In an unprecedented and rapidly shifting market, agencies are struggling more than ever to recover from losses. The most agile businesses are outperforming their competitors and forging a contemporary path to success. So, what does it take to stand out in your market?
We spoke with top agency experts who have triumphed through unparalleled challenges by creating innovative strategies. They talk about anticipating key trends, carving out a specialized niche for your services, and amplifying business impact. Each expert has developed a unique method for personalization and growth. Here’s what they said…
Carter Harkins, Spark Marketer
In the rapidly evolving digital space, agency owners need to remain savvy and flexible to keep abreast of trends and challenges. For this reason, Carter has developed and honed a niche for his agency to stay relevant. Focusing on specific services mitigates the comprehensive issues associated with widespread industry changes.
Spark Marketer is a marketing partner for home service businesses. The agency offers digital marketing services, including website copy and design, photos and videos, SEO optimization, and review generation to help businesses gain traction.
Kelly Callahan, Williams Whittle
Launching an agency can be complex and confusing, so Kelly advises partnering with a mentor to become acquainted with the industry. These experts can help you navigate the challenges of acquiring clients, developing professional services, and establishing a strategic growth plan. Kelly also recommends leveraging additional resources — such as social and digital media — to educate yourself on industry trends.
Williams Whittle has thrived for 54 years as a full-service independent marketing and advertising agency working with nonprofit and forward-thinking brands dedicated to making a positive impact. Williams Whittle helps nonprofits in the military, healthcare, recycling, faith, medical research, and education industries develop campaigns to find new audiences.
Jordan Kirshenbaum, Prime Time Marketing
Managing an agency alone can be challenging and daunting. When delegating tasks to streamline operations, Jordan recommends building partnerships with strong people who can compensate for your inexperience and help you learn and grow. When working with these professionals, it’s crucial to encourage transparent communication to establish trust and loyalty.
Prime Time Marketing (PTM) is a full-service media and marketing firm. From research and planning to buying and analysis, PTM works with clients to develop and deliver integrated strategies and effective tactics. The agency approaches every relationship as a partnership, diving deep to understand every facet of a business and identify available opportunities.
Alessandro Fard, CreateApe
In the early stages of launching an agency, it’s crucial to identify and hone fundamental goals for your business. This allows you to develop a niche to structure your services and create a mission. Alessandro emphasizes the importance of remaining faithful to your brand and protecting your mission to ensure a favorable reputation. Failure is common in the beginning, so Alessandro says to learn from your mistakes and recover quickly to maintain trust and authenticity.
CreateApe is a full-service design agency that helps brands achieve their digital and print goals. Through unique, personalized, customized, and optimized designs, CreateApe gives users a satisfying experience throughout their interaction with a brand’s product. The agency designs with a user-centric approach, applying research and meticulous planning to inform and refine decisions throughout the process.
Constantin Lange, Adplorer
Agency work is challenging and competitive as you have to remain relevant consistently. So, what’s the most effective way to outperform your competitors? According to Constantin, it’s important to identify your advantages in your chosen market so you can develop a long-term plan and establish objectives to strive for in the process. Sometimes, it’s necessary to adapt and refine your goals, so you must look toward the future continuously to achieve results.
Adplorer is the world’s first all-inclusive digital marketing automation platform built specifically to help businesses manage local marketing campaigns. Agencies and internal marketing departments use Adplorer to automate the creation and management of campaigns on Google, Bing, and Facebook, as well as manage their social media platforms and reporting all in one platform. Adplorer provides businesses with customer self-service tools for sales, template creation of new campaigns, 24/7 optimization using proprietary algorithms, easy-to-use client reporting, and customer management and invoicing solutions for effective operations.
Ahmed Al-Sayeed, Ag3ncy X
In today’s rapidly evolving social landscape, agencies need to establish an online presence to market to their target audience and expand their reach. Ahmed suggests building and conveying a personal brand story to provide value for your clients. To accomplish this, Ahmed creates and posts videos on TikTok and other prominent social media platforms to promote audience engagement.
Ag3ncy X is a leading TikTok growth and content agency that helps e-commerce brands scale. The company leverages unlimited creative content made in-house with a proven framework that helps brands grow their accounts to millions of views while generating six to seven-figure revenues.
