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    12 Festive Examples of Holiday-Themed Homepage Designs

    By Lindsay Kolowich


    78% of holiday shoppers used the internet to research gifts last year, and 40% of all holiday shopping happened online, according to Google's data and research from the 2014 holiday season.

    That means a lot of eyes are going to be on your website in the upcoming weeks. The smartest marketers will prepare for this not only for by prepping their website for higher-than-normal traffic on the back end, but also by giving their ... Read More

    13 Unforgettable Examples of Product Placement

    By Lindsay Kolowich

    Whenever I'm watching a movie and I see a case of really obvious product placement, I can't help but roll my eyes. 

    But product placement is everywhere, from the famous Mini Cooper car chase in the 2003 film The Italian Job to the cans of Mountain Dew rewarded to the winning team on CBS's television series, Survivor.

    Read More
    How to Use Predictive Analytics to Understand Which Consumers Are Most Likely to Buy

    By Ömer Artun and Dominique Levin

    Propensity models, also called likelihood to buy or response models, are what most people think about with predictive analytics. These models help predict the likelihood of a certain type of customer behavior, like whether a customer that is browsing your website is likely to buy something. This helps marketers optimize anything from email send frequency, to sales staff time, to money, including discounts.

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    7 Things to Consider Before Issuing Your Next RFP

    By John Gross

    As the end of the calendar year nears, RFP’s are likely going to be coming out fast and furious. Sadly, we can all probably agree that the RFP process likely isn’t going away anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Nor does it mean that we can’t try and change it.

    Read More
    Why We Made the Switch to a Client-Based Team Structure

    By Kelsey Meyer

    Determining the right organizational structure for your agency is intimidating. Your decision dictates how the entire organization will operate -- how your team interacts, how your services are delivered, and how your clients are served. When it’s difficult to determine what makes the most sense, it’s easy to default to isolated departments specializing in different areas. 

    The problem with this approach is that it’s incredibly inefficient for servicing clients, and the reality is that small teams, or pods, can work much better.

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    Why You Should Teach Your Clients to Fire You

    By Jami Oetting

    What is your value as an agency? Is it in the execution of the work you produce for clients? Or is your selling point rooted in your ideas and strategy?

    The answer to these questions results in two very different types of agencies and two different types of relationships with clients.

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    Why Your Clients Are Ignoring You [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting

    Two days go by without a response to your urgent email asking for final approval on a campaign set to launch at the end of the week. 

    You follow up by phone, by email, even by text. You even consider sending a Snapchat -- anything to get the work signed off on so you can meet what was once an important deadline from the client. You know your inability to get approval and launch on-time because of the client's lack of response won't mean much when you're fighting to keep the account in 6 months' time.

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    7 Little-Known Tricks for Creating More Powerful Pitch Decks With PowerPoint [Infographic]

    By Lindsay Kolowich


    The fact that "death by PowerPoint" has become a well-known quip in the business world says something about the state of people's PowerPoint presentations. 

    While PowerPoint is an incredible business tool, it's often misused by users who crowd their slides with too many words or distracting designs. They know the basics, but have yet to tap into the lesser-known PowerPoint tricks that can take a presentation from good to great.

    Read More
    This Is How You Build a Customer-Centric Company

    By Jami Oetting

    Who is responsible for the customer experience?

    If you can list one specific person in your client’s company and you can actually get consensus on this from either your team or your client's team, then you’re doing better than most.

    According to a new research report conducted by Boston-based agency Almighty, they found that in one global software brand, 83% of respondents said they had a leader who was responsible for customer experience. However, each of those respondents listed a different person as that leader.

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    How to Diagnose the Health of Your Client Relationships [Free Ebook]

    By Jami Oetting

    The agency-client relationship is a symbiotic organism. Like every living organism, it needs regular check-ups to assess and maintain the health of the relationship. If the basic needs of either side aren’t being met, or if there’s an imbalance between the two, the organism can’t sustain itself.

    So ... are your clients happy? Yes? No? How do you know?

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    The State of the Agency in 17 Charts

    By Jami Oetting

    You might trade client (horror) stories with a few other agency execs you know. You might belong to an agency group where people share metrics and financials. Maybe a more established firm shared a few documents and lessons from their high-growth period with you. But where else do you go to truly understand the top issues concerning agency leaders and their team members? 

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    Lead With Intention: 3 Key Areas You Need to Focus On

    By Anese Cavanaugh

    Leading a business and working with clients can be a bit like playing whack-a-mole: There’s never a finish line, new things pop up all the time, it’s never going to all get done, you will (hopefully) always have more requests than you can handle, people need your leadership (even when you don’t feel like leading), clients and employees are going to demand everything and anything, you’re going to have to keep innovating, and your team is always going to be growing, morphing, and evolving.

