The Work-Life Balance is Dead: How to Achieve Perfect Work-Life Blend with Scott Beebe

The work-life balance is dead in 2018: it’s time to work towards work-life blend. When I was a kid, my “work dad” would come home from the bank in his three-piece suit and he’d go upstairs and my “home dad” would come downstairs in jeans, looking for his martini and the download of our day while my mom cooked dinner. Sounds very Leave it to Beaver, doesn’t it? It really was. My dad didn’t have a computer or a cell phone. I can remember the only time the office called him at home – the bank building was on fire. But other than that – there was complete separation of work and home life. We do not have that luxury. We carry our laptops home and even when we don’t, that pocket-sized computer means we can work 24/7.   At best, we can strive for work-life blend. Our personal lives will seep into the work day and our work will seep into our personal time. But for many agency owners, what that translates to is that you are always on and always working. That’s not only unhealthy for you but it’s unhealthy for your business. You can’t grow your agency if you have to do everything that’s mission critical. Everyday I talk to agency owners who bemoan the fact that they can’t get everything done because they are too entrenched in working in the business, which means they do not have the time they need to work on the business. If you hear yourself saying (or thinking) “I am the only one who can do XYZ” then you know your agency is broken. Whether you’ve hired super junior people and then not invested in them [...]

By |March 8th, 2018|

How to Catch Up on Work with the Right Systems & Processes with Terry Ogburn

I don’t know about you, but I never feel quite caught up and haven’t learned how to catch up on work in full in a long time. Thanks to my high tech Post It Note strategy (every night I list the 3 things, and no more, I must get done the next day and put it on my laptop), I get the most critical things done but there’s always more to do. What saves my bacon every day is that I have a superb leadership team around me and they have systems and processes that allow them to work miracles and keep me on the straight and narrow. Like most agency owners, I have a short attention span and it’s easy for me to get distracted. Our systems pull me back to center. Many agencies struggle with implementing process and systems. In the beginning, the system is tribal – everyone walks around, carrying the important data of the agency in their brains. By the time you get to eight or ten people, that system falls apart. As agencies grow and change, they often rely on the old system for too long. Usually something big has to fall through the cracks to convince everyone that it’s time for the next evolution of how you get your work done. Every business is made up of processes and systems, whether you have them documented or not. If your systems for teaching others how to catch up on work are informal or tribal, then odds are you and your team aren’t being as efficient or effective as you could be. You are literally trying to shove more work into a system that is simply too small. That’s where my [...]

By |February 22nd, 2018|

How to Find Top-Level Freelancers to Help You Grow Your Business with Nathan Hirsch

One of the most common challenges agencies of all sizes are facing right now is finding the right people to add to the team, especially as it relates to learning how to find freelancers who are capable of doing the great work that agencies require. Client budgets and programs are growing, agency new business is getting a little easier and so everything should be rosy. But when you don’t have the right team to get the work done – it’s frustrating and frightening.   Ten to fifteen years ago, the prevailing attitude was that agencies needed everyone under one roof. After all, the work is so collaborative. But when the recession hit and people had to reduce fixed expenses to survive, many agencies who swore they would never try to manage a network of freelancers or hire someone virtual crossed over and did just that. Not only did they survive it – but it opened up many opportunities to serve clients in new ways.  Fast forward to today – whether you are in a big market with lots of talent (and lots of competitors for that talent) or in a smaller market that just doesn’t have enough qualified bodies – finding and keeping the right team is a serious struggle. Most AMI agencies have a pretty robust freelance pool and are versed in knowing how to find freelancers. 75% have some sort of flex hours where people either come in early/leave early, come in late/leave late or have some sort of non-traditional work week, be it fewer than five days a week or a full work week but they work from home one or more days. In terms of remote employees, I would say that [...]

