Advertising Agency Training

Hey agency owner — 2016 Content Conferences for Agencies

I recently had an AMI agency ask me which 2016 content management conferences for agencies I would recommend they consider putting into the budget. First -- bravo to the agency for actually baking professional development into their budget.  Most agencies underspend in this area and it costs them their best talent. A recent survey showed that agency employees consider being sent to a workshop, conference or other professional development opportunity as being equal to a 17% raise. Whether they are telling you or not -- your people want to keep getting better.  You have a responsibility and frankly it's just smart business, to help them sharpen their saw.  Do they have a responsibility too?  You bet.  I wouldn't send anyone to a conference or workshop if you don't see evidence of them also trying to learn on their own and them bringing that new knowledge into the agency as a teacher. You co-own the responsibility and the best employees are the ones who are hungry to learn and to teach their peers. And of course, whether they want to get better or not -- you NEED them to get better.  You invest so much into your people and they are your primary source of revenue, so you'd better keep investing in them. In our world today -- even if you know everything today, you will be woefully behind in a blink if you don't keep adding to your knowledge base. So your folks need to keep improving.  If not, you have to keep trading up and that gets very expensive. And it should go without saying but I'll say it anyway -- YOU my agency owner friend also need to keep sharpening your skills, knowledge and exposure [...]

Hey Agency Owner — are you mentoring for growth?

Agency owners are really good at a lot of things.  Unfortunately, mentoring employees for growth is often not one of them. I get it -- you want self starters. You don't have time to micromanage people. You want someone who can think/behave like an owner. You know how you get employees like that? You create them. You hire smart people and then you teach them how to drive your agency's growth, your client's confidence and your AGI.  None of that happens by accident. It's why you should be spending 20% of your time actively mentoring your team.  So what does that look like? Everyone on your staff should have a weekly (yes weekly) one on one meeting with their supervisor. So as an agency owner -- you'd meet with your direct reports weekly.  Here's what mentoring employees should look like: The employee owns the meeting.  They schedule it and re-schedule it if necessary.  If you're traveling -- do it by phone or Skype.  The employee is expected to come to the meeting prepared.  Use a form that outlines how the conversation should go -- and they should have it completed in advance and bring you a copy and one for themselves.  (Email me if you want to see a sample) The meeting is 20-30 minutes long and focuses on quarterly goals and big picture progress -- not a traffic meeting.  This is their opportunity to pick your brain, run ideas past you, and get your feedback.  It's your opportunity to coach, ask tough questions and encourage them. This aligned beautifully with the EOS process or any system where you as an agency, department or individual are working on quarterly goals. This is your chance to hold [...]

Agencies need to behave like consultancies

At Agency Management Roundtable (AMR) we've been preaching this for years.  Agencies need to get out of the "making stuff" business and get into the business problem solving business. Agencies need to behave like consultancies. We need to shift from doing to thinking. Our clients expect us to help them hit their goals and dodge their challenges.  We don't do that by just making a brochure or video. We do it by sitting at the strategy table with them and digging into their business, asking smarter questions and helping them think bigger, better and faster. Business consultant Amber Naslund wrote an insightful blog post that outlines how to build a strong consulting practice.  Interestingly -- she could have been writing about how to build a successful agency in the 21st century.  Her points about not billing by the hour, value pricing, asking better questions etc. are right out of the AMR handbook! Read her post and heed her words.  Whether she knows it or not my agency owner friends -- she is talking to you.

BABA_Popover05