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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: 2024
May 27, 2024

If you want to future-proof your agency’s success and stability, now is the time to become a fractional CMO.

For those unfamiliar with the term, fractional CMOs are hired for their strategy first and execution second. It’s a client-agency relationship built on trust that you know their industry deeply and can execute your strategy to provide a high ROI to your client.

The pandemic paved the way for having this hyperfocus on one specialization and highlighted the need for agencies to be trusted thought leaders in their niches. This week’s guest, John Jantsch, is teaching us how to become fractional CMOs and what it takes to build that deeper trust with clients.

Join us to learn the data behind John’s ideas and how to position your agency as a fractional CMO.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the pandemic shifted the need for strategy and consulting
  • Shifting to strategy over execution can help find right-fit clients
  • Fractional CMOs are up 60% as an add-on service
  • Clients want their agencies to have deep knowledge of their industry
  • The two distinct types of fractional CMO — and which one you should be
  • Showing up as part of your clients’ team to build trust
  • Building trust through strategic partnerships, referrals, and thought leadership
  • The growing emphasis on first-party data for agencies
May 20, 2024

In 2023, about 45% of agencies took an AGI hit — the biggest number we’ve seen for as long as we’ve been tracking agency trends. Last year was tough, but agencies are finally starting to bounce back from growing their AGI.

With some of our profitability struggles finally behind us, many of you are wondering how to get ahead of the curve once again. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into some of the biggest influencers of agency AGI during this time and what agency owners can learn from the trends.

We have a ton of data on agency biz dev trends, specialization and niching, client ghosting, and much more. So join us to dive into the data and learn what your agency can be looking out for to help prevent a big AGI hit in the future.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency AGI
agency AGI

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The work that has been super profitable for agencies in the past year or two
  • The biggest hits to agency AGI
  • Proving ROI to clients is more important than ever
  • Why you need to raise your hourly rate if you haven’t already
  • Finding ways to get more work out of your existing clients
  • Overservicing clients is costing you money
  • Why it might be time to cut some of your staff
  • Clients want more from their agencies, and they’re not afraid to ghost
  • Investing in first-party data and data analysts
May 13, 2024

Burnout can sneak up on us; before we know it, we’re ready to sell the agency. But before we get to this critical point, there are usually signs and symptoms of burnout, but it’s not always easy to differentiate them from regular day-to-day stress.

In this week’s episode, I’m talking to Eric Recker about those crucial signs that you might be burning the candle at both ends a little too often and how to turn it around for the better. If we can get ahead of our burnout by identifying that we’re heading in that direction early, there’s so much we can do to help turn it around before we start making rash decisions.

If your world is starting to feel a little gray, monotonous, or like you’re in the trenches a little too often for your liking, those might be your signs to start going into recovery mode. So join us to learn how agency owners can start recognizing burnout signs and symptoms and how to recover from them.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

burnout

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Is it burnout or business as usual?
  • The importance of having people around you to check in with
  • How to de-crisis yourself if you feel you’re at risk of burnout
  • Turning off the false sense of urgency in your mind
  • Commit to 30 minutes of unstructured quiet
  • Filling yourself back up after being chronically empty for a long time
  • Disrupting your routine to scale burnout recovery
  • A recipe for sustainable recovery that’s realistic and achievable
  • Setting boundaries between work mode and relax mode
  • Bringing burnout recovery tactics to our employees
May 6, 2024

Agency owners like to think they can do it all, but the real gold is in finding and defining your agency niche. To demonstrate, I spoke to Tyler Samani-Sprunk of Simple Strat to get into the head of an agency that learned this lesson the hard way but still did it very well — once they finally committed.

Tyler shares the false starts and missteps early on as Simple Strat tried half-heartedly to pick a niche without fully committing. He explained how feedback from prospects asking, “What are you really good at?” motivated them to double down on specializing in content marketing for a while before their YouTube channel HubSpot Hacks really gained traction.

This episode is your sign to finally work on nailing down your niche if you’ve been going back and forth about it for ages. It might seem like you’re limiting your scope, but in reality, you’re opening yourself up to a whole funnel of right-fit clients who need your expertise.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency niche

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What motivated Simple Strat to start specializing
  • The 3 phases of trying to find their agency niche
  • Why they chose video and HubSpot as their niche
  • Treating cornerstone content as a client in your day-to-day operations
  • When they knew it was working for them
  • How their sales cycle transformed when shifting to thought leadership marketing
  • How content marketing plays a role in content strategy with clients
  • People want to hear from people, not brands
  • Weaving personality into professional content
  • Simple Strat’s biggest mistakes and best decisions in the niching process
Apr 29, 2024

Clients increasingly want to know exactly what they’re getting in return for their dollars spent with agencies. This data can be tricky to compile, let alone interpret and visualize in a way the client actually understands. So this week, we’re diving deeper into the ongoing AI conversation to dial in on one thing — how AI tools can prove an agency’s ROI to clients.

