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    How to NOT Write Like a PR Person: 4 Tips to Try

    By Starr Million Baker


    A client once told me that he likes working with INK because we “don’t write like PR people.”

    While I took it as a compliment, I couldn’t ignore that this comment said something negative about our industry -- it seems there is a perception that long-winded, formal, jargon-heavy writing is the norm.

    That reputation doesn’t bode well for any of us, as content is quickly becoming a greater part of our clients’ programs.

    Unsure how to combat this misconception? I’ve detailed everything you need to know to avoid “writing like a PR person” below.

    1) Get to Know Your Client’s Style

    This is number one in my book.

    To be successful, we have ... Read More

    Marijuana Marketing: Can the Blossoming Cannabis Industry Overcome 'Stoner' Stereotypes?

    By Erik Devaney

    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    Marijuana smokers. Pot heads. Stoners. They’re a bunch of dirty hippies, right? 

    And boy are they lazy! These “pot smokers" live in their moms' basements. No job. No routine. Ok, maybe they have a routine, but that routine consists of getting stoned, giggling, eating Funyuns, and doing it all over again.

    That, my friends, is the “stoner" stigma; the stereotype that people who use marijuana are dirty, lazy, stupid, or otherwise unsavory.

    Read More
    Apple, Google & Starbucks: Inside the Web Design Style Guides of 10 Famous Companies

    By Austin Knight


    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    If you've ever wondered how designers at Apple defined every little element in iOS as they were building it, then you're in the right place. Ready to nerd out and get inspired all at the same time? I sure am.

    You might be familiar with the concept of content style guides, which align members of a company on all the grammar and punctuation rules they should follow. In this post, I'll be showing you examples of the version of these style guides for web designers, which we call digital style guides. 

    Read More
    Image Optimization: Why We’re Trying to Rank for the Term 'CEO'

    By Jami Oetting

    Image-based search is becoming more and more common. Pinterest and Instagram have conditioned people to use and trust this form of discovery, and oftentimes, I find it produces even more relevant results than text-based search. With images, you can quickly determine the quality, while text search results require you to scan the headline, description, and the URL to make a decision about the page's relevance. 

    I recently became interested in the topic when I read a Buzzfeed article about a study on images of women in search results and how these influence people's perceptions. The article included telling images of when the author searched for "CEO".  

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    How to Start a Startup Inside Your Agency

    By Jami Oetting

    You just got past the startup phase, and while it was "exciting", you actually are enjoying this phase where you have time to eat lunch and can shut your laptop at a normal hour each night.

    So why would you want to return to the volatility of the startup phase?

    Read More
    You Just Landed a New Client. Now What?

    By Jami Oetting

    You've spent the past few months sending emails, talking on the phone, and doing "meet and greets". You created a proposal, tweaked the proposal, and wrote up a contract. Finally, the deal is done, and you've got a new client to add to your roster. 

    Read More
    11 Tools to Help You Master Content Curation

    By Patrick Armitage


    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    For the uninitiated, content curation is finding information relevant to your audience from a variety of sources and sharing it strategically through your communication channels. The need for great content curators has never been more urgent. There are simply too many social networks, news feeds, emails, and infographics putting demands on your time and attention.

    Read More
    Beacons, Bluetooth & Mobile: The Future of Context Marketing

    By Jami Oetting

    Retailers latched onto beacon technology, hoping that it would usher in a "retail revival."

    The problem is that many brands outside of the retail industry found the barrier to entry too high when Apple's adoption of the technology garnered headlines in 2013. The expense of developing an app that uses location-aware technology was a risk and an unknown. 

    Read More
    7 Things to Remember in the Quest for an Agency Search Consultant

    By Lisa Colantuono

    The changes in marketing can make anyone’s head spin. And the changing agency landscape can have the same impact, if not greater. Mergers and purges happen constantly. Former famed agencies are no longer at the top of their game or even in existence. Others don’t have a handle on social. Digital agencies may not understand true integration. “Integrated” now includes new media channels unheard of even a couple of years ago. And there's a new crop of next generation agencies coming into their own, and even more newbies being born every day. 

    Read More
    Pump the Brakes! How to Avoid 'Check-the-Box' Marketing

    By Peter Sena


    A lot of brands today are doing what I call "check-the-box marketing.” They say to themselves, “We need to be on Snapchat. We need to be on Meerkat. We need predictive marketing. We need connected tech and an app.” They get caught up in wanting to be involved in every new tool or concept they hear about so they can "check the box" that yes, they've got that one.

    Read More
    7 Ways to Fix High Employee Turnover at Your Agency

    By Nathan Miller

    Nowadays it is hard to find a "company man," an employee that comes on right out of college and stays on until retirement. You're much more likely to have someone stay for a couple years and then move on to another opportunity.

