I recently published this article about marketing agency management at the Agency Firebox blog:

Do you know what your team is saying about you behind your back? Solicit 360 feedback to become a better agency leader.

Digital marketing agency CEO Greg Hoy of Happy Cog recently wrote on Medium about the results of soliciting employee feedback during his first 360 degree evaluation.

The feedback from his employees wasn’t always pretty—his team said he was doing a lot worse running the digital experience agency than he thought he was doing. Or as he titled his article, “My employees reviewed me, and I kind of suck.”

See what his team said—and my take on why you need to get that feedback at your own marketing agency—in the full article at the Agency Firebox blog. You can read Greg Hoy’s original article here.

Question: Have you ever given or received 360 feedback? How did it go? Don’t be shy—click here to share your comment.

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UX expert Whitney Hess

UX expert Whitney Hess

Independent UX consultant and coach Whitney Hess recently blogged about reaching her five-year anniversary of self-employment. I noticed she’d shared an annual “lessons-learned” post each year.

As I start the fourth month of working full-time on Agency Firebox—solving business problems for owners of marketing agencies—I was curious to see what Whitney reported learning each year. I reviewed the posts to see what stood out to me from each of her annual updates.

My takeaway from Whitney’s Year 0: Compelled to Act

Whitney shared:

The notion of working for myself has always been there, lurking in the dark recesses of my mind. My parents are entrepreneurs and have been running their successful public relations firm, HWH PR, for more than 30 years. That’s what I grew up knowing.

I felt the same thing earlier this year. I grew up helping in my family’s small business, and I grew up hearing stories about my grandfather flying around the world as a management consultant to global corporations. I started my first business in high school, as a web designer and technology consultant to clients in the D.C. area.

As the head of business operations (as an employee) at two agencies, I’ve loved helping marketing agency owners make their businesses better, but I was ready to lead my own thing. [click to read more…]

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The dreaded "Promotions" tab in the new Gmail inbox.

What scares you about the “Promotions” tab in the new Gmail inbox?

As you’ve probably seen, Gmail’s new tabbed inbox now automatically flags email newsletters (including marketing promos) in the “Promotions” tab. That is, your marketing emails (and your clients’ marketing emails) are no longer going directly into readers’ inboxes.

There’s an uproar online among marketers, about how this is terrible and that Gmail should stop doing this, and that it’s probably going to hurt email open rates.

My take? Stop complaining. It won’t do anything and it just wastes your time and energy.

Stop complaining

Your email newsletter is a promotion. Think about it for a moment.

Take off your marketer hat and think like a customer. If one of your competitors had emailed you the exact same message you sent out this week, would you think of their message as a promotion? I bet you would. [click to read more…]

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Marketing agency business consultant speaks to marketing students at NC State University

My favorite part of marketing agency recruiting is helping find the right people for the team, while also helping marketers find the right job for them. Based on my guest lecture at NC State University, the Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association (Triangle AMA) recently published my 11 tips for entry-level marketing job-seekers.  (Part 1 and Part 2)

If you’re a hiring manager or recruiter at a creative agency, keep an eye out for new grads—and experienced candidates, too—who do these important things well: [click to read more…]

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Marketing agency operations expert Karl Sakas speaking at conference in Raleigh, NC

Karl Sakas sharing advice about business operations for marketing firms at DMFB conference in Raleigh, NC

After a few years, many marketing agency owners find work isn’t fun any more. They’re getting pulled in a million directions, and there’s never enough time or money. And they don’t spend as much time on the work that got them started in the first place.

Fortunately, marketing firm owners don’t have to go it alone. I’ve found a solution to this problem by applying my business operations experience.

I shared my solution today at the Raleigh Convention Center during the Digital Marketing for Business (DMFB) conference, a conference reaching 400 marketing professionals and business owners from North Carolina and across the Southeast.

My presentation was on “5 Things You’re Missing That Are Killing Your Business.”

By creating and consistently applying systems in five key areas of their business—sales, marketing, accounting, recruiting, and project management—business owners can make more money, find more free time, and love their work again.

Download the slides, including tips & resources (PDF, 1.5MB)

Prefer to view the slides online? See the SlideShare version.

Question: What’s your favorite tip from my talk? Are you ready to commit to taking action on it in your business? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Image credit: Photo from Digital Marketing for Business via Twitter

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