This week, Agency Hackers have lined up a bunch of mastermind sessions for members that are all about the real-talk: digging into the nitty-gritty of what’s working, what’s not, and the new roads we might want to travel.
Tackling subjects such as trying direct mail for new business opportunities to the perks of hiring an MD for your agency. There is even a session aimed entirely at offering advice for anyone looking to take the big leap of taking their business international.
So, if you’re up for some candid chats, shared wisdom, and maybe a few laughs along the way, these sessions are your jam. We’ve got seasoned pros and fresh faces coming together, and it’s shaping up to be a week of learning, connecting, and, some camaraderie for leaders who are just getting started in the agency world.
Tuesday 12 September: MARKETING & NEW BIZ MASTERMIND: Should You Try Direct Mail for New Biz?
“I spoke to around 20-30 agencies about how to generate new business in a way you can track, doesn’t cost a shitload of money, or rely on experts outside your agency,” says Matthew Stanners, MD at Bearded Fellows. “The only common denominator I got from them was direct mail.”
This time last year, Matt was seriously worried about new business. He’d recently been made MD and knew it was down to him to take responsibility for lead generation.
Adamant that outsourcing wasn’t an option, Matt decided to go down the direct mail route.
“Direct mail is not going to create a bad brand experience. It’s very polite, it’s very specific, it relates to us as a business, and it’s me – I’m sending it. I’m human, and they can find me on LinkedIn.”
“It relates to that whole gifting methodology – you give someone something, they feel like they should give you something back,” he says. “I’m genuinely confident that in a year, we’re gonna generate at least £150k a year from this.”
Have you ever considered direct mail as a new biz strategy? In this month’s marketing and new biz mastermind, we’ll be hearing from Matt about his venture into direct mail campaigns.
- Which clients should you be targeting and how?
- How do you decide what to send?
- What steps do you need to take to increase your ROI?
Come along to hear the benefits and drawbacks of this new biz strategy, and decide whether it’s worth the effort for your agency.
Wednesday 13 September: What’s It Like to Hire an MD
When Jackie Blaker decided she wanted to reduce her working week to three days, it was clear she needed to hire someone as MD in her place.
“I’m not sure I can pinpoint when I actually made my decision, but it had been talked about for a long time,” explains Jackie, now director of MAXX. “There were originally two other directors alongside me running the business, but one stepped down a couple of years ago, and the other has been winding down his involvement for several years.”
With shares and investment in the company, Jackie realised there wasn’t an ‘easy’ way out, so to speak.
“The idea of bringing on an external MD, someone who knew nothing about our culture or the way we operate, wasn’t very appealing – and I still wanted to be involved,” she says.
However, there was already a clear candidate within the agency: former head of business development, Will Tinson.
“Over time, as shared responsibilities of the partners came down to just Jackie on her own, and as I grew in the business, I was naturally taking on some of these tasks,” Will explains. “Things like growing our personal brand, the new biz side of things, hiring new staff. These are the areas I’ve taken more of a lead on, with Jackie taking the lead on larger client accounts.”
“When it came to divvying up the roles between Jackie as director and me as MD, it was already fitting into place anyway over time.”
Despite only being 25, Will had leadership aspirations from the minute he started at MAXX.
“I’ve always wanted leadership roles, and when one of the directors exited, I put a bit of skin in the game by investing my savings in the business. This was my play at the time to show them I was serious about leadership, and about taking MAXX forward.”
When it comes to hiring an MD, there are questions on both sides:
- How do you get the team onboard?
- How do you prove yourself?
- How do you set new boundaries?
Whether you’re looking to exit your agency, or give someone in your team a chance at making that next step, hiring an MD can look very different for each individual agency.
Jackie and Will be talking about their journey so far, and what that dynamic looks like now Will has officially taken on the MD title. Come along to discuss your own experiences, or perhaps to ask questions before embarking on the change yourself.
Don’t expect them to turn up to appointments on time or respond to emails either. It’s not part of their cultureCas Majid
Thursday 14 September: CFO SURGERY: What You Need to Know About Taking Your Agency International
“Recent events due to Brexit – whatever your political persuasions are – have damaged a lot of the UK’s reputation internationally,” says Cas Majid, CEO at WOW Group. “Whereas before we could say, ‘You’re not doing it right,’ they now say, ‘Well, you’re not doing it right either.’”
Have you ever considered taking your agency abroad?
For Cas Majid, it was always part of the business plan. Now, his agency group, WOW, handles clients from Western Europe to the UAE – so he knows a thing or two about how each continent does business.
“Emiratis will pay more for really good quality,” Cas says. “I kid you not, when we put our first quote in, they told us, ‘You need to times that by 10. We quoted a small job at around £15k. Eventually, we got that business at $100k.”
“It’s all about brand out there, and how you position your brand. They want to deal with the best – are you positioning yourself as the best?”
Cas says business in the UAE in particular is starkly different from the UK.
“There’s a lot more bureaucracy than you would find in the UK. And everyone abides by the law.”
“There’s civil law, but it can also turn into criminal law as well. For example, for a non-payment of an invoice – you can be backed by police. That’s why people pay on time, all the time.”
“And don’t expect them to turn up to appointments on time or respond to emails either. It’s not part of their culture.”
In this month’s finance mastermind, Cas will be joining us to share his experience of building his agency into a multinational business – and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
- How are Brits viewed outside of the UK?
- How does pricing differ from continent to continent?
- How can you build trust with international clients?
- What things do you need in place before you take your agency overseas?
If you’re looking to expand into external markets, this is the perfect session for you. Come along to hear how different countries handle business, and find out if this is something worth investing in.
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