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    Who Will Win the Client-Agency Tug of War? [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting


    You know the drill from those company retreats your boss meticulously plans each year. One side pulls, the other side pulls, and someone comes out a winner. (I'll take a tug-of-war competition over a trust fall anyday.)

    However, in the real world, this back and forth happens between clients and agencies all the time. And the truth is: your team memebrs are usually the ones crashing down into a pool of mud.

    RSW/US created the below graphic from the results of its  Read More

    How to Manage and Retain Your Agency’s Strongest Personalities

    By Drew McLellan

    Working at an agency means you get to hang out with smart, creative people all day long. It also means you’re dealing with a lot of strong personalities -- imaginative, outspoken, and sometimes a bit too confident. When you step into agency leadership, you have to transition from collaborating with these personalities to managing them. 

    Outspoken team members are always difficult to lead, but they present a special challenge in an agency environment, where you rely on their original thinking and courageous attitudes. Reining in these personalities without breaking their spirits requires a delicate leadership balance.

    Read More
    Are They Worth It? 26 Qualifying Questions to Ask Prospects

    By Jami Oetting

    How many times have you pitched a potential client, or sent a proposal, only to get a “Thanks, we’ll think about it and get back to you” email or phone call?

    If you’re like most agencies, you pitch way more often than you close. And after awhile, you can become so discouraged you want to throw in the towel. Many agencies struggle with cash flow and thus leap at the chance to pitch anyone, hoping to get some business, any business, to keep the cash coming. And while we all need to put food on the table, is that really the best way to use what limited resources (time, energy, and money) you’ve got?

    Read More
    Should You Respond to That RFP? 4 Reasons For Saying 'Yes'

    By Robert England

    Whenever an RFP (request for proposal) drops into my mailbox, I get a very familiar feeling: it's a sense of opportunity, pretty similar to the opportunity offered by a lottery ticket, combined with a healthy dollop of dread. The dread centers on the enormous amount of work involved to pull the RFP together -- the late nights, the lost weekends, the hungry kids, the anguish on setting prices -- multiplied by the slim probability of actually winning it. 

    Read More
    23 Quotes From Leo Burnett on Advertising and Creativity

    By Jami Oetting

    The man is synonymous with Chicago, leading the formation of the city's own style of advertising. 

    But things could've turned out very differently. 

    When budgets were being cut and the country was deep in the throes of the Depression, Leo Burnett decided to mortgage his home and borrow against his life insurance to open the doors of an advertising agency in downtown Chicago. On the first day, he set out a bowl of red apples, a tradition that continues. 

    Read More
    8 Design Trends That Will Define 2015 [Infographic]

    By Lindsay Kolowich

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

    Each passing year tests the longevity of design trends. Which ones will stick it out another year, and which ones are already passé? Perhaps most importantly, what are the emerging trends marketers and designers alike need to stay on top of?

    There are a few trends from last year that are continuing to go strong in 2015, like semi-flat design and more sophisticated typography.

    Read More
    Should You Build or Buy an Agency Specialty?

    By Jami Oetting

    Clients are insatiable when it comes to wanting something new. They see “cool” examples of marketing, and they turn to you to get their own version. But what happens when clients ask for something you don't have the talent for in-house?

    The usual options include: punt and refer them to another agency that can do it and risk potentially losing the account, hire another agency to deliver the work and mask them from the client, or hire the talent you need to do the work (freelancers, contractors, etc.).

    Read More
    Honda Challenges You to a Speed Reading Contest. How Fast Can You Go?

    By Jami Oetting

    Speed reading, a popular pursuit in the 1960s and'70s, has gained attention recently due to the release of speed reading mobile apps and the growing frustration of people who are inundated with social media messages, emails, blog posts, chats, news, books, zines -- the list goes on. 

    But a brand that wants you to speed read its ad? Usually, it is about getting your message seen -- and ingrained in the viewer's mind.

    Read More
    6 Reasons Why Poor Project Scoping Is Destroying Your Agency

    By Jami Oetting

    You've packed your bags, turned off the coffee pot, and are ready to go. You know where your final destination is, but you've decided to be spontaneous. You'll get there; you just don't know how. 

    Before leaving, you set a budget and a timeframe. 

    Now consider your options. You could take the bus, the train, rent a car, walk, get on a plane ... pick your form of travel. 

    Read More
    Where Do Truly Original Ideas Come From?

    By Jami Oetting

    Originality is something we often grasp for in the creative process. We want our words, images, and ideas to be seen as utterly unique. 

    But are there really any original idea left?

    Mark Twain wrote:

    The kernel, the soul -- let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances -- is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them.

