How a 90-Year-Old Agency Continues to Thrive

How a 90-Year-Old Agency Continues to Thrive

Update: 2021-01-13
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Do you know what separates your agency from competitors? Are you looking for a way to attract new clients and hold on to the ones you have? Clients have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing an agency. So how did a fourth-generation, 90-year-old marketing agency continue to adapt and thrive? 

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • A 90-year-old agency and why your story is important.
  • How to use a podcast for agency lead generation.
  • 2 ways to protect your agency's future.

Today I had a really fun talk with Jamie Michelson, President and CEO of SMZ, a digital advertising agency. SMZ was founded by Jamie's grandfather in 1929 and has made it through the great depression, numerous wars, and of course the challenges we now face with COVID 19. As a third-generation agency owner, Jamie has seen a lot. He's here to talk about how his agency has persevered and what they are doing now to continue to grow.

Why Your Agency's Story is Important

I always tell agency owners I work with, you have to have a unique story that separates you from everybody else. For SMZ, they have been around for over 90 years and have been able to leverage that history to build and foster relationships that last for decades. But it's more than just their history. Jamie's philosophy is to do all the stuff their clients expect of them and then throw in a little extra. Not taking anything for granted and focusing on people first is what helps SMZ maintain energy and keep clients around.

Your story doesn't have to go back 100 years. You simply have to figure out what makes you different. Are you a small firm? Use this to your advantage. Do you provide a service most agencies don't? Showcase it. Find what connects you to your clients.

How a Podcast Can Help Your Agency Find New Clients

I am always surprised at how many agency owners don't have a podcast. A podcast is one of the best ways to expand your reach and gain authority. Jamie started his podcast just over a year ago and is still learning the ropes. But he's already reaping the rewards.

Jamie says, some of the people who appear on his podcast wouldn't even give him the time of day if he approached them from a business development angle. But with the podcast, these same people have become great prospects. When you create a podcast, it's so much more than vanity metrics. Focus on your audience and the relationships you can create and foster.

2 Ways to Protect Your Agency's Future

If you're wondering how many agencies have been around for three generations, the answer is, not that many. Jamie says this type of longevity is extremely rare. So what can you do to create an agency that can be passed down for generations?

  1. Always build your pipeline: Always keep your foot on the gas. I've always made it a priority to be able to look three or six months down the road to see where my agency is at. When you do this, you gain clarity, make better decisions, and can be proactive instead of reactive.
  2. Be willing to adapt: The sign of a great agency owner is to be able to adapt and constantly grow. Even if something doesn't seem worthwhile at first, as the data comes in, you need to be willing to change your mind.

Longevity isn't something that comes by accident. It's a lot of resilience and hard work. Keep your foot on the gas and continue to foster relationships. When you do this, you'll find it easier to find long-term success.

Ready to See How Your Agency Financials Stack Up?

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Head over to AgencyDad.money/freeaudit/ to receive a free audit on your agency's financials.

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How a 90-Year-Old Agency Continues to Thrive

How a 90-Year-Old Agency Continues to Thrive

Jason Swenk: Marketing Business Strategist, Agency Consultant and Advisor