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Building an exceptional agency is not a one-time event. Agency owners should never expect overnight success because it takes time and resources like assets, labor, and technology investments. Patience and strong management practices are key.

To learn more about the secrets to building a top agency, we interviewed some of the best minds in the agency world. They share their strategies for hiring top talent, managing finances, serving clients effectively, and working with business partners. Here’s what they had to say.

Heath Hill, Lime Media

Lime Media

In the rapidly advancing digital landscape, agency evolution is vital to profitability. Since starting his agency, Heath has witnessed considerable changes, including the onset of the internet, social media, and digital assets. Throughout his journey, he has persevered through challenges, learned from his mistakes, and turned rejections into valuable opportunities. When navigating industry developments, Heath advises protecting your assets for future growth.

Lime Media brings imagination to life by customizing vehicles and other innovative event solutions to create nationwide marketing experiences. Lime Media’s services include strategy and ideation, 3D creative designs, custom fabrication, tour management, and staffing services.

Learn more: Heath Hill, Lime Media


Daniel James, mint performance marketing

Mint Performance Marketing
According to Daniel, agency success relies on two fundamental factors: delivering exceptional results and hiring skilled talent to facilitate those results. When providing services, it’s essential to focus on the value you can deliver to clients rather than a simple contractual agreement between two parties. By marketing your services as products, you can position your agency effectively for clients.

mint performance marketing is a full-service performance marketing agency. The company helps disruptive DTC and e-commerce brands accelerate growth with cutting-edge strategies across multiple social media channels, including paid media, email, and SMS.

Learn more: Daniel James, mint performance marketing



The Harkey Group
Agency ownership is a people-oriented business. To persist through industry challenges and dominate your sector, Scott says you need to preserve your company culture and attract, motivate, and retain top talent. This requires considering your clients and staff’s needs by evaluating each new individual before onboarding them to ensure they align with your existing culture.

THE HARKEY GROUP is a full-service, integrated marketing organization created to meet clients’ diverse needs. With offices in Phoenix and Las Vegas, each location is consumer-centric, performance-focused, creatively inspired, and the recipient of countless industry awards. THE HARKEY GROUP’s teams are accomplished across various industry verticals and are prepared to tackle even the most complex marketing challenges.

Learn more: Scott Harkey, THE HARKEY GROUP


Dan Bowen, Bowen Media

Bowen Media
The marketing landscape has numerous evolving components, so it’s common to launch an agency with one primary role in mind before assuming another. That’s why Dan says it’s critical to be involved in the entire process of managing an agency, including lead generation, sales and marketing, and supporting clients and staff. There’s always room for improvement, so Dan suggests refining your processes and exploring new technology to streamline operations.

Bowen Media is an award-winning, New York-based web design and digital marketing agency partnering with businesses to create powerful, enduring results. Bowen combines exceptional artistry and innovative strategies to provide clients with unparalleled value.

Learn more: Dan Bowen, Bowen Media


Doug Conner, ODN

Doug observes that you can’t grow and manage an agency simultaneously; eventually, you’ll need to delegate responsibilities to executives who can solve complex problems and reorganize your company. Hire leaders with a wealth of knowledge and allow them to thrive in their roles so you can focus on growth without worrying about losing your agency.

ODN (formerly Outdoor Nation) is a full-service OOH (out-of-home) media company providing services, including extensive market reviews, buying expertise, print management, and customized invoicing. ODN saves clients 30-50% on large-format printing for billboards, box trucks, and in-store graphics.

Learn more: Doug Conner, ODN


Adam Butt, Un/Common

Adam lists two types of agency owners: leaders who manage daily operations and visionaries who formulate ideas to scale. It’s critical to identify your role at the beginning of the journey to structure your agency accordingly. Visionaries should hire from the top down and acquire leading executives who can optimize internal processes. This allows you to focus on your strengths to drive the business forward.

Un/Common designs and builds beautifully crafted and cutting-edge e-commerce experiences and manages full lifecycle marketing to drive sustainable growth for D2C brands. As an ROI-centric e-commerce and marketing agency, Un/Common specializes in UX/UI design, full-stack development, and email and SMS marketing.