In the episode, our guest, Jonathon Reilly, gives a great overview of how AI can revolutionize this task. The big idea is that AI tools can crunch huge amounts of data and surface valuable insights way faster than a human data analyst could. It allows you to be more responsive to clients, show the impact you’re delivering, and ultimately retain clients longer by demonstrating your value more clearly.

But it’s not just about reporting — Jonathon thinks AI tools will help agencies be more efficient across the board, from creative ideation to repetitive tasks. The goal isn’t to replace human effort, but to use AI as an assistant that makes us faster and better at our jobs (more ROI for clients).

Tune in to learn more about how AI tools will level the playing field for small- to mid-sized agencies to bring more value to our clients in a tangible, understandable way.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

AI tools

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How AI intersects with data to help agencies prove their worth to clients
  • Helping clients understand the data and numbers
  • Will AI tools remove the need to hire data analysts in the future?
  • Being data savvy to prove ROI
  • Leveraging AI tools to maximize agency efficiency
  • How AI will change the billable hour
  • Starting the conversation with your employees about encouraging the use of AI tools
  • Embrace AI, but with boundaries and structure
  • Getting more educated in the AI landscape
  • How AI tools are leveling the playing field for small- to mid-sized agencies
  • How Akkio works to maximize agency efficiency
Apr 22, 2024

As agency owners, we all want to be different. We don’t want to be the boss who is a stickler for punctuality or to feel like we’re micromanaging our employees. But HR issues will inevitably arise, and that’s when the reality check sets in.

HR issues aren’t always as intense as the term may imply. They could be as small as someone being late to a couple of meetings or an employee missing a deadline one too many times. They’re often small things that build up over time and can balloon into bigger issues — like souring client-agency relationships or diluting the agency’s core values.

In this week’s episode, Allyns Melendez shares lots of great tips and tricks to help prevent minor HR issues from getting out of control. From leading by example to being a chameleon leader who can shift based on who you’re talking to and what tone is needed, she knows exactly how to help agency owners and leaders resolve nearly any conflict an agency might face.

Tune in to learn tons of valuable tactics that will make you feel like no employee problem is too big for you to handle.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

HR issues

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How HR has stayed surprisingly the same over 100 years
  • How to show up as an agency leader to everybody vs. with individual employees
  • Handling first-time HR issues with an employee
  • What happens when we don’t address bad habits immediately
  • Preparing for difficult one-on-one conversations with agency employees
  • Conflict resolution with agency employees and how to follow up with your plan
  • Why chameleon leadership will help you communicate better
  • Get to know your communication style and how you show up in a room
  • How to ask for candid feedback and make your employees feel safe to do so
Apr 15, 2024

Online communities are quickly becoming one of the most powerful biz dev tools out there, but there’s etiquette to starting and maintaining one. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are ready, an online community could be your ticket to selling without ever having to actually sell.

This week, we’re continuing the conversation about online communities vs. online audiences, and the vast benefits they can offer to agency owners. Now that we’ve established the differences between an audience and a community, it’s time to ask ourselves deeper questions about why and how we should start one.

The main purpose of starting an online community shouldn’t be selling or profiting from its members. But if you’re in it to genuinely help others and create an avenue for collective thought leadership and connection, increased sales are just part of the benefits.

If you think starting an online community could be the right move for your agency, tune in to this week’s episode of Build a Better Agency.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

online communities

In This Episode:

  • How to start an online community (who, what, where, why)
  • Are you starting a community for the right reasons?
  • Why you should expect nothing in return from online communities
  • Identifying your target audience
  • What a community leader should provide to community members, and vice versa
  • The main difference between a community and an audience
  • 3 questions to ask yourself before creating a community
  • Consistency wins over complexity in online community building
  • How to benefit from a community without starting one yourself
  • Using online communities as a powerful biz dev tool
  • Qualifying your community members
Apr 8, 2024

Everybody has a story they’re trying to tell, and brands play a massive role in people’s stories, whether they realize it or not. Most of the time, the stories consumers associate with a brand aren’t what we think they are. This is where behavioral economics becomes vital to creating an effective marketing strategy.

