A lot goes into starting a business: from building a network to finding like-minded professionals to establishing fundamental processes. Within the volatile nature of the marketing industry, we must always be competitive and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. On top of that, we mustn’t shift our focus from finding extraordinary talent and retaining said talent. It’s become increasingly hard to concentrate our efforts on the desired growth plan when we feel like we are being pulled in a hundred different directions. So how can we successfully navigate this ever-changing world of innovation?
We spoke to experts from top agencies facing the same challenges to give us insights into how they deal with some of the most common problems entrepreneurs face. Their invaluable advice covers everything from starting an agency to scaling a business to talent acquisition and retention.
Brian R. Johnson, Canopy Management
Having a good foundation is essential for a successful business. For Brian, well-constructed standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a must. Not only do they ensure consistency, but they also help build efficient practices that can be optimized with further growth. Such processes rely on effective communication, for which Brian suggests attending Mastermind Groups — a way for people to unleash their creativity in order to realize a specific goal.
Canopy Management is an agency that takes a more personal approach to your business’ success. With the ‘white glove’ approach, Canopy’s reputation and proven methods attest to its extensive expertise in the e-commerce industry. Developed by sellers for sellers, Canopy Management takes pride in building long-lasting partnerships focused on increasing profitable results.
Blake Williams, Ampfactor
Customer feedback has always been one of the pillars of business prosperity. After all, we would be nowhere without them. According to Blake, the key is obtaining the most valuable customer insights without trying to gain their business. Building a relationship of trust and respect helps networking be genuine. When venturing into the marketing industry, Blake learned that focusing on the people aspect of business – and investing in their skills – brings unmatched value to agency growth.
Ampfactor has all the necessary tools and solutions to drive your business’ growth. With the integrated ABM service, Ampfactor focuses on providing valuable data that saves you time and money but, most importantly, delivers the results you want. Ampfactor has an array of services that are highly customizable and tailored to your needs and specific goals.
Bryn Tindall, Rebel Interactive Group
The impact of the digital world is growing at a rapid pace, and with it, the demand for specific skills in the marketing industry has increased exponentially. In this cutthroat industry, the competition comes from all around the world. One of the challenges Bryn faces is talent retention. The best way to deal with the fast-moving marketing industry is to keep your focus on the goals ahead. Finding the balance between what’s good for the business and what’s good for your personal growth is key to keeping your business on the right course.
Rebel Interactive Group is a digital marketing agency that helps businesses grow online. It offers a suite of services including website design, SEO, social media marketing, and PPC. Rebel is a team of experts in online marketing, and it loves helping businesses achieve their goals. It fosters inspiration by enabling other rebels; this is the alchemy that results from the fusion of knowledge and experimentation.
Nick Verity, Cleverly
One of the things Nick is adamant about is delivering on expectations. Another thing is going through the process to ensure leads join your business. What binds this all together is having a system in place that helps with scaling efficiently. Generating leads can be a difficult task in a fast-paced environment. However, Nick has found that podcasts and books are the best sources of innovative and creative ideas in the marketing industry. Working on your business is equally as important as working in the business.
Gaining leads for your business has never been easier. Cleverly is a leading LinkedIn lead generation agency. Its greatest asset is the way the team organizes and analyzes data in order to provide you with the information you most need. Cleverly’s approach is stress-free, giving you the comfort of focusing on other tasks.
Gina Pomponi, Bluewater
Having a clear idea of where you want your business to be is essential to planning an effective scaling. One of Gina’s best tactics is to document processes and timelines, which lays the groundwork for your agency’s framework. Bringing the right people into your business is important for moving forward — after all, an agency is nothing without its people.
Bluewater is a direct marketing agency that strives to make the most out of every connection. Its creative ability brings an entirely new meaning to the word “marketing.” Bluewater pairs analytic, commerce, and media tools for a specialized approach to its consumers. With an extreme focus on growth, its mission is to see to your every marketing need to achieve success.
