72 min read

Top Agency Experts: How to Manage Failure, Success, and Everything In-Between

Running an agency is no easy task. It’s often accompanied by the fear of failure, the overwhelming stress of leadership, and an exorbitant amount of work to reach success. So, how can you manage the difficulties of agency life and get your business on a path you’ll be proud of? As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

We interviewed top agency experts who have been through it all — difficult failures, strategic pivots, and monumental successes — to learn how they came out on top. Here’s what they have to say about running an agency, finding courage during tough times, and building a prosperous business.

Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded

Hollywood Branded

Culture and education are two fundamental pieces of Stacy’s agency. The company has an approach called Learn Do Teach, which ensures employees are constantly learning and growing. On the culture side, the team participates in something called “sing for thanks,” and each morning, someone chooses a song that the whole team sings together. According to Stacy, this activity sets the tone for the day and creates a bond between the staff.

Hollywood Branded boosts brand sales by fostering partnerships with celebrities, influencers, and TV, film, and music companies. They believe that bringing brands, content, celebrities, and influencers together makes storytelling more meaningful and impactful. Over the last 14 years, they’ve created over 10,000 brand partnerships with Hollywood.

Learn more: Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded

Patrick Renvoise, SalesBrain

Sales Brain

One obstacle Patrick is working to overcome in his agency is a lack of audience. According to Patrick, they need more ears to hear their agency’s story. How does he hope to work through this challenge? By focusing on the agency’s differentiating factors and leaning more into content marketing efforts such as blogs, videos, and podcasts, SalesBrain will be on its way to building a large fan base.

SalesBrain is the first neuromarketing agency with a scientific persuasion model that helps companies achieve scientific, rapid, and proven growth. Their four-step NeuroMap methodology improves how marketing and sales messages perform both online and offline. Since its founding in 2002, SalesBrain has helped over 600 companies and 200,000 executives worldwide.

Learn more: Patrick Renvoise, SalesBrain

Megan Kacvinsky, Point To Point

Point to Point

Megan’s top tip for agency owners is to be clear about what your agency does — and what they don’t do. For Point To Point, Megan and the team use the EOS model to set their visions and expectations for the company. Megan also suggests using other people and resources as a sounding board for your ideas. That way, your company’s values and solutions will be clear to anyone outside of your industry.

The team at Point To Point are B2B marketing and communications experts specializing in the building materials and industrial manufacturing industries. Point To Point helps clients achieve their goals through scalable engagement, account-based marketing, product launches, and brand development. Over the last three years, they’ve had over four million customer engagements with an average client relationship of nearly seven and a half years.

Learn more: Megan Kacvinsky, Point To Point

Michael Lisovetsky, JUICE

juice-logo-white

Michael says that your company is a collection of your standards and people. So, you need to make sure you have a distinct set of values and hire the best people to be on your team. However, your work doesn’t end after you’ve formed an impressive team — you have to set up your employees for success and empower them to do good work.

JUICE is a full-service digital marketing agency that helps businesses grow. They offer a variety of services including paid social, paid search, email marketing, copywriting, and more. JUICE’s award-winning team of creatives map out client success from the start and guide them through the whole process.

Learn more: Michael Lisovetsky, JUICE

Mukesh K. Singhmar, SeeResponse

See Response

Mukesh’s agency went from zero clients in 2018 to more than 100 clients today. So, what’s his secret? According to Mukesh, your first client is important. Once you get the first one, you’ll have the confidence to take on more. Mukesh says it’s been an enriching journey so far, and each client has brought new teachings and experiences with them.

SeeResponse aims to help startups and larger companies grow through a combination of strategy, email marketing, demand generation, and marketing automation. They create blogs, videos, and other long-form content like e-books and white papers to get their message out. The team’s marketing expertise is unrivaled, serving clients across a range of industries nationwide.

Learn more: Mukesh K. Singhmar, SeeResponse

Carolyn Walker, Response

Response
No matter what industry or business you’re in, everybody learns from their mistakes. According to Carolyn, you can’t get to where you want to be without success and failure. She’s had partners in her career that didn’t work out but were valuable because they taught her important lessons. Now, Carolyn has a great partner — and an amazing team — and her work has become stronger than ever.

Over the past two decades, Response has grown into a successful marketing and brand strategy consulting firm. They’ve worked with clients across the globe, including Carrier, Logitech, Black & Decker, and many restaurant brands. The team’s most successful content marketing strategy has been their podcast, Hackable.

Learn more: Carolyn Walker, Response

Marty McDonald, Bad Rhino

Bad Rhino
According to Marty, agency growth is not a short-term game. When you feel like you’re putting in so much work for content and SEO but you don’t feel like it’s moving the needle — just keep going. If you’re in it for the long haul, your hard work will eventually pay off.

Bad Rhino is a social media marketing agency that provides measurable results for its clients. With a team of savvy social media managers, storytellers, and marketers, Bad Rhino uses customized solutions to help clients reach more customers. They utilize YouTube and podcast platforms to help others learn about industry insights and best practices.

Learn more: Marty McDonald, Bad Rhino

AJ Vaden, Brand Builders Group


AJ underwent the most humbling and life-altering event of being asked to leave the company she helped start. It was surprising, painful, and the biggest blessing of her life. AJ felt her inner voice saying that it was no longer the place for her; however, she kept putting ambition before her overall wellbeing. When AJ finally did leave, it allowed her to rediscover herself — and eventually led to founding a company that gave her more life, time, and freedom to make a bigger impact.

As a personal brand strategy firm for influencers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs, Brand Builders Group is helping mission-driven messengers reach their goals. Regardless of where clients are in their personal journey, the team meets them where they are and gives them the necessary tools to succeed. Brand Builders Group offers resources such as speaking engagements, podcasts, live events, webinars, online courses, and more.

Learn more: AJ Vaden, Brand Builders Group

Josh Snyder, Brightseed Creative

Brightseed Creative

If you’re unsure where to start when building your agency, Josh suggests focusing on what you’re good at. Too many people are wasting time chasing the trends — and the wrong clients. However, when you establish your strengths and home in on the clients you want to serve, your brand will be on track for success.

Brightseed Creative offers digital marketing, social media, and content creation services. Based in Miami, the agency helps small businesses build their brands and gain more customers. The team at Brightseed puts love into all of their work, and it’s their mission to bring more light and value into the world.

Learn more: Josh Snyder, Brightseed Creative

Andrew Osterday, Local Industries

Local Industries
For Andrew, human insight matters; much of his agency’s growth has stemmed from their team. That’s why you should always put your people’s needs first — and that doesn’t just include clients. Culture, employee feedback, and creating a safe work environment should always be part of your scope.

Local Industries helps clients achieve lasting change through transformative, employee-centric processes. With their three-step Change Marketing strategy, they help companies design programs that reach within. When employees feel part of a change, they’re more likely to own it.

Learn more: Andrew Osterday, Local Industries

Brien Holman, We Are Royale

We Are Royale

Your agency’s end product is critical, but Brien reminds owners that the process to get there is equally important. Before building out your agency, you need to plan and set objectives that will guide you every step of the way. In addition to this, understanding which teams will get you to the end is vital to reaching those goals on the horizon. When you — and your team — are enthusiastic about the work, your company will win.

We Are Royale was started as a haven for artists and now helps creative brands turn their audiences into advocates. They offer creative technology, campaign strategy, and brand development solutions. We Are Royale’s team cares for their partners and works with them to expand the boundaries of concept and design.

