39 minutes | May 18, 2023
Personal Branding Masterclass with Rajen Mistry
Every man and his dog has seen the potential of building a personal brand, from leading CEOs to start-up founders, copywriters and agency bosses. But, not everyone has got it mastered. Not yet, anyway. Rajen Mistry from specialist consultancy Founder Story joins me on Through the Line to unearth what it takes to build a personal brand and why you should. Rajen shares generously, and there are lots of takeaways, tips and ideas about what to do and how to measure results. Enjoy the show.
32 minutes | May 4, 2023
Neuroscientifically Optimising Websites
How important is your website? I'm going to hazard a guess that the answer is very. Since the advent of the internet, websites have moved on at quite a pace. Where once we had simple brochure sites, we now have complex sites with lots of content and many opportunities for a browser to convert into a sales funnel. It could be starting a trial for a SaaS product, donating money to a charity or buying a new watch on a DTC-branded e-com site. They generally all have one thing in common: conversion. Want to find out about some fresh ideas for optimising your website using neuroscience? Listen in to the show.
40 minutes | Apr 20, 2023
Building Resilient Marketing Teams with Jo Twiselton
In the 20+ years I have worked in marketing, there's been one constant: change. The marketing industry is pretty fast-paced, whichever discipline or side of the client-agency world you occupy. This is partly what makes it a great space to build a career. But it can also be a challenge. Not everyone is comfortable with change or able to manage it well. How, then, do you build a resilient marketing team? List to my conversation with Jo Twiselton of Twist Consultants as we explore everything from communication, leadership and the impact of the pandemic to emotional agility and whether or not office-based workers should go back to five days a week in the office.
38 minutes | Apr 5, 2023
Value Based Pricing with Alastair Dryburgh
How do you put a price on ideas or creativity? It’s a perennial challenge faced by marketing, advertising and PR agency owners. You know you can make a massive difference to your client’s brand challenges, yet you’re often stuck simply selling time. But not any more. Not if you listen to Alastair Dryburgh, that is, anyway. Alastair is an advocate of agencies charging based on the value they create rather than the time it takes to deliver it. If you're currently selling time for money, you will enjoy Alastair's thinking.
38 minutes | Mar 23, 2023
Self Running Agencies with Rob Da Costa
Running an agency can be a mixed bag of emotions. One minute you're full of elation at winning an award for a successful campaign. The next, you're dealing with a crisis of confidence or trying every trick in the book to win some new business. But there is another way. It's called the self-running agency, and Rob Da Costa has calculated a formula that works for all types of agencies: vision + marketing plan + systems and process + succession planning = happy agency owner. Listen to the show to find out more.
46 minutes | Mar 14, 2023
Hiring Agencies with Tina Fegent
Hiring agencies is a critical task in most marketing roles. In the modern world of marketing, there are so many expert disciplines that it's tough, if not impossible, to do everything in-house. That's where the agency world comes in. Need an expert to increase your web traffic? Think search marketing. Want someone to design an impactful brand campaign? Look for an ad agency. And so on and so on. But how do you find the right agency? What is the process for getting from a marketing challenge to an agency solution? That's where procurement maestro Tina Fegent comes in. Tina is a true expert in buying marketing agency services, with years of experience in client, agency and consultancy roles. What Tina doesn't know about procuring agency services simply isn't worth knowing. Good job she agreed to come on the podcast to share some of that expertise then isn't it? Enjoy the show.
38 minutes | Feb 28, 2023
Neurodivergent Teams with Nathan Whitbread
In this podcast, I explore what neurodiversity and neurodivergent traits are with Nathan Whitbread, an expert who works with employers to help them build neuro-inclusive workplaces. We look at what neurodiversity is, why it seems to be more commonplace, and what brands can/should do to enable individuals to be themselves at work. The goal is to create opportunities for brands to find economic and innovative advantages by allowing people to play to their strengths, whatever they are.
32 minutes | Feb 2, 2023
Human-Centred Marketing with Richard Hewitt
One of the primary tasks of a marketer is to understand people and to put them at the centre of your thinking. More often than not, that's your customers or prospective customers. What do they genuinely care about? What makes them choose Coca-cola over Pepsi cola, or why do they shop at Waitrose and not Tesco? The problem is only some marketers do this; instead, we often have a more inward-looking orientation. We put the brand at the centre of our universe when that's rarely the case with our customers. As Mark Ritson might say, people don't give a shit about our brands. Human-centred marketing is different. It's our approach to understanding the human condition and connecting people to our brands through an iterative process of empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. At least, that's Richard Hewitt's approach, founded on anthropology and the research discipline of ethnography. In a world where marketers rely heavily on realms of data to make decisions, wouldn't it be nice actually to study human behaviour in person for a change?