Alex Membrillo, Cardinal Digital Marketing
Defining your market positioning and determining your service type is one of the most important first steps to establishing a solid foundation. If your agency has the right tools to scale, education and onboarding optimization can become a streamlined process. However, getting together a great leadership team requires fierceness in this industry. Alex recalls having a leadership team that disagreed 90% of the time, but this is exactly what he needed to grow his agency the most.
Cardinal Digital Marketing is a specialized healthcare marketing agency. Their strategies help healthcare organizations to scale their business. With sophisticated analytical insights, they can drive business growth and optimize performance with guaranteed results. At Cardinal, positively results-obsessed experts can give your business the outreach it deserves.
Peter Friedman, LiveWorld
Transparency is a highly sought-after, sometimes rare, attribute in a leader. However, a great leader always knows how to use transparency to support his people and enrich their working environment. Peter believes that giving a sense of community and shared goals is what makes people stick together in tough times to overcome the challenges they face.
LiveWorld is a digital agency specializing in social media and technology solutions with extensive expertise in the healthcare industry. Its solutions are not only tailored toward growth but also brand protection and engagement. LiveWorld’s team has been in the marketing industry for more than 20 years and their experience has allowed them to become a leading content moderation company for social media channels.
Scott Miraglia, Elevation Marketing
Competition in the marketing industry is at an all-time high and it’s hard to find individuals that are right for your agency. Every business needs a solid platform and well-defined values upon which to build. Scott believes that finding great talent should always be a priority, even when the industry fluctuates. One of the key areas Scott suggests brands concentrate on is building a fantastic staff.
Elevation Marketing is a B2B marketing agency that develops industry-specific strategies to help elevate your brand. Taking on challenges is their specialty, and for more than 20 years, Elevation Marketing has emphasized business growth paired with the most successful marketing strategies for your business. Its creative, analytical, and advertising tools help create a custom solution for every business, embodying brand values and driving profitable results.
Michele Tonkovitz, Green Onion Creative
Michele’s vision of a successful agency involves creating meaningful connections in your network, self-belief, and knowing how to establish a working, but consistent pace. It helps in channeling her focus into the most important goals. Michele also finds that creating a vision board that encompasses your agency is a helpful way to picture your road to success. On that road, she says that one should never be afraid to ask for help.
Green Onion Creative is a results-oriented marketing agency that helps brands achieve their goals. With an array of advertising, strategic, design, and PR solutions, Green Onion Creative is ready to attain your brand’s most desired marketing targets. Agency is always available to offer consultation on ongoing projects and help you design the service that works best for your business.
Daniel Stewart, Wier / Stewart
For people who love their job, it doesn’t feel like work. Daniel says that loving what you do is a road that leads to both happiness and success. However, there needs to be a balance to avoid a so-called “tunnel vision” when it comes to growth and profit. Daniel’s advice is to be yourself. Enjoying your work comes with being confident in your products and being congenial.
Wier / Stewart is a strategic creative firm with all the necessary tools for all your marketing tactics. It specializes in a range of industries, elevating businesses and brands alike. Wier / Stewart’s collaborative culture delivers the results your business needs and is fully invested in your success.
Bill Harper, WMH
In this industry, being unique can make a huge difference for an agency. However, using that uniqueness is a strength and a skill on its own, aimed to separate you from your competition. Bill found this way perfect in establishing his company values in the market. He was able to attract people with similar values who helped make the workplace culture thrive, and with it, the business grew steadily. Bill emphasizes staying relevant by adhering to the standards of his target consumers.
WMH is an agency that transforms brands and their strategies. Its creative and collaborative approach allows brands to restore their former determination and potential by following the practices that work best for their needs. Armed with experts in brand strategy, digital marketing, research, and innovative coaching, WMH is distinguished for taking on even the toughest challenges.
Ric Boccio, New Road Advertising
For Ric, perseverance is the key. No matter how many opportunities don’t go as planned, it’s important to keep your focus on improving through hard work and innovation. The industry is already a difficult one to be in, however, staying the course is crucial in an unpredictable environment.