 

Behavioral economics is a study that attempts to make sense of people’s behavior around spending. We don’t always make spending decisions in our best interest and often base purchasing decisions on our emotions. In fact, people usually connect and interact with brands the same way they connect with people.

This leaves brands with a lot of pressure on their backs. If you ignore your loyal customers’ needs and wants, they will feel deeply betrayed. But if you listen to their stories and get to the core of what they’re looking for, you’ll build a trust that feels like a close friendship.

The psychology behind consumer behavior is complicated but fascinating. Join us this week to discover how brands can use behavioral economics to build an effective marketing strategy that fosters deep trust from your customers.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What is behavioral economics?
  • Why people build human-like relationships with brands
  • How narrative psychology can improve our relationships with our customers
  • Clues that a brand uses narrative psychology well
  • Convincing clients that a strategy based on behavioral psychology is worth investing in
  • How strategic changes ripple throughout a whole organization
  • Getting to the bottom of your customer story
  • What brands get wrong about customer stories
  • Why feelings of betrayal run deep when brands miss the mark
Apr 1, 2024

In-person networking is still a big deal. After a brief Covid hiatus, trade shows, conferences, and workshops are back and bigger than ever. So, if you or your team plan on attending any of these events soon, it’s important to get up to date on the do’s and don’ts of networking at these events.

Instead of being stuck with a stack of business cards and struggling to recall conversations with specific individuals from an event, seasoned keynote speaker Dave Delaney shares how to manage and nurture your client and prospect interactions effectively.

Not sure how to strike up a conversation with a prospect or keynote speaker? Or what about when you get home from the event and still want to close a potential sale without sounding too spammy? Dave shares insights on approaching these topics and more during this episode.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

networking

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why in-person networking is still essential
  • How we get networking and connecting with others wrong
  • Networking best practices for competitors, prospects, and keynote speakers
  • The etiquette behind not being creepy or pushy to your peers
  • How to get people’s information while you’re at the show
  • Don’t count on the other person to reach out to you after the show
  • How to create meaningful relationships with people after trade shows and conferences
  • Focus on relationship-building over getting someone in your sales funnel
Mar 25, 2024

After a tough sales year in 2023, many of you have been looking for the next thing to consistently fill your sales pipeline with new prospects. With sales cycles taking longer than before, it’s essential always to have warm prospects teed up and ready to go. But how?

 

The answer is in thought leadership combined with lead gen and lead magnets. Positioning yourself and your agency as an authority in your niche (and giving some of it away for free) generates trust in your agency’s expertise before they’ve officially met you.

When done right, lead gen can be mostly automated. And having great lead magnets like a podcast or YouTube channel, or offering a free mini-service to prospects to get them interested in your services will build trust and establish your agency as a thought leader in your niche.

This week, Jay Feldman shares his tips and tricks for how his agencies used automated lead gen and lead magnets to still be profitable in a challenging sales year. This episode is packed with actionable insights that you’ll want to take notes on, so make sure you have a pen and paper ready to go, and check out the links in the show notes for all of the programs and tools he mentions during the interview.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

lead gen

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How lead gen and lead magnets turned a bad sales year into a good one
  • Commit to being relentlessly helpful to others
  • What Jay’s agencies used as lead magnets to attract attention from prospects
  • How to retain the clients you close from lead gen
  • Giving big wins early on when working with new clients
  • Establishing trust authority in the first 90-120 days with lead gen clients
  • Cold email tactics that work
  • What defines success for lead gen and lead magnets
  • Scalable lead magnets that bring results
  • Avoiding shiny object syndrome and doing what works for your agency
Mar 18, 2024

We’ve all been here before — your agency grows, and your day-to-day is getting a little too chaotic for comfort. Each team member has their own way of doing things, and no one is on the same page about the best approach to doing recurring tasks. As the agency owner, you’re getting pulled into things that you shouldn’t, becoming the organization’s bottleneck.

 

If that’s you, it’s time to break that cycle with some project management software.

With a million choices and a few that have become the industry standard, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which is right for your agency. Often, agencies will pick one based on how popular or how pretty it is, and forget about its functionality specific to your agency’s day-to-day needs.

This week, Alane Boyd is clearing the fog around project management software to help us decide if we need one — and if so, what tools and functionality we should be looking out for that will get our productivity back on track.