38 minutes | Jan 17, 2023
Big Brand to Agency Life with Dan Ince
In marketing, you have two big career choices: work for a brand or work at an agency. The two sides of the marketing coin work closely together as partners. Well, that's what you'd believe if you read almost any agency website. The truth is often rather different. Client-side and agency-side marketers look at the world through very different lenses, and it's useful for both to understand the others' perspectives. Welcome, Dan Ince. Dan was a big brand buy, including spells as a brand custodian at Heinz, Jordan's, Cadbury, Mr Kipling, Ambrosia...the list goes on. He's a smart guy. But a few years ago, Dan turned his back on corporate life and jumped over to the agency side via a few consultancy gigs, setting up his own shop, Brand Works Social. So I asked Dan to explore the differences between the two sides on the podcast. This show explores the topic of agency briefs, proposals and pitching, personal branding, and networking, amongst other topics.
32 minutes | Dec 20, 2022
Great Client Service with Jenny Plant
Great client service and successful agencies go hand in hand. In my opinion (and I'm a client service guy), you can't run a successful agency without knowing how to handle clients. It's that simple. The problem is not every agency leader understands this and even fewer invest in training their account teams. So I invited Jenny Plant from Account Management Skills to join me and explore what it takes to be great at account management. Or, in a nutshell, how do you retain and grow client accounts? Jenny explores how the role of account management has evolved over the last decade. We unpack the key ingredients of good client handling, how account management and project management are becoming separate roles, what it takes to build tight client relationships and what to look out for in the people you hire to fill this critical role in agency life. If you're looking for some insight into the world of first-class account management, then you're in the right place.
33 minutes | Dec 14, 2022
The Agency of the Future with John Bottom
What does the agency of the future look like? That's what I wanted to know from John Bottom, an experienced agency pro and a very nice chap to boot. Shortly after the credit crunch in 2008, I had the idea of launching a marketing agency built on a network model. Like many agency professionals, I had worked for a large holding group agency and saw an opportunity to strike out on my own. But I didn't want all of the overhead attached to growing a brick-and-mortar "full-service agency". So I banded together all of the other ex-big agency marketers I knew, liked and trusted to create a networked agency. It worked well for a time, with my core team of marketing managers pulling in expertise for client challenges as and when required. Fast forward a decade, and I no longer run an agency this way. But there's still an appetite for it, as John Bottom argues, in how to run an agency fit for the 21st century. There's space at the table for agile, transparent agency teams structured around where the talent is and not where the agency wants them to be. If you are planning your agency's strategy for growth, you'll enjoy listening to John's perspective. Maybe you could be more flexible, open and honest with your clients about how you will deliver great marketing.
38 minutes | Nov 24, 2022
Thor A Rain on Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
Last summer, I met up with a talented and intelligent agency owner – let’s call her Susie. I have known and respected Susie for quite a few years, and she runs a mid-size agency in the B2B space. We were catching up on the state of her business, what was working, and what wasn’t; the usual stuff I love to talk about with agency owners. It turns out an area causing Susie some issues is imposter syndrome. That feeling of not being confident or the self-doubt that creeps in now and then. After a couple of years in lockdown, it turns out that getting out and about, networking, and meeting prospects was not that simple. Much less comfortable than it used to be. Agency owners aren’t known for lacking in confidence. In fact, quite the opposite. To learn more about imposter syndrome and how to handle it, I invited Thor A Rain, founder of the Helpful Clinic, to come on the show and explore it in more detail. What could Susie do to overcome her challenges and get back out there, plying her trade? What could other agency or small business owners like Susie learn to help them overcome that nagging feeling of ‘am I good enough?’, ‘or should I be here?’.
41 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
Buying and Selling Agencies with Tom Lewis
A common goal for many agency founders is to grow their business to a size big enough to sell. Very few understand what this takes, let alone realise that vision. It's a tricky path, fraught with pitfalls and many terminologies to bamboozle the unwary. Fortunately, experts are on hand who know this space inside and out. People like Tom Lewis, who has spent a good chunk of his career buying agencies for holding companies and now for private equity. Thankfully Tom agreed to join me on the podcast to chat about his experiences and lay out some advice for agencies going on the journey to exit or even growing through acquisition. If you are interested in selling or buying, Tom's words of wisdom will be a great help.