Learn more: Brien Holman, We Are Royale

Jason Pampell, HireInfluence

HireInfluence

Jason’s agency recently went through a period of growth upon losing a key employee. The team member thought they were indispensable, and it ultimately created an unhealthy work environment. When the company severed ties, Jason said it felt like the sky was falling. However, the team pushed forward with a positive attitude — and are now on their way to the most successful year yet! Sometimes, a big change is necessary, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at the time.

Since 2011, HireInfluence has been solely dedicated to influencer marketing. They provide diverse, innovative, and customized strategies to amplify a brand’s story. The team has helped influencers engage with their target audience through events like photoshoots, travel experiences, festival promotions, and speaking engagements.

Learn more: Jason Pampell, HireInfluence

Sam Lister, BLNK Slate Media

The Blink State

According to Sam, you need to be adaptable — otherwise, your business won’t last. Sam has encountered the challenge of pivoting and says that it can be a double-edged sword. There’s a chance that your agency could fail if you don’t pivot in the right way to the right market. However, in the midst of the pandemic, it’s a necessary step to support your business’ success.

BLNK Slate Media has built a better system for video editing to save clients hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars every month. Their videos have featured celebrities including Larry King, Rick Ross, and Gary Vee. When you sign on with BLNK Slate Media, you receive your very own dedicated video editor, custom brand editing, and high-volume video editing services.

Learn more: Sam Lister, BLNK Slate Media

Don Neal, 360 Live Media

360 Live Media

Like many businesses, Don’s agency went entirely virtual during the pandemic. This played into the mission of the company, as they thrive to re-invent themselves. What’s more, Don’s business had one of its best years ever in 2020, even while converting from live events to digital ones. So, how did they do it, and how do they keep growing? Don says they continue innovating and don’t force their services into a market where they no longer apply.

360 Live Media is an event strategy, marketing, and design agency that helps organizations maximize the impact of their events. With a client-first approach, they’ve delivered unparalleled success across a number of industry opportunities. The team provides webinars, blog posts, speaking engagements, and many other resources to help clients grow their businesses.

Learn more: Don Neal, 360 Live Media

Mohsin Ali, Clayive

Clayive

Mohsin believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to highlight clients’ ideas in the digital world. As the digital space continues to evolve, you want to keep up while making sure your clients stand out. Finding new, exciting, and authentic ways of storytelling can help push clients’ brands into the eyes of their target audience — and it can help your agency become a sought-after business.

Clayive helps clients grow their businesses through the power of digital media. The agency produces a range of content for clients, from blog posts, polls, infographics, and storyboarding to 3D content, illustrations, guides, and much more. The team aids in marketing, social campaigns, branding, and web design to help brands achieve their vision.

Learn more: Mohsin Ali, Clayive

Evan Varsamis, Gadget Flow

Evan Varsamis, Gadget Flow

For Evan, starting your agency on the right foot is all about getting your first customer and hiring as fast as you can. If it’s important to scale your company, it’s important to hire. After all, if your hands are always full, you don’t have the luxury of focusing on your company’s leadership and goals. Evan also notes that you may never be the perfect or biggest agency — you just need to focus on getting started with customers. The agency-building process is all about learning and gaining experience.

Gadget Flow is the most powerful product discovery platform on the web, helping you stay up to date with the latest tech, gear, and incredible crowdfunding campaigns. The company was founded in 2012 with one goal in mind: to simplify online product exploration. They’ve worked closely with over 10,000 customers — from e-commerce stores and Amazon listings to crowdfunding campaigns — and continue to reach over 28 million people per month.

Learn more: Evan Varsamis, Gadget Flow

Michael Marchese, Tempesta Media

Tempesta-Media-logo

Brands need to leverage top talent and top resources to prosper. For Michael, this means marrying the best tech and creative services with a great team. The number one mistake agency owners make is thinking they can take on everything alone. If you truly want to scale, you need to hire the best people, give them the necessary resources to succeed, and focus on your duties as a founder.

Tempesta Media is a performance-based content marketing solution that drives revenue for businesses. The company specializes in financial, healthcare, and business services industries. Within a few years of its founding, Tempesta Media became a three-time Chicago Innovation Awards nominee and was named a Top 10 Startup by the FUND Conference.

Learn more: Michael Marchese, Tempesta Media

Vincent Bourzeix, Superbolt

Superbolt

The first few months of operations are crucial to the fate of your agency. Vincent says you need to work especially hard on your first clients. Since you’re small and don’t have a known brand yet, it’s vital to impress clients and prove your company’s value. You don’t get many opportunities for a good first client, so you need to make it count in order to launch your business.

Superbolt acts as a full-service extension of clients’ in-house teams, helping them build and execute data-driven, holistic growth strategies. The team works one-on-one with clients to provide a mix of marketing, creative, data, and web capabilities. Superbolt has partnered with over 100 consumer brands at various stages of growth.

Learn more: Vincent Bourzeix, Superbolt

Bill Rice, Kaleidico

Kaleidico

Bill started his business as a software company in the mortgage industry. When the market began to crash, Bill pivoted into an agency because his team knew how to generate leads. According to Bill, understanding changes in the market is essential — and you either know how to wait it out or shift your business. It’s important to look at what you have and decide how to build from that.

Kaleidico helps Fortune 500, financial services, SaaS, legal, publishers, and funded startups generate engaged, responsive audiences and subscribers. They specialize in marketing strategy, lead generation, user acquisition, web application and development, and content and email marketing. Kaleidico also runs a blog to share design and lead generation insight.

Learn more: Bill Rice, Kaleidico

Brian Robben, Robben Media

Robben Media

There are multiple factors that can deter an entrepreneur from starting an agency. Inexperience, insecurity, and pressure from competitors can make it difficult to confidently launch your operation, but Brian has some methods to counteract those challenges. He says to come up with your strategy, coordinate the details, then plan out your proposal. Brian also suggests aligning your internal team and process, which will set up your company for success.

Brian launched Robben Media to grow businesses organically and increase their traffic, sales, and profits. They have over 200 customers across the US, Europe, and China. Robben Media has generated $37 million in sales for these customers and helped them rank at the top of Google through keywords.

Learn more: Brian Robben, Robben Media

Andrew Eklund, Ciceron

Ciceron

Andrew advises agency owners to know their expertise and own their expertise. For Andrew, he’s aware that he’s a great visionary, but not a great project manager. What does this have to do with your business as a whole? Building a great team starts with you — as soon as you know what your lane is, you have to figure out everyone else’s strengths and fit them accordingly.

As one of the first purely digital agencies in the US, Ciceron is proud to carry the moniker of being “distinctly human.” Founded in 1995, the agency is fusing data, media, and the creative to provide real people with real results. Rapidly growing while remaining grounded in their roots, Ciceron has been named one of the top companies to work for.

Learn more: Andrew Eklund, Ciceron

David Anderson, Off Madison Ave

Off Madison Ave

Running an agency is a rollercoaster. You have the best of years, the worst of years, and everything in-between. David says it takes pure and simple grit to run your company successfully. You should always be striving to bring in new clients and continue growing — don’t get comfortable gaining revenue from one large account.

Off Madison Ave offers brand and creative services, PR, and media services. Through their behavior design approach, Off Madison Ave helps companies tap into their audience’s desires and unlock their brand potential. They’ve guided brands including Fujifilm, Arizona State University, and Toyota in their creative journeys.