    But there are some simple things you can do to prevent employees from leaving or looking elsewhere, and it is worth the effort. Replacing an employee is costly -- both in terms of time and money. 

    Read More
    Do You Want to Sell, or Seduce? The One Question You Need to Ask

    By Josh Weltman

    By the time I’d been in advertising for 10 years, I’d heard clients ask some odd questions. Once, after presenting a client with an idea for a TV commercial and deflecting a series of what-ifs like, “What if people don’t like dogs?” and “What if they don’t know what guacamole is supposed to look like?” the client asked the agency, “What if a family doesn’t have their TV on?”

    Once, a client asked, “Is there a rule of thumb for the ratio of ‘brand’ to ‘sell’ in a commercial?” I didn’t know how to begin to think about that one, but I couldn’t let it go. Eventually that question changed the way I thought about advertising.

    Read More
    The Rise of the Full-Time Instagrammer: Why Brands Pay for Photos From Everyday Celebrities

    By Lindsay Kolowich

    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    Patrick Janelle has a dream job.

    That's the first thing I thought to myself when I heard him tell the audience at Social Media Week NYC that he is a full-time Instagrammer.

    Yup, that's right: Thanks to an extensive background in graphic design and a very high follower count, Patrick's full-time job is to do cool things and go to cool places, take beautiful pictures of his experiences, and post them to his personal Instagram account, @aguynamedpatrick.

    Read More
    The Boxcar Marketers: How One Agency Grew by Thinking Outside the Box

    By Jami Oetting

    You’ve watched them flash by as you wait impatiently at the tracks: stacks of rectangular containers carried by a fast-moving convoy. They are usually adorned with splashes of spray paint -- a bandit’s “artwork” during a pause in motion.

    These steel storage units may seem like an unlikely fit for the world of branded marketing experiences, but this is exactly why they make such an imapct.

    Read More
    Do You Need Feet on the Street for Your Product Launch?

    By Steve Randazzo

    First impressions are hard to shake, especially when it comes to launching a product. How you introduce your client’s product to the world will stick with consumers long after that initial interaction. To secure enduring brand loyalty, you need to wow potential customers from the start.

    Employing a street team is an inexpensive yet high-profile way to generate awareness and gain brand recognition for a new product. But not every product will see success with this approach.

    Read More
    The Simple Rules for Creating Kick-Ass Presentations [SlideShare]

    By Jami Oetting

    I would rather organize a Forever 21 store than sit through a boring presentation. 

    And what's worse than a boring presentation? Five, 10, or even 15 boring presentations. 

    That's the fate clients subject themselves during the new business process. And while you might think they deserve to be in this situation, it won't help you win the account.

    Read More
    Why the Digital RFP Process Is Broken — and 6 Ways to Fix It

    By Jami Oetting

    We like to think we are smart decision-makers. We weigh the pros and cons. We fill out a spreadsheet comparing features and costs. We read customer reviews and analyze competitive matrixes.

    This approach might work when you are buying something such as a copier or a car.

    But when it comes to choosing an agency partner, the comparing and contrasting and reviewing can fall short.

    Read More
    The Ideal Length for All Your Social Media Posts [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting


    I can get carried away when using social media. While Twitter gives me a character limit, Facebook and LinkedIn provide a forum for my uninterrupted ramblings.  

    The problem is that viewers won't be as likely to click if you don't optimize each post for both your choice of words and the length of the update. While you might think your post is brilliant, viewers will just keep scrolling.

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    Looking Back on the Influence of 'Mad Men'

    By Jeff Swystun

    In 2007, I was new to DDB having been appointed chief communications officer at the storied advertising agency. One of the first memos that hit my desk was a “heads up” that Doyle Dane Bernbach was going to be featured in a new television series. Creator Matthew Weiner had consulted with the agency prior to production and my arrival, but we did not know how we were to be treated in the storyline for Mad Men.

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    The Science of Creativity

    By Jess Marranco

    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    I have a riddle for you: Everyone has some, but wants more, and some people think they have less than others do. What is it?

    I’ll give you a hint: Albert Einstein and children have this in common.

    Okay one more hint: Some people find it in the shower.

    The answer?

    Read More
    The 12 Greatest Advertising Movies Ever Made

    By Matthew Chernov

    The first official TV commercial aired in 1941 when a paid announcer uttered the magic words: “America runs on Bulova time.” Since then, television and advertising have been inseparable. From classic sitcoms like “Bewitched,” to dramas like “Thirtysomething” and “Melrose Place,” stories set in ad firms have fascinated viewers for decades. Yet none of those shows captured the essence of advertising better than AMC’s brilliant “Mad Men.” With its nuanced dialogue, stylish art direction and superb performances, the series riveted our attention like no other. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

    Read More
    15 Examples of Great Mobile Website Design

    By Rachel Sprung

    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    Now more than ever, businesses are focusing on creating delightful mobile website experiences. After all, 80% of Internet users are using smartphones to search online.

