Tips For Rolling Out a New Service Offering
Business

Tips For Rolling Out a New Service Offering

19th March 2019

The digital marketing landscape is ever changing. We all know this. There’s been a rise of mobile, video, programmatic, SMS marketing and everything else that seems to be rising. Because of this, and more, in-house teams and agencies both need to be at the forefront of marketing for their senior management or clients.

Brands’ needs are also changing, and as agencies grow and work with bigger clients, there is often more to contend with. The way I see it, if we don’t offer it, then the client or potential client will go somewhere that can.

Here is a visual from a sales deck we use as a framework to outline the purpose of some of our services. As you can see, there is a wealth of opportunities, and many services that hit different elements.

Most of the larger clients need a fully integrated strategy. So it’s important for agencies and in-house teams to meet the needs of the bigger clients.

I have previously worked in PR, and as a Marketing Manager where my responsibilities are to ensure we deliver great work and get results. But in my current role as Head of Earned Media, one of my responsibilities is to look to roll out new services. Hallam’s bread and butter have been PPC and SEO. We then merged with a web development agency to expand our dev and design capabilities, and now we offer a full marketing service, and we’re still looking to improve.

Closer to home, and with the rise of Earned Media, we need to ensure we grow with digital PR, link building and social media. We also offer content marketing, email marketing, reviews management, influencer marketing and we can even offer services offline, such as traditional PR, or SMS marketing. So over the past year or two, we have rolled out and expanded our offer.

From my perspective, we want to manage the brand landscape for our clients across all channels, so we need to make sure we offer services that hit all channels.

‘Why’ I hear you ask? When I get a steady influx of retainer clients, or my manager and clients are happy, why would I change? Well, there are two main reasons. Firstly it can enhance or improve your current business. If you can improve the lives of your existing customers, why would you not?

Secondly, it will benefit your long term goals and growth ambitions. If the new service fits your current business plan and strengths then you should consider it. If you don’t, your competitors probably will and you won’t want to be left behind.

Before I get onto some tips for rolling out a new service, I’d advise having a space to track and plan your offer evolution! At Hallam, we track new services or improvements/diversification of existing services in Basecamp. This way we can have multiple people aware of the progress, and divvy out tasks and give ownership to some staff.

It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, envisioning all the sales and success that will come from your offering. But like any other business initiative, launching something new takes time and careful planning. Rushing to market without having your ducks in a row is a recipe for disaster.

So pre-launch, there are a few vital things that you need to do. Firstly you need to research the space and have a general idea of why you need to introduce this new service. Then you need to

  • Define the audience and client’s needs

Most clients and businesses will have more than one target audience group. The most successful brands will tailor their communication and channels to suit these different audiences. So you need to make sure you’re the middle-man in this equation and have in place the service that can serve clients’ messaging through the most effective channel.

  • Know how to reach them

So you know who your target audience is, where are they? It’s very important to use research to understand when and where your audience is consuming media or your brand messaging.

  • Ask yourself what the problem is you’re solving

For clients, it’s usually about improving and expanding results. But there’s also an element of proactivity that comes into play. Clients like agencies that are forward thinking and proactive. With client performance at the heart of what we do, we are an extension of their business, and if there’s an opportunity, we will take it and make the most of it.

Also, ask yourself does this new service value fit in your value proposition?

  • Validate and know the competition and their offer

Exploring the current market can also help you mitigate risk and build confidence in your idea. Do this before investing too much time and money. Don’t have competitor blinkers on, if they are doing it, it’s likely that you should do it too, but don’t make your decision solely on this.

You should also evaluate the market to ensure there’s enough demand to build a viable new service.

  • Get the team on the same page

You need to get buy-in on this new service. And one of the best ways leaders can be effective is to enable everybody to participate and accountable. It is our team, not my team, so delegate tasks and give people ownership so they are contributing to the new service.

Another tip is to give them your vision and plan for the department. People like to know where they are going and why it’s worth it.

  • Make sure you can deliver it

Take into consideration if you can handle fast growth, such as being able to meet increased demand. Do you have the resources to manage it? If not, you should delay or change the service launch until you do.

OK, so that’s the general scoping done, now the specific activities needed to roll out the service. So, I’d advise following a framework/to-do list. This is the one we follow here at Hallam:

Offer detail

  • Research and write a one-pager to describe this offer including perceived USPs

Scoping

  • Explore the tools needed to deliver this service and related costs
  • Define the resource needed to deliver this service
  • Map draft process document
  • Create an initial client facing creds that we could pitch to an existing client

Testing

  • If possible, test offer on Hallam by working with the Hallam marketing team
  • Test offer on low-risk client account

Guidance and training

  • Write up full process and references and store centrally
  • Hold sessions with relevant parties to upskill staff in this area
  • Train sales and account team on what the offer is and benefits to sell

Sales collateral

  • Create all relevant templates (client facing and internal) to allow us to deliver this offer
  • Create a one pager / mailout to clients to explain the offer
  • Create web landing page detailing USPs, Approach, and all the relevant info

Rollout plan

  • Promote on social media and through paid advertising
  • Blog content developed around the offer with the marketing team
  • Host breakfast briefing for existing clients
  • Work with account team to pitch to existing clients using newly created sales collateral

Or something like this, some of this might not apply to you, but take what is relevant and get down the plan. As previously outlined this is in Basecamp so we can allocate tasks to people and track progress.

There are similar tools out there, whatever works for you as long as you have a method of tracking your progress.

I could do a whole blog post on the launch to market of a new service. We all do launch to market marketing activity for our client’s products. There’s a wealth of info online on how to do it effectively.

What I would say is that don’t assume that because something is new, your marketplace will be interested in it or attracted to it. You need to outline the benefits!

Finally, you need to be realistic. In all honesty, a new service is never going to be the best it can be. Which is understandable as it lacks improvements that come with time and experience. You should consistently measure yourself and make improvements.

As Google would say “Fail fast’. Failures can be an inevitable part of innovation and can provide great insight to make services and organisations better. Google even has an official process in place to learn from failures.

Working in marketing, we need to promote growth, not blame!

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Written By
Alex is the Head of Earned Media at Hallam, with specialist expertise in digital PR. With extensive offline and online experience, Alex currently helps clients increase their online visibility through digital PR, at the same time as building on their search engine marketing efforts.
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