25 Feb 2021 By: Jessica Wise
The story of how one marketing agency continued to thrive in a shifting industry landscape by maintaining a customer focus.
In the last year, we’ve all been put through the wringer.
A pandemic. Political unrest, job losses, and struggling businesses.
But, in times like these, it’s important to remember that, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
They’ve got some tough people over at M4D. The best kind of tough. The kind of tough that puts their customers first no matter what.
“We’re not satisfied with just okay. We’ve been through two recessions. We’ve been through a global pandemic. And, we’ll outwork you. So, bring all the obstacles you’ve got. We’re very thankful to have been able to succeed and grow through these obstacles and these challenges,” says M4D President and CEO, Marc Eltoft.
Eltoft and his team partly attribute their resilience and success to having an unwavering customer-first approach.
“I think where we find continued success with folks is because we’re an extension of their team.”
– Marc Eltoft, M4D President & CEO
“I think where we find continued success with folks is because we’re an extension of their team. And, we make sure we’re doing all of the things that we said that we would do. But also, going above and beyond and doing all the things that are required,” Eltoft continues.
The result? They’re thriving.
Here’s the story of how one marketing agency has continued to prosper in a shifting industry landscape by maintaining a customer focus.
Who They Are: About M4D
To fully understand any company’s success story, you have to understand who they are.
And, it’s important to note that M4D isn’t your typical marketing agency.
“We deal almost exclusively in a niche of a niche. We deal almost exclusively with Motorola two-way radio dealers across North America. So, right now there’s approximately 600-700 dealers across North America, and we try to help and service those dealers with marketing,” explains Rob Ramshaw, M4D’s Director of Sales.
Despite the fact that their customer pool is highly specified, the scope of their services is extensive.
“We do everything from digital campaigns, PPC, inbound marketing, content development, CRM, marketing automation, website development to our offline services, which includes direct mail pieces, brochures and those types of things. But, we also have a cold calling end to our business as well. We also work with Motorola and other manufacturers as well to get their products and services out either to dealers or to end users,” says Ramshaw.
Sure, M4D provides the standard gauntlet of marketing services (PPC, CRM, content development, etc.), but it’s their delivery and approach that’s far from ordinary.
They stand out because everything they do is centered around the customer. And, that’s not something every company does.
However, it is something every company should do. Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that don’t make the customer their primary focus. (Superoffice)Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that don’t make the customer their primary focus. @SuperOfficeAS Click To Tweet
So, get your notepad out. You won’t want to miss the walk we’re about to take through M4D’s customer-focused playbook.
This is how M4D gets it right.
Show Instead Of Sell
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it?”
Well, M4D stopped talking at their customers a long time ago. Instead, the M4D team puts all of their effort into showing customers the value in forming a partnership with the agency.
In short, the agency’s priority isn’t the almighty dollar. It’s helping their clients succeed.
A professional appearance and the right branding strategy will help your company build trust with consumers and clients. In order to portray your brand correctly, we have five sales collateral examples for dealers that you can use for your target market: https://t.co/vEhsv1mCF9
— M4D (@m4dworks) March 20, 2020
“It’s not about selling [our clients] things,” says Tara Poe, M4D’s Director of Client Relations.
“It’s actually about trying to be an extension of their current marketing,” Poe continues. “It’s trying to make them bigger, better, faster, stronger, and making sure that they’re trending toward the side to get the results that they’re looking for…and being able to really continually increase results and continually getting them better throughout the whole marketing process.”
Now, who wouldn’t want a partner like that?
Real Relationships = Real Results
At M4D, relationships are what make their world go ‘round.
The fact that their agency is highly specialized has afforded them opportunity to get to know their clients on a personal level. It’s also one of the reasons M4D has gained their customers’ unwavering trust and loyalty.
“It’s a very social group…a very tight, tight group of people,” explains Eltoft. “And, if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, you’re not going to survive. So, we’ve always done a very good job of delivering that level of service, but also that level of quality…and really caring about our guys,” he continues.
Statistics show just how effective this level of personalization is. 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. (Salesforce) And, at M4D, they genuinely take interest in providing dealers with tailor-made marketing solutions.
“I really think that what you hear from us is a genuine commitment to the dealer and commitment to our customers. We care. We can have open and honest conversations with the dealers. We have open and honest conversations between ourselves,” says Ramshaw.
And, the closeness the M4D team members share with each other is just as important as the relationship they have with their customers.
According to Gallup, having a collaborative team in the workplace leads to 19% higher sales and a 7% increase in customer engagement. (teamstage)
Celebrate Customer Wins As Your Own
Not only does the M4D crew care about their customers and each other, but they also care about results.
“We care about conversions. We care about leads. We care about evaluating and analyzing that data to determine what the cost per lead is and even go as far as following up with some of these [dealers] and saying, ‘Hey! Did you see this [lead] that came through at 2am that we forwarded to you? Did you close it? Yeah, that was a great deal!’” Eltoft explains with enthusiasm.
