About Drew McLellan

CEO of Agency Management Institute, serving 250+ agencies to help the owners build profitable agencies that evolve and scale.

Episode 145: Top Agency Trends of 2018 (Part 2) with Drew McLellan

Episode 145: Top Agency Trends of 2018 (Part 2) with Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

By |July 16th, 2018|

Applying The Right ‘Golden Handcuffs’ To Retain Key Employees

If there is one universal problem facing agencies today, it’s talent recruitment and retention. Agencies of all sizes are experiencing more employee churn than they’ve seen in a long time. In fact, agencies report an average 20% turnover per year. Agencies want to retain key employees, and great employees want reasons to stay. So why are so many agencies still seeing their best employees walk? Many agency owners are offering their key employees cars, vacations and hefty bonuses, yet people are still leaving. Unfortunately, many agencies, clients and corporations are offering employees the same perks, so someone can easily leave their current agency and get the same benefits somewhere else. Fortunately, with a little creativity and some honest conversations, agency owners can avoid this inevitable talent drain. How Agencies Keep Stars Unfortunately, money talks and most employees don’t take the time to do their homework. They don’t calculate the value of all of the perks, flexibility and benefits their current employer offers. Instead, in today’s competitive hiring environment, great employees get poached by companies that offer the most money. As a defensive strategy, some agency owners offer equity to retain key employees, hoping it entices them to stay and contribute to long-term growth. Sometimes that works, but when it doesn’t, the backlash hurts. Giving an employee equity doesn’t cost anything at first. However, if that person decides to leave, the equity leaves, too. When that happens, the agency loses control of both a star employee and a chunk of its ownership. The agency could always buy out the departed employee, but no one wants to send a big check to a person who just left the building -- especially if the company gave the equity away for free. Agencies that decide [...]

By |July 11th, 2018|

Episode 144: Learning to speak creativity with Larry Robertson

Episode 144: Learning to speak creativity with Larry Robertson

Larry Robertson is an innovation and strategy advisor. He is the author of two award-winning books: A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress, and The Language of Man: Learning to Speak Creativity, honored with a combined 16 awards.

By |July 9th, 2018|

Best books for marketers (client and agency side)

I was recently asked by CEO Library to share my thoughts about reading, specific books and how being a reader has changed the trajectory of my career.  Which, no doubt it has.  I've always loved to read and can't imagine not doing it consistently. How about you?  Are you a reader? Has how you consume books changed? (My habits sure have!) Here's a peek at what I was asked and my answers:  1. What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible. Favorite business book — Radical Leap by Steve Farber Favorite non-business book that I would argue can teach you a ton about business leadership — The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling 2. Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it? I’ve always been a voracious reader.  I read to learn.  I read to relax.  I read to cleanse my palette so I can be creative.  I read to find perspective. I read to entertain myself.  I loved reading to my daughter when she was little and as she got older -- reading the same book together. So books have helped me do everything from learn about my mom’s dementia, to keep current with trends that impact my clients, to cope with loss, to raise a daughter to find some balance in my life and by helping me fall in love with characters, places and ideas. 3. What books had the biggest impact on you? Perhaps changed the way you see things or dramatically changed your career path. I would argue that my favorite books (which I re-read every year or so) in question #1 have had the biggest [...]

By |July 7th, 2018|

Episode 143: Customer Experience: the customer is just the beginning with Stan Phelps

Episode 143: Customer Experience: the customer is just the beginning with Stan Phelps

Stan Phelps is an expert in customer experience and employee engagement. Among the many things on his plate, Stan runs purplegoldfish.com where he digs deep into these topics in his best-selling book series and on stages across the globe.

Stan Phelps is an IBM Futurist, TEDx Speaker, and Forbes Contributor. He has spoken at over 250 events on every inhabited continent, in over a dozen countries for Fortune 100 brands such as IBM, Target, ESPN, UPS, GlaxoSmithKline, and Citi.

