About Drew McLellan

For almost 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies and then started his own (which he still owns and run) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

Facing my problem head-on

I’ve had this problem for a while. I feel it impeding my ability to do my best, most important work, and yet, I haven’t faced it before. Oh, I give it lip service or a half-hearted fix, but nothing sticks.   Today, I took the first step to truly eradicating from my life. Why am I telling you this? Because I suspect many of you suffer from the same affliction, and I thought we might work on it together. My problem? There’s no white space on my calendar.   I book myself so tightly in meetings, coaching calls, on-site consultations, workshops, peer groups, etc., that I don’t give myself enough margin to actually get my work done. And so I do it on the weekends or at 1 am. I get it done but is it as good as it would be if I were fully charged and wasn’t trying to cram it into the cracks? I have some huge plans for 2021, but to cross the finish line, I need big blocks of time to create. I know if I can find that time, I can create uber helpful content, videos, mini-courses, and other teaching tools that will be incredibly valuable to you. But…first I have to find the time. The challenge is — I love every single activity that fills my calendar. I love coaching agency owners. I love sitting in a conference room working with a leadership team. I love teaching a workshop or consulting on a gnarly issue. I’m good at them, and the work is rewarding. For you, it might be doing strategy for a client or sitting in on a creative brainstorming session. Or putting out a client fire or jumping [...]

By |September 23rd, 2022|

4 Pinterest Marketing Tips to Consider for Your Next Campaign

Pinterest has evolved from a playground for hobbyists, wedding planners, and generalist creatives to a site that offers serious advertising advantages. However, many marketers do not realize they can leverage it for everything from brand recognition to direct sales. In this piece I recently contributed to SpinSucks.com, I discuss four tips for marketing success with Pinterest your agency should consider next.

By |September 16th, 2022|

Five Steps To Create A Contingency Plan For Your Agency

You have a duty to everyone who trusts you. Part of that duty is making sure you don’t leave the legacy of your organization up to chance. In this piece I recently contributed to Forbes.com, I discuss one of the most reliable ways to ensure the longevity of your agency is to make sure people are prepared when you’re no longer around to call the shots.

By |September 9th, 2022|

Avoid These Six ‘Kisses of Death’ in Business Development to Keep Your Marketing Funnel Alive

Everyone has different needs at different times, and your potential clients might not need you right now. There's nothing you can do about that. Remaining relevant by investing in business development initiatives, however, is something you can control. In this piece I recently contributed to MarketingProfs.com, I discuss how you must consistently invest in business development to keep clients in your marketing funnel. Learn 6 of the worst missteps to avoid.

By |August 26th, 2022|

How could you change the rules?

We’ve been doing some initial strategic planning in the hallowed halls of AMI and one of the questions that keeps getting batted around is… what if we changed our own rules?  It’s led to some very intriguing conversations and “what if” scenarios.  And no doubt will continue to do so. I think as business owners we sometimes forget that we actually get to make the rules.  All too often, we let clients or employees or habit or convention or fear or complacency (or any combination of these) drive how we actually run our business.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut or feel boundaries that may actually not exist. What if you HAD to change the rules?  What rules would you consider modifying, eliminating or strengthening? Just as a mental exercise... imagine you had to radically change something in each of these areas: How you are staffed How do you mentor or groom your team? The types of clients you serve How/where you connect with your clients The work your agency produces Your pricing model Your biz dev model How you as an owner spend your days Your work schedule The metrics that define success How you manage your agency’s money I’m not suggesting that you implement all of these radical ideas.  But when you force yourself to come up with crazy things… some of the crazy might actually also be smart. Another way to approach this… same list but answer this question for each area — what do I hate about how we… Just some food for thought that might yield a big change or two.   This was originally published in the weekly AMI newsletter.  To subscribe, click here.

By |August 12th, 2022|

How to Onboard New Hires to Be Better Advocates for Your Agency

Primed with this knowledge and the motivation to advocate for your agency, your employees can naturally win over prospects in organic, genuine ways. In this piece I recently contributed to SpinSucks.com, I discuss how to educate your new hires to serve as advocates for your agency.

By |August 5th, 2022|

Why Inbound Marketing Is Better for Your Business Than Outbound Marketing

Social media has changed our lives in countless ways — for those of us in marketing and sales, the way we reach customers is completely different now.... In this piece I recently contributed to DemandGenReport.com I discuss, how this critical distinction between advertising mediums makes inbound marketing much more effective than outbound marketing.

By |July 28th, 2022|

How do you deliver bad news?

I was on a flight last week, and it was a few minutes past the time that they should have closed the cabin doors.  The pilot came out and got on the PA system.  Here’s what he said: “Folks, you know when the captain comes out of the cockpit to talk to you, it’s not good news. We’re going to be delayed because there’s a malfunction in the oxygen system in the cockpit and if something happens mid-flight, believe me; you want a conscious pilot. I know I’m old, but I promise, I’m more alert when I have oxygen.  This problem is only in the cockpit. There’s nothing wrong with the oxygen system in the main cabin. I’m am very sorry about this, and if anyone wants to yell at me about the delay, please come on up. But, I want to warn you - I’ve been married for 30 years, so I’m pretty immune. But you can still yell if it makes you feel better.  Once the maintenance crew gets here, it should take them about ten minutes to fix the problem, so I expect we’ll be in the air in thirty minutes.  If I think it’s going to be longer than that, I will let you know.” When he was done, people laughed and applauded.  They applauded a flight delay announcement.  That doesn’t happen very often.  So, what did the pilot do to earn everyone’s grace? He was sincere and genuinely apologized. He explained the root problem and the risks of not fixing the problem. He gave specific details as to the timeframe to fix the problem. He promised to keep his customers informed if there was a change in the plan or [...]

By |July 8th, 2022|

Want to Develop Your Agency? Establish Your Unique Expertise

Every agency has a website and social presence. Companies can shop around and compare options without much regard for geography before coming to a consensus. If you don't define your focus and establish your expertise, you'll be just another face in the crowd. In this piece I contributed to MediaPost.com, I discuss how to leverage your expertise in a specific area and show buyers what makes you unique, and then use that distinction to make a name for yourself in the marketplace.

By |July 1st, 2022|

Hoping to Grow Your Ad Agency? Support Growth Goals With Existing Customers

Agencies aren’t in the business of selling—at least not advertently. Rather, your goal is to help clients grow their businesses. Account executives play critical roles in delivering on that promise. You can help accomplish this task by giving them space to get to know their clients, plan their approaches, and ultimately understand their roles in the agency-client relationship. In this pieces I recently contributed to ChiefExecutive.net, I discuss how it’s more important than ever for you to position your account executives for success—their wins are your wins. Here's how.

By |June 24th, 2022|
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