April 2021 at Agency Hackers

Here’s what’s coming up for Agency Hackers members this month. If your agency isn’t a member yet, sign up here.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO: “What is the Best Way for Us to Collect Client Case Studies?”

Case studies are always important – but how do you get them in the first place?

“We just haven’t found a format or process that works,” explains Alexandra Koenig, senior marketing manager at Momentum. “It just seems to have become less of a priority over time.”

“We’ve tackled problems, we’ve got a track record of success, but we’re just trying to figure out the best-in-class way of getting information without making it feel like an additional piece of work.” 

Every agency has its own techniques and strategies when it comes to collecting case studies, but one problem in particular that Alex has stumbled across is client confidentiality.

In the latest What Would You Do? session, come along with your tips, tricks and techniques on how best to collect case studies, and help Alexandra work out what to do next.

⏰ 2pm, Tuesday 6th April 2021


Client Services Mastermind

2pm, Wednesday 7th April 2021

Calling all client services heroes! Join our monthly session for anybody with client services or account management responsibility. Drop in and meet other people doing your job at different agencies.

HR / People Mastermind

11am, Thursday 8th April 2021

Calling all ‘people people’. Join our monthly hangout for HR and people folk. Share what you’re working on and meet other people in your role at different agencies.

DAMAGE LIMITATIONS: How to Make Sure Your Agency is Prepared for the Worst

When a crisis happens, is your agency ready for it?

Ann Wright, director of Rough House Media, helps businesses with crisis management, making sure they’re prepared for ANYTHING.

“The last year has shown that a crisis can happen to every company, and how you communicate is crucial. Otherwise, you can lose trust, your customers and your credibility,” she says.

“You need to know when and how to respond, who to talk to and what to say. It’s making sure you have a good reputation in the first place, and then how you manage your communications when the proverbial hits the fan.”

We’ll be talking to Ann about how you can be prepared for anything, and how to keep your reputation intact no matter what happens next.

    ⏰ 11am, Friday 9th April 2021

    Operations Mastermind

    2pm, Monday 12th April 2021

    This one is for the operations folk amongst you to check-in and compare notes with process people at other agencies.

    What Is It Really Like to Be a Woman in An Agency?

    This is our monthly session to discuss what it’s like to be a woman in an agency, to share experiences and give advice on all manners of topics, within the agency sphere and beyond.

    How have you found the last 12 months? Working during a pandemic hasn’t exactly been easy for anyone, but with boundaries shifting and our work and home lives colliding, the last year has been strange – and now with rules being lifted, what’s the general consensus?

    “The end of lockdown is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and there’s a level of anxiety there as we don’t know what the world is going to be like when we go back to the office,” explains April’s moderator, Nadia Ali, account director at Hex Digital“And once we’re back, how do we set new boundaries?”

    This month’s session will be a reflection on the last year of lockdown life. Have you set yourself new boundaries working from home? Will they change if/when we’re back in the office? And what have your coping mechanisms been? Don’t forget your cuppa.

    ⏰ 2pm, Tuesday 13th April 2021

    CHANGING TACTICS: Pivoting My Agency in Lockdown Helped It Become Stronger Than Ever

    When the pandemic hit, Chris Donnelly’s agency was dealt a huge blow.

    “Lockdown crucified our clients, and therefore us. I think we lost well over half our revenue, and many clients, in the space of 14 days,” explains the founder and CEO of VERB Brands. “It was something like £200k a month of revenue loss, so it was a significant change.”

    Chris realised they needed to pivot the business, and fast. They shifted the types of clients they took on, changed the way they sold to clients, and put a heavier focus on performance-based billing, leading to a more clearly defined revenue focus.

    “Before, we had a comfortable, well-known business, we were satisfied with our profits – COVID destroyed that. However, it meant that we needed to refocus ourselves, and we realised that our old business would not work as well as it does now, and that’s down to the fundamental changes we made because of the lockdown.”

    Join us in conversation with Chris to discuss in more detail the action he took to pivot his business, and how the pandemic reframed his agency’s overall processes.

    ⏰ 2pm, Wednesday 14th April 2021

    Finance Director Mastermind

    11am, Thursday 15th April 2021

    This is our monthly session for anybody in an agency finance role. Swap stories and get advice from other people doing a CFO, Finance Director or similar role in an agency.

    WHAT A CLIENT WANTS: Do You Really Know What New Clients Are Looking for in an Agency? 

    Did you know that it usually takes 1-2 years to eventually win a client, and that many clients feel agencies play it too safe when pitching? Or perhaps you want to know the top three things that clients say they hate when you pitch to them?

    Jonathan Kirk is here to tell you – and help you work out how to respond.

    He’s just published Up to the Light’s seventh annual ‘What Clients Think’ report – and he’s going to take us through some of its fascinating findings.