Learn more: David Anderson, Off Madison Ave

Matthew Lockwood, LGND

LGND

Matthew reminds us that agencies should not be isolated from the greater community. You should stay attuned to broader societal actions and results and integrate your agency into the culture. That way, you’ll be more connected to clients, changing trends, and the events that impact them.

LGND launches good ideas. Whether you’re a company, association, nonprofit, or just have a great story to tell, they set you up with the team, tools, and technology to make it happen. The agency combines cutting-edge strategy with innovative design, technology, visualization, and video services to create experiences that inspire change.

Learn more: Matthew Lockwood, LGND

Harrison Baron, Growth Generators

Growth Generators

When you first start an agency, there’s no secret sauce — so you have to create it for yourself. For Harrison, his first customer didn’t pay much, but he took a shot in the dark on Growth Generators. Because Harrison was dedicated to growing and building out his company, the customer trusted Harrison enough to grow with him.

Growth Generators works with companies of all sizes to help them gain visibility in the virtual space. From web design and SEO implementation to backlinking and inbound marketing, Growth Generators helps brands communicate to their audience. They also have a brutally honest podcast where they talk about all things web design, SEO, and digital marketing.

Learn more: Harrison Baron, Growth Generators

Drew Neisser, Renegade

Renagede

The easiest period in Drew’s agency was when they focused on one thing. It’s difficult to be good at everything, and when Renegade started to take on too many specialties, they found that their business wasn’t doing as well as it could be. That’s why Drew suggests niching down. If you’re struggling to succeed, find something that you are exceptional at and use the success stories as case studies.

Renegade is a savvy B2B marketing agency. With a wide CMO network, a keen eye for data analytics, and a diverse team of creatives, Renegade is ready to help companies craft and execute a unique marketing strategy, no matter what hurdles are in the way. They have a long track record of transforming marketing from mere messaging into something of genuine value.

Learn more: Drew Neisser, Renegade

Keith Roberts, Zenman & emBlue

emBlue

Keith has two major tips for agency owners: let go of your ego and deliver on your word. How profitable can you make your business without being ego-driven? You’ll go far when you take time to contemplate your decisions, be authentic, and avoid overcommitting to customers.

The term “Zenman” refers to Keith’s Buddhist approach to all of his clients’ projects. Since 1988, the Zenman agency has helped innovative startups and global brands build digital experiences that differentiate them from the competition. In addition to this, his agency emBlue delivers a marketing platform that helps companies create unique customer experiences through email, SMS, text messaging, push notifications, and more.

Learn more: Keith Roberts, Zenman, emBlue

Jason Cormier, Room 214

Room 214

Getting the right people in the right seat is vital to help your agency thrive — but it’s also a difficult challenge. According to Jason, if you want a great team, you have to take the time and effort to look for those people that match your agency’s culture and values.

Room 214 is a digital marketing agency focused on helping companies understand their customers, uncover new opportunities, and discover a path to success. Room 214 helps companies grow by being different — not just better.

Learn more: Jason Cormier, Room 214

Chuck McBride, Cutwater

Chuck McBride, Cutwater

For Chuck, the biggest challenge of agency life is finding a place where both you and your client can take a collective risk. When you both take a chance together, you can’t fail. The floor gets raised — and the ceiling goes with it. Just make sure you’re continuing to build and shape your culture with your growing agency.

Cutwater hones and sharpens a brand into something more distinctive so it has a better chance of cutting through, being heard, and standing apart — because the team understands that distinctive brands are the ones that drive growth. Cutwater believes in great storytelling, a client-centric mindset, and the power of creativity to reinvent brands.

Learn more: Chuck McBride, Cutwater

John Rarrick, York and Chapel

York and Chapel

How do you run a successful agency? John says you need to be proactive and adapt quickly to the changing industry. It’s not enough to be a great agency — you have to constantly evolve, transform, and continue serving the needs of your clients.

York and Chapel is not just a marketing agency. Founded as a digital house over 20 years ago, the company has evolved into a full-service marketing and branding agency. They’ve worked with brands including Hermès, NBC, and Cisco to develop marketing, design, and digital strategies.

Learn more: John Rarrick, York and Chapel

Heather Capps, HCK2

HCK2

When building your team, it’s essential to define your core values and stick to them. Many agency owners look at the work history, skill sets, and experience listed on a resume, but Heather says that’s been changing over the last few years. For her, the hiring process isn’t about checking off boxes — it’s about discovering candidates with character and a strong work ethic. HCK2 has been able to thrive by hiring based on character and building out positions based on each individual.

HCK2 is a woman-owned marketing communications agency that brings together the ideal combination of creative concepts and design, web experiences, digital communication, public relations, and media to help brands get noticed and get results. When you partner with HCK2, you get the experience and insights of a proven, award-winning, professional team who have put their talents to work for organizations of every size and description.

Learn more: Heather Capps, HCK2

Tristan Brennan, TH Experiential

TH Experiential

Running an agency is all about versatility, hard work, and keeping the client top of mind. According to Tristan, there’s a lot of risk-taking involved. But when you’re determined and find a team that can see your vision, your agency is destined to succeed.

TH Experiential is a leading experiential and digital marketing agency that is building content and experiences for the world we live in and the devices we live on. TH Experiential’s mission is to make cultural content and experiences the most powerful marketing tool for brands. Since 2006, they’ve worked with over 500 brands and executed over 700 campaigns to connect companies with their communities.

Learn more: Tristan Brennan, TH Experiential

Benj Miller, Syrup Marketing

Syrup Marketing

In 2019, Benj’s agency grew 300%. And then one day, he woke up and had no work. Benj’s company went into debt and was close to going under — he felt like his success was ripped away in a single night. However, Benj began connecting with other leaders and learned how to run a business. He realized that he needed to avoid building his identity based on the company and apply a framework to keep the agency organized, process-driven, and prepared for anything.

Syrup Marketing helps B2B companies grow in revenue and maturity. The team believes that the best approach to marketing is one that starts with a brand’s uniqueness. Whether it’s crafting the right message for an audience, building a world-class website, or navigating the complexities of marketing, Syrup Marketing can give your company an edge.

Learn more: Benj Miller, Syrup Marketing

David Reske, Nowspeed

Nowspeed

According to David, if you want a prosperous agency, you have to blend your passion with the needs of the market. Focus on what you’re really good at, but also take into account what your clients really need. You have to ask the question, “Why me?” There are many agencies out there, so you have to find your niche and be the best in that area.

Nowspeed is an internet marketing agency that drives leads — from click to customer — for companies. Their packaged services include a blend of search engine marketing, website design, social media, lead nurture, and marketing analytics so that they can deliver complete end-to-end solutions for customers.

Learn more: David Reske, Nowspeed

Andrew Seibert, Imprint

Imprint

Andrew says you should always stay one step ahead of your clients, but also be prepared to sidestep quickly. Put yourself in the clients’ shoes and be ready to change when they do. Be flexible, nimble, and, most importantly, figure out who you are as an agency and keep your clients in the know.

Imprint is a full-service custom content and communications agency based in NYC. The team believes that for companies to build real, lasting relationships with their customers, they need to provide impactful content that educates, informs, and provides moments of inspiration through distribution channels. That’s why Imprint creates content and distribution strategies that engage and deliver results to drive lasting business growth.

Learn more: Andrew Seibert, Imprint

Alex Putman, SPLICE

SPLICE

No matter where you are in your agency journey, make sure you’re growing a business you can be proud of. According to Alex, you should always have a contract — that way it’s easier to walk away from something that’s not working. You don’t need to burn bridges, but know when to cut business that’s not helping your company flourish.