    Read More
    How Brands Can Build a Loyal Audience [Infographic]

    By Lindsay Kolowich

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

    Although marketers all wish the whole "if you build it, they will come" approach worked, we know that building a following requires more effort than simply hitting "Publish." Organically attracting a loyal audience of fans and brand advocates is more of a slow, steady process, but it's one that pays off over time.

    So what steps need to be taken to actually grow that loyal audience?

    Read More
    The Guide to New Business Tools for Agencies

    By Jami Oetting

    Making connections with the right people is the key to being successful at new business. 

    But there's only so much you can do with your go-getter attitude and innate charm. You need momentum, focus, and a strategy for creating a new business pipeline that consistently delivers qualified leads and new clients. 

    Read More
    4 Ways to Create Powerful Branded Content

    By Anna Rodriguez

    According to the Custom Content Council, 61% of consumers say they feel better about and are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content. This is just one reason brands have jumped on the content marketing bandwagon. 

    So how can a brand distinguish itself if every company is creating content?

    Read More
    Too Many Tools? New Data on the Complexity of Marketing Technology

    By Jami Oetting

    When I worked at an agency, we had numerous spreadsheets outlining all of our clients and the tools they used and we used to manage their account and campaigns. 

    The lists were endless by the time we included social media profiles, email marketing software, CRM, analytics accounts, marketing automation platforms, the website credentials, blog CMS login, form tool, etc. That didn't even include the tools we used internally, such as time tracking, file management, and project management tools

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    Four Little Words You Never Want to Hear Your Client Say

    By Vanessa Green

    Anyone who works for a marketing agency will tell you it can be grueling and tiresome. The hours are long, the work stressful, and the feedback from clients often cutting and harsh.

    I’ve learned this to be true during my time working in an agency, and I have to say that the last bit -- the cutting and harsh feedback -- isn’t actually the worst thing you can hear from a client.

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    The Top 5 Priorities for Every Agency Owner

    By Doug Davidoff

    I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My parents owned a travel agency from the time I could walk. I remember sitting in the office organizing their latest direct mail promotion, setting up their annual cruise show, and listening at the dinner table as they talked about what happened during the day.

    It’s probably for this reason that I’d always envisioned myself owning my own company. Of course, I had all the vision of grandeur seeing myself set the direction and closing big deals. Little did I know what was actually in store for me when it came to building an organization that could consistently grow and serve our clients well. 

    Read More
    The 5 Steps to Generating Content Ideas for a New Client [Infographic]

    By Jami Oetting

    You're a pro at creating content. 

    And because of this, a coveted client has just signed on with your agency. 

    You've got to get to work, but you're at a loss. The client is in a niche industry -- one that you have little experience with. And the brand has done little in terms of content creation, so the team is unsure what types of content they need and how best to engage the audience. 

    Read More
    Stay Tuned: How Advertising's Best Storyteller Got Readers Hooked on Ads

    By Jami Oetting

    What happens next?

    This is a powerful question, and if you're a fan of the Serial podcast or a House of Cards addict, you know the strong feelings attached to this question -- the anticipation, the flurry of thoughts, the rundown of different scenarios. You hunger to know the answers and the ending. 

    Now, how many advertisements leave you asking this question? 

    Most ads wrap up the story in a nice bow in 30 or 60 seconds. The story comes full circle -- problem and solution -- and ends with a smiling consumer. 

    Read More
    How to Onboard and Kickoff a New Client Relationship [+Free Template]

    By Justin McGill

    You’ve just gotten the contract signed. Your salesperson is happy. You’re happy. If almost feels like the work is done. This should be short-lived though, as now the work actually begins for your team. It’s time for you to deliver.

    Before you and your team start work on any campaign, you need to collect specific details from your new client. The information you collect during the onboarding phase will help your team get started quickly on producing results for your client. 

    Read More
    14 Project Management Tools for Marketing Agencies

    By Jami Oetting

    Projects don't always go as planned. 

    You can perfectly outline the tasks, major milestones, and timeline for each project, but in the end, things happen: clients don't send the information you need, a key employee walks out the door, a technical issue pops up that requires you to rethink the approach. 

    This can spiral out of control when everyone is simply referring to a color-coded spreadsheet and replying to a confusing email thread. 

    Read More
    How to Win the SEO and Content Marketing Arms Race

    By Peter Sena

    Content marketing and SEO have infiltrated every industry. Discussions, how-tos, and podcasts about the topic are everywhere. 

    Most of these articles are reactive though, and as a geeky futurist, I enjoy looking ahead to see what's going to happen next and how we can change our strategies now for better results. 