New Road Advertising is an agency that focuses on creating innovative brand strategies and solutions to drive customer engagement. Its wide range of services covers SEO (Search Engine Optimization), OTT (Over the Top), and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) solutions, as well as media buying and analytics. New Road Advertising is data and research-driven, which helps them visualize potential results and strategies.
Samuel Peek, Incredible Marketing
Staying at the top of the competition requires a few things: first, an eye for innovation, and second, capitalizing on market needs. Samuel believes that to achieve these things, one needs to surround themselves with people who have complementary abilities. It also plays a part in understanding what your business lacks in order to find people who can take on that type of work. Not only will it help you focus on what you specialize in, but it will also help overall performance.
Incredible Marketing is a digital agency centered in the healthcare industry. Their focus is on bringing value to consumers by using a unique approach that helps grow the relationship between patient and doctor. Incredible Marketing and its creative solutions improve medical practitioners’ ability to help patients get the best care possible while building a trusted brand for the future.
Nenad Molerovich, LeanSEM
In a dynamic industry, one must always be vigilant of the changes that can occur at any moment. The beauty of working in performance marketing is the ability to adapt quickly and efficiently — it’s a job that can keep you on your toes. Nenad’s advice is to always stay open to new ideas that can propel your business mission to the next level.
LeanSEM is an agency formed with efficiency to help your brand grow. Its expert team provides creative and profitable results in just a fraction of the time. With specialists in social media marketing, SEM, and digital media, LeanSEM is well-equipped to find growth opportunities for your business needs. LeanSEM’s mission is to build a company that will continue its legacy for years to come.
Steffen Horst, Symphonic Digital
Networking is one of the fundamental tools for a marketer. According to Steffen, reaching out to your network is a great way to build your pipeline of sales, making it easier to scale in the future. However, timing is of the essence. Waiting too long to make decisions could be costly to your business growth, so be prepared to step up at crucial moments.
Symphonic Digital offers PPC advertising and digital marketing strategy solutions. Its performance-driven strategies are tailored toward startups, agencies, and small to medium businesses. With an analytical approach, Symphonic Digital helps brands actively engage with their target audience for increased growth and profitability.
Jeremy Skiver, Skiver Advertising
Culture is a significant part of the workplace. Jeremy believes that in order to build an agency, having a specific culture in mind is a must. This would help bring like-minded people into your business and promote efficacy within a team.
Skiver Advertising is an agency with a unique approach within the advertising industry. Its minimalistic techniques are powerful tools for brands who want to get noticed. Skiver Advertising focuses on the most important insights and solutions to foster brand authenticity and drive meaningful engagement.
Matt Hofherr, Barrett
Agency work is an ongoing learning experience that requires developing strategies to maintain effective operations. To foster continuing education among all team members and across channels, Matt conducts frequent check-ins, offers professional coaching sessions, hosts roundtable events, and issues weekly newsletters. These efforts help him stay ahead of competition, trends, and challenges.
Barrett is a full-service agency that develops ground-breaking ideas to create business momentum. From creative to brand planning and strategy, Barrett handles all aspects of campaign development, including managing trusted partners for media planning and buying, analytics, experience design, and public relations.
Marc Reifenrath, Spinutech
The digital space is dynamic, with each element imprecise and unpredictable. To succeed in this environment, Marc says you have to modify your business processes to adapt to the rapidly occurring changes. It requires a sense of shrewdness to anticipate trends and flexibility to evolve with new developments and discoveries.
Spinutech is a web design and digital marketing agency that takes a data-driven approach to craft measurable results for clients. The team includes digital strategists, account leads, and web designers and developers with a wealth of digital expertise.
Kellis Landrum, True North Social
Kellis’ primary business goal is to assist his clients in whatever way he can. For other agency owners seeking creative solutions to complex problems, Kellis recommends focusing on your specialties and identifying the needs of your target market. Every market is dynamic and volatile, so it’s imperative to stay informed and conscious of changes in demand.