Don’t be afraid to take the time to really learn what tools are right for your team, and be generous with how long it takes for the new systems and processes to become sticky. Once you find one that works, your agency productivity will be back and better than ever.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The benefits of project management software
  • Taking your time learning new systems and software
  • The signs an agency is ready for a PM software
  • Questions to ask yourself before choosing which product is best for you
  • Why capacity planning is the most important factor for choosing a project management software
  • How to recognize if you’re using the wrong tool
  • Training your project managers to use a new tool
  • Setting up a project management tool to automate recurring tasks
  • Considering the internal and external integrations of a PM tool that are necessary for your agency
  • Finding a tool that your team is willing to adopt
  • The most common mishaps with picking a project management software
Mar 11, 2024

Humans are hardwired to belong, and the desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves is in our blood. Whether we connect over shared values, a favorite sports team, a hobby, or even just from living near one another, we can find community and belonging all around us.

These days, many of us are finding community online through social media and spreading our social nets wider than ever. This leaves a huge opportunity for agency leaders to build their own online communities to help others learn and share their experiences about business leadership, entrepreneurship, or any form of thought leadership in which they excel.

Online communities should, first and foremost, be a way to bring people together with shared goals and interests, but the benefits reach far beyond that. With enough time and care, they can become robust sales and networking tools that do the prospecting work for you.

But it’s not for everyone, and that’s ok.

In this week’s solocast, I’m doing a deep dive into the ins and outs of creating online communities, building an audience online, and how to make sure you’re doing it all for the right reasons. With enough patience, online community building could become your agency’s secret sales weapon that provides perks and benefits for the people in it.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

online communities

In This Episode:

  • What is a community, and how does it relate to work?
  • The difference between an audience and a community
  • Online communities do the selling for you
  • B2B brands have less competition in creating online communities
  • Asking yourself the who, what, where, and why before starting a community
  • How communities make biz dev easier for agencies
  • Being a safe harbor for people as a community leader
  • Community building isn’t for everyone
  • 3 questions to ask yourself to determine if you should build a community or an audience
  • How to build an online community and spread the word about it
  • Having a community is a long game — have a growth plan
Mar 4, 2024

Sales cycles are elongated, but that doesn’t mean agencies can’t still win new clients. If we change how we think about and approach prospecting, we can up our client outreach game to really hone in on our right-fit clients without being too sales-y about it.

 

In this episode, I talk with Dan Englander about how to stand out against the competition in our prospecting and outreach efforts. He shares how personalized client outreach can cut through the noise and win us new business more often if we just take the time to commit and dial in our systems and processes.

He also shares some tips and tricks for smaller agencies looking to build a sales team for the first time. You’ll learn how to identify the right hire who cares about solving your clients’ issues and won’t just read from a script or phone it in.

If you’re among the majority of agency owners who are ready to get out of the slow sales cycle and want to revamp your sales efforts this year, be sure to tune in to this advice-packed episode.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

client outreach

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What are companies looking to agencies for the most?
  • Rethinking when it’s the right time to reach out to prospects
  • A continued move toward specialization and thought leadership
  • How to build and strengthen trust in the sales process
  • Focusing on more than one niche isn’t a bad thing
  • Best practices for personalizing client outreach efforts
  • Consistency is key
  • Walking the walk and talking the talk to build client trust
  • Getting past the noise to stand out in your client outreach
  • How a smaller shop can start building a sales team
  • Common mistakes in sales training
Feb 26, 2024

In a sharp contrast to the earlier pandemic years, many agency owners said that in 2023, they have the best teams they’ve ever had and want to find ways to keep them around. This is great news, and we want to help keep your agency dream team alive and thriving.

 

To help in that journey, HR expert Barbara Mason joins me to share what agency owners and leaders can do to help make their employees feel like valued team members while staying true to the agency’s mission and values.

She is a fountain of knowledge — from interviewing best practices and why HR experts need to be a part of your business to how to create the agency culture you want while caring for your agency employees as whole people. She’ll even share her top 3 secret interview questions she uses to get potential hires thinking about how they fit into the agency’s mission and values.

This episode is full of practical and common-sense tips that will hopefully get the gears going and help you keep your agency dream team alive and thriving in 2024 and beyond.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency dream team

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Two simple things that will help you keep your agency dream team happy
  • Transparency goes a long way with agency employees, but know the limits
  • What makes a healthy agency culture?
  • How more introverted business owners can engage and connect with their employees
  • How benefits packages have changed post-Covid
  • Creating agency culture in a hybrid or fully remote environment
  • The importance of knowing what you’re hiring for and interviewing accordingly
  • Motivating agency employees to be more engaged in the work
  • HR’s role in having a succession plan for the business
  • Interview best practices for agency leadership
  • Exercising radical candor in agency communications
  • Employment trends to keep an eye on in 2024
  • The biggest mistake agency owners make with their people
Feb 19, 2024

Video budgets are up in 2024, which means the demand for video content from clients will be high this year. For agencies, it also indicates that we must start utilizing this incredible business development tool for ourselves to know what’s up when our clients ask about it.