SPLICE is a creative employer and branding agency that believes authenticity is key in building employer brands and cultivating raving fans. SPLICE builds diversity pipelines and outstanding content for clients including Jaipur Living and Panasonic Automotive. They liven up experiences between humans and companies and help organizations communicate their messaging in a digital world.

Learn more: Alex Putman, SPLICE

Jiffy Iuen, Frank Collective

Frank Collective

Every agency owner has to find something that can fuel their passion. From Women’s March poster-making to Friday shout-outs, Jiffy has brought her charismatic spirit into her team building and company culture. To continue powering passion in the workplace, Jiffy also has a monthly newsletter and blog about women in leadership to keep inspiring creatives both inside and outside of her network.

Frank Collective is a brand-led creative agency based out of LA and NYC. Focused first and foremost on branding, they provide a thoughtful and dedicated approach to each client. Their process involves working collaboratively, communicating clearly, and testing each concept to find the best result. Frank Collective creates identities, websites, apps, collateral, packaging, content, and marketing that suit the unique personality of each brand.

Learn more: Jiffy Iuen, Frank Collective

Dylan Ross, Famous Food Festival

Famous Food Festival

How do you go about event planning for your agency? Dylan is an expert in this area. He says you need to be strategic, give yourself plenty of time to plan and execute, and put yourself in the position of the customer. It may take a couple of years, but eventually you’ll build traction and grow in your market.

The team at Famous Food Festival is here to make brands famous. Their mission is to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to get a foot in the door in the ever-evolving food industry. New restaurants, chefs, and unique food products are brought to the masses through their unique and effective marketing platform. Famous Food Festival provides services including key placed banner advertisements, PR, television appearances, social influencers, and digital marketing for vendors and sponsors.

Learn more: Dylan Ross, Famous Food Festival

Kara Brown, LeadCoverage

LeadCoverage

Less than 2% of female founders will break $1 million in revenue. How can we work to bring equality to entrepreneurship and leave this statistic in the past? Kara says female agency owners need to charge what they’re worth. Don’t be afraid to show your value, call out the inequalities, and receive well-deserved compensation.

LeadCoverage is a premier B2B marketing and PR firm that helps companies develop or boost lead generation through targeted marketing strategies and media coverage that drives inbound conversions and measurable marketing ROI. More specifically, LeadCoverage provides lead generation services including marketing and sales alignment, social and email conversion, SEO, PPC, and sales accountability.

Learn more: Kara Brown, LeadCoverage

Marty Weintraub, Aimclear

Aimclear

Speaking from personal experience, Marty says you should manage your business like you’re dying. Soon after surviving stage 3B Lymphoma, Marty started Aimclear, ready to embrace the joys of life. According to Marty, the road to wisdom is paved with many small and large mistakes — you just have to welcome the lessons and turn the hardships into opportunities.

Aimclear offers integrated brand and performance marketing services. They meld client vision, paid and organic channels, sophisticated data slack, in-house MarTech, human expertise, and performance marketing so businesses can predictably earn and retain more customers. Aimclear has been recognized for its expertise in the Minnesota Business Magazine, Inc. 500 and 5000 lists, and many other publications.

Learn more: Marty Weintraub, Aimclear

Chris Westmeyer, Digital Strike

Digital Strike

Chris says that if you’re going to dedicate your life to building someone else’s business, be sure that you have some contractual growth or higher skin in the game. For three years, Chris was taken advantage of in this regard; he poured his heart and soul into building a company that didn’t give him anything in return. Upon realizing this, Chris vowed he would never again give his all where there is nothing in it for him. Know your worth, and don’t try to be all things to all people.

Digital Strike doesn’t sell services, they provide solutions. Their one-of-a-kind team of strategists helps businesses form a unique digital marketing strategy through pay-per-click advertising, SEO, and content marketing. Digital Strike uses cold, hard data and a commitment to clients to deliver the end result: growing each individual business.

Learn more: Chris Westmeyer, Digital Strike

Steve Winter, Brotman Winter Fried

Brotman Winter Fried

Staying on top of technology trends and changing tactics is difficult for any agency owner. What can help you overcome these challenges? Steve suggests you make an effort to keep informed and pay attention to what your competition is undertaking. Most importantly, you need to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. A great team goes a long way.

Under the parent company Sage, Brotman Winter Fried designs, deploys, and supports live and online experiences that captivate stakeholders and change the conversation. Their event marketing and management solutions blend real-time and online techniques to engage audiences.

Learn more: Steve Winter, Brotman Winter Fried

Barry LaBov, LABOV

LABOV

When Barry first started in business, he was writing jingles. He had a client reach out and ask to buy out their marketing company — but Barry turned them down for years. When Barry asked why they kept coming back to him, the client said it was because they trust him. Eventually, Barry accepted, and it was the best thing he’s ever done. According to Barry, you have to be growing at all times, even if it means taking a big leap.

For over three decades, LABOV has helped launch brands and products, engage dealer networks and customers, advise company leaders, create sales channel strategies, and more. They work closely with clients’ sales networks to train and inspire. The team at LABOV is honored to collaborate with some of the world’s leading automotive, premium luxury, and B2B manufacturers, helping elevate their brands, products, and people.

Learn more: Barry LaBov, LABOV

Jason Prance, SCS

SCS

Before Jason left a dying agency, he learned an important lesson: you can never replace the benefits of human interface in a world of AI. Human client services should always be at the forefront. So, be intentional about who you’re servicing and how you’re servicing them — otherwise, you might lose some great clients.

SCS is an independent startup agency that powers brand performance. With a team of over 100 people across offices in Irvine, Ottawa, and Atlanta, SCS is dedicated to their brands — their longest-standing client has been with them for 36 years! The team’s most recent accolades include listings in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Atlanta’s Top 25 Advertising & Marketing Firms, among many others.

Learn more: Jason Prance, SCS

Melissa Rodriguez, Social Media Relations

Social Media Relations

According to Melissa, being strategic is vital to success. While running an agency, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds — but nothing replaces strategy. If you are strategic and plan out your operations, you’ll be able to delegate (and lead) better!

For established brands who want to tap into their audience with purpose and impact, Social Media Relations is a full-service digital marketing partner that can help. The team at Social Media Relations is a melting pot of creative intuitives that are tapped into the collective consciousness of Gen Z and Millenials — and know where they’re going. Building communities is in their DNA because they know them, create them, and grow them.

Learn more: Melissa Rodriguez, Social Media Relations

Matthew Eames, Salesboat

salesboat

Matthew’s agency is continually able to make clients happy. How? They can always find new customers for their clients. Matthew says you need a constant flow of customers and a strong relationship with each client in order to keep them pleased and coming back for more.

Established in 2016, Salesboat is a growing firm with three locations nationwide. The company specializes in B2B, B2C, and retail direct marketing and selling for business clients. They have flourished and built clients’ revenue streams consistently over the years, no matter the environment. Dealing mainly with the energy and technology fields, they set the pace in the industry and strive to be the #1 provider for their target audience.

Learn more: Matthew Eames, Salesboat

Ahmad Siddiqui, ApparelnBags

ApparelnBags

Ahmad has never been short of great ideas and concepts. So when it came to starting an agency, his fear wasn’t finding his big idea — it was not having the right partners. After diligent research and experience, Ahmad has found the solution: complete a small project with your potential partner before signing a contract. Make sure you want to work together and make sure you know them well.

