• Stop Selling Hours, Start Selling Value [Video]

    By | January 4, 2018
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    This post originally appeared on the Databox blog. Databox pulls all your data into one place, so you can track performance and discover insights in real-time. In the agency world, we’re all familiar with the dreaded billable hour. I discovered early in my career that the billable-hour model was deeply flawed and agency-centric. A…Read More


  • More Meaningful Meetings

    By | December 19, 2017
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    Before we dive into the ever-so-popular topic of meetings, let’s get into the right frame of mind.

    Take a moment to think of someone you actually like to meet with.

    What makes it so great? For me, it’s a mutual respect for one another’s time, an agenda that moves items forward, and coming away from the meeting with a renewed or strengthened relationship. 

    I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t always so pro-meeting. I’m a numbers person by trade, and calculating the total hours our team spends in (not-so-perfect) meetings would make my head spin. And it’s not just our team. Middle managers spend about 35% of their time in meetings, and upper management spends about 50% of their time in meetings, according to research from The Muse.

    Don’t get me wrong. I agree there’s no sense in having a meeting just to have a meeting.

    But, hear me out: If we spend lots of time in meetings, and there is the potential to build relationships with exceptional meetings—that’s an opportunity for our business.

    Powerful, well-run meetings GSD. They build relationships. They position our team as the strategic consultants our clients have partnered with to grow their business.

    The potential is evident. Holding meaningful meetings is a soft skill that is invaluable over your entire career.

    So, how do you run a more meaningful meeting?

     

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  • Content Marketing's Talent Gap: More Jobs Than Qualified People

    By | December 12, 2017
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    This is a guest post from John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co., keynote speaker, and author of “Top of Mind.” You can book John to speak here.

    Line up 100 managers, and all but six will tell you that content marketing is critical to their business strategy. At the same time, they’ll probably agree that landing an exceptional content marketing candidate is more difficult than training a cat to use the toilet.

    So, what’s the problem?

    Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions are prepping students for a host of positions, but few include the heavy-duty, highly evolved content marketing roles that modern companies and agencies are looking for. Instead, their curricula tend to focus on business marketing and professional writing — great skills, sure, but only part of today’s content marketing ecosystem.

    As a result, top content marketers are being wooed and snatched up before most employers can even post their Indeed advertisements. Despite these hiring challenges, agencies need to press forward to discover a way to bridge the content marketing talent gap — or risk missing major opportunities to grow their businesses.

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  • 12 Questions to Guide Your Marketing Agency Pricing Model Transformation

    By | December 6, 2017
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    “The future belongs to dynamic agencies with more efficient management systems, integrated services, versatile talent, value-based pricing models, a love for data, and a commitment to producing measurable results.” — The Marketing Performance Blueprint Pricing can have a positive impact on productivity, accountability, cl…Read More


  • 15 Ways to Maximize Marketing Agency Profits

    By | November 28, 2017
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    Growth is the easy part. Retaining it, and making it profitable, is the real challenge for agencies. As the demand for digital services increases, many agencies are offering new services and/or are unsure how to attract and retain a profitable client base. This is where these 15 tips come in handy; use them to maximize your agency’s profits.

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  • Why Marketing Classes Need More Business

    By | November 14, 2017
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    This is a guest post from Kate Richling. Kate is a Co-Founder and CMO at Birdsnest, the only strategic performance management suite built for agencies by agencies – creating a single source of truth between agencies and marketers. You can contact Kate on Linkedin or at kate@birdsnest.io.

    Alicia Hatch, CMO of Deloitte Digital, recently wrote for Digiday that the old adage ‘Branding is everything’ is now ‘Everything is branding.’ This translates to significant change for the role of CMOs. With growing expectations from the rest of the C-Suite for marketing to garner business-level results, marketers and their service providers must be more strategic than ever.

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  • Dear Agencies: Stop Being Interesting. Be Critical.

    By | April 27, 2017
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    This is a guest post from Kate Richling. Kate is the head of marketing for Birdsnest, a strategic marketing and business attribution tool for agencies. With Birdsnest, your Client Services team can bank, manage and track client activity and opportunities – turning every relationship into a strategic one. You can contact Kate on Linkedin or at kate@birdsnest.io..

    Research has shown much of the C-suite believes marketers and their agency partners live in a creative and social media bubble according to the Fournaise Group. In an effort to provide instantaneous results, they’re too focused on parameters like impressions, shares and downloads, the kind of data deemed “interesting, not critical” to the C-suite. It’s a major challenge when you consider the shifting responsibility of CMOs to deliver on business-quantifiable outcomes.

    Expectations for today’s CMO and required capability sets are shifting, upping the ante on demonstrating ROI and impacting business outcomes organization-wide. While consultancies continue to swallow up creative agencies, and other agencies founded and built on digital respond with consultancy-like services, often under the moniker Business Transformation, the race is on for client dollars. And who can blame any of us for trying – considering advertisers spent over $600 billion last year according to eMarketer.

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  • Clients vs. Financial Health: Are You Making This Common Agency Owner Mistake?

    By | April 13, 2017
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    This is a guest post from agency consultant Karl Sakas (@KarlSakas).

    Argh. You just finished a call with another unhappy client, trying to smooth things over.

    You promised them free work to keep them happy, but that’s going to make the overall project unprofitable… and now you need to break the news to your team.

    What’s going on here? The truth is, you’ve made a key agency management mistake. You’re putting clients first, at your agency’s expense.

    When you make that choice, the outcomes are predictable—unprofitable work, low team morale, and stress levels through the roof. So how do you turn things around? The key is to shift your priorities.


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  • Point Pricing: The Story of How We (Finally) Eliminated Hours from Marketing Agency Pricing

    By | March 23, 2017
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    I spent the first six years of my marketing agency career chasing hourly quotas instead of results. Our goal was to bill a minimum of five hours per day. 

    Yes, we cared if the client was happy and successful, but the fundamental economic driving force behind the firm's existence, and my career potential, was the billable hour.

    I discovered early on that the billable-hour model was a flawed, archaic, agency-centric system that wrongly tied agency performance to outputs, not outcomes. 

    In 2004, four years into my career, I became highly motivated to build a more efficient and profitable solution that shifted the focus to client needs and goals. 

    The idea was centered on making services tangible with clearly defined costs, features and benefits, almost like buying a product off a retail shelf or signing up for a software service.

    My theory was that if clients understood exactly what they were getting, and agreed ahead of time what it was worth, then we could remove the mystery from the equation and focus on delivering value and results. 

    The problem was that the billable-hour model was the only one I had ever known. How would I build an entirely new financial model and productize a service business?

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  • Profitable Agency Business and How to Sell It

    By | March 16, 2017
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    This is a guest post from Joe Olsen. Joe is the CEO of Birdsnest, an agency growth tool, built by agency veterans for agencies. With Birdsnest, dubbed The Client Services Engine, empower your agency team to manage, measure and grow strategic client relationships. You can get in touch with Joe on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Let’s start with a fact. Successful agencies create revenue through the ability to generate profitable business with new clients but also within current relationships. Show me your New Business and Client Services team, their processes and tools, and I can tell you how far you’ll go, your capacity for growth and your ability to thrive in this cutthroat industry.

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