Not only that, but video content creation is an incredible medium for agencies in prospecting, connecting with current clients, and gaining valuable data and metrics on what content is engaging to your audience.

Are prospects clicking off your video in the first 10 seconds? Are they even opening the email? Or are they going back to watch it again and again? Video tracking and metrics give us all these answers and more.

Ready to learn more about what will soon be your best business development tool in 2024? Join us in this week’s Build a Better Agency to discover more about the power of video for agency growth.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

business development tool

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How video helps you connect deeper with people
  • Making videos vs. being a content creator
  • Getting comfortable on camera and remaining authentic
  • Deciding what types of videos you want to create and where to share them
  • 5 ways agencies can use video to connect with clients
  • Teaching clients to use video as a business development tool
  • What video data and metrics can tell us about our content
  • Using video to market and grow your agency
Feb 12, 2024

What exactly makes an insight versus just an observation? What are the different types out there? How the heck do we uncover them? This week, we’re getting insightful about insights and laying out the key characteristics of strong agency insights — like inspiring action and reframing problems.

 

Chris Kocek will share his favorite techniques for generating insights during brainstorming sessions, like continually asking “why” like a toddler until you reach some real gold. With agencies feeling more and more pressure these days to stay competitive and continuously innovate, it’s important to know what really gets us to those “ah-ha” moments before building out a whole campaign.

And once you uncover those golden nuggets, really selling them to your team for maximum impact is the cherry on top. Join us in this insightful episode to learn how to piece together all of these agency insight strategies from one of the pros.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency insights

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Getting to the core of the word “insight”
  • Do agencies always need to feel pressured to be insightful?
  • When agency owners should be pushing for more insights from their team
  • The 3 different types of agency insights
  • Inspiring action and problem-solving through insightful thinking
  • The methodology behind building insights
  • How to sell innovative ideas to clients
Feb 5, 2024

If there’s one word that will send any agency owner or employee running for the hills, it’s timesheets. Although one of the most universally disliked words in the agency world, timesheets are still the number one way to detect and diagnose problems within the agency before they become catastrophes.

Essentially, they’re your best friend whether you like it or not.

Timesheets, especially when completed daily by all agency employees (including the agency owner), will give you invaluable data about your agency’s day-to-day operations and where there’s room for improvement.

For agency owners, daily timesheets will show you inefficiencies, areas where more staffing is needed, needs for more training, and so much more. For agency employees, this is your ticket to job security, bonuses, promotions, and recognition for excellent work.

Tune in to learn more about why daily timesheets are essential for agency owners and employees and how to get everyone on board with the practice this year.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

daily timesheets

In This Episode:

  • Why early detection matters for agency operations
  • The diagnostic warning signs that your agency isn’t running effectively
  • What daily timesheets show us about our agency
  • How timesheets and time-tracking metrics can boost our profitability
  • Why do them daily vs. weekly?
  • Why timesheets are a good thing and help agency employees defend themselves
  • How to get your team on board
Jan 29, 2024

You’ve probably heard of IQ, EQ, or even SQ (spiritual intelligence), but have you heard of NQ? For those new to the term, it’s natural intelligence, or our ability to tap into our inner wisdom to guide us in our decision-making in the most high-stakes situations.

 

In life and leadership alike, we tend to let our ego get in the way of our decision-making. It’s normal, but it’s not often helpful for reaching our goals or leading our teams effectively. Instead, we should be listening to our natural intelligence to guide our leadership decisions.

This is how animals survive in the wild. They don’t have the ability to overthink or hide away from a challenge like humans can. Instead, they innately know how to act in order to stay alive or lead their pack to victory.