ApparelnBags are on a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses with top-of-the-line promotional products, custom logo embroidered workwear, and sports team uniforms. Their goal is to assist businesses in stretching their marketing budget with improved customer acquisition and retention along with increasing employee productivity and satisfaction.

Learn more: Ahmad Siddiqui, ApparelnBags

Patricia Beitler, Velocitas

Velocitas

As a leader within an agency, you’re going to encounter all sorts of difficulties. Patricia says you need to be resilient to whatever comes your way — stay proactive instead of reactive. When you’re optimistic and focus on actionable solutions, your agency will successfully maneuver through pitfalls and keep growing.

Velocitas is a full-service marketing and public relations agency committed to providing excellence in client service. The company draws expertise from a broad base of personal experience in multiple industries and platforms, harnessing what today’s technologies allow to elevate clients’ brands. Their areas of strength include branding, mobile and web design, and beginning-to-end social engagement.

Learn more: Patricia Beitler, Velocitas

Ross Cromartie, RBA

RBA

There’s no magic formula or secret serum when it comes to running an agency, but there are certain areas you can build upon to ensure your company succeeds. As Ross says, it’s necessary to define your mission and core values early on — but it doesn’t end there. You have to constantly nurture and grow your culture to help your agency evolve.

RBA is a full-service branding and advertising agency in Dallas, Texas. As one of Ad Age’s Top 25 Best Places to Work in the USA, RBA is on a mission to help good people do great things. Their team embraces criticism, welcomes challenges, and works diligently; they’re smart people rolling up their sleeves, putting in the work, and having the fortitude to succeed.

Learn more: Ross Cromartie, RBA

Kent Lewis, Anvil Media

Anvil Media

No matter what your competition is doing, Kent suggests staying focused on your unique method and strategies for being the best in your industry. Define your process and use it to steer your agency. Competitors and clients may come and go, but your process will be the foundation of a great business.

Anvil Media is an integrated marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media, and analytics. Their experienced team is certified, published, and speaks regularly at industry events. Anvil Media generates measurable ROI by understanding and solving unique marketing and business challenges.

Learn more: Kent Lewis, Anvil Media

Chris Bailey, Bailey Brand Consulting

Bailey Brand Consulting

If you’re thinking of starting an agency, Chris says to strap in — it’s going to be a wild ride. Over time, you’ll hit different twists and turns and work through both good days and tough days. But Chris reminds agency owners to stay passionate and show gratitude for their team. People are the most valuable asset in any brand, and you can’t run a thriving agency without being appreciative of who you work with.

Bailey Brand Consulting provides a range of creative services and solutions, including branding, digital media, marketing, website development, and product packaging. Since 1985, they’ve partnered with clients to help them connect and engage with relevant audiences to build their business. Their team is made up of strategic thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and world-class designers dedicated to cutting-edge brand strategy and creative solutions to help businesses grow.

Learn more: Chris Bailey, Bailey Brand Consulting

Marc Del Priore, TradeMarc Global

TradeMarc Global

When Marc first started his agency in 2012, he was very hesitant and had a negative mindset. Since then, Marc has learned from his past mistakes and now knows what it takes to build a successful agency. One easy step to flourish in the agency world? Start every day with a positive mindset.

TradeMarc Global generates exclusive leads, inbound calls, and TCPA compliant aged data for call centers around the world. Their team is made up of marketers and lead generation experts with over 50 years of combined industry knowledge. TradeMarc Global’s goal is to make sure call centers are closing sales daily and hitting cost per acquisition every week.

Learn more: Marc Del Priore, TradeMarc Global

Matt Certo, Findsome & Winmore

Findsome & Winmore

Community involvement and connection are key to creating an influential agency. According to Matt, you should be thinking about how your agency will make the world a better place. Focusing on your company’s values can help you create meaningful connections and a lasting legacy.

Findsome & Winmore is a full-service marketing agency with a simple goal: to FIND and WIN new customers for clients. They’re creative, over-caffeinated, and like to have fun, but also believe in digging deep. The team at Findsome & Winmore works with clients to help them understand how they connect with target audiences and discover what’s truly distinctive about their brand.

Learn more: Matt Certo, Findsome & Winmore

Shea Murtaugh, Hoffmann Murtaugh

Hoffmann Murtaugh

One of the driving factors of a winning agency is culture. In fact, Shea says your culture is everything. So, agency owners should clearly define their culture before they hire, and make sure that everything they do aligns with it. As she suggests, keep your culture in mind at every step of growing your agency, and don’t be afraid to fire clients if they aren’t a culture fit.

Hoffmann Murtaugh is a leading independent, woman-owned media agency that amplifies media plans. Their team’s collective experience spans various industries and media disciplines, with expertise in a wide array of targets, markets, product lines, and campaigns for both local and national clients. Hoffmann Murtaugh’s approach combines media strategy and intelligence with formidable negotiations to deliver smart, effective, and efficient media solutions.

Learn more: Shea Murtaugh, Hoffmann Murtaugh

Alexander Valencia, We Do Web

We Do Web

How can you ensure that you never let your agency fall under the radar? The solution is simple: continue building out your network. Alex recommends putting yourself out there, leaving your office, and going to conferences in order to nurture your network (and build new relationships)!

We Do Web is a content marketing firm that specializes in providing customized and affordable web content writing and marketing solutions for law firms, small businesses, and professionals. They work with businesses to improve content and SEO, web design, lead generation, email marketing, and branding. Their mission is to identify each client’s target audience and tailor their website’s content to engage visitors and convert them to clients.

Learn more: Alexander Valencia, We Do Web

Taja Dockendorf, Pulp+Wire

Pulp+Wire

Every year of agency life is different. While Taja loves change and evolution in her business, she advises agency owners to avoid predicting the future. Stay in the present, because your agency needs your full attention right now. You have to listen to your employees and clients and be willing to adapt to anything new that comes your way.

Pulp+Wire is a 100% female-founded, award-winning agency that delivers full-service consumer packaging, branding, and marketing solutions. The team at Pulp+Wire is a contemporary group of thinkers and doers who know that launching a brand takes more than a pretty logo, a catchy tagline, and a full-page ad. Their client-collaborative approach leverages both intuitive and analytical power to communicate authentic corporate ethos.

Learn more: Taja Dockendorf, Pulp+Wire

Mollie Elkman, Group Two

Group Two

Only 3% of the housing industry is made up of women builders and owners. Like many other women, Mollie was brought into the industry by her dad. Although her dad wanted to build the company his own way, Mollie grew to realize that women hold a strong presence and can be their own force in the housing space. Mollie didn’t let the statistics scare her — instead, she became a thought leader in the industry and even wrote a book titled The House That She Built.

Group Two is a full-service marketing partner specializing in solutions for some of the most successful builders. With over 50 years of experience in new home marketing, Group Two understands builder challenges and the strategies needed to increase sales, profits, and overall success. Through strategic planning, brand development, and digital marketing, Group Two sets builders apart from the competition and helps them build connections with buyers.

Learn more: Mollie Elkman, Group Two

Alexis Krisay, Serendipit Consulting

Serendipit Consulting

Alexis learned a big lesson the hard way: one person can kill your culture. Her agency was growing fast but didn’t have a full leader in their team, so they wanted to bring on a director of client service. They put all their eggs in one basket by hiring one person — who eventually killed their culture. Alexis’ advice? Make sure you hire slow and fire fast. Her agency now does Predictive Index assessments, behavioral interviews, and cultural interviews to ensure they never encounter this problem again.