True North Social is a digital marketing agency focused on helping companies create an online presence. The agency offers social media management, pay-per-click marketing, web design, and social media photography. True North Social’s services are geared toward a singular focus — creating brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ROI.
Katie Wagner, KWSM
According to Katie, the key to securing your clients’ trust is to remain objective. It’s crucial to distinguish between your business and your clients’ needs and not let feelings get in the way of services. Remaining impartial to each goal and solely focusing on how you can best serve clients will increase your agency’s value.
KWSM was founded to help businesses communicate effectively with their target audience, deepen the relationship, and drive results. KWSM helps companies build trust & credibility, engage their target audience, and generate leads or sales. As the world goes digital, companies have the opportunity to communicate with and understand their customers on a deeper level. And, in return, customers want to learn about the organizations they do business with.
Ari Greenbaum, ConXpros
One of the most crucial factors in launching an agency is developing a strategic process for each aspect of your business. But, according to Ari, many agency owners ignore this factor and, as a result, fail to launch their business. By establishing an organizational strategy, early on, you can mitigate obstacles and ensure successful growth.
ConXpros delivers an exceptional customer experience to home improvement contractors by developing strong relationships, understanding and meeting client needs, and providing quality opportunities through online lead generation. Using automated texting technology, ConXpros helps businesses grow by ensuring they never miss out on a deal.
Whitney Parker Mitchell, Beacon Digital Marketing
Hiring and retaining valuable talent is a pressing challenge for many agencies. Whitney has developed an innovative solution to this problem by creating rigorous training and education programs. To ensure the quality of these programs, she establishes and builds central skills that embody her agency’s values so she can set expectations for potential new employees.
Beacon Digital Marketing works with dozens of clients selling B2B professional services and SaaS technology tools in industries such as cybersecurity, fintech, compliance and regulatory affairs, human resources, sales, and marketing services. The agency provides strategy and analysis, content and design, performance marketing, and website design to drive results for high-growth companies.
Lyn Wineman, KidGlov
A flourishing team is essential to a high-performing agency, so it’s crucial to know your employees’ well-being. To cultivate expertise among team members, Lyn suggests focusing on specific niches so you can establish ideal skill sets and allow your team to demonstrate them. When launching your agency, it’s easy to offer a wide range of services, so honing individual areas will help ground your team.
KidGlov is a full-service boutique, marketing, branding, and advertising agency that partners with areas including social impact, finance, healthcare, nonprofit, and purpose-driven businesses to help change the world. From initial strategy to measuring results, KidGlov helps brands propel their message forward, raise funds, bring in customers, and create life-changing awareness around critical issues.
Mark Bealin, SearchLab
In order to ensure measurable results for clients, you must build a strong team with the expertise and capabilities to deliver quality services. Mark formulates his team with leaders who work consistently to establish value for his agency and willingly take responsibility for outcomes. With a group of reliable professionals, Mark is able to generate trust in his clients.
SearchLab is an agency built by passionate and curious marketing professionals. The agency provides world-class local SEO and PPC training for businesses or marketing agencies. SearchLab’s mission is to cultivate long-term mutually beneficial relationships with clients, employees, vendors, and partners.
Scott Cullather, INVNT Group
As an agency owner, leadership skills are crucial for managing operations, developing an organizational strategy, and creating value. Scott has established and honed his leadership style to embody John Lennon and Winston Churchill’s perspectives and approaches to life and leadership. With this strategic method, Scott leads with compassion, authenticity, and transparency across his teams.
INVNT Group is deploying the Global BrandStory Project, which helps global businesses thrive through consistent, compelling, well-told brand stories. The agency specializes in modern brand strategy, creative consultancy, content marketing, and digital innovation to execute creative and high-caliber brand stories for audiences.
Conrad Saam, Mockingbird Marketing
Sometimes, agencies focus too much on solving short-term client problems rather than anticipating future ones. In the rapidly advancing digital marketing space, it’s essential to understand how your customer’s existing needs will impact their performance in the future. Conrad maintains that experimentation is the key to predicting oncoming trends and assessing viable solutions for the long term.