Learn more: Adam Butt, Un/Common


Angela Hill, Incitrio

Authenticity and transparency are the core competencies of an impactful agency. Communicating and demonstrating value propositions allows you to form trusted, lasting relationships with clients. Yet Angela warns against niching down your services to accommodate every client. Sometimes, customer requests may be outside of your realm of expertise, and you can’t always accomplish their goals effectively, so it’s critical to remain honest in your refusals.

Incitrio is a brand intelligence agency focused on integrated marketing communications and performance. The agency implements B2B digital marketing growth strategies to target the right prospects, optimize marketing automation, and help sales teams close faster.

Learn more: Angela Hill, Incitrio


Mike Visconti, V12 Marketing

V12 Marketing
Many agencies spend thousands of dollars on digital marketing efforts to attract qualified leads. However, the agency space is relational, so a steady flow of clients requires prioritizing exceptional services and relationship-building. While advertising generates some leads and ROI, Mike says fostering a relationship with a key referral partner is even more valuable.

V12 Marketing is a full-service marketing and web development agency. V12’s team of professionals creates, manages, reports, and optimizes campaigns across industries and platforms. V12 marketing serves various industries, including automotive, coaching, manufacturing, contracting, retail, and e-commerce.

Learn more: Mike Visconti, V12 Marketing


Natalie Henley, Volume Nine

Volume Nine

Agency owners sometimes micromanage and dictate their teams’ tasks and performance. However, if you want to attract and retain quality talent, you must provide your team with direction and goals to achieve before allowing them to control their outcomes. Supporting your employees in their endeavors and allowing them the initiative to lead promotes confidence and enhances performance.

Volume Nine is a digital marketing agency offering highly effective, custom digital marketing campaigns. By creating and managing organic campaigns, Volume Nine helps brands rise above the online noise to connect with their target audiences. Volume Nine builds teams of digital marketing strategists around each client to ensure they receive exceptional customer service, data analysis, digital strategy, and tactics delivered by industry experts.

Learn more: Natalie Henley, Volume Nine


Melanie Balke, The Email Marketers

The Email Marketers
To guarantee a top-rated agency with the highest standards, providing an environment where your employees can thrive is critical. With a 100% remote workplace, Melanie offers a four-day workweek and 30 days of paid time off. Each employee has a rigorous three-month onboarding process and is assigned a limited number of clients to ensure individualized care.

The Email Marketers are an e-commerce and Klayvio-specialized email marketing team dedicated to turning site visitors into customers and customers into loyalists. The Email Marketers’ mission is to support 1,000 purpose-driven brands in touching lives, increasing revenue, and building lasting customer relationships.

Learn more: Melanie Balke, The Email Marketers

Arne Hurty, BayCreative

Company culture is often developed by agency owners and executed by the remainder of the team. However, this culture-building method can hinder an agency’s growth and success since employees must be bought in to sustain it. That’s why Arne emphasizes the value of collaboration. When you create a mutually agreed upon culture, team members are more likely to appreciate their roles in your organization.

BayCreative is a full-service B2B marketing agency with hundreds of satisfied customers, thousands of successful projects, and a superior reputation. Founded in 1997, the company’s work includes digital and web marketing, lead generation, brand awareness, content development, inbound marketing, product and sales launches, and more.

Learn more: Arne Hurty, BayCreative


Doyle Albee, Comprise

When structuring your services, it’s critical to identify your strengths before acquiring any clients. This entails determining a niche or sector to conduct business in and keeping abreast of new developments to establish best practices and maintain relevancy for your clients. Doyle says that by honing your expertise, you can accelerate growth.

Comprise is a full-service agency delivering compelling and comprehensive communications services to propel businesses forward. Comprise serves clients globally by leveraging a deep legacy of success in strategic public relations, content creation, social media strategy, SEO, and more to help clients connect with their audiences and achieve their goals.

Learn more: Doyle Albee, Comprise


Tony Wright, WrightIMC

Wright Time
The agency space relies largely on selling to generate leads and drive conversions. One of the most salient yet complex aspects of sales is pricing. When competing on price points, Tony advises against underselling your services. Maintaining confidence in your projects’ value is crucial to align cost with worth.

WrightIMC is a full-service digital marketing agency providing optimal results through handcrafted marketing techniques. For more than 15 years, WrightIMC has served businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 500 companies to startups — and has evolved to provide excellent results in every aspect of digital marketing.

