How To Run A Profitable Advertising Agency?
Don’t Take My Word For It, Yet…
I’ve been working as a senior executive and owner in the advertising, digital and Internet startup worlds since the golden 1980’s. My global and regional clients and new business wins include General Mills, Harrah’s, J&J, Intel, Microsoft, Nabisco, Northwest Airlines and Nike. And, many smaller regional clients you might never have heard of unless you are on the west coast.
Over the years, I’ve made hundreds of business decisions. Some were brilliant and some were ‘learning experiences’. I’ve decided to share my top 25 business-building lessons with you. No, I am not so crazy to think that these will instantly make your agency the next 72andSunny. But, I do know that most of these lessons represent best practices that, if followed, can help make you be more successful.
The path that got me here included sixteen years at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide as Business Development Director North America, General Manager Minneapolis, European Director in London and Management Director in New York. After I discovered the Internet browser in 1994, I left advertising for seven years to be CEO and founder of two Internet publishing and technology startups. One was one of the first major online newspapers. The other company created technology that allowed people to have meaningful conversations with a computer – Microsoft bought the technology in 2005. If you were online in the early 2000’s you might have talked with our SmarterChild bot on instant messaging platforms. Over 20 million people did.
After my digital sojourn, I moved from New York to Oregon in 2002 to buy the advertising agency RalstonGroup. In the ten years that I ran the agency, we bought the sports marketing agency Citrus, took their name and added clients like Dr. Martens, Legalzoom, Montana Lottery, Nike’s AOR college and Major League Baseball accounts and the U.N.
I understand the advertising industry from the perspective of huge to small agencies and have sat on the client side of the table.
By the way, I now run an agency consultation business that specializes in business development. I help agencies find their positioning sweet spot and build action-oriented business development plans. I just published my second book, The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches. This book is a very detailed how-to about how to manage and create business-winning new business pitches.
My experience as a consultant and the opportunity to look under the hood of many agencies has confirmed that the following ideas can help add value to most, if not all, agencies.
I hope that by now you think that I must know what I am talking about. If so, here you go…