Mockingbird is a full-service marketing agency focused solely on the legal industry. Using data-driven solutions, Mockingbird creates, measures, and refines all aspects of digital marketing for law firms of any size, practice area, and location.
Neal Lappe, WebStrategies Inc.
In the marketing industry, gaining an advantage over competitors requires a strategic and contemporary approach. To establish himself as an innovator and leader, Neal invests in profitable clients and a savvy team. He works consistently to help both his clients and employees grow professionally and develop top-notch solutions to complex problems.
WebStrategies Inc. provides results-driven digital marketing to generate leads and sales. The agency delivers superior programs to clients while improving the lives of employees and their families. WebStrategies process involves evaluating sales goals, extensively researching customers, and developing a comprehensive strategy.
Michele Markham, EAG Advertising & Marketing
In today’s fast-paced digital environment, it’s often difficult for small agencies to market their services and advance in their industries. Michele leverages her status to identify with clients and help them combat day-to-day challenges. As a small business owner, she can utilize traditional and practical methods that larger agencies have otherwise disregarded. When executing services in this manner, you can create a small agency feel that resonates with clients.
EAG Advertising & Marketing is an advertising agency offering outsourced marketing for growing companies. EAG specializes in branding, digital marketing, lead generation, graphic design, and search optimization.
JC Cedeno, PalmEra Marketing
Agency growth entails acquiring a team of dedicated professionals who share your business’ values. JC has established a structured growth strategy that combines each team members’ personal and professional objectives with robust company culture. Through this approach, JC encourages his employees to possess an entrepreneurial mindset so they can grow with the company.
Palm Era Marketing is an ROI-oriented and full-service agency that specializes in the Latino & Caribbean audiences in the US. Palm Era’s industry experience includes retail, consumer products, financial services, technology, telecommunications, and media, among others. Based in Miami and with offices in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, PalmEra helps clients grow their Latin American business.
Tom McFadden, Jacob Tyler Brand & Digital Agency
When managing an agency, it’s essential to recognize the service-based components of your industry to develop the most effective performance techniques. Tom advises researching audience and market trends to position your business toward the future. This type of forecasting requires maintaining flexibility and anticipating industry changes.
Jacob Tyler Brand and Digital Agency is a global integrated brand experience agency that delivers creative messaging and marketing strategies to amplify brand reach, breed customer loyalty, and drive growth. Jacob Tyler builds brands that inspire, evolve, engage, and grow.
Jessica Zweig, SimplyBe.
As Jessica affirms, attracting an ideal client base comes down to one straightforward factor: your brand’s position in the market. Yet, many agencies overlook their positioning and struggle to stand out. That’s why Jessica maintains the importance of selling yourself as an industry-leading brand to outperform competition and orient your agency toward top clientele.
SimplyBe. helps corporate teams and individuals harness the power of personal branding to increase recognition and ROI. The agency’s trademarked methodologies, cutting-edge digital interfaces, and team of branding experts help clients achieve meaningful presence, connection, and success in their industry.
Jeanna Barrett, First Page Strategy
Agency owners are experts in marketing content for clients, but some lack an effective strategy for their own business. Jeanna maintains the importance of content marketing to gain industry recognition, so her agency has created a team of content specialists for promotional purposes. Some of their marketing endeavors include blogs, video content, landing pages, and surveys. The agency’s founders even speak at conferences and appear on podcasts to generate leads and new clients.
First Page Strategy is a growth marketing agency that helps product-led brands create exponential growth. FPS focuses on generating website prospects, communicating multi-product offerings, and converting visitors into leads and customers.
Joan LaGrasse, Imagen
When evaluating potential clients, it’s common for agency owners to act prematurely and guarantee services they can’t deliver. To avoid this, Joan suggests conducting market research into a prospective customer’s business to ensure your services align with their needs. It’s also beneficial to become acquainted with the clients to understand their values, goals, and challenges.