    “COVID has exposed things in terms of weaknesses in digital capacity, an increased percentage in clients not being worried about an agency’s location and increasing social media trends,” says Jonathan, director of Up to the Light.

    “It’s all about what is keeping clients awake at night, what their big challenges are, and about the clients’ perception of new business activity and client development issues.”

    We’ll be talking to Jonathan as he gets underneath the findings and explores the practical implications for agencies.

    ⏰ 2pm, Thursday 15th April 2021

    SHAKE IT UP: Making the Jump from Agency to Product Business

    Many agencies fantasise about launching their own product line – but how easy is the jump from agency to retail?

    , co-founder at , closed down his agency Ready to launch a skincare range for men.

    “We’d been working with cosmetics and beauty brands for over a decade and realised our true passion was in brand building,” he explains. “We wanted to create something tangible, rather than just a design service – we wanted to build our own brand.”

    It’s paid off: Shakeup is stocked in Harvey Nichols and Superdrug, and it’s having huge success in China. They’ve just received a second round of investment at a valuation of 4x the agency they closed.

    Jake will be talking to us about making the jump from agency leader to product launch, and how to manoeuvre the stumbling blocks along the way.

    ⏰ 11am, Friday 16th April 2021 

    KNOW YOUR WORTH: How Uncovering Your ‘Hidden’ Value Can Transform Your Agency’s Success

    It’s easy to undersell your agency’s services when you’re trying to bring new clients on board – but uncovering this seemingly ‘hidden’ value is much more beneficial.

    Strategist Alastair Dryburgh recently worked with Simon Douglass, owner and founder of Curated, to help him work out the true value of his agency’s services, and the results were phenomenal.

    • They identified two separate opportunities that transformed Simon’s services: one was a product being sold for around £2-5k, the other given away for free.
    • Now, thanks to uncovering this value, Simon sells both at much higher, justified prices, ranging from £25-50k.

    “There’s huge value in someone from the outside looking in. We don’t help ourselves, but we can help each other,” explains Alastair. “And sometimes, you should raise your fee because your work is not only worth that, but you will also improve your quality of work as a result.”

    Join us as we discuss with Alastair and Simon the power of uncovering the true value of your agency, and how doing so can help you position yourself and your high quality services much more confidently to clients.

    12pm, Tuesday 20th April 2021

    M&A: State of the Nation

    What’s happening on the M&A scene in agency land? Who’s buying and who’s selling?

    If M&A is in your future – either as a buyer or seller – drop into this fun and informative session with Waypoint Partners to find out what’s the current state of play on the M&A scene.

    Bring a question or just lurk and soak up the insights on what’s happening in the market.

    ⏰ 11am, Wednesday 21st April 2021 

    STOP, DELEGATE AND LISTEN: Why You Should Step Away from Founder-Led Selling

    Founder-based selling sounds like a great idea in theory.

    But when you can’t let go and trust someone else to have commercial conversations with clients, it can hold your agency back.

    “You need to have a team behind you to build an engine, and make sure there’s a clear end-to-end process in place,” explains Lisa Mandell, founder of Jolt.

    “You need to focus on account development, how you land and expand, and how you incentivise and empower your teams.”

    We’ll be chatting to Lisa in more detail about the positive effect moving away from founder-based selling can have on your agency and how you can strengthen and add value to your team by doing so.

    ⏰ 2pm, Wednesday 21st April 2021 

    LET’S PLAY: How Unleashing Your Agency’s Playful Side Can Help Boost Creativity

    Sam Griffiths is on a mission to share the potential of a playful mindset.

    But what can playfulness actually do for you and your employees?

    “There are many benefits. Playful people tend to be more resilient, think more flexibly, and they’re more curious,” says Sam, owner of Griffics. “They generate lots of ideas and, as a result, better ideas. This can come from developing a practice of playfulness as individuals AND as a team.”

    Most of the playful activities Sam swears by simply involve pen and paper, and some don’t require any materials at all. These kinds of activities help cultivate ways of turning off your inner critic and generating possibility.

    And it doesn’t matter if you deem yourself a creative person or not – though spoiler alert: everybody is creative – as these activities help to draw the playful side out of EVERYONE.

    Join us for a session with Sam to explore your playful side – all you need is some paper, a pen and an open mind.

    ⏰ 11am, Thursday 22nd April 2021

    INFORMATION OVERLOAD: How A Management Dashboard Can Help Simplify Your Everyday Decisions

    Data used to be a competitive advantage. Now it’s a curse.

    Running an agency means you’re drowning in data.

    Steve Parks, CEO of Convivio, decided to hack up his own solution to feeling overwhelmed: his own management dashboard. 

    “It’s the simplest management information system that works for us,” Steve says. His “minimum viable dashboard” helps him and his team make sure they can steer the ship without wrecking it on the perilous rocks of information overload.

