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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revamp their creative director roles such as: Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies Why the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|

How to Utilize A/B Testing and Conversion Optimization to Drive Sales and Leads with Justin Christianson

“It doesn't really matter what you're selling because, at the end of the day, we're dealing with people.” But people can be tricky – why do they do what they do? Most of us have figured out that we do things for one of two reasons, to avoid pain or to gain pleasure and our customers are no different. So how can you use that information to drive leads and sales? According to my podcast guest Justin Christianson, it’s by utilizing split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization. Justin’s vast knowledge of split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization borders on the fanatical. So fanatical, he wrote a book about it, “Conversion Fanatic: How to double your customers, sales and profits with A/B testing”. Join Justin and I and see how split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization can get people to take the desired action that you want them to take by learning: How Conversion Fanatics was born Why you have to track and learn why people do what they do The basics of conversions Big mistakes people make when attempting to get people to convert How to start testing for conversions How to get your clients to actually do case studies Some of the most surprising things Justin has learned from conversion testing What makes an employee good for conversion work Why split (A/B) testing and conversion optimization are two very different things Why you must approach working with other agencies for a client with no ego VR and video: why these two technologies are only going to grow in the future How Justin stays on the cutting edge How to pick the clients that are right for your agency Justin Christianson is a 15-year digital [...]

By |August 10th, 2017|

Best Practices when Forming an Agency Leadership Team

The smartest, most successful business owners have surrounded themselves with a strong, powerful leadership team. They don’t go into battle alone and they know that it’s easier to climb the mountain as a cohesive team. If you really want to scale your agency, build it for eventual sale and exceed your goals – you need a strong group of invested professionals around the table. In this solocast I look at agency leadership teams and how they should function, who should sit on one and why you’d have one in the first place. I explore the best practices around having a functional leadership team that helps the agency owners guide and run the agency day-to-day. Before you put your leadership team together, be sure to take a listen as I walk you through the steps with: Reasons to build a leadership team Why you should never start a leadership team out of frustration or overwhelm Why your leadership team is a great place to mentor employees ready for the next level How building a leadership team fits into your succession plan What kinds of employees should be on your agency leadership team (and why you shouldn’t just look at employees with certain titles) The huge decisions that you as the agency owner have to make before having your first leadership team meeting What leadership team meetings should accomplish Why every leadership team member needs to leave the meeting with a goal to accomplish before the next meeting How to decide when to include your agency leadership team in the decision-making (and the three levels of decision-making you can use) Drew McLellan is the Top Dog at Agency Management Institute. For the past 21 years, he has [...]

By |August 3rd, 2017|

How to Get Speaking Engagements that Fill Your Pipeline with Gene Hammett

One of the best ways to get on a prospect’s radar screen is for them to see you on stage at a trade conference or show. The implied endorsement of your thought leadership can open many business development doors. But how do you know which stage you should be on and how do you get there? How do you position yourself to become the choice, not a choice, when people are looking for speakers with your specific expertise? My podcast guest Gene Hammett uses his 20+ years of experience being on many stages (right and wrong) to walk you through how to find your profitable niche, translate that into new revenues, new leads, new business and make you the insider in the space you are shooting for so the right clients will come to you. Gene says, “Most people believe they should be getting paid to speak, but I believe that you can and should speak for free at the right stages. Be in the right place and the right clients will walk up to you after your speech and present you an opportunity. Of course, that assumes you've done your work and you really carry the moment and deliver something fresh and useful.” Join Gene and I as he lays out a great road map for becoming THE choice, and not A choice with: Why Gene became a coach after losing 3 million dollars The real reasons you should be speaking (it’s not a speaker’s fee) How to get speaking engagements that will fill your sales pipeline Why you shouldn’t shy away from the “breakout” sessions at conferences as a speaker The opportunity for diverse speakers Why being a generalist is dangerous for speakers [...]

By |July 27th, 2017|
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