When a lead turns into a sale, an email campaign turns into a conversion or a rebrand turns into a beautiful website, these are the types of successes the M4D team lives for. And when successes happen, they’re just as excited as their customers.
“It just gets very exciting when people are excited. When they call, and they’re saying ‘This is awesome! These are great leads!’ or ‘My website looks awesome!’ It’s all a win in my book,” adds Poe.
But, no matter how big the win, they don’t waste time patting themselves on the back. The M4D team gets right back to work.
“When there is a success, it’s not like ‘Yay! Look at how awesome we are!’ It’s ‘Look at this fantastic success. Yes! Let’s do it again!’” says Poe.
Evolve So Your Customers Can Evolve
It’s obvious that M4D has been around the marketing block a time or two.
But, they didn’t last nearly two decades by remaining stagnant. As their industry evolved due to technology and product updates, they’ve evolved with it, and that’s made all the difference.
“We’ve completely transformed as an agency. Where our projects used to be with printed collateral, the job was actually completed when it shipped. Now, we have completely transitioned from a more traditional agency to a digital agency. And, I think we’ve done quite well in the 3 years that we’ve really been self-taught with learning a lot of best practices and driving leads and measuring ourselves based on objective data rather than subjective factors,” explains Eltoft.
The world’s top corporate executives agree that making a digital transformation can have a huge impact on business. Those surveyed say the top benefits of digital transformation are improved operational efficiency (40%), faster time to market (36%) and the ability to meet customer expectations (35%). (ptc.com)
M4D is making a strong effort to pass on this valuable knowledge to their clients by encouraging them to step into the digital age as well.
“We started when everything was all print and mailings and then you move to digital with the understanding of digital marketing and trying to bring our customers with us…bringing the dealers with us,” says Poe.
So, what does that mean exactly? It means providing their clients with the tools they need to succeed in a fast-changing market.
Here’s one example of how M4D has helped to optimize their clients’ marketing for the digital age…
Being a Valuable Resource and Solution
M4D isn’t just a vendor and partner. They serve as an invaluable resource to their customers.
The agency is always seeking innovative ways to improve their clients’ marketing strategy. For instance, when Rob Ramshaw joined M4D, he immediately got to work researching ways M4D could help dealers increase website conversions.
As it turned out, a professional, 24/7 live chat service was one of the best options.
92% of customers are satisfied using live chat services, making it the support channel that leads to the highest customer satisfaction. Click To Tweet
“When I moved here to M4D, as we were starting to drive more traffic for our dealer websites, we wanted to obviously increase conversions and increase those conversations. So, we looked for an option there. Initially, it was going to be a dealer manned chat, but then we ended up coming across [HelpSquad], and it worked really well for us,” Ramshaw explains.
The dealers were hesitant to get on board with HelpSquad at first.
“For the dealers…number one…any time you relinquish a portion of your prospects and customer communication to somebody outside the organization there is always a reluctance to do that,” recalls Ramshaw.
But, once M4D got a few dealers to sign on with HelpSquad’s live chat service, the positive feedback and leads started pouring in.
“Our customer that’s actually located in Philadelphia has HelpSquad on his website…he just sent me a note here related to a chat that came across. He wrote: ‘I’m pretty sure Ellie, which is with HelpSquad, answered the prospect’s question better than I would. Well done.’ Literally, that came in at 9:37am. So, our customer is over the moon with that. It kind of blows them away, right? They’ll get a chat coming across at 3:00am, and they’ll get up, and they’ll make the call and realize, ‘Oh my god. There’s some [sales] at the end of that,” says Ramshaw.
The even better news is that HelpSquad is having the same impact on other dealer websites as well.
“What I can tell you is that the customers are generally really happy. I would say it’s a pretty continual thing. I know that one of our customers in Western Canada has had chat on their website now just over a month, and they’re blown away by the amount of leads that they’re getting on a regular basis. We were talking to the employees there and one of them said, ‘Oh geez. We had 30 leads (or whatever the case may be) come across this month from chat.’ And, the boss was like, ‘Wow. We’re moving up to the 21st century. This is what we need to be doing more of,” relays Ramshaw.
With feedback and results like that, it’s safe to say that M4D is successfully guiding their clients into the digital age.
Bottom Line: Provide The Experience You’d Want To Have
M4D’s story has one common thread that’s woven through each of its successes.
Their team provides the type of customer experience they’d want for themselves.
“As a whole, I think the experience…the marketing experience, the dealer experience, the service experience, the never settling for just what is. Rob and Marc never settle. If you have something…if you have it on lock, there’s always a way to make it just a little bit better. And, that’s how M4D has evolved,” says Poe.
And, evolving, is something they plan to never stop doing.