Elana Weiss-Rose, The Rose Group
According to Elana, the key to maintaining a thriving agency is to invest in your team. Much of your client base will fluctuate, so it’s crucial to acquire and retain qualified talent to compensate for potential losses. Demonstrating transparency, patience, and respect allows you to grow your team and sustain a valuable company culture.
The Rose Group builds brand strategies for companies and organizations ranging from the largest real estate firms in the world to the best-known entertainment companies, technology disruptors, and consumer leads. For over two decades, The Rose Group has been developing brands alongside clients that create, disrupt, and change the culture.
Anne Staines, Sagent Marketing
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? When asked this question, Anne imagined starting a marketing agency that would allow her to make a difference and live her passion. For many years, she kept this idea as an inkling in the back of her mind until one day, she came across an opportunity to launch a business. Having found tremendous success, Anne encourages other aspiring entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and lead with fervent determination.
Sagent is a woman-owned B Corporation that works with other B Corporations, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and purpose-driven companies to create and manage campaigns that inspire positive behavior change and enhance people’s health, safety, and well-being.
Maxx Lepselter, Maxx MGMT
As a smaller agency, it’s often challenging to compete against large-scale, corporate businesses, as you may lack the resources to stay ahead. In this situation, Maxx asserts the value of team cooperation to gain innovative ideas and learn new skills. Sometimes, your team may have more experience than you, so it’s important to remain flexible.
Maxx MGMT is a full-service branding and management agency for NFL and NBA athletes that creates custom-made plans to help talent carve an image. Maxx MGMT focuses on public relations, marketing endorsements, and custom content.
Fran Biderman-Gross, Advantages
With multiple agencies in a profit-driven digital marketing landscape, it can be difficult to maintain originality and innovation. That’s why Fran recommends structuring your operations around your agency’s value proposition. When striving for this goal, it’s critical to focus on your strengths as a business and remain transparent about your knowledge base.
Advantages is an award-winning, purpose-driven marketing communications agency that connects profit to purpose through performance-focused marketing. The Advantages team leads clients on a journey of brand discovery that reveals three personal and organizational keys: purpose, values, and story.
Michele Thornton, LocalFresh
While every agency wants to scale rapidly, Michele warns not to compromise quality for growth. When agency owners focus too much on growing their services, it reflects in the value delivered to clients. Always invest time honing each service rather than taking on too many projects or expanding services too quickly.
LocalFresh is a digital marketing agency that helps small and medium-sized businesses gain online recognition, generate sales, and achieve business goals. The agency specializes in various services, including but not limited to demand generation, website design, search engine optimization, creative content, social media, and public relations.
Jordan Slover, Neon Ambition
According to Jordan, entrepreneurship requires more than possessing specialized knowledge. To launch and run a successful agency, you have to acquire skills and expertise outside of your industry. However, entrepreneurs aren’t expected to know everything, so it’s important to recognize your areas of improvement and hire a talented team to offset your limitations.
Neon Ambition helps established businesses generate sales-qualified leads with proven marketing strategies. The agency develops long-term relationships to grow businesses and deliver results.
Meny Hoffman, Ptex Group
In the digital age, consumers seek interactive engagement to connect with and benefit from a brand. It’s important to be precise and consistent with your engagement methods to meet client demands and demonstrate value proposition. When optimizing your efforts, Meny suggests identifying your target audience and experimenting with different outreach strategies.
Ptex Group is an award-winning marketing and business services agency dedicated to helping businesses thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Ptex harnesses the connective power of branding and marketing, printing and design, and website and digital to address business challenges. The group has garnered critical acclaim for its work and has been featured in Inc. magazine, The Daily News, and the American Express OPEN.
Meredith Kinsey, FUEL
Meredith insists that to create an agency, you have to build a culture first. This begins with investing in your team and clients and ensuring that each can collaborate with the other to streamline processes. Success ensues when you focus on generating a positive environment and strategic culture that meets client demands and allows your team to flourish.
FUEL is a creative brand-building agency on a mission to give courage and clarity to brands that want to transform or challenge the status quo. With award-winning senior marketing experts and brand strategists, FUEL has worked with large and small brands across various industries, faced challenges, and created growth opportunities.
Marat Nigmatzyanov, MMP Associates
As an expert in Google Ads, Marat understands how to leverage the platform to optimize campaigns. He warns agencies not to use the “maximize conversions” feature as it can cause you to reach or even exceed your daily ad budget and waste website traffic as a result. Instead, Marat recommends monitoring campaigns and conducting regular check-ins to enhance each campaign.