    Even better – Steve open-sourced it, so YOU can use it too.

    Join this session to learn how you can use Steve’s dashboard to simplify decision making in the day-to-day running of your agency.

    ⏰ 11am, Friday 23rd April 2021

    Harnessing the Power of Saying No

    Saying no can sometimes be awkward, especially when it comes to big prospective clients – but sometimes it can be very empowering for you and your agency.

    “There’s a reputation that comes with saying no,” explains Jonathan Ford, group creative director of Pearlfisher. “It saves time, money and wasted conversations.”

    Jonathan knows this all too well. In 2005, after being invited to pitch for one of the world’s biggest fast-food brands but realising their pitch didn’t align with Pearlfisher’s brand values, they send a considered ‘no’ in response.

    However, a year and a half later, the global CMO of the brand came calling, realising that Pearlfisher had been right all along. Fast forward 15 years, and Pearlfisher has just completed another global redesign of their branded packaging – an example of how to build a strong relationship through a constructive and considered response rather than simply saying no and being antagonistic.

    We’ll be talking to Jonathan about harnessing the power of saying no, the benefits of doing so upon your agency and its reputation, and how rejecting business can actually help you win more in the long run.

    ⏰ 2pm, Monday 26th April 2021

    Marketing & New Business Mastermind

    2pm, Tuesday 27th April 2021

    This is your chance to check in with other marketing and new business minds and see what everyone’s up to.

    OWN IT: Could Buying Your Office Space Be an Important Asset in Your Agency’s Finances?

    People say that McDonald’s isn’t in the hamburger business – it’s in the REAL ESTATE business. Could the same be true for you and your agency?

    Gareth Morgan runs Liberty Marketing, a successful performance marketing agency. But he also spends a lot of his time thinking about commercial property.

    “I’ve helped a couple of other agency owners with buying their own office buildings,” says Gareth. 

    “I’ve been involved in property for 20 years and the two offices Liberty has been in, I bought rather than rented. It gave me far greater control and now I’ve got two assets that generate £1k per week profit for me personally, rather than paying off someone else’s mortgage.”

    The topic of commercial property is a meaty one. Join us in conversation with Gareth to discuss everything from tenants and finance to acquisition. This session will be helpful if you’re trying to navigate the positives and negatives on the road to owning your own office space.

    ⏰ 11am, Wednesday 28th April 2021

    DO UNTO OTHERS: Why It’s Important to Treat Your Agency Like You Treat Your Clients

    As agencies, our work is our clients. But while we go to great lengths for the people who are paying for our services, do we treat ourselves in the same way?

    “Agencies get so busy delivering their work and looking after clients, which of course is always the priority, but they forget to treat themselves well too,” explains Katie Street, founder and agency new business expert at Street Agency.

    Katie says that you should invest time and money into your own agency as at the end of the day, you are your most valuable client.

    “At Street, we do what we do for clients for ourselves, and sometimes better – and it really works,” says Katie. “Emulating the work we do with our clients is the reason we’ve tripled in size during the pandemic.”

    We’ll be talking in more depth with Katie about how you can best treat yourself like you would treat your clients, and how investing more time and energy in-house can be the key to further progress and success

    ⏰ 2pm, Wednesday 28th April 2021

    SQUAD GOALS: How Streamlining My Agency’s Teams Has Helped Build Stronger Client Relationships

    Every agency has its own way of working. 

    But just over a year ago, Rob Verheul decided that things needed to change at Graphite.

    It quickly became clear that they needed to create a better working model that would create clarity and consistency for all. This inspired them to create individual teams – “squads” – to streamline their operations, also known as the Spotify model.

    “Now, clients have got that continuity, right from the pitch stage through into working together and delivery,” says Rob.

    Is this something that would work in your agency?

    Rob will be talking about his squads in more detail, and how they have helped with the agency’s overall strategic direction, progress and success. 

    ⏰ 11am, Thursday 29th April 2021

    What is Life Really Like After Running an Agency?

    We work for years and years to get into a comfortable enough position to throw in the towel – but what is life really like once you leave your agency and retire?

    When Sandy Lindsay MBE decided to take one step back from Tangerine PR, she ended up taking at least two leaps forward.

    Now the non-executive director of the Rugby Football League, Northcoders and Flock, still involved with the apprentice scheme she set up, The Juice Academy, continuing to chair the Tangerine board and more, life post-agency is still pretty hectic. 

    And this is when Sandy is supposed to be semi-retired…

    “Mentally, it’s an entirely different scenario to running an agency that you own and that couldn’t run without you. There’s still stress involved, but it’s not my livelihood at threat. It’s a very different feeling,” she says.

    Sandy will be giving us an insight into life post-agency and telling us more about her new ‘semi-retired’ ventures. 

    ⏰ 2pm, Thursday 29th April 2021

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