A Creative’s Perspective on Innovative Creative Briefs

"A well-constructed creative brief is an essential tool for any creative project. Yet somehow, many creative briefs fail to live up to their potential and leave creatives with uninspiring work that ultimately wastes time, energy, and resources." In this piece I recently contributed to AdvertisingWeek.com, I discuss how to ensure your marketing strategy performs to the best of its ability by sparking creativity daily and generating inspiration among your team members.

How to Think Future-Foward In Your Succession Planning Strategy

Most of us aren’t thinking about what’s happening next week, let alone 10 years down the road in day-to-day business operations. But it’s very important to understand how decisions today could impact the future value of your business. This article will break down everything you need to know about what you should focus on to increase your valuation and why it matters to start thinking about your succession planning strategy right now. In this piece I contributed to CEOWorld.com, I discuss successful succession planning strategies include training and upskilling programs over time as well as specific takeover plans.

How Remote and Contract Workers Fit Into Agency Culture

You might think that only a full-time, on-site employee can handle your agency’s work, but the reality is that remote and contract workers may have more specialized knowledge than your current team. In this piece I recently contributed to SpinSucks.com, I consider how agency owners can make contract workers team members rather than people to whom they just assign tasks.

Client satisfaction surveys- Part 2

In last week’s newsletter we started the conversation about how important it is to understand how our current clients are feeling about our work, our people, and our value.  And yet, customer satisfaction surveys are rarely done well. We’ve all been on the receiving end of bad customer surveys.  They ask us too often.  They ask us the same questions every time.  And we never hear back or see any real reaction to what we shared. No wonder why the completion rate is so low, and the input is so tepid. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Customer satisfaction surveys, when done well, will give you a competitive advantage in terms of both client retention and new client acquisition. So how do we conduct our research in a way that ultimately serves both our organization and our clients? Last week we covered: Invite your customers to participate and tell them what you’re going do with what you learn Strongly consider getting both qualitative and quantitative input This week we’ll cover: Determine the timing Be thoughtful about the questions Determine the timing: This is one of the aspects most agencies miscalculate.  Most don’t ask at all but if they do, they err on the other side and ask too often — risking fatiguing their clients.  This is especially true if you keep asking the same questions repeatedly or the survey is too long. There’s no one size fits all answer to the frequency question.  If you want to stay on the surface and ask simpler, shorter questions, you can risk asking more often.  But if you want to dig deeper and ask your clients for more information, you’ll need to rachet back your frequency. [...]

Client satisfaction surveys- Part 1

Client satisfaction surveys are nothing new and yet, they are often done poorly.  The saddest part of when they’re done badly is that most agencies are missing a huge marketing opportunity. Yes, it’s wonderful to get the data points that you’ll glean from the survey but there’s also an incredible amount of goodwill and soft marketing that can happen when the research is done well.  (This is true for your clients as well, if you help them with customer satisfaction work.) Your clients will appreciate that you care enough about their business to ask.  But only if you also help them see how you are going to genuinely listen and react to what they tell you.  We’ve all been on the receiving end of the same survey, over and over, from a business who asks the same questions after every interaction, but we never hear about the survey results or how they’re going to put their new insights into action. This week and next, I want to dissect what we’ve learned from doing countless client satisfaction surveys for agencies.  You can build a DIY model or share this with your favorite research partner as a guide. Invite your clients to participate and tell them what you’re going do with what you learn:  Without a doubt, this first step is one of the most critical.  And yet, there are elements of it that are often overlooked or purposefully skipped.  Don’t miss a single nugget of this step if you want to maximize the value of the research. Start by sending an email or letter to your client base, telling them that you’re going to be sending them a link for an online survey or that your [...]

Why Don’t Agencies Ask More Questions in a New Business Pitch?

Do we ask enough questions when we pitch a new client? In a recent article I talked about how to assert some control over a new business pitch. Not in an aggressive, “give it to me” kind of way. Rather more like the skilled push-and-pull of a pair of well-matched tango dancers. One way to exert control is by leveraging your knowledge of the client, but knowledge is the result of inquiry. And, inquiry requires that you ask some questions. Maybe this comes naturally to some of us more than others. Like me. I’m a questioner by nature. I confound my life partner by my need for answers to what he thinks are the most inconsequential questions. For instance, he’ll chat with me over dinner about one of his clients coming back from a vacation and my natural inclination is to ask “was the weather good?” Or “did their son enjoy SCUBA diving for the first time?” His response, more often than not, is “I have no idea. I would never even have thought to ask that question…” I guess I just like to know stuff about people and things! Maybe that’s helped me become a good business development person. Maybe we can make you a better business developer too by sharpening your questioning skills. I have a very simple framework I use with agencies when they hire me to help them win a new business pitch. It’s based on the “5 Ws (and an H)” most of us have been familiar with since grade school—who, what, why, where, when, and how. It’s a fluid tool – the questions are always adapted to the situation, but the intention is always the same: To get my [...]

3 Ways to Help Women Join the Ranks of Agency Owners

Although women have made great strides in the business world, the number of marketing agencies owned by women is unusually small. It's time to change that. In this piece I recently contributed to MarketingProfs.com, I discuss three steps to help you change the course of the industry for the better and how you can pave the way for more women founders and CEOs.

Why You Must Optimize Your Agency Operations (And How to Get Started)

Scaling your business requires many moving parts that can work in conjunction with each other. As a former agency owner, I know the challenges of growing a business. Out of my frustration, I developed the systems and processes we offer to our clients today.   Why You Must Optimize Your Agency Operations When you start a business, you have these ideas that you can create your own schedule and life that you will love. But, once you get into a growing business, you quickly realize that you have created a job for yourself that has terrible hours and no overtime.  As a business owner, you are used to wearing many hats and solving all of the problems in your company. As you grow your teams and bring on new clients, getting overwhelmed with everyone coming to you to answer questions is easy. Next thing you know, you find yourself working all through the night and on weekends just to keep up.  What is the solution to this overwhelm? Systems and processes. This is a necessity for all organizations to reign in the chaos and scale their company.  How to Get Started With Putting Systems and Processes in Place If you feel like you are already drowning in work, it can be hard to prioritize creating processes or looking into tools that will help your team. Here are a few tips to help you get started on putting systems in place.  1. Get Buy-In From Leadership And The Team When everyone on the team has their own way of doing things, it can create chaos in the organization. It makes communicating difficult and ensures things do not slip through the cracks. Moving members of a team away [...]

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