MMP Associates is a data-driven marketing agency founded in 2006. MMP helps businesses acquire customers at scale while outperforming their cost-per-acquisition and revenue-per-user targets. MMP Associates specializes in paid search, media-buying, social media marketing, SEO, and landing page optimization, among other services.
Michelle King, Reputation Ink
Some agency owners view niches as restrictive and feel that by niching down, they’re limiting their services and potential clients. But for Michelle, focusing on a specific industry has grown her agency tremendously. She can meet her clients’ goals effectively and solve their problems by gaining specialized experience and staying abreast of key trends in her chosen field.
Reputation Ink is a B2B and professional services marketing and public relations agency. The company helps professional services firms and B2B businesses build their reputations, communicate their expertise, and grow their organizations. Reputation Ink’s seasoned PR professionals secure placements in top-tier media outlets for clients.
Jamie Birch, JEBCommerce
When structuring an agency, focusing too much on business goals can cause you to neglect your clients and compromise your agency in the process. So, Jamie emphasizes building your agency around your clients’ goals. When you evolve your business and adapt your services to each client’s needs, you can maximize success and establish a thriving agency.
JEBCommerce is a full-service, online marketing agency specializing in performance marketing. The company services both large and small organizations with a heavy focus on affiliate program management. For over 20 years, JEBCommerce has been launching, running, managing, and growing affiliate programs.
Justin Seibert, Direct Online Marketing
For many, entrepreneurship is overwhelming and daunting. There are many components to manage, often singlehandedly. When Justin first began his journey, he tried to gain expertise in every area. Yet, this isn’t possible initially, which is why he notes the value of obtaining resources and acquiring mentors to help you along the way.
Direct Online Marketing (DOM) is a top 200 Premier Google Partner digital marketing agency that helps clients sell into over 150 countries. As a trusted digital advisor with certified expertise and proven results, DOM offers a disciplined approach, straightforward communication, complete transparency, and a culture of excellence.
Linda Fanaras, Millennium Agency
Agencies often experience rapid growth in the beginning before tapering off and becoming stagnant. To maintain consistent growth, Linda recommends identifying the qualities that set your business apart from competitors. Develop a strategic vision for your agency that allows you to differentiate yourself, then market your unique strengths to demonstrate your competitive advantage.
Millennium Agency is a nationally-recognized, award-winning branding and strategic marketing firm in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire. With a 25-year track record in creating inspiring brands, impactful messaging, and strong marketing execution, Millennium Agency takes the guesswork out of increasing brand awareness, lead generation, and marketing results.
Roger Parent, Digital Position
Roger warns agency owners not to let ego impede their businesses. Instead, maintain humility and hire talent that can facilitate success. It’s critical to employ team members with a range of knowledge so you can learn from them and incorporate new ideas into your business practices.
Digital Position is a search marketing agency driving clicks and profits. The company seeks close, authentic relationships with partners looking to scale their business. As search engine marketing experts, Digital Position specializes in PPC, SEO, and CMO.
Wayne Ebert, One 2 One Marketing
When working with clients, Wayne stresses the value of fostering nurturing relationships. This requires coaching and guiding clients with a consultative approach. It’s important to recognize and prioritize their demands rather than promoting services based solely on your needs and wants.
One 2 One Marketing is an award-winning promotion and recognition agency. With over two decades of experience, One 2 One has helped clients all over the world create eye-catching and beautiful solutions for their businesses. One 2 One specializes in custom-branded solutions using promotional products, company stores, service anniversary programs, and point-based incentive programs.
Joel Mathew, Fortress
If you want to provide your clients with quality work, Joel says it’s vital not to settle for less. Always hone and refine your services to ensure you can deliver the highest level of value. Managing an agency accompanies a steep learning curve where you’re constantly gaining additional knowledge and recognizing mistakes. According to Joel, you’re never at your fullest potential until you can pivot fast and remain accessible to change and growth.
Fortress is an award-winning agency that has spent the past decade telling clients’ stories and building their brands to dominate both online and off. With diverse perspectives and entrepreneurial mindsets, Fortress strives to do business with honesty and integrity.
Kara Bottoms, PPA Agency
Throughout Kara’s ownership of her agency, she has retained several tenured employees. The secret? Hire a team of loyal individuals who can support you during tough times. Generate a supportive yet challenging company culture to foster professional development among your staff.