Learn more: Tony Wright, WrightIMC


Patrick Dillon, WISE Digital Partners

Wise Digital Partners
While many agencies are experts in advertising and marketing, some struggle to promote themselves and rely on referral partners to generate clients. But if you market your business using the same tactics you use to service clients, you won’t need referrals. Patrick regards his business as a client and leverages SEO and social media marketing to drive conversions.

WISE Digital Partners is a digital marketing agency serving clients globally. The company specializes in developing strategies, products, and services to help any business grow and thrive in the ever-changing digital world.

Learn more: Patrick Dillon, WISE Digital Partners

Will Haire, BellaVix

Bella Vix
Many agency owners attempt to manage every operation single handedly, resulting in failures and lost revenue. Will says to bypass the vexations and hire a business coach to increase speed and efficiency. Acquiring a skilled professional allowed Will to scale his business gradually, and he has since experienced 3x growth.

BellaVix is a marketplace management company that helps direct-to-consumer retail brands grow sales on the world’s largest e-commerce marketplaces. BellaVix provides the tools, resources, and expertise to help companies stand out and drive revenue on Amazon and Walmart.

Learn more: Will Haire, BellaVix


Katie Otis, Design In Mind

Design In Mind
As an agency owner, your team is your most vital asset, so it’s crucial to build and nurture a culture that rewards employees for exceptional performance. Katie supports her team’s insights and ideas, provides a healthy work-life balance, and offers competitive benefits to mitigate burnout. She has several tenured employees as a result of her flexible approach.

Design In Mind is a Silicon Valley creative agency that started as a one-woman venture and grew into a competitive agency built on referrals and relationships. The company develops and scales brands for nonprofits, startups, and Fortune 500 companies across various industries. Through beautiful designs and clear messaging, Design in Mind creates brands that inspire and make meaningful connections.

Learn more: Katie Otis, Design in Mind


Darren Fox, Idea Marketing Group

Idea Marketing Group
According to Darren, nurturing customer relationships is essential for sustaining a thriving business. The average client response time for many agencies is three to four weeks, damaging reputations considerably. Aside from responding consistently, Darren acts as his clients’ advisor, allowing them to present ideas to receive valuable feedback and possible alternatives.

Idea Marketing Group is a digital marketing agency working intimately with consumer goods and manufacturing brands to help them build, maintain, and market their websites. For over a decade, Idea Marketing Group has helped brands improve online experiences while prioritizing relationships.

Learn more: Darren Fox, Idea Marketing Group


Bob Gold, Bob Gold & Associates

Bob Gold & Associates
If you own a public relations agency, you’ve likely managed your fair share of crisis communications. Bob’s recommendation for advising clients on these situations is to recognize that 99% of all crises are imposed by a lack of focus in the organization. These companies have often overlooked previous issues that led to a complication, so it’s crucial to act as an executive therapist to provide clients the accountability to navigate the process and resolve the issue.

Bob Gold & Associates is a public relations and brand management firm focusing on data analytics through a proprietary approach called BG&A Insight. This method allows the firm to meet each client’s unique needs by implementing a deep-dive onboarding process to help create a proactive and personalized media relations campaign.

Learn more: Bob Gold, Bob Gold & Associates


Fatima Zaidi, Quill

To build a reputable agency, you must invest your time in the company and learn to work with limited resources. According to Fatima, building an agency is like running a marathon. You should never expect to achieve success overnight. Work on your team, cultivate great relationships, and strive to learn regularly. Similar to developing a personal brand, it takes time and patience.

Quill Inc. is a full-service podcast production agency that specializes in corporate podcasts. The company works with global brands across industries, including finance, healthcare, and technology to create content that drives audience engagement and measurable results.

Learn more: Fatima Zaidi, Quill 


Peter Cunningham, Evolve Healthcare Marketing

Evolve Healthcare Marketing
One of the key components of building a durable agency is keeping organized financial records. Financial planning allows you to have a clear vision of your company’s future and develop effective plans to increase sales and profit. Peter advises agency owners to keep their expenses low, work with clients that align with your values, and build a diversified clientelle. Financial descipline helps you avoid losses.

Evolve Healthcare Marketing is a digital marketing firm specializing exclusively in improving patient acquisition for multi-site medical practices in highly competitive markets. The company leverages data and technology to identify and engage customers with the right marketing messages. Evolve’s mission is to reinvent the traditional agency model to help its clients achieve measurable results, intelligent insights, and clarity.