The Phoenix-based Serendipit Consulting is a full-service boutique marketing, public relations, branding, and event planning firm. They cater to brands in the student housing, residential and commercial real estate, fashion, beauty, hospitality, technology, and consumer product industries. Serendipit Consulting has built a strong reputation for helping partners identify the best marketing solutions to overcome their challenges in a cost-effective and responsible way.

Learn more: Alexis Krisay, Serendipit Consulting

Leslie Wingo, Sanders\Wingo

Sanders\Wingo

There are some risks that agency owners have to take in order to keep evolving. Leslie says it’s great to be an expert in something, but you still have to be open to reinventing yourself. She suggests taking the time to understand the level of risk you’re comfortable with, and build a firm that understands what you’re willing — and not willing — to do.

Sanders\Wingo is a group of professionals channeling their talents to make meaningful work for clients. The team is creative, authentic, transparent, and close-knit. They’re inspired when they’re making true connections with each other, their clients, and their audience. Sanders\Wingo also has a podcast, The Follow, which spotlights BIPOC creators, movement-makers, and thought leaders.

Learn more: Leslie Wingo, Sanders\Wingo

Drew Harden, Blue Compass

Blue Compass

In 2012, Drew’s agency had a small, eight-person team. They went after a large account and became a finalist against one other agency. While pitching to the client’s leadership team, everything seemed to be going wrong — but they still held confidence, despite being the smaller agency. Drew and his team gave it all they had, successfully landed the client, and still work with them to this day. The lesson? Be confident and straightforward with potential clients.

Blue Compass provides clear direction for brands’ digital presence. They have a team of award-winning designers, web developers, and digital marketers that work together cohesively. As leading digital experts, Blue Compass provides innovative digital strategies and custom solutions that drive conversions for businesses across the Midwest and beyond.

Learn more: Drew Harden, Blue Compass

Eric Berman, Brandetize

Brandetize

When things aren’t going well in your agency, it’s easy to be consumed by the negativity. However, Eric says this is actually a great learning opportunity. Take time to reflect on what you can do better in the future, and let the mistakes guide you to new and improved processes.

After seeing Brandetize successfully manage Brian Tracy’s Internet business for over 10 years, many individuals were impressed and asked the agency’s team to do the same for them. Since then, Brandetize has built a world-class team and technology behind its business. The agency’s mission is to make a positive impact by elevating authentic brands to their full potential.

Learn more: Eric Berman, Brandetize

Lynne Robertson, Fame

Fame

Looking for some inspirational — and practical — agency advice? Lynne has the perfect mantra for agency owners: you can do whatever you put your mind to. When it comes to the essentials of agency life, Lynne says to mind your cash flow, find good resources, and invest in your relationship with your banker. It’s easy to be self-conscious when growing your agency, but you need to own your power.

Fame began as the retail arm of a general agency in 1991, making them sharp, nimble, and preemptive thinkers. While retail shaped them, it no longer defines them. Today, Fame helps brands anticipate what’s next on a broader level. Grounded in strategic insight and guided by emerging trends, the team helps brands discover their unique strengths.

Learn more: Lynne Robertson, Fame

P.J. Leimgruber, NeoReach

NeoReach

If you want to be a top-notch business, P.J. says you should focus on the people you hire. Understand everyone’s bandwidth, play to each individual’s strengths, and constantly source feedback to find out where you are insufficient. When your employees are happy, your agency will see great results.

NeoReach offers cloud-based software for Fortune 1000 brands and agencies looking to automate influencer marketing. They’ve serviced customers including Walmart, The New York Times, and FanDuel. Their SaaS platform enables marketing teams to search through more than three million influencer profiles, analyze their audience demographics, seamlessly manage large-scale campaigns, and measure ROI.

Learn more: P.J. Leimgruber, NeoReach

Zack Holland, SelectFew

SelectFew

One challenge that many entrepreneurs and agency owners face is trying to do too much at once. According to Zack, people want to work with specialists. Niche down and get clear on your specializations; that way you’re the go-to in your industry.

SelectFew is an evolved system for modern marketing. SelectFew is reinventing traditional marketing and advertising companies by developing customized, managed systems to perfectly suit any business. They have a vetted group of specialized experts who are the best of the best, presenting organizations with completely transparent and simple pricing models.

Learn more: Zack Holland, SelectFew

Diego Prusky, InPulse Digital

InPulse Digital

No matter how difficult agency life can be, Diego says to trust the experience — and trust your gut. When there’s something bothering you about the flow of your agency, act on it! It’s all about discovering what works for you and your team.

InPulse Digital is a strategic and creative digital marketing agency with over 15 years of experience. Before digital was cool — and before Facebook and YouTube existed — the InPulse Digital team was transforming companies’ communications. With expertise in data-driven digital and social strategy, content production, and unique paid media efficiencies, InPulse Digital exists to find the right strategy for any brand.

Learn more: Diego Prusky, InPulse Digital

Ken Byers, Confidant

Confidant

As a new agency, Ken’s business got the opportunity to work on a big, ongoing project that would be seen worldwide. Although Ken was proud of their pitch and confident that they would succeed, the young agency faced a new reality: they won so many big projects and accolades, they had to learn along the way. Ken says you need to strategically plan big projects — and make sure it works right the first time. Don’t underestimate the need for the right capital, and above all, put trust in your growing agency and team.

Confidant is a creative and strategic communications agency that brings authentic stories to life through owned, earned, and paid media. They’re on a mission to serve clients better through smaller, more dedicated teams of experienced people. Confidant works with some of the biggest brands in the world, tailoring to strong in-house teams that crave more integrated storytelling.

Learn more: Ken Byers, Confidant

Todd Porch, Strategus

Strategus

Todd has 30 years of experience leading change, and he’s been through the highs and lows of running an agency. One of the biggest obstacles he’s faced is balancing the desire of the people with the needs of the business. His advice for agency owners? Make sure you’re listening to clients and delivering value, but don’t sacrifice the culture and morals of your agency to get there. You can’t be all things to all people.

Built on respect, engagement, and growth, Strategus has a strong foundation to help clients reach their OTT/CTV campaign goals. Programmatic OTT/CTV advertising is one of the world’s most complex ecosystems, but Strategus is making it simple. They’ve launched over 7,000 successful campaigns with 100% guaranteed television placement.

Learn more: Todd Porch, Strategus

Jimi Allen, Bureau Gravity

Bureau Gravity

For Jimi, there isn’t one big challenge when running an agency — instead, there are a lot of little challenges. So, as an agency owner, you have to be able to balance the small things. How do you work to manage all of the moving parts? Jimi suggests finding out what you enjoy and using that to strengthen your business.

Bureau Gravity has a curated team of marketing, branding, and communication experts who artfully craft seamless, integrated stories for brands. They provide a unique and proven blend of factually and emotionally anchored storytelling, coupled with knowledge of facts, figures, trends, and data analysis. Bureau Gravity’s reservoir of multi-platform and interdisciplinary expertise helps clients create stories that are more vivid, contextually relevant, and creatively presented.

Learn more: Jimi Allen, Bureau Gravity

Cassie Hughes, Grow Marketing

Grow Marketing

To run a successful agency, Cassie says you need to stay true to your value. Don’t limit yourself by narrowing down your agency too much, but also don’t stretch yourself beyond your capabilities. Know what you’re good at — and what you’re not good at — and find strategic partners that can help you fill in the areas outside of your expertise.

