Many agency owners and leaders ask me about the AMI networks so I thought I would explain them here in my weekly note to all of you. Very few people in your life truly understand the unique challenges and potential of running a small to mid-sized agency. If you’ve got a partner or two — you can kick ideas back and forth, but you’re all inside the same bottle. And just like we tell our clients — you can’t objectively see or describe the outside of the bottle from inside. This is why our agency owner peer networks are the cornerstone of AMI. By joining a network you get the best of both worlds. You get that outside perspective you really need but from someone who walks in your shoes every day. Each one has a mix of advertising agencies, PR firms, marketing shops, digital marketing, and design firms with the desire and drive to grow their business to the next level. Only one company from any specific geographic market or niche specialty is admitted to a network. This allows you to collaborate with people outside your bottle – to gain new perspectives and share ideas with other driven and passionate agency owners. The network is truly a safe and open harbor where valuable business connections and lifelong friendships develop. The networks meet in person twice a year (for 2 full days + dinner on the night before we start) and stay in touch throughout the year. They share resources, partner on business, seek counsel and enjoy each other’s support, and when needed, a kick in the pants. Your network becomes your advisory team, sounding board, and a group of great friends. At the in-person [...]
I totally get it. You’re busy putting out fires, delivering high-level strategy for your clients and trying to mentor and grow your team. Who has time for new business? This is one of those head versus heart things in agency ownership. You know you need to devote more time to new business but somehow something always pushes those best intentions aside. I’m here to tell you — you cannot afford to let your biz dev efforts ebb and flow. The only way it works is if you keep your foot on the pedal every day. MediaPost asked me to talk a little about this issue and how agency owners can overcome the lure of “I’ll do it tomorrow.” As always, I’d welcome your feedback. In January, we had one of the best live workshops we’ve ever had — and it was two days of talking about nothing but new business strategies with two agency search consultants who see agencies at their best and their worst. They were so generous with this knowledge and insights that everyone walked away raving about the content. In fact, it was so awesome that we’re doing it again next January. It’s going to sell out for sure — so if you want to do a deep dive on biz dev, check out the workshop and get your spot before they’re gone. However you fire yourself up and inspire yourself — let 2020 be the year that you finally embrace your role as Chief Prospect Hunter!
I recently had an AMI agency ask me which 2016 content management conferences for agencies I would recommend they consider putting into the budget. First -- bravo to the agency for actually baking professional development into their budget. Most agencies underspend in this area and it costs them their best talent. A recent survey showed that agency employees consider being sent to a workshop, conference or other professional development opportunity as being equal to a 17% raise. Whether they are telling you or not -- your people want to keep getting better. You have a responsibility and frankly it's just smart business, to help them sharpen their saw. Do they have a responsibility too? You bet. I wouldn't send anyone to a conference or workshop if you don't see evidence of them also trying to learn on their own and them bringing that new knowledge into the agency as a teacher. You co-own the responsibility and the best employees are the ones who are hungry to learn and to teach their peers. And of course, whether they want to get better or not -- you NEED them to get better. You invest so much into your people and they are your primary source of revenue, so you'd better keep investing in them. In our world today -- even if you know everything today, you will be woefully behind in a blink if you don't keep adding to your knowledge base. So your folks need to keep improving. If not, you have to keep trading up and that gets very expensive. And it should go without saying but I'll say it anyway -- YOU my agency owner friend also need to keep sharpening your skills, knowledge and exposure [...]
What is an account executive in marketing? What does account executive training consist of? In most agencies, an AE's first day consists of: A "fill out all the paperwork" meeting with your HR/accounting person A quick tour of the office, introducing the new account executive to the team as you walk through A lecture about protecting passwords from your IT staffer And a reminder that their first client meeting is at 10:30 am. That morning. No worries -- you'll train them later, right? Unfortunately, many an agency has incredible intentions of starting a training program for their account executives but usually client work trumps training and it doesn't happen. One of the reasons it doesn't happen is because usually the agency owner is the one who is supposed to develop the training. Enough said. But let's say you really are serious about developing an internal account executive training program. What does it need to include? What to Expect of an Account Executive in Marketing Understanding the big picture: Why does a client hire an agency? What does an agency owner look for in an account executive How does an agency work and make money Agency accounting (AGI, etc.) How does an account executive influence AGI for better or worse Getting the work done: Work flow/process inside agencies Serving as the client advocate inside the agency and the agency advocate with the client Helping clients be a better client Helping the agency become invaluable to the client The money pits and how to avoid them The business of business: How businesses make money Business metrics/KPIs The different levels within a company and what each of them can do for/with the agency Identifying business problems and delivering [...]
We just wrapped up one of our account executive training workshops -- we call it the Advanced Account Executive Bootcamp. A great group of dedicated account executives who all want to lead their team to even greater success. Whether I'm doing the advanced training or the Bootcamp for more entry level AEs -- we spend quite a bit of time talking about being a strategic thinker. Why? Because that seems to be agency owners #1 complaint about their account executive team -- great at following directions and taking orders but not so great at leading the client and growing that business. Are your AEs asking the right questions? I'm guessing not. Luckily for you and your agency, account executive training can fix that. I think there's a simple reason why your account executives are not performing as well as you'd like. They don't ask enough or the right questions. When a client calls and tells an AE they need to open a new project, the AE automatically goes into order taker mode. If they ask any questions at all, they're tactical questions about the deliverables the client is asking for. Most AEs have not been trained on how to step back and ask the why questions. They aren't comfortable suggesting that what the client is asking for might not be the right call. And they rarely know how to take that tactical request all the way back to the client's goals and objectives. Truth be told, depending on the sophistication of the client -- they might not know the answers if your AE did push back. But that's where the opportunities are buried. The sophisticated client will elevate your AE's status from vendor to thinking partner [...]
The odds of winning new clients is significantly higher if they're the ones who call us. Learn how to "do" social media so it drive leads to your door. It's time for your social media efforts to result in real, qualified new business leads. Don't do social because you think you have to. Do it because it's generating new revenue! Your agency needs this workshop if: You want better inbound leads You want SEO results that are relevant and will drive sales You want to leverage your social efforts into speaking engagements that position your agency as the expert You want to be able to use your results to sell social to clients You don't want your clients to call you out on the fact that you sell social but you don't really do social Learn from an agency owner who has taken his agency from being a nice boutique shop in the midwest to being quoted in the New York Times and having The Wall Street Journal call their blog "one that every entrepreneur should read." Best of all -- learn how they leveraged their social media efforts into a 150% increase in AGI. This workshop isn't about theory. You'll leave with a robust plan that outlines exactly what you're going to do, how you're going to get it done, and how you're going to measure the results! If it doesn't work, we'll refund your workshop fees, no questions asked. The Chicago Social Media for your Agency Workshop Register yourself or your team today! Chicago, IL DATE: September 24 & 25, 2012 TIME: Monday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Tuesday 8:30 am - 3:00 pm LOCATION: Chicago Marriott Downtown Download the brochure! EARLY BIRD PRICING ENDS SEPT 9TH