Learn more: Peter Cunningham, Evolve Healthcare Marketing


Fred Bateman, Bateman Agency

Bateman Agency
If you want to reduce your agency’s turnover rate, paying your employees well, building a sticky culture, and working with high-caliber clients is essential. Fred maintains that he hires smart people and motivates them by providing great benefits like new growth opportunities. Happy employees give their best work and serve customers well, adding value to an agency.

Bateman Agency is a PR and content marketing firm providing communications counsel using business insight, perspective, and an integrated marketing philosophy with a content-led, data-driven approach. Launched in August of 2020, Bateman Agency is committed to hitting strict diversity metrics and providing full financial and salary transparency.

Learn more: Fred Bateman, Bateman Agency


Doug Fowler, Waypost Marketing

Waypost Marketing
Having been in business for over 20 years, Doug’s top tip for running a successful agency is to surround yourself with excellent advisors. There is so much to learn from others. Joining peer groups provides an opportunity to collaborate and learn from fellow business executives with expertise in various industries.

Waypost Marketing is a strategy-first digital marketing agency that provides web design, digital marketing, and sales support for B2B clients across the Southeast. Founded in 2003 by Doug Fowler, Waypost develops and manages digital marketing strategies designed to increase leads, conversions, and sales.

Learn more: Doug Fowler, Waypost Marketing


Matthew Kovacs, Blaze PR

Matthew has been leveraging the group of thirds strategy to build a flourishing lifestyle agency. This involves empowering his team, developing an efficient client management process, and implementing strategic business development practices. This is the secret to developing innovative ideas and tapping into new opportunities.

Blaze PR, a boutique lifestyle agency, focuses on consumer packaged goods (CPG) and beverage brands. With offices in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara, the agency works with lifestyle brands to gain market share and cut through the noise. Blaze’s team of veteran practitioners takes a personalized approach to conveying CPG brands’ relevant stories to key influencers and consumers.

Learn more: Matthew Kovacs, Blaze PR


Ali Hashmi, Tekglide

The most successful agencies listen to their customers, identify their unique challenges, and provide services that meet those needs. Ali and his team create content to educate their audience on the latest industry trends and their relevance to business problems. They understand that solving their clients’ issues is the secret to long-term agency growth.

Tekglide provides complete web development solutions for businesses in many industries, including fashion and cosmetics, tools and equipment, medical, and textiles. The company aims to create bug-free, high-functioning, custom, creative, and mobile-friendly e-commerce websites that convert visitors to loyal customers.

Learn more: Ali Hashmi, Tekglide


Valerie Chan, Plat4orm

Balancing excellent customer service and profit can be tricky for a growing business. Paying close attention to your bottom line is essential to achieving success. Valerie also advises agency owners to find the right talent with the necessary skills to serve large clients.

Plat4orm is a strategic communications, public relations, and digital marketing agency that helps companies break through the noise and stand out. The company has offices nationwide and an international network of senior-level consultants who develop and execute strong, innovative, and transformative integrated marketing programs to meet their clients’​ needs.

Learn more: Valerie Chan, Plat4orm


Abhishek Patra, Zoronto

For Abhishek, the secret to building a sustainable agency is establishing efficient processes. When starting out, you should be prepared to work long hours to build a great brand, grow your audience, and establish credibility in your industry. Patience is paramount.

Zoronto helps DTC e-commerce brands generate more revenue and delight their customers using brand-specific strategies, advanced A/B testing, audience segmentation, and personalization. Since 2015, the company has helped more than 250 brands grow their revenue and customer loyalty through email, SMS, messenger, and popups, achieving industry-leading results.

Learn more: Abhishek Patra, Zoronto


Dennis Stoutenburgh, Social Strategy1

Social Strategy1
Recruiting and hiring top talent is paramount for business success. Your agency is only as good as the people you hire. Dennis aims to increase retention rates by creating an environment that fosters happiness among his workforce. He achieves this by promoting transparency and constant learning in his organization. Dennis also ensures that his team understands their clients’ businesses.

Social Strategy1 is a full-service digital marketing agency. Founded in 2011, the firm helps clients boost online traffic, increase brand awareness, generate qualified leads, and grow sales. It serves clients in the education, medical aesthetics, market research, and professional services industries.