34 minutes | Oct 25, 2022
Going Large with Daniel de la Cruz
Very many agency owners have a view of growing their business to a point where they can sell or hand it over to a management team. But, often, agencies reach around 15-20 people and hit a glass ceiling. They struggle to get beyond this milestone. In this conversation, Dan de la Cruz from Polymensa joins me to chat through the biggest changes agencies need to make to keep growing. Things like having a leadership team in place, a core of senior marketers to take the load of the founders, establishing a vision, and much more. If you are interested in growing your agency from small to medium and beyond, Dan shares some great ideas and advice to help you along the way.
43 minutes | Sep 28, 2022
Getting Paid with Sophy Francis
When you run an agency, creative shop, or any service-based business, you will come up against a client that doesn't want to pay their invoice. It's not if but when. Sometimes you can see it coming, most times you can't. So what do you do about it when your invoices sit unpaid? What's the process for recovering your fees? Join Sophy Francis from Element Global and me as we explore our experiences of chasing non-paying clients. We've both been through the mixer with non-paying clients and ended up winning through the County Court system. If you are currently chasing payment, you can learn a thing or two from our experiences about what to do next. If you're in the fortunate position of not yet having ti fight to get paid, have a listen. It will help you prepare for the inevitable. And it is inevitable (if you provide any credit to your clients).
28 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
Christine MacKay on Agency Culture
What is agency culture? What does it mean to say there’s a great culture in a business? Is it a table tennis table and free beer on Fridays, a fancy coffee machine, or the fact your team can make toast at your expense 24/7? Maybe it’s flexible working or the open-door policy with the exec team. Listen to this episode of Through the Line as Andy Bargery talks with Christine MacKay of animation studio, Salamandra. Christine explains some of the elements of culture at her agency business that have enabled it to grow to 16 people in three locations in the last 8 years.
33 minutes | May 6, 2022
The Science of Client Relationships with Paul Phillips
There isn’t much more important in agency life than the relationships you build with your clients. And yet, building client relationships is something I have never received any formal training in. It’s just something you learn on the job. What if I tell you there’s an equation for what forms great client relationships. Better still, what if I invited an agency pro and expert on client relationships to explain it? Look no further. In the latest episode of Through the Line, Paul Phillips joins me to explore the ‘Trust Equation’, developed by David Maister in his famous text, The Trusted Advisor and what this means for improving agency and client relationships.
42 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
Building a Remote Agency with Kathryn Strachan
The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on how we build teams. In agency land, we are challenged with a workforce that no longer expects to be tied to an office eight hours a day, five days a week. That's quite a shift. In this episode of Through the Line, I explore how to build remote teams with Kathryn Strachan from Copyhouse - an agency she has grown to 26 remote employees during the pandemic.
35 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
Rayhaan Moughal on Financial Management for Agencies
Nobody goes into running agencies because they love financial management. Whatever flavour of agency you run, your first love is likely to be design or banding, and not bookkeeping, cash flow and balance sheets. But, if you're going to be successful, you will need an intimate understanding of how to manage, understand, interpret, and make decisions based on your finances. That's where people like Rayhaan come in. They help agency entrepreneurs use their financial data to make critical decisions. You know, things like whether you can afford to hire new staff, how much to keep in reserve for the tax man, or even how to manage your affairs, so you pay less (the right amount) of tax. Listen to the latest episode of Through the Line as Rayhaan explains his processes for sound financial management, planning for tax, valuing your business, getting ready for exit and a whole lot more. Finance may not always be the most exciting part of running an agency, but it's bloody important.
45 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Understanding Agency Finance with Stacey Borrow
Understanding agency finance may not be what gets you out of bed in the morning. I'd bet my kids' college fund that accounting is at the bottom of the list of what gets you excited about running your agency. But, frankly, it could hardly be more critical if you want to survive, thrive and eventually exit your agency. The great news about accountancy is that there are loads of great and affordable software packages that can help you keep compliant. On top of that, there are people like Stacey Borrow from Profit By Design. Stacey is a management accountant, which means she helps you look forward with your numbers and use that knowledge to make informed decisions. Stacey joins me on the podcast to explore the five areas of finance that agency owners should focus on to save costs, make more money and free up time. I hope you enjoy the show.