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    How to Use Digital Body Language to Help Your Clients Convert More Customers, Faster

    By John Shea

    There’s plenty of data to show that inbound marketing -- when done right -- is a very effective way to generate leads. But for most clients, getting more leads isn’t the goal -- it’s just a means to an end. For your clients, the real goal (and arguably the only one that matters at the end of the day) is to sign more customers. More customers mean more revenue, and more revenue means growth. For the agency, the goal is also to help your clients sign more customers because more customers for them means greater client retention for you.

    However, while the strategies you and your fellow agencies develop can greatly influence visitor-to-lead conversions, they have little ability to control or influence lead-to-customer conversions.

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    Should You Fire All Your Account Managers?

    By Jami Oetting

    What role is the most expendable in your agency?

    You need people to create the “things.” You need people to come up with the strategy and people to manage the projects -- to make sure “things” get done. You need people to manage the company to deal with hiring and finances, and you need people to sell your services.

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    How to Become an Indispensable Agency [SlideShare]

    By Jami Oetting

    The number of marketers who no longer work with an outside agency increased by 13% in 2015, found a report from the Society of Digital Agencies.

    The trend of moving work in-house is nothing new but some of the reasons are different. Namely the need for ongoing campaigns and continuity of promotions, the (real or imagined) lack of digital talent in agencies, and the growth of data has sparked CMOs to consider what activities they are outsourcing and the value or ROI of this practice.

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    The Power of Precision Guessing — Or Why There’s No Algorithm for Great Advertising

    By Bob Hoffman

    We know that consumer behavior is often irrational. That’s why there are large market share differences among products that are essentially the same.

    We also know that consumers tend to be pragmatic and don’t like to throw their money around on crap. That’s why so many new products fail.

    So how do we reconcile these two seeming contradictions? How can consumers be both strangely emotional yet essentially pragmatic? We can’t explain it. That’s what makes advertising so interesting. It’s like physics. There are two equally reliable, yet contradictory ways to explain the physical behavior of matter.

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    Why Agencies Need to Fast-Track the Hiring Process

    By Sathvik Tantry

    Hiring is one of the great struggles of business. Recruiting, sifting through résumés, and interviewing to find the perfect candidate can take months, and it isn’t cheap. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley estimate that replacing a single professional can cost as much as $7,000. And the hiring cycle seems to never end -- particularly for digital marketing companies.

    Read More
    4 Tips for Getting Your Team to Track Their Time [SlideShare]

    By Jami Oetting

    Many agencies still make money by selling their time.

    And even if most of your work is retainer-based, you've most likely calculated the time required to complete X amount of projects each month. 

    So if you're not tracking your time, you're giving some of your work away for free -- not a best practice for growing a business. 

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    How to Win a Competitive Pitch in 7 Steps

    By Dan Tyre

    You’re nearing the end of the sales process. You had a good discovery call with your prospect, ran a strong demonstration, and are handling standard objections. Then, you get a phone call.

    “Hi,” the decision maker on your account says. “I just wanted to call and let you know that we’re probably going to go with a competitor.”

    Read More
    What Does the Future of PR Look Like?

    By Jami Oetting

    PR once operated solely in the realm of earned media. 

    But today, PR firms are being hired to manage a brand's social media, content marketing efforts, and even paid media in the form of sponsored updates and native advertising -- in addition to securing placements in credible publications and handling other media relations.

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    4 Little-Known Word Tools to Improve & Inspire Your Copywriting

    By Stacey Clarke

    As a copywriter, I’m tasked every day with finding the perfect words for the client. Original, “fresh” words to describe gluten-free foods, recipe nuts, snack nuts, snack nuts clustered with other snacky things, hair tools for semi-professionals, toys sustainably made from old milk cartons, mini ice cream sandwiches on sticks, dental devices with paste built in, and so much more.

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    How to Raise Your Retainer Pricing Without Ruining Your Client Relationships

    By Justin Pavoni

    You can only charge what someone is willing to pay. What they’re willing to pay, however, can depend a lot on how your agency positions its services from day one.

    Not many agencies start out with perfect pricing -- you discount, misquote, or simply throw out a number to land the account. The pricing process is an evolution, which is why many firms find themselves needing to raise their pricing once they've seen some success.

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    The Right Person, Time & Place Means Nothing Without the Right Creative

    By Ryan Manchee

    We’ve heard it before -- right person, right time, right place, right message -- but what does “right message” really entail? The ad industry has become preoccupied with the scientific capabilities of precise targeting, audience segmenting, and ad-buying techniques. As a result, ad creative has been relegated as an afterthought. Can advertising campaigns reach their potential when a brand has millions of prospects and just a handful of creative to match each of them?