By |February 8th, 2018|

The Biggest Advantages of Out of Home Advertising with Betsy McLarney

If you’ve been in the business for more than a decade – you’ve done a fair amount of outdoor advertising at some point in your career.  But, when we say outdoor advertising, most of us think billboards. We’re very right but we are also very wrong. Today, that’s just a sliver of what outdoor (now called out of home) advertising can deliver for clients. Out of home advertising includes wallscapes, and visual messaging on commuter rails, subway, taxi tops, airport advertising, cinema ads, sporting arenas, grocery store ads, fitness clubs, and the list goes on and on. But out of home goes far beyond any sort of sign. Think of on site activation, boots on the ground people doing sampling and so much more. My guest Betsy McLarney, the President of EMC Outdoor, has had a bird’s eye view of the different changes in outdoor advertising over the years. Betsy is on the podcast to share with us some unique ways out of home advertising can be used to help us deliver our client’s core message. Join Betsy and I as we think of bigger and broader uses of out of home advertising by learning about: Out of Home (OOH) media: what is it? What are some advantages of out of home advertising? How digital outdoor advertising really makes the experience come alive for consumers Using OOH to hit consumers with messages on multiple touch points throughout their day It’s not just for B2C: how B2B can utilize OOH to enhance their campaigns Using street teams effectively to get your message out to live people Why OOH isn’t just for national brands and can be used effectively for even local campaigns Matching the budget to [...]

By |December 7th, 2017|

How to Increase B2B Sales with These B2B Sales Techniques with Ryan O’Donnell

The typical agency owner isn’t a natural salesperson. They don’t enjoy chasing after business but they love engaging a prospect once they walk in the door. The idea of cold calling in our business has always been dismissed as “never works” but what if there is a happy medium? My podcast guest Ryan O’Donnell joins me on the show with his message that sales is really all about automation and efficiency. Ryan explains that when you use automation in the right way, you lay the right foundation for sales, which inevitably gets you in front of the right people and gets you more opportunities to have the right conversations. Ryan and his team are behind two successful products, Sellhack and Replyify, which were built to help people drive sales into their organizations through automation. Join Ryan and I and start thinking a little differently about how you approach sales for your agency with: Why sales is all about automation and efficiency Using data to take the guesswork out of the prospect search Crafting compelling emails to prospects based on what you know about their competition (that you already work with) Figuring out how many prospects you need to capture every week at the top of your sales funnel in order to get the number of new leads you need at the bottom of the funnel SellHack’s algorithm for verifying the email address of a person who you might just know their name and company Replyify: a tool specifically devised for sending out cold email campaigns and building a sales process to contact prospects in other ways Strategies for crafting an email using B2B Sales Techniques that works for cold selling B2B products and services How [...]

By |November 30th, 2017|

Why Your Agency Should Implement a Value Added Marketing Strategy with Sam Mallikarjunan

Our job as an agency is to provide value to our clients and help them woo and win their best potential customers. After all, marketing, according to Peter Drucker, is about understanding the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Value added marketing is one way to do exactly that. Agencies are under the same gun – we have to be able to demonstrate value. But the game has changed and many agency owners are trying to re-tool their shop in today’s new selling environment. That’s why I knew I wanted to interview Sam Mallikarjunan, Marketing Fellow and Head of Growth at Hubspot Labs. Sam teaches advanced digital marketing at Harvard and has insight into how successful agencies are selling today and keeping clients by defining and delivering value. Sam will encourage you to roll up your sleeves and really dig into your client’s business so you can help them make sense of all the information that is out there today, understand what needs to be done with and how to measure that information and be a driving force to get it all done. Join Sam and I as we discover all the ways you can provide value to your clients and your own shop with: The way the internet has changed selling so that there’s almost too much information How salespeople can help consumers sift through the breadth of information out there Structuring sales calls so they’re all about asking the buyers questions about their business The power of inbound: competition where no one else is competing Learning to say no to bad revenue Why you need to build buyer personas -- both for your ideal customers and [...]

By |November 23rd, 2017|

Growth-Driven Design: A Smarter Approach to Profitable Web Development with Luke Summerfield

Web development seems to be a constant conundrum for most agency owners. It’s hard to hire and it’s even tougher to make money on web projects these days. On top of the profitability issue, there’s the scope creep and timeline challenges. Many agencies have actually gotten out of the web dev side of the business. But is that the right choice? My podcast guest Luke Summerfield would say no. He’s got a different way of looking at building out websites and other digital assets. He calls it Growth-Driven Design, a smarter approach to web design. It’s a methodology that puts a whole new perspective on web dev both for your shop and your clients. Rather than a one and done product as most agencies view websites, Luke and his team take an iterative approach to making their websites an ongoing project with stages and continuous improvement. Join Luke and I as he walks you through this new way of selling and creating websites that deliver for both your clients and your agency. Growth-driven design: what this “smarter way to do web design” is all about Why the platform you use for your website doesn’t matter with growth-driven design How growth-driven design was born out of the pain both agencies and clients felt around web development and why this system is so much better than previous ways of doing web dev Step 1: getting an empathetic understanding of your client’s audience’s world Step 2: building a “launch pad” website -- something that looks and performs better than what the client already has but is not the final product Step 3: continually improving websites How to sell and price growth-driven design to clients Why you should always [...]