Grow Marketing is a woman-owned agency led by three marketers. The team at Grow Marketing drives engagement among consumers and employees for some of the world’s most iconic brands across all 50 states. They’re experts at uncovering brand insights, marrying them with global trends, and building solutions around them quickly.

Learn more: Cassie Hughes, Grow Marketing

Andrew Miller, Workshop Digital

Workshop Digital

According to Andrew, an agency is a people business. Focus on delivering trust and transparency to your clients, and concentrate on growing your team. As a small company, it can be hard to show your team the growth in systems. Andrew says it’s your job as a leader to highlight each individual’s growth and give them a clear vision for the future.

Workshop Digital helps companies grow through results-driven digital marketing, including PPC, SEO, and CRO. Workshop Digital allows clients to work directly with their team of expert analysts, receiving total transparency about their data and methods. As an agency of learners, Workshop Digital is committed to finding new ways to solve business problems.

Learn more: Andrew Miller, Workshop Digital

Craig Trout, Alpha Dog Advertising

Alpha Dog Advertising

Craig’s agency is centered around the partnerships between people. You, your clients, and your employees are all working toward a similar goal — you all want to see the agency succeed. So, it’s important to keep a positive growth mindset. Put faith in your people, allow them to grow on their own, and get rid of bad clients.

Alpha Dog Advertising is a strategic brand development and marketing communications firm that works with mid-size to large organizations. Their main strength is creating and communicating strong brand positions that differentiate businesses from their competition. Alpha Dog Advertising firmly believes that great marketing begins with honesty, asks tough questions, and stems from a collaboration between the agency and the client.

Learn more: Craig Trout, Alpha Dog Advertising

David Neff, Neff

Neff

David says that your passion and creativity will drive your agency to success. Be true to yourself and continually grow your business — while maintaining integrity. If you stick with it and hold tight to your passion, you’ll be proud of the impact your agency can have on the industry.

Neff’s mission is to make brands look good. They’re a multi-talented, multi-faceted agency that provides cost-effective but hard-hitting marketing services to clients. Neff specializes in helping retail, hospitality and tourism, B2B, and real estate businesses. From website design and TV commercials to media strategies and publicity, Neff is the one-stop-shop for all of your marketing needs.

Learn more: David Neff, Neff

Evan Starkman, The Bait Shoppe

The Bait Shoppe

Where can you find inspiration for your growing agency? According to Evan, you should start with your consumer insights. He says that these should be the drivers for every decision in your agency. Additionally, make sure your ideas never look the same as your competition — you want to stand out and show the world your ingenuity.

The Bait Shoppe embraces digital culture and has in-house creatives who generate great ideas. Whether you need help conceptualizing an engagement strategy, executing an event perfectly, bringing an idea to life, or amplifying existing content, the team at The Bait Shoppe can help your organization level up.

Learn more: Evan Starkman, The Bait Shoppe

Ben Shapiro, PIVOT

PIVOT

When you’re running an agency, you’re not selling a product — so your people have to be great. Not only should you hire the right team members, but you should treat them well and offer great perks. To show gratitude for his team, Ben offers stock options and programs for his employees.

PIVOT originally found its roots in sports, but since its founding it has grown into much more. PIVOT is an innovative, full-service agency for sports and entertainment marketing, sponsorship, and travel solutions. Their team of experts is on a mission to create innovative B2B opportunities.

Learn more: Ben Shapiro, PIVOT

Andy Fraser, Sockeye

Sockeye

It took Andy a while to realize that, even as the founder of an agency, he didn’t have to be right all of the time. Now, he knows that agency leaders need to have humility. Surround yourself with people you trust, and when you’re in a disagreement with a partner, determine who has the better answer and run with it.

Sockeye is a global agency based in Portland and Amsterdam. Since its beginning in 1997, Sockeye has been helping clients get to the essence of why they exist. Specializing in advertising and design, they love to work in partnership with brands they believe in.

Learn more: Andy Fraser, Sockeye

Nathan Yerian, Adhere Creative

Adhere Creative

When it comes to your agency’s services, Nathan says you should do what you know. You will always be learning, but if you stick to your unique wisdom, it takes out all the extra variables. Plus, doing what you know removes outside opinions and keeps you at the helm of your agency.

Adhere Creative is a digital marketing and video production agency based in Texas. Since its founding in 2009, Adhere Creative has focused on one thing: driving more revenue for organizations. Through web design, lead generation, and video production services, this top-tier team can help you stand out within your industry.

Learn more: Nathan Yerian, Adhere Creative

Craig Cooke, Rhythm

Rhythm

Many industries are evolving quickly — that’s why Craig says you have to be adaptable. Craig began his digital agency 26 years ago, and what clients needed back then is not the same as it is today. Craig and his team have learned to adapt and collaborate with clients, giving them a high satisfaction rate year after year, no matter the industry trends and changes.

Rhythm is a digital agency that creates effective brand experiences and achieves results through integrated digital marketing solutions layered on a solid infrastructure. To build and grow clients’ business, Rhythm examines the brand and existing infrastructure. In a collaborative effort, they design a structure that aids clients through web, search, content, media, email, and analytics services.

Learn more: Craig Cooke, Rhythm

Jaime Hepp, TAG

Tag

When you’re struggling, it’s the perfect time to pull out a pencil and journal. Why? Because learning comes from the struggle. Thanks to the pandemic, Jaime’s agency was able to learn from the hardships and better equip themselves through a perspective that they never had before.

TAG is a sales and marketing company set on getting results with integrity. Focused on retail, residential, and B2B sales, their team of highly motivated individuals works on a face-to-face basis with clients. TAG has consistently been honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Orange County Business Journal as one of the best places to work in the area.

Learn more: Jaime Hepp, TAG

Brent Thomson, Blip Billboards

Blip

Making thoughtful decisions is a key aspect of leading an agency. According to Brent, you should use both the analytical and creative parts of your brain when making a decision. Take time to reflect and think about your decision, but don’t sit on it too long. You want to keep your agency moving while being both balanced and mindful.

Blip Billboards has changed the advertising game. They’re helping brands reach customers in a new way with out-of-home placement. With over 1,600 locations and counting, Blip Billboards is helping companies grow and expand their marketing strategies with digital billboard space anytime, anywhere, and on any budget.

Learn more: Brent Thomson, Blip Billboards

David Gorodetski, Sage Communications

Sage

One of the biggest obstacles David has faced in his agency is people. To fight this challenge, he’s very strategic about the types of clients he brings on. When it comes to people — or any aspect of business — David says if it doesn’t feel right, walk away. Trust your gut instinct.

Sage Communications is an integrated communications agency that creates strategic outcomes for enterprise, government, and social benefit organizations. They craft solutions from a mix of in-house strategy, research, branding, marketing, PR, social media, digital, and event services. The team at Sage Communications also actively contributes to their community through sponsorship and volunteerism in the Washington, DC area.

Learn more: David Gorodetski, Sage Communications

Marcy Tessmann, C.O.nxt

C.O.nxt

Marcy had the pleasure of attending an intensive leadership development program at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, she worked with some of the top professors in the business school and learned a great deal in a short amount of time. Her reminder to other agency owners? Leadership development is super important for a growing agency, and you should always be seeking out opportunities.

C.O.nxt is a 100% employee-owned communications agency. They’re made up of farm kids and foodies who are passionate about advancing the industries, lifestyles, and communities of food and agriculture. C.O.nxt is on a mission to be food system champions, renowned for their industry expertise, business guidance, and brand innovation.