If we approach leadership in a similar manner, we can access a side of our leadership abilities we might not have known we had. To access it, all we have to do is learn to observe nature and understand our own gut reactions to survival moments. Join us to learn more about finding our personal natural intelligence and how to apply it to agency leadership.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

natural intelligence

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What is NQ?
  • How to apply natural intelligence to your business leadership
  • The obstacles to us tapping into NQ
  • To tap into natural intelligence, you must know yourself
  • Gaining self-insight and peer insight as a leader
  • What horses can teach us about rotational leadership
  • Coaching NQ abilities out of your leadership teams
  • Trusting your gut and getting over the fear of judgment from peers
  • The different benefits of prey, predator, freeze, and flock mode in business
  • Why having the ability to access different modes can be beneficial in agency leadership
Jan 22, 2024

It’s clear we can’t keep hiring and managing talent as we used to. Back in the days of the pandemic, and then The Great Resignation right after that, we were afraid to set boundaries and ask for what we needed out of fear of losing great team members.

 

The way we work isn’t the same, either. Many of us are now remote or hybrid, and a fully in-office team isn’t as common as it used to be. So, we have to adapt and change how we hire, train, and problem-solve with our teams scattered all over the place.

It’s a mess sometimes, and many of you probably wish we could go back to the simpler days of training new hires through simple observation and shadowing. But we can still make this work for the new era of work.

Vicky Brown is sharing some of her HR superpowers with us this week so we can learn about hiring, managing, and retaining great talent, regardless of the work environment. The simple answer is that we must roll up our sleeves and invest time in our people from the very first interview.

Join us to dive deeper into the world of HR to discover how to be a better leader while hiring and managing talent so you can make your agency more successful in return.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Leadership’s perspective on remote, hybrid, and in-office workplace structures
  • Agency owner fears regarding hiring and managing talent
  • Getting agency teams engaged and feeling fulfilled with their work
  • How new hire training has changed in the new era of work
  • Hybrid work is the future
  • In-person creative brainstorming is still important in agencies
  • Finding enthusiastic hires who remain passionate and hungry at work
  • How to do behavior interviewing for potential new hires
  • Conducting mid-year HR checkups for taxes, payroll errors, benefits, etc.
  • How to talk to employees about coming back to the office
Jan 15, 2024

This year, agencies are in for many industry changes — and fast. We’ve been scratching the surface a little with AI ever since ChatGPT first dropped, but even since then, everything has changed drastically. To start the year, we’re shifting our focus to learning how agencies can use AI tools to become AI consulting powerhouses.

 

Many agency owners and employees have been learning how to integrate AI tools into their day-to-day over the past year or so, from writing, planning, research, and more. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level (and to our clients).

This week, Casey Meehan shows us how agencies can become thought leaders and subject matter experts for their clients using AI tools. Over his time as an agency leader, he has shifted from traditional marketing and PR work to creating content repurposed for AI consulting to teach clients how to harness the power of AI and create personalized content for their audience.

Although there’s something new in the AI market each day, it’s an exciting time to take advantage and lead the movement toward becoming thought leaders and experts for our clients through AI consulting work.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

AI consulting

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Making the shift from traditional marketing and PR to AI consulting work and content creation
  • The cornerstone and cobblestone approach to content creation
  • The new look of agency staffing with AI tools
  • Using AI to make the agency function better internally
  • Bringing personalized results into the sales process with “Just in Time Content”
  • The different modalities of AI chatbots and their unique skills
  • Publishing and promoting content through cited subject matter experts
  • Where agency leaders should be setting their sights on AI tools
Jan 1, 2024

There’s no other way to spin it — agency owners had it rough in 2023. And while we spent all year going over the struggles of agency ownership, one universal positive kept coming up with everyone.

Your teams are better than ever, and you want to learn how to keep your agency employees happy, so they stick around.

So this week, we’re turning to some of our Agency Edge research to dive into what agency employees said are the key factors that keep them happy and willing to stick around for the long haul.

While the assumption is that you’re already fairly compensating them and creating a fair and inclusive workplace, there are some less obvious things that really matter to agency employees. They could even be the difference between a star player staying for 10 to 15 years instead of three or four.

This episode will teach you the dos and don’ts of increasing employee retention and really going above and beyond to help your teams feel valued and cared for. It’s got a lot of valuable tips and tricks, so if you’re curious about how to keep your agency employees satisfied, don’t miss out on this episode.

For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

agency employees

In This Episode:

  • Recognizing that not every agency employee will want to stick around forever, and it’s not personal
  • The one thing you should not do to earn employee loyalty
  • Why offering equity or partnership in the company is almost always a bad idea
  • What agency employees actually want from agency owners
  • Setting quarterly growth goals for employees
  • Creating space to truly get to know your people beyond work
  • Rewarding employees for their effort fairly, but not equally
  • Getting agency employees involved in deciding their own perks for excellent work
  • Simply ask your employees what will make them stay
  • Get personal and thoughtful with your praise
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