    What's more, marketers are gearing up for a big change Google plans to make to their algorithm starting on April 21, 2015. Google wrote in their official blog that they will be "expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal," and their update should have a significant effect on marketers.

    Read More
    Feeling Frustrated? 7 Pain Points Between Marketers and Agencies

    By Jami Oetting

    You start out the relationship with innumerable hopes and dreams. This time, things will be different. You've got the right partner.

    You know how things should be -- what communication, collaboration, and respect look like. The problem is that the reality is often disconnected from your wants. A response is disappointing, an interactions sparks anger on both sides of the table, and the tension is causing goals to be missed. 

    Read More
    Sell Like a Celebrity: An Insider’s Look at the Gifting Industry

    By Jami Oetting

    There are two women who can cause websites to crash, phones to ring incessantly, and bidding wars to begin.

    Kate Middleton and Michele Obama reign when it comes to driving fashion commerce. The Duchess’s choice in apparel spurred one brand’s reintroduction of an item long gone from the shelves. It’s reported that her style choices have brought $1.5 billion into the British economy. J. Crew devised an entire strategy, including publishing custom web pages and investing in PPC ads, around the First Lady’s appearance on the Tonight Show.

    This type of spark is what many brands are looking for when they invest in celebrity marketing and product placement.

    Read More
    Attract and Retain Talent With a Structured Bonus Plan

    By Jami Oetting

    Not having a compensation plan can feel like that toothache you keep ignoring. At some point though, that tooth will hurt so bad you’ll need to act. Usually that means a root canal or the dentist yanking it out. Neither is something to look forward to.

    Why not stop that toothache before it starts? Having a compelling company vision, brand positioning, and culture is the best prevention you can have. But you also need a clear business plan for creating and sticking to healthy habits.

    Read More
    A Masterwork in Simplicity: The Story of the CC Logo

    By Creative Commons

    On February 14, 2015, New York’s Museum of Modern Art welcomed the public to a new exhibit, “This is For Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good.” Inspired by a short tweet made by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, “This is For Everyone” includes an array of fascinating objects, concepts, designs, and artworks that were conceived to serve the global public in sometimes unexpected or serendipitous ways.

    Winding through the exhibit, viewers will find curious and ubiquitous objects and technology that speak to the empowerment of individual creativity. Displayed on the white walls next to the internationally embraced symbols for the on/off button, recycling, and the @ symbol, one will find a mark of equally great significance: the “double-C in a circle,” or simply, the “CC,” Creative Commons mark.

    Read More
    Why Advertisers Are Concerned With Digital Ad Viewability [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting

    According to comScore, 54% of digital ads delivered are never seen. And in March 2014, the Media Rating Council lifted the ban on digital advertisers buying and selling display ads based on viewability. Now, agencies could expect guarantees on viewability from publishers and vendors, but it also means they needed to change the metrics they measure. The problem is that the MRC defined viewability as 50% of the ad must be in view for at least one second. It extends the timeline to two seconds for video ads. 

    This standard isn't strict enough for many brands.

    Read More
    10 Brands That Turned Their Fans Into Content Collaborators

    By Eric Siu

    This post originally appeared on the Marketing section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Marketing.

    Tired of struggling to crank out the endless streams of content needed to appease today’s consumers? You’re in luck! There is an option for burned out business owners, and that’s user generated content. This technique, in conjunction with the growth of popular social media websites, allows modern businesses to delegate some of these brand-building responsibilities to an unlikely voice -- their customer.

    Read More
    19 Essential Traits of Innovative Employees

    By Nick Santillo

    Unless your company is on the Fortune 500 list with thousands of applicants clamoring for a position, the odds are that recruiting, training, and retaining talented team members can be challenging.

    Similarly to how a person curates his Facebook profile to present only his best qualities, an applicant's résumé and interview only give you a hyper-curated snapshot of who he really is -- and we all know that when things get tough, people show their true colors.

    Read More
    Should Your Agency Get Into the Sales Enablement Game?

    By Jami Oetting

    Sales enablement is a fairly new term. And that means its definition is still evolving as the industry attempts to refine the who, what, and how.

    But its goal is clear: to help sales reps close more deals.

    And while agencies have typically stayed on the side of the line that includes brand awareness, creative campaigns, and lead generation, there is a growing need from brands that need more bottom of the funnel and sales support.

    Read More
    How to Nail Your Pricing and Build a More Profitable Agency [Free Ebook]

    By Arjun Moorthy

    Most agencies struggle to earn decent and consistent profit margins. More often than not, they also wrestle with pricing, which is at the root of the problem.

    Each day that you avoid nailing your pricing strategy (and sticking to it), is another day you keep your agency from earning that reasonable profit and growing at a desired pace. If you’re like many agency owners, you might say, “How I price depends on...”.

    Read More

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