Learn more: Marcy Tessmann, C.O.nxt

Tom Hayes, Riley

Riley

Before even thinking about starting your own business, Tom says to be proud of yourself as a successful employee. Why is this? Because building a prosperous agency is tough. You have to figure out what you are made of before you start to build your own company.

Riley partners with clients of all sizes to help them create a brighter future for their brand. They pair creativity with selling discipline to produce behavior-defining systems. Since its founding nearly 30 years ago, the team at Riley has empowered countless brands to design, launch, and acquire new customers.

Learn more: Tom Hayes, Riley

Greg Abel, Tailfin

Tailfin

Greg’s agency had the opportunity to work on an amazing campaign for a medical device company. Eventually, his team decided to take this company on the road! Greg says if you want to stretch and do something impactful, strap down and get ready for the journey. You may not know where an opportunity will take you, so stay nimble and resourceful.

Tailfin is a brand strategy, marketing, and creative brand shop based in Atlanta. Their team is made up of multi-disciplined, multi-talented, big thinkers who help brands discover and share their best stories. They believe that every brand needs a tailfin to help propel and steer the business to success.

Learn more: Greg Abel, Tailfin

Srinivasa Chintalapati, Gava Syndications

Pioneers of Franchising

Although Srinivasa only started his agency a couple of years ago, he knows that treating people well in the industry is important. Eventually, Srinivasa hopes to start a podcast to connect with more business leaders and entrepreneurs, share their stories, and spread kindness.

After working in the computer software industry, Srinivasa eventually settled into the franchising and real estate business and started Gava Syndications. At Gava Syndications, they match the franchisee with the best franchise. Their ideal clients are sophisticated and accredited investors of all types.

Learn more: Srinivasa Chintalapati

Nancy Schaefer, Consumer Dynamics

Consumer Dynamics

About 10 years before digital really gained traction, Nancy and her women-led business were presenting for Kodak in a room full of men. They were pushing Kodak toward digital, but the men looked at Nancy and her team like they were aliens. Kodak didn’t see what Nancy envisioned, and now years later — in a digital world — this company is a thing of the past. Looking back, Nancy wishes she stood her ground more. Many businesswomen have to get over the hurdle of men thinking they’re not strong enough. Nancy’s advice to women agency owners is to be firm and unshakeable in their beliefs.

Consumer Dynamics is a strategy and innovation consultancy that delivers big ideas. Their team of creative strategists holds backgrounds and skills as diverse as the challenges they tackle for clients. Consumer Dynamics’ hands-on approach takes clients from inspiration to iteration to innovative ideas.

Learn more: Nancy Schaefer, Consumer Dynamics

Felix Eckhardt, Whitehardt

Whitehardt

According to Felix, your agency is an entity, so you need to treat it as such. To grow, Felix suggests spending less than you make and investing a portion of your profit back into the business. When you care for your agency, it will take care of you and your team.

Whitehardt is the marketing engine behind some of the largest legal brands in the country. Their team is dedicated to more than just generating leads — they generate a high-quality inventory of cases that will make a difference for your bottom line. Whether you’re interested in settling high-dollar mass tort cases or looking to build an empire, Whitehardt can help you get there.

Learn more: Felix Eckhardt, Whitehardt

Eric Facas, Media Cause

Media Cause

Eric says there’s value in finding a niche — but don’t pigeonhole yourself. So, how can you successfully balance this agency-building process? According to Eric, you have to be specific with your services and who you want to work with. You don’t want to expend all your energy on clients who aren’t the right fit.

Media Cause is a mission-driven marketing and creative agency that helps nonprofits grow and accelerate their impact. Their people-first approach develops powerful, creative, scalable growth strategies and targeted communications. The diverse team at Media Cause has a range of skill sets, passions, and viewpoints that ensure good missions get the brains and heart they deserve.

Learn more: Eric Facas, Media Cause

Stephen Christopher, Wit Digital

Wit Digital

Stephen began his journey with a mortgage agency partnership that eventually went under in the early 2000s. When that business closed, Stephen took some time to reflect on his strengths and passions. Going into his second partnership, Stephen learned how to ask better questions and vet the right people. Now, Stephen’s business is thriving and he enjoys every phase of the growth process.

Wit Digital is a results-obsessed digital marketing agency with a “whatever-it-takes” approach, specializing in service businesses. Their strategy is built on driving top results for true growth, and their team of innovators is equal parts passion and fearless action. They thrive in the trenches, solving problems with cutting-edge solutions.

Learn more: Stephen Christopher, Wit Digital

Rhoan Morgan, DemandLab

DemandLab

According to Rhoan, you should never lose focus on your team. With a fast-growing company, there are many moving parts. You need to have the right people along for the ride so that you can hand over work and be confident that they can take the reins, steer a project, and lead a team. Rhoan also says you have to uplift your people in a way that is aligned with the culture and values of the company.

DemandLab helps B2B digital marketing teams transform revenue potential through marketing-led customer experience. They specialize in navigating a complex MarTech landscape that supports efforts to optimize. DemandLab’s team supports each client’s holistic needs through project-based engagements, managed services, and strategic consulting.

Learn more: Rhoan Morgan, DemandLab

Dan Spottsville, Valynt Digital

Valynt Digital

When growing an agency, Dan says that you should do what’s right for the customer. Whatever you promise, make sure you execute it successfully. Because clients are a big part of what keeps your business running, you should always be looking for better ways to service them and meet their needs.

Valynt Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency. They help clients level up their companies and livelihoods by creating and executing killer marketing strategies on all digital platforms. Valynt Digital has a team of experts working to create awareness for organizations, generate leads to increase revenue, and raise millions in capital with digital marketing.

Learn more: Dan Spottsville, Valynt Digital

DJ O’Neil, Hub Strategy

Hub Strategy

To build a wildly successful agency, you have to define your competitive brand positioning, commit to a high level of design, and build a bold and likable personality. Above all, you need to let your values be your guide. DJ says that it’s easy to build a great brand as long as you don’t deviate from your core values.

Hub Strategy is designed to build powerful, strategic, and well-loved brands at speed. Hub Strategy employs a full-time staff of account managers, strategists, and creatives, but it’s their network of more than 100 freelancers that makes them different. They’re a creative and strategic hub that can match the right creative person with any given job — helping brands through multiple areas including content, animation, brand research, and visual identity.

Learn more: DJ O’Neil, Hub Strategy 

Melih Oztalay, Smartfinds Marketing

Smartfinds Marketing

When you’re in business for 35 years (or more), you have to be able to adapt to the times. According to Melih, agency owners require the skills to pivot and keep moving forward. To support this, Melih came up with the four A’s of digital marketing: anticipate change, accept change, adapt to the changes, and adopt changes in your process. This allows him to innovate and stay relevant, no matter what’s shifting in the industry.

As a web marketing agency, Smartfinds Marketing focuses on marketing processes and strategic activities that are based on using multiple web marketing channels. They have experience in national and global industries that comprise companies like Flagstar Bank, Penske Automotive Group, and Ziebart.

Learn more: Melih Oztalay, Smartfinds Marketing

Brought to you by Rise25

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution. We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work. What do you need to start a podcast? When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk. The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate. We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media. Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more. The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast. Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships. Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win? Contact us now at support@rise25media.com or book a call at rise25.com/bookcall. Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Brought to you by Rise25

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution. We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work. What do you need to start a podcast? When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk. The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate. We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media. Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more. The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast. Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships. Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win? Contact us now at support@rise25media.com or book a call at rise25.com/bookcall. Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

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Posted by Strategus