hosting companies. One company stood head-and-shoulders above the rest. So we approached them, purchased a ton of space on their servers, and we started our own hosting company as a branch of Agile Marketing Collective. That means our clients can leave their tech worries behind, host their site on our blazing-fast servers, and we see to every tiny detail. There are nightly security checks, nightly site backups (with one-click restore), and WordPress and plug-in updates available as well. Plus, our hosting is about the same price as GoDaddy (and their hosting is massively slower).

We’re going to keep evolving.

Evolution is most effective when it is a continual, ongoing process. Our goal is to constantly and meaningfully enhance the client experience for each and every business we work with.

Nice to meet you.

We are excited you are here, and we’d like to hear more about your project. And don’t worry, we don’t pressure anyone. But if you aren’t ready to reach out quite yet, then please take a minute to learn a bit about Agile!

See our work.

Check out our portfolio. Our work is simply a reflection of our incredible clients. Their stories, passion, and accomplishments are the star of the show, and they get the credit.

Schedule a call.

Sometimes a quick call can clear up your questions, point you in the right direction, and give you a clear path to move forward. We’d like to hear about your project, and we’re never, ever pushy.

We have nice clients.

Here are a few nice things people have said about us. We try to live up to them every single day.

“Mike is a true visionary. Beyond developing and designing our website, he helped us see the potential of our online business. Given that we have an in-house marketing department, Mike worked alongside our team to guide and strategize, while building a site that we could manage day-to-day, maximizing our efficiency with minimal recurring cost.”

Lindsey Sinozich

Marketing Director, Fink's Jewelers

“Mike was willing to express his seasoned and professional opinion without being dismissive of things that felt particularly important to us as the client. When Mike needed to, he made sure we realized any trade-offs in a decision by providing clear reasoning and significant experience to back it up.  This created a level of confidence in Mike, and in any final decisions we made.”

Peter Baur

Head of School, Faith Christian School

“Finding Agile was a lucky day for us. From the moment we met Mike, it was clear we would work very well together. Mike is a great and patient listener, wise advisor, and super talented marketer. The vision and creativity that Mike has proposed far exceeded our expectations! We have gone with every idea he’s had and couldn’t be happier.”

Clay Skelton

President, ORIGOSafeDriver

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