PPA Agency is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency providing clients with creative and cost-effective marketing and promotional solutions. PPA is a trusted vendor partner that champions the success of individual clients, their organizations, and their causes.
Susan DeMatei, WineGlass Marketing
Susan’s top tip for running an agency is to listen to your ideal clients. When a client comes to you for help, it’s crucial to identify their company’s most pressing issue and develop strategies to solve it. Ensure that you personalize your services to establish the best possible solution for each client’s needs.
WineGlass Marketing is the leading full-service and award-winning marketing agency for the adult beverage industry. WineGlass helps clients develop marketing strategies and harness technology tools for successful acquisition, retention, and sales programs.
Terry Murphy, Strategic Marketing
As Terry says, agency ownership is a risky business that often relies on hard work and luck. Case in point: after a long night at the office, a client approached Terry to check on his progress with the business. After Terry expressed frustration, his client introduced him to a profitable customer who paved his way to additional business and long-lasting success. So, if you work hard and surround yourself with prominent people, you can scale your agency.
Since 1992, Strategic Marketing has developed a distinguished track record of producing results for clients and creating award-winning campaigns. Strategic Marketing has worked with clients in more than 100 national markets, fortifying its reputation as a full-service advertising agency known for superior account service, high-quality creative work, and expertise in media buying and public relations.
David Roberts, ReVerb
Inflation is at an all-time high, and local economies are collapsing. That’s why David stresses the importance of identifying market needs and adapting your business processes to meet those demands. Sometimes, this requires working overtime to make fundamental changes to your operations.
ReVerb is a one-stop digital marketing agency that helps companies create significant buzz on the market. The agency has extensive experience helping clients reach their ideal audiences, increase leads in the funnel, and improve conversion rates. With effective promotional channels, ReVerb ensures a strong web presence for businesses.
Danny Braught, LMH Agency
For Danny, owning an agency requires customer accommodation. Yet, some agencies focus less on clients and more on their craft. With each service, it’s essential to demonstrate value so your clients recognize how you can solve their most pressing issues. Part of Danny’s customer-centric approach involves exhibiting transparency and owning up to your mistakes so you can pivot fast and develop an ideal alternative outcome.
Lokal Media House (LMH) Agency is a full-service branding and digital advertising agency. LMH specializes in working with home service contractors to create an online presence for their business with results-driven marketing campaigns that get them in front of their target audiences. LMH’s localized marketing and website design services help businesses stand out, get leads, and scale.
Chris Slocumb, Clarity Quest
If you want to scale your agency effectively, Chris emphasizes positioning yourself in an ideal culture. But many agencies lack the resources and talent needed to grow. Conversely, some agencies undervalue and overload themselves by hiring too many people. To find the right balance, it’s crucial to hire precise talent and leverage their strengths to enhance your services.
Since 2001, Clarity Quest has helped healthcare, life sciences, and technology businesses demonstrate ROI, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and identify goals. Clarity Quest has grown revenue and brands for companies ranging from Fortune 500 enterprises to startups. As a result, over a dozen clients have been successfully acquired, and many have experienced triple-digit growth.
Alan Rothenberg, Glue Advertising
When it comes to staffing, Alan says you have to remain flexible to retain top talent. He recommends dividing your talent pool equally into full-time and freelance employees. Adapting to the fluctuating work styles of modern employees demonstrates an understanding of their requirements and optimizes collaboration.
Glue Advertising was founded by two industry veterans who recognized that the big-conglomerate model had broken. Glue’s leadership team is committed to a different, better client experience grounded in hands-on, strategic attention, turn-on-the-dime responsiveness, and flawless, on-time, on-budget tactical delivery. Glue’s clients are in regulated industries, such as healthcare and financial services, as well as consumer packaged goods, education, logistics, and more.
Ari Krzyzek, Chykalophia
While most agencies structure their services around market demands, Ari prefers to take the road less traveled. To differentiate your agency from others in the market, she recommends identifying your strengths and developing a specialized niche. This allows you to establish yourself in your industry and cultivate meaningful partnerships. From there, you can expand into other sectors.
Chykalophia is a woman and minority-owned creative and web agency helping femtech, DTC, and women-led brands transform their websites for growth. Chykalophia gets excited about social and cultural impact, innovation with data and tech, and the visionaries behind it all. The team specializes in building strong brand pillars and online experiences.