Imagen is a full-service exhibit house dedicated to excellence in the craft of storytelling through thoughtfully designed and meticulously crafted displays. For over 30 years, Imagen has been a leader in the design and exhibition space, specializing in carpentry and scenic design, branded interiors, museum exhibits, graphics production, and project and event management, among other services.
Zachary Gregg, Vital
Clients are the driving force of any successful agency, so advocating for them is crucial. However, it’s important not to overburden your business while trying to please them. According to Zachary, being an advocate for your clients sometimes involves letting them go, especially if you can no longer serve them. While this may seem counterintuitive, it demonstrates honesty and consideration, allowing them to find a better fit for their needs.
Vital is a digital agency that offers award-winning web design, e-commerce development, and digital marketing strategies. Vital offers a wealth of services to establish trust, create a brand story, grow traffic, and optimize conversions. The team at Vital believes in building brands, clean design, well-crafted content, and integrated strategies.
Zach Boyette, Galactic Fed
Part of maintaining a reputable agency is hiring experienced and innovative people. But some agencies lack an effective hiring process and make decisions exclusively based on a candidate’s ability to sell themselves. For this reason, Zach has developed a rigorous hiring process that includes written assessments designed to evaluate candidates’ skills in specific areas. With a meticulous approach to hiring, Zach acquires dedicated individuals to help his agency scale.
Galactic Fed is a fully-distributed growth marketing agency that helps companies achieve enormous revenue and success. Each growth strategy is backed by data, research, and industry best practices to maximize results.
Trey Harness, Curiosity
Sometimes, it’s necessary to rebuild your agency to optimize growth and results. Trey offers tips for relaunching based on his own experiences. He affirms that it’s essential to evaluate capabilities, judgments, and values of the business partners. When you start by reassembling your team with dynamic and tenacious individuals, the remaining components of your agency will fall into place.
Curiosity is an independent, full-service creative solutions agency that harnesses the power of strategic curiosity to generate solutions. Through strategy, creative marketing campaigns, media, and analytics, Curiosity helps businesses tackle their toughest challenges.
Daniel Townsend, The Plum Tree Group
When it comes to providing valuable services and developing a lasting reputation, it’s essential to structure each strategy or process around the client. Daniel has developed a framework for his agency that he terms “empathy architecture,” which involves prioritizing the customer journey to identify and align with each client’s needs. This method gives Daniel the opportunity to hone his solutions and generate a presence in the market.
The Plum Tree Group is an interactive agency focused on driving solutions for emerging businesses. The agency focuses on information technology, business process outsourcing, and marketing and communications customized exclusively for small and mid-sized emerging companies.
Tim Lucas, The Power Agency
As an agency owner, flexibility is key to attracting and retaining talent. Yet, sometimes executives disregard their employees’ ideas in favor of their own, which in turn, limits growth prospects and increases attrition rates. It was the case for Tim, who has since adjusted his perspective and practices to incorporate insights from his team. With a collaborative and accommodating company culture, Tim has enhanced his agency.
The Power Agency is an independent creative, digital, marketing, strategy, and media services agency. From a state-of-the-art CG department to cutting-edge virtual reality solutions, The Power Agency leverages its collective four decades of experience to exercise its crafts to the fullest potential.
Jared Miller, That Funny Agency
While some agency owners stick to their expertise, Jared is not afraid to venture into the unknown and take risks, even if it means failing. Failure is a necessary part of learning as it allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. By experimenting with various processes and strategies, Jared can hone his skills for further growth and opportunities.
That Funny Agency is a 360° digital marketing agency that thrives on highly imaginative and sometimes disruptive solutions for adventurous brands who refuse to settle for the mundane and outdated methods of solving the challenges they face. With wisdom, wit and wonder, That Funny Agency’s mission is to use humor to partner with brands seeking long-term growth through innovative digital marketing solutions, rooted in the science of happiness.
Learn more: Jared Miller, That Funny Agency