    Read More
    Why Branding Needs a Rebranding

    By Jeff Swystun

    The past 15 years has been amazing for the practice and profession of branding. Its influence and application is undisputed. Branding is now a primary consideration and investment for any business or organization. It is also part of society's generally accepted lexicon. For fun during the next few days, keep track of how many times you hear the word "brand" in any context and how often you say it. You will be amazed at the number, especially given that 20 years ago you would be hard-pressed to hear it at all. 

    Read More
    The Science Behind Why Our Brains Crave Infographics (In an Infographic)

    By Jami Oetting

    Think back to your first memory: Can you still see the watermelon pink dress you wore? Do you remember the unique checkered pattern of your father's jacket?

    Our memories are often linked to visual and sensory elements, while the words spoken or read can be more hazy. That's because our brains have a high capacity for storing visuals in our long-term memory, while text enters our working memory, which is limited. 

    Read More
    How to Combine Video and Marketing Automation to Generate New Business

    By Andrew Dymski

    The marketing services arena is a crowded space these days. Every firm is competing for a prospect's attention and time, so it is getting harder and harder for agencies to separate themselves. This is exacerbated by the fact that nearly every marketing agency website and blog you visit describes itself in the same way and publishes content on the same topics.  

    With all this noise and chatter out there, how do agencies clearly differentiate themselves from their competition? One approach is to change up your marketing by combining marketing automation and video. 

    Read More
    In-House PR People Suck and Other Common Myths Busted

    By Gerald Heneghan

    Public relations can seem like a bit of an inexact science from the outside, and it's easy to understand why.

    The results have traditionally been hard to quantify. This is changing slowly, but in the meantime, companies are focusing their efforts on tactics they can measure definitively. It can be difficult to compete and gain support when you can't prove the impact. 

    Read More
    New Data: What Types of Content Perform Best on Social Media?

    By Andrea Lehr

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

    In many aspects of life, timing is key. If you've got to schedule a very important meeting, and all of the attendees aren't morning people, scheduling an 8 a.m. start time probably won't result in a productive meeting. Or maybe you want to book a cheap vacation -- you probably want to avoid scheduling one during the holidays. 

    The same is true with content creation and social media.

    Read More
    The 3 Phases of an Epic Brand Story

    By Adam Padilla

    Truly iconic brands, just like iconic characters in movies or novels, possess a certain something that is difficult to describe.

    This brand essence is played out over time in what is called a brand story, something that should not be confused with the story of the founder or the story of how the brand came to be.

    Read More
    Content Optimization: 4 Important Things to Consider

    By Michael Brown

    Your keywords are included. Your title tags and meta descriptions are set. Your links have been added. Your content is now optimized, right?


    These are all necessary steps in the content creation process, but none of them qualify as content optimization -- at least not in my opinion. 

    Read More
    How to Make Freelancers Part of Your Culture

    By Stanton Kawer

    According to Freelancer’s Union, there’s an estimated 53 million Americans -- 34% of the workforce -- working on a contract basis. If you have spent any time within an agency, you know that freelancers are frequent contributors to the work of marketing, advertising, and PR firms. 

    Freelancers are to advertising as adjunct professors are to higher education. There is a symbiotic relationship that, when it works well, results in the freelancer producing work for your agency with the same quality and fervor that a full-time employee would.

    Read More
    Should You Hire Marketing Specialists or Generalists?

    By Jami Oetting

    For many years now a debate has been raging on about whether it’s better to hire a marketing generalist or a specialist. Each one has its camp of rabid supporters and detractors touting various benefits to hiring managers of one and warning of the problems should they dare go in the other direction. From our point of view, both have their place in your organization -- it all depends on your specific situation.

    Read More
    63 Social Media Charts to Include in Your Next Proposal [Free Download]

    By Jami Oetting

    Your clients know they need to invest in social media. 

    But sometimes, they just don't believe that it is worth it -- that it could work for their industry. 

    You can show what their competitors are doing, discuss how often they should be tweeting and uploading status updates, promote the benefits of using the platform for market research, and even highlight how customers are using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but it's difficult to convince someone who has already decided it is a useless tactic. 

    Read More
    Why Is the Nationwide Ad Causing So Much Controversy?

    By Jami Oetting

    Nationwide’s “Make Safe Happen,” featuring a chubby-faced young boy recounting all the things he wouldn’t be able to do or experience in life because he died in a preventable accident, outraged viewers and commentators -- some called it the worst Super Bowl ad to ever air. It even spurred the creation of #NationwideKills on Twitter, with users commenting on the ad, uploading memes, and even making light of the ad’s line, “I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident.”

    Read More

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