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January 08, 2024 • News

How Agencies Can Prepare for The Year Ahead

How Agencies Can Prepare for The Year Ahead

Sometimes it’s reassuring to know how other agencies are getting on, recently the DBA released its annual survey 2023, taking a closer look at financial performance and outlook of design agencies. For those who don’t know the DBA (Design Business Association) surveys over a 100 different design and creative agencies annually. These surveys have provided valuable insights into how agencies function within the creative and design industry.    

In the ever-evolving landscape of creative and design, 2024 promises to be a challenging yet transformative year for agencies. As design agencies gear up for the dynamic months ahead, they must embrace adaptability, deliver tangible value, and leverage data-driven insights to thrive in the face of economic uncertainties.

According to the DBA report, the number one fact concerning agencies, is new business pipelines, not only now but in the future. Agencies have always been accustomed to unpredictable clients and the peaks and troughs of the business cycle. But what can agencies do to help strengthen their business pipeline? 

Focusing on Value

Many businesses are going to be more cautious about where exactly they spend their marketing budgets. Agencies need to go beyond meeting expectations; they must prove their value. Shifting from hourly billing to a value pricing structure, agencies recognise that the value of creative work extends beyond time invested. By aligning pricing strategies with perceived value, agencies can not only survive but thrive in this new landscape. Accurate timesheets and data analysis are crucial in understanding costs and profit margins, allowing agencies to showcase tangible value delivered to clients. If a client is happy with the work and the results that are delivered, then the likelihood is that they will recommend or continue to use that agency. 

Keep a Close Eye on the Small Things

According to the DBA survey there has been a slight decline in business confidence, with agencies starting to feel cautious over the future outlook of the UK economy as a result of rampant inflation and increased costs.

So, what can agencies do to weather the current storm and make it through the next 12 months. Your agency needs to be water tight, you can’t afford waste – wasted time, wasted resources, and wasted expenses. Now is the time to do everything you can to manage costs without making significant sacrifices or disrupting a well-functioning agency. There needs to be serious consideration in implementing the right structure to increase efficiency by having the right processes and workflows in place. It’s all well and good with the finger in the air approach, sure you’re profitable but do you know why? Or do you have the right resources to hand when you need them? Advanced tools and software, like Paprika software, become indispensable allies, enabling agencies to collect, track, and analyse data efficiently. This data-driven approach not only reduces errors and miscommunication but also empowers agencies to combat scope creep, ultimately enhancing profitability and future forecasting.

Agencies need to keep a close eye on things, now is the time that every penny, every hour, every project, and every resource counts.  

Additional Resources Are a Must

Additionally, an interesting trend is the rise of freelancers, with 90% of agencies leveraging their expertise, providing flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Freelancers are a great resource and a crucial asset for agencies, offering flexibility and expertise, especially in times of market volatility. As some agencies face unpredictability in client commitments, freelancers provide a strategic solution, ensuring payment is tied to project delivery. This approach not only allows agencies to adapt to changing client demands but also expands their service offerings, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Balancing freelancers and in-house talent will help agencies better forecast the months ahead and be readily available for last minute work.  

We Are Paprika 

Paprika is an all-in-one agency management software that has been developed to streamline project management, resource allocation, time tracking and financial reporting. Implemented to synchronise and increase an agency’s performance, allowing them to navigate the complexities of 2024 with confidence. As agencies gear up for the challenges and opportunities that 2024 brings, embracing adaptability, delivering tangible value, and leveraging data-driven insights will be the keys to success. In this dynamic landscape, tools like Paprika serve as indispensable allies, empowering agencies to not only weather the storm but also thrive in the evolving world. 

The DBA’s Annual Survey Report is sponsored by Paprika. Find out more about this invaluable benchmarking tool.