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    Mindset Development: The New Competitive Advantage

    By Allison Kent-Smith

    The advertising and marketing industry is obsessed with shiny objects -- the shinier the better. Our attention is focused on hiring employees who understand the latest platform, process, tool, or software. We compete for talented superstars with startups, technology, design, product companies, and more.

    But the landscape of talent has dramatically shifted. The truth is -- you can’t buy all the talent you need any longer. Competition is fierce for the savviest of contributors, and there simply is not enough talent to go around. So what do you do?

    Read More
    The Agency Style Guide: 50 Creative Moustaches to Try This Movember [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting

    It's that time of year again -- when men forgo the razor to let their facial hair "hang out" in support of Movember, a month-long event to raise awareness and funds in support of men's health.

    And typically, you can find some of the most supremely stylish examples of nose foliage within the halls of agencies. While I have no facts to support this, I'm assuming it is because our industry attracts creative minds whose genetic makeup results in interesting facial hair formations. 

    Read More
    How to Spell Words You Don't Know: Techniques From Grammar Experts [Infographic]

    By Lindsay Kolowich

    Ever wanted to write out a word, but realized you weren't quiiite sure how to spell it? We all face this challenge every once in a while, and the internet -- or autocorrect -- isn't always there to save the day.

    This is when we need to put ourselves in the shoes of a spelling bee contestant. When they're up on stage and encounter a word they don't know how to spell, what do they do?

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    How to Keep Your Best Talent

    By Steff Green

    High staff turnover can be a problem for any company, but is especially damaging in the creative industry where a tight-knit team can make or break your company. Client relationships take time to build, and when someone leaves, they often take all those hard-won client contacts with them. Not to mention the fact that turnover is expensive: The Chartered Institute of Public Relations reports that staff turnover costs the British media industry ₤184 million a year.

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    The 8 Essential Elements of an Annual New Business Plan

    By Jody Sutter

    The job of an agency new business professional is akin to organizing chaos dictated by demanding pitch schedules. Compounding this, Q4 often brings a flurry of pitch activity known to ruin many a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday.

    And while all this activity helps to fill the pipeline, the timing is unfortunate because it distracts you from the type of reflection and planning that are so important to setting you up for success for the next year or quarter.

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    Why Client Risk Matters When Pricing Services

    By Jonathan Cover

    In the agency world, many perceive that there is a war between cost- and value-based pricing. Cost-based pricing is where you charge a markup on your firm’s time and costs when determining your prices -- this is also called “cost plus” pricing. Value-based pricing comes from the viewpoint that you should receive a percentage of value that you deliver to a client.

    I believe that when you look below the surface, this distinction disappears.

    Read More
    Why Agencies Suck at New Business

    By Jami Oetting

    It's time to admit it: You’re bad at new business.

    There is good news though. Most of your competitors are bad at new business, too. The bar is low because agencies often fall into the same traps, and they exhaust their efforts looking for that elusive “silver bullet.”

    “Agencies need to stop buying into their own excuses,” said Drew McLellan, owner of Agency Management Institute, an agency association/network that consults with small- to mid-sized agencies.

    Read More
    The Consequences of Social Media Shaming [Video]

    By Lindsay Kolowich


    Believe it or not, in the early days of social media, Twitter was a healing place.

    People used Twitter as a platform to share their shameful secrets with the world, and to connect with one another when they realized they were no longer alone. It gave voiceless people a voice -- and became a place not for shaming others, but for radical de-shaming, de-stigmatizing, and building up a strong network of support.

    Read More
    Are Your Ads Being Seen? The 5 Factors of Ad Viewability [Infographic]

    By Carly Stec

    What's the most viewable ad size? How does page position influence viewability? Is viewability affected by ad blocking applications? And what's an average viewability rate, anyways?

    These are the questions many were left with when the Media Rating Council lifted its Viewable Impression Advisory back in 2014. As a result of this change, marketers and advertisers switched their focus from served impressions to viewable impressions. 

    Read More
    The 4 Biggest Issues Keeping Agency Owners Up at Night

    By Julie Kukesh

    As a principal consultant and classroom trainer at HubSpot, I have the opportunity to deliver in-person training and custom consulting engagements for agency owners. One of the aspects about my job that I love is the hallway conversations where an agency owner will take advantage of break time, lunch time, or any downtime to bend my ear on something specific to their business that’s been on their mind.

    I become an unofficial “business therapist,” and it's in this privileged position that I hear first-hand the top concerns of agency owners.

    Read More

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