Lifelong Learning

Hey agency owner — are these must read books in your office library?

An agency owner recently asked me for my list of must read books so she could stock up and encourage her team to dig in (and no doubt herself as well) and so I thought it made sense to share the list with all of you.   I don't like books that are big on theory but not on tangible ways to put those theories into play so all of these books are good reads with lots of practical takeaways.  They’re in no particular order after the first 3 — which are the best business/marketing books I’ve read. Selling the Invisible — Harry Beckwith Becoming a Category of One — Joe Calloway Radical Leap — Steve Farber The Automatic Customer — John Warrilow Hug Your Haters — Jay Baer Everybody Writes — Ann Handley Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Start with Why by Simon Sinek Contagious by Jonah Berger Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely The Go Giver by Bob Burg To Sell is Human by Dan Pink The New Rules of Marketing & PR  by David Meerman Scott Blue Ocean Strategy by Renee Mauborgne Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore The Secret to Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar Misbehaving by Richard Thaler (not what you think it’s about — it’s a business book) Hooked by Nir Eval The Human Economy by Wayne Pacelle The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod The Third Wave by Steve Case The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni (I think all of his books are good but this, IMO, is his best effort) The One Thing [...]

Why the Written Word is More Important than Ever in Business with Jody Sutter

Words matter. They’re often an agency’s go to tool for clients and biz dev. Your prospects spend time on your website, follow you on social media, and read your content long before they ever reach out to you – so your written word is critical. It’s the first thing that your prospects see, so it better be up to snuff.   My podcast guest, Jody Sutter has a long history with the written word. Jody works with agencies helping them develop a more proactive approach to growing their business, with a special emphasis around how they communicate - getting jargon, generalizations, wordiness, and sloppy writing out of their proposals and everything else they use to promote their agency. Through your writing, Jody helps you to differentiate yourself, so that your work stands out from the others by being clear about who you are and what you do best. Jody and I help you find your unique voice by showing you: Why strong writing is more important than ever in our digital age The major mistakes that agencies make when presenting themselves in writing How to avoid making the big mistakes agencies make when responding to RFPs Why editing is so important for improving your team’s writing, how to get good at it, and what you should keep in mind if you are outsourcing the editing How agencies can differentiate themselves through storytelling The Pixar pitch The “5 things that you can do to make your writing better right away” checklist What you need to do to assess whether or not your writing needs improvement Jody Sutter started her career in sales and ended up working in agencies leading the new business teams. Today she runs [...]

How to Write and Create Valuable Content with Ann Handley

As agencies, we're constantly struggling with how to write and create good solid content for our clients while at the same time, doing it profitably enough so that we don’t lose our shirts in the process. We’re also trying to step up and take the role of helping clients make sure that their content is meaningful, useful and unique. That’s a tall order and sometimes we just don’t have the time or the skill level on our staff to get it done.   This world of content is where my podcast guest, Ann Handley shines. As the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, she has a handle on what it takes to get all of that accomplished as well as some invaluable strategies and resources to make us all better writers and content officers in our own right.   In my podcast conversation, Ann and I really get down to the core of writing and writing well and why it is so important in content creation and the role all of that has in building your agency. Some highlights include: How agencies can educate their clients The MarketingProfs B2B Forum How to write valuable content that your clients will absolutely love Strategies for working on better content instead of lots of content Why you need to focus on writing during the hiring process and throughout your agency’s work Resources for editing whether you have the budget for a human editor or not Why you need to find writers with an audience-centric point of view (and the pros and cons of hiring journalists) Tips for creating spaces for creating your best writing Ann Handley speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets. [...]

Why Accountability Partners are Vital to Your Professional Growth with Adam Carroll

Agency owners are creative by nature and as such, our minds are churning 24/7 with ideas and new initiatives we want to experiment with and implement. But which ones are worthwhile? What should we pursue and what should we skip over? It’s helpful to have a sounding board to explore these potential directions before you take off after them. In this podcast, my guest Adam Carroll has been able to harness the power of great partnerships (accountability partners and mastermind groups) and effective accountability to help determine which ideas really deserve attention and which ones don't. Adam has been able to rely on his mastermind groups for accountability, brainstorming, and guidance, and he leverages his accountability partners for productivity and challenging his habits and patterns. Both avenues, accountability partners and/or mastermind groups, are exceptionally valuable to your business because they help you dig a little deeper and hold you accountable. Adam and I explored these ideas from an agency’s perspective by showing you: How having accountability as an owner allows you to put your time into the ideas that matter, making the most impact for your agency How he makes the most of slow business periods to increase productivity How to find a great accountability partner who will be more concerned with pushing you forward, rather than protecting your feelings How to work on your business, not in your business. How taking five minutes to create a list of the people can help you find your perfect mastermind group. Adam Carroll is quickly being recognized as one of the top financial educators in the country based on his core message of “you are the architect of your own life.” Adam has presented all over the [...]

Guaranteeing Your Work Using Predictive Marketing with Stephen Woessner

I know and work with a lot of agency owners who do incredible work for their clients but very few of them are willing to guarantee that work with predictive marketing and write their clients a refund check if it doesn’t deliver the results. Are you willing to guarantee your work? To make that kind of promise — you’d better be ready to bring the goods. In my podcast conversation with Stephen Woessner we dig into how today’s agency needs to understand their client’s need for verifiable and predictive ROI and that the agencies that can deliver on that expectation, can plan on a long and fruitful existence. To build that kind of agency — it takes a brilliant methodology, incredible transparency and more accountability than most agencies have in their processes. But it is possible.  And highly profitable. Stephen and I talk predictive marketing specifics about how agencies can deliver leads and sales for their clients and best of all — get credit for doing so. We get into the nitty gritty of issues like bounce rates and the impact that has on sales and we talk philosophically about recognizing that your clients exist in a holistic ecosystem and their agency had better be able to influence every facet of it. You’ll be taking notes through this one so be prepared. To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site ( and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web. If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below. If you're going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn't you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, [...]

Hey agency owner — read these books

I read. A lot. I'm convinced it is one of the reasons I'd had the good fortune to be successful, find and keep awesome clients and stay on track. Books teach, inspire, kick us in the rear and keep us relevant. So here's my message for today: read these books.Many people ask me for book recommendations, so I thought I'd keep my list via an Amazon widget that I will keep updating.  I hope you find some new favorites among this Widgets[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]