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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|

How to Develop a Thought Leadership Content Strategy with John Hall

Now more than ever before, you have to differentiate yourself as an agency but with so many channels out there to consume content and distribute it in, how do you do it?  Two words - thought leadership. Agency owners talk about the idea of thought leadership and the importance of it but never seem to get off the dime. They just don’t know how. My podcast guest John Hall has thought leadership down cold. As the the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co, he spends his time advising agencies on how to differentiate themselves with thought leadership and leverage the content they are creating. John and his team have helped agencies position themselves as leaders by creating content that is helpful, unique and truly their own. Join John and I as we lay out a blueprint for you to finally get that thought leadership done: Thought leadership: why it’s something you have to do Creating a thought leadership content marketing blueprint Why your blogs should have the author’s name for a byline -- not the agency’s name Strategies for creating content that isn’t generic How to build thought leadership into your schedule so that you actually spend time on it -- and what to do if you can’t Finding the ideal mix for publishing content on your own site vs. externally Big mistakes agencies make with their content Why thought leadership content marketing is here for the long haul John Hall is co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps companies and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to their key audiences. In five years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|

EOS Model: Why Your Agency Needs a Visionary and an Integrator with Mark Winters

Most agency owners are visionaries – able to see the future and come up with idea after idea to keep their agency on top of things. But most agency owners struggle to move those ideas forward on their own. They need an integrator to help them get things done – to wade through the details and processes. The integrator is the one to follow through and put the visionary’s ideas into practice. This perfect combination of visionary and integrator is what my podcast guest Mark Winters focuses on in his book, Rocket Fuel. Mark is a Certified EOS Implementer, working with agencies to identify this combination of the “visionary” who makes it up and the “integrator” who makes it happen and puts them together within a framework that will get your agency to extraordinary. See how identifying the visionary and the integrator in your agency can push you to the next level of success by learning: The “visionary” and the “integrator” from “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters How visionaries and integrators can build trust so that integrators can take control of what visionaries create What business owners need to do when they are an integrator and they need a visionary (most owners are visionaries) If you are a visionary, how to determine if you have an integrator on your team and what to do if you don’t The seven-step visionary integrator connection process for finding the right integrator How to know if you’re going to be able to sell your agency to your integrator or not (and what your exit plan can look like in both scenarios) Things that make visionary-integrator relationships fall apart The five rules and five tools for [...]

By |September 21st, 2017|

14 Essential Leadership Principles for Every Business Leader with John Rossman

Organizations that don’t have a set of guiding principles find themselves struggling to be consistent and to always be moving towards their bigger picture goals. A lack of defined expectations also makes it difficult to have reasonable expectations from your leadership team. If you don’t give them a sense of what the company values and how you expect your leaders to behave – they have to make it up as they go along. Those challenges become even more pronounced in times of rapid change. And if there’s anything you know for sure about our industry – it’s that we are experiencing a state of constant change. My podcast guest John Rossman had a front row seat in being one of the co-creators of the leadership principles that have steered one of the biggest titans of industry, Amazon. They too exist in an industry that doesn’t even begin to resemble itself from a decade ago! Since he left Amazon, John has been using what he learned to help clients define and live by their own guiding principles.  He also wrote the book, The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World's Most Disruptive Company. In our conversation, John talks about some of the most critical of Amazon’s principles and how they apply to agencies today: Why you need to get really clear on what your future looks like John’s favorite Amazon leadership principles Why you need to be proactive and take action The importance of prioritizing getting to the right answer over getting along Structuring interviews so you find the employees that are actually willing to grow and improve Amazon’s “think big” and why it’s all about experimentation John’s best hiring practices like getting independent opinions [...]

By |September 14th, 2017|

Types of Agencies: What Kind of Agency Do You Want to Build?

Agencies face all sorts of challenges as they struggle to decide what kinds of clients to serve and what kinds of deliverables to offer, and there are many different types of agencies you can be as well. For this special solocast (it’s our 100th episode!), I want to get you thinking about what kind of agency it is that you are trying to build and nurture. Some agencies build custom solutions for every client – a very labor intensive, creative endeavor. Others have a more limited list of services and products and do less custom work. There are pros and cons with each but you really need to decide which makes more sense, based on your goals. Problems tend to arise when these types of agencies don’t make a conscious choice as to which kind of agency they would like to build and nurture. Both are fine choices but you have to make a choice. Join me in determining which kind of an agency you are suited to build and why. We’ll cover: Two types of agencies: “Artisan bakery agencies” (every project they produce is custom made for a client) and “Wonder Bread factory agencies” (where they follow systems and processes to produce the same limited set of things for every client) Why clients often work with both of these kinds of agencies, sometimes even at the same time Misconceptions owners of both kinds of agencies have about each other Assessing what type of agency you own (and why it may fall in the middle of these two types) Some of the pros of running an “Artisan bakery agency”: you can hire millennials, you can be a partner for your clients, and the prestige that [...]

By |September 7th, 2017|

How to Nurture Relationships & Build Your Network with David Fisher

  “I hate networking.” I can almost hear the collective moan from agency owners when the subject of networking comes up. Most of us think it’s either a waste of time or it makes us feel uncomfortable, like used car salesman uncomfortable.   But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. And not just any networking, it’s a new landscape of the hyper-connected selling where social media networking and old school sales and communication skills are the keys to building personal influence and creating human connections. My podcast guest is David JP Fisher or D-Fish to those who know and love him. He is a coach, speaker, author, and president of Rock Star Consulting where they love networking and all of the power, benefits and new business it can bring your way. His two most recent books, Networking in the 21st Century: Why Your Network Sucks and What to Do About It and Hyper Connected Selling: Winning More Business Through Personal Influence and Human Connection, are all about the power of networking. Join D-Fish and I as we ramp up your new business, one personal interaction at a time with: Why you can’t rely on referrals for new business Networking: why it’s relational -- not transactional How to build your network so it's stronger and serves your business better Why size matters in your network -- and why not every connection has to be a strong one Leveraging the social capital you create and making the ask at a time where you don’t come off as desperate How to build and nurture relationships Why young professionals really need to work on building their network The power of the one-on-one and taking the opportunity to build [...]

By |August 31st, 2017|