Learn more: Dennis Stoutenburgh, Social Strategy1


William Gasner, Stack Influence

Stack Influence
If you want to build a thriving business, develop effective processes to help you scale. William learned this by running an agency that eventually transitioned to an online marketplace. He leverages technology and automation to connect with his ideal audience, drive product awareness, and create a more engaging platform for brands to work with influencers.

Stack Influence is a marketplace that manages the discovery, communication, and collaboration between e-commerce brands and everyday people. Initially started as a micro influencer marketing agency, Stack Influence has evolved into a platform that harnesses the power of authentic social media promotion.

Learn more: William Gasner, Stack Influence


Lucas Cardona, MDS Digital

Mds Digital
According to Lucas, if you want to manage your clients, projects, and employees effectively, you need reliable systems. This ensures you can work around clear goals and utilize suitable processes. Additionally, rather than requiring your team to complete projects according to your standards, allow them to take the lead and learn from their mistakes.

Digital marketing firm MDS Digital offers companies a 360 approach to advertising. Whether communicating with current clients or acquiring new ones in B2C or B2B landscapes, MDS Digital’s skilled team develops creative strategies to add value to brands. The company has offices in the United States, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

Learn more: Lucas Cardona, MDS Digital


Kendall Fargo, GrowMojo Marketing

GrowMojo Marketing
With TikTok changing the digital advertising landscape, video has become a difficult medium to perfect. Since TikTok’s audience responds to authenticity and creativity, Kendall recommends creating organic videos rather than paid or professionally produced ones. He also advises agencies to learn from the successes of other players in their industry.

GrowMojo is an award-winning TikTok marketing agency. The company manages its clients’ entire customer acquisition, conversion funnel, and customer re-engagement processes. GrowMojo also helps companies acquire more customers with Google, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube advertising services.

Learn more: Kendall Fargo, GrowMojo Marketing


Brandon Wilson, Steadynamic

One of the most common mistakes new agency owners make is trying to be everything to everyone. According to Brandon, filling revenue gaps by taking on every client is not sustainable. Instead, create your ideal customer persona and focus exclusively on serving them.

Steadynamic is a talent network and marketplace designed to enable and amplify digital transformation specialists. Designed for tech-focused consultants, boutique agencies, startup studios, and accelerators, the Ready2Go scoping studio platform is an assistive CRM connected to the Steadynamic Network that recommends digital transformation solutions and the experts to build them.

Learn more: Brandon Wilson, Steadynamic

Bryan Carter, THINK Creative Intelligence

THINK Creative Intelligence
With changing customer preferences and unexpected shifts in the market, it’s easy to lose focus from your core business. With over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship, Bryan advises agency owners to understand their industry and be flexible. He also encourages companies to uphold their moral and ethical standards as the business environment evolves.

THINK Creative Intelligence is an integrated design and media firm that focuses on combining the most innovative technologies, best practices, and psychology to achieve visionary marketing and advertising goals through strategic design and execution. The company provides consulting, marketing, visual design, social media, and business intelligence services.

Learn more: Bryan Carter, THINK Creative Intelligence


Jim Tobin, Ignite Social Media

Ignite Social
Managing an agency strategically requires understanding your finances. Jim advises agency owners against hiring more people than they can afford to pay since overhead and labor costs can cripple a business and lead to losses. Managing your finances to scale requires staying abreast of changes in the business environment and embracing a continuous learning culture.

Founded in 2007, Ignite Social Media was the first social media agency created in the United States, branding it the original social media agency®. Ignite Social Media focuses on driving measurable results through the power of social media. The company typically serves large and mid-sized companies, both national and international, including Microsoft, Samsung, and Nike.

Learn more: Jim Tobin, Ignite Social Media


Chris Manley, Engenius

Chris Manley Engenius
When managing an agency, it’s crucial to consider the fundamentals of business growth. Chris recommends organizing your systems and developing sound management strategies. Once you’ve developed a process for profitability, you can focus on providing specialized services that add value to your clients.

Engenius helps companies impress prospects, outshine competitors, and drive more sales with web designs and strategies that deliver results. With an award-winning team, the agency offers website building and support, web optimization, and digital marketing services.

Learn more: Chris Manley, Engenius