By |July 2nd, 2018|

Clients Long for Brave Agencies: 3 Fears to Conquer

Launching an agency means challenges are bound to arise, and these challenges often revolve around money and perspective. When the two collide, that’s when most brave agencies stumble a bit. As soon as the words “revenue” and “loss” appear in the same sentence, many brave agencies understandably freeze with fear. It’s easy to lose objectivity and the ability to stay focused on the big picture. That often leads to an agency scrambling to take on new clients, regardless of their suitability. This “any port in a storm” mentality can really jeopardize an agency’s ability to create stability and profitability. It also leads to brave agencies being less willing to stand their ground and advocate for what they know is the best solution for their clients. It’s easy to capitulate when you’re worried about making payroll. But when clients search for brave agencies, they’re looking for that outside perspective. They don’t need a “yes” man; they need objectivity and an outside viewpoint they can’t find internally. This difference in opinion won’t always have you seeing eye to eye, but that’s usually what sparks the big idea—that collaborative, 360-degree viewpoint. If you’re challenging one another, ideas get better. And it’s the co-creation of those ideas where trust is earned. The bottom line: Your agency must have the confidence—or dare I say, the bravery—to find your voice and speak up. That’s the value you bring to your clients, which in turn is what creates value for you as a business. How you go about finding your voice and solidifying those bonds with clients is entirely up to you, but it often starts with mustering the courage to do the following: 1. Hold Strong Opinions To be treated as [...]

By |June 27th, 2018|

Episode 142: Building a growth mindset is best done in community with Pam Slim

Episode 142: Building a growth mindset is best done in community with Pam Slim

Pam Slim is an award-winning author, speaker, and small business coach. Most of you probably know her from her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation, but there is a lot more to tell.

Pam spent the first 10 years of her solo practice as a consultant to large corporations like HP and Cisco and to worked with thousands of employees, managers, and executives. Then came then Cubicle Nation, the blog which led to the book. Her latest book, Body of Work was released with Penguin Portfolio in 2015. In her hometown of Mesa, AZ, Pam has opened up what she calls a business learning library called K’é, which is a Navajo word meaning “a system of kinship connection.”

By |June 25th, 2018|

Seven Steps in the Agency New Business Development Process

Agencies know what it’s like to do new business development, but do they know how organizations think during their search for an agency? When a company decides it needs help, what does that process look like? And what can agencies do to earn new business? Agency owners don’t like to hear it, but business leaders don’t pay much attention to which agency is doing what, nor do they search for agency blogs to find a right fit. Instead, the people running those businesses think about the problems they face and wonder how an agency could help alleviate their burdens. Unfortunately, business leaders rarely have time to conduct a thorough search for a solution on their own. Higher-ups usually delegate the task to a mid-level manager who searches for an hour or two. Agencies have a limited window of time to get noticed and appeal to a prospect who’s typically a junior employee reporting to the ultimate decision maker. It’s not easy, but it’s achievable. Delegated searchers look for content, list placement, and prospect-friendly websites. People should be able to find your agency easily and decide for themselves whether you offer what they need. There are thousands of articles about how to attract that web traffic—but this isn’t one of them. Instead, let’s discuss what comes next: the first meeting. The First Meeting: Differentiation Whether you go with a formal presentation or an informal coffee meet-up, the truth is that all the business development process presentations look the same. Steve Boehler, a founding partner at Mercer Island Group, recently joined my podcast to talk about what businesses experience during the search for an agency. Steve told me: When we’re briefing the client to get them ready, we tell [...]

By |June 20th, 2018|

Episode 141: Finding the introvert’s edge with Matthew Pollard

Episode 141: Finding the introvert’s edge with Matthew Pollard

Matthew Pollard is the Rapid Growth Guy. He's dedicated to helping small business owners succeed by giving them methods that helped them transform their business from struggling into profitable success stories. He is the founder and executive director of the Small Business Festival, ranked among the top five conferences in the nation by Inc. magazine. He is in the international sales blogger awards hall of fame and has been featured in Entrepreneur, CEO magazine, Fortune, you name it.

By |June 18th, 2018|

Episode 140: Top Agency Trends of 2018 (Part 1) with Drew McLellan

Episode 140: Top Agency Trends of 2018 (Part 1) with Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

By |June 11th, 2018|

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