By |October 26th, 2017|

Everything You Need to Know About Working at a Virtual Company with Gerald Sexton

Technology has brought many changes to the workplace and one of the biggest has to be the ability and desire to work remotely. Many agencies swore they’d never allow an employee to work from home – be it down the street or across the country.  That tune has changed for sure. Some agencies are making the shift to a work-from-home environment a few days a week or a hybrid agency where some of the staff is in common shared office space and others are scattered around the country.  Today, in our AMI owner peer networks – several of the agencies have taken the plunge and gone totally virtual. My podcast guest Gerald Sexton is the head of HR at a company called Goodway Group.  Goodway is an agency that specializes in programmatic media and they are 100% virtual.  Going all out virtual may not be right for you or your agency at this very moment but Gerald gives us some food for thought with regards to this changing workplace environment and how we can best adapt. If his retention and production numbers have anything to say about it, going virtual has been nothing but great for his agency. Join Gerald and I as we wade into these changes and give you some things to consider by learning: The history of Goodway Group Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about working at a virtual company How Goodway succeeds with a virtual company with employees in 41 states The best tools for managing a virtual company What Gerald looks for in the hiring process to figure out if someone is suited for the hiring process or not Why Goodway looks at their team members results -- not [...]

By |October 19th, 2017|

How the Creative Director Role is Changing in the Digital Age

Our industry isn’t just changing, it’s evolving. What we offer clients, how we’re measuring success and the tools we use are all constantly changing. While the changes are helping us grow our agencies and future proof our businesses – it also means some painful changes to how we’re structured. The biggest change I am seeing within agencies is the shift in how we use the creative director role. I’m seeing more and more agencies realigning their agencies to meet the current demands of today and more often than not, that doesn’t include a traditional creative director.   Creative directors have played a significant role in agencies since their inception but now, out of necessity, they are morphing into all sorts of new roles. Join me as I detail out the changes that agencies are making to revamp their creative director roles such as: Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies Why the creative director role isn’t in that high of demand anymore, and what traditional creative directors look like in the agencies that have them Administrative, account service, and creative services: the three departments that make up most agencies today The triad of leadership - a writer, art director, and digital producer form to lead the creative services department in lieu of a creative director Why you don’t usually even need to produce spec creative for a pitch anymore Figuring out which roles inside your agency you still need Allocating funds from cut positions elsewhere to serve your clients better Drew [...]

By |October 12th, 2017|

How to Prevent Scope Creep when Scaling Your Business with Ryan Meo

If there’s one type of project that every agency struggles to do profitably – it’s websites. But what if it was possible to do web dev and not lose your shirt? My podcast guest Ryan Meo runs ScaleSquad.com, a private label website services outsource solution for agencies. He and his team have web dev down to a science, making great revenue on the types of projects that many agencies struggle to deliver on time or anywhere near the budget. One of the secrets to their approach is to focus on what their clients aren’t getting instead of what they are. Ryan and I spill all of his secrets starting with: How Ryan started selling websites -- even though he didn’t know how to build them Taking a custom service like web design and making it scalable Why you have to prevent scope creep by being firm with clients on what their deliverables are (or by moving them up to a higher package) How Ryan is able to charge a low, flat rate for his websites and why he puts a lot of focus on what isn’t included in those packages How to prevent scope creep, especially as a web dev shop Why you shouldn’t turn away customers who can’t afford your bespoke services Why agencies make a big mistake by talking too much in the initial call with a prospect Building a strong relationship with an outsourced web-dev shop like Ryan’s Why your project manager makes or breaks your agency The importance of over-communication How to mitigate unrealistic expectations What the ideal agency looks like for Ryan Ryan Meo has worked with hundreds of agencies and built thousands of websites over the years. About 10 [...]

By |October 5th, 2017|