I have done it. I feel on top of the moon. I finally written my book and I am proud of the end result. I had 5 of the most talented professionals I know review it and it is now with the editor. It will hopefully be published in December and certainly no later than January.
Here the INTRODUCTION. Enjoy.
If you want to buy the book, you can do so HERE.
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This book is for agency people: founders, CEOs, MDs, employees, entrepreneurs and anyone else involved in the agency world. I’m talking about design, SEO, PPC, marketing, CRO, development, analytics, branding, PR, recruitment, and everything in between.
Over the past 12 months, I have been invited by Google to speak to the top three percent of agencies in the EMEA region about how we run a successful digital agency and deliver the best performance for our clients. I spoke at Google in London, Milan, and Berlin in front of some of the best agencies in the world. And when they asked me the question: “what do you think is the one thing that every agency can do to be better, more successful and more profitable?” my answer has always been the same. And to this day, I stand by it strongly.
My answer is that if every single agency did a better job, if every agency did a perfect job for their clients and delivered a remarkable experience, then every single agency would be more successful and more profitable. The truth is that there is still a huge number of potential advertisers who are skeptical of working with agencies. There is still a large number of potential clients who, when you walk in and tell them that you are from an agency, act as if you are telling them you’re the Antichrist, running to grab their crosses. Yet these people, who perhaps chose to manage their digital marketing in-house, are our potential customers. They could be in the market for agencies, if agencies had a better reputation.
In 2013 we built Genie Goals, a digital marketing agency that specialises in paid channels and works exclusively with retail brands. Our goal was to revolutionise digital marketing for retail brands but also to positively impact the whole industry and improve the reputation of agencies. As part of our sales process (there’s a lot more on this in the chapter THE SELLING) we audit an incredible number of accounts. Often these accounts are in terrible shape, either because there was clearly a lack of talent and expertise within the team at the agency that managed the account, or because there was a lack of resources, and too little time was assigned to the account.
On one hand, that makes our sales process very easy; it’s a no-brainer for the client to switch agency and come to us, especially when we show them what we would do, why, and what results the changes would be likely to produce.
On the other hand, it always makes me sad because I know that accounts in such terrible shape and teams that deliver such bad performance dent the advertiser’s trust and confidence in agencies. How many times does an advertiser need to be burned before they lose total confidence in the whole industry and decide to bring the activity in-house? Or even worse, decide that a particular channel ‘doesn’t work’?
We have managed to persuade clients who had lost all confidence in PPC or social media to give it another try, and helped them see that these could in fact be effective channels for their business. After a few weeks of high-quality work, these channels turned out to perform, and within a few months to a couple of years, they had become the biggest source of revenue and new customers for these clients.
But how many ‘unpersuadable’ customers are there for each one that we win? If every single agency did an incredible job, if they delivered on their promised performance, then the reputation of the industry in general would be better and we’d all win – you, us, everybody. Higher confidence in the industry = higher demand. Higher demand = more business. That’s exactly why I wrote this book.
I want to share the things that we have learned, that we have done and are doing which make us good. The stuff that makes us worthy of being invited by Google to speak to the top three percent of agencies in the EMEA region. The stuff that makes us lose very few clients and that made us grow as much and as fast as we did. I will also share all the things that I know we’re not doing yet, the things that we are aspiring to do, which will make us even better. I want to share the methodologies. I want to share the theory, the practice, the case studies, the examples, the strategies, and the techniques that make our agency a good agency – and those that will make our agency even better once we adopt them.
In this book, I’ve included everything from working out your mission and your big WHY to recruitment, goal setting, objectives and key results (OKRs), selling, marketing, executing, contracts, relationship management, and whatever else you need to know to build a new agency, or grow your existing one and take it to the next level. I have left nothing out, no secrets unshared. I have also interviewed brands for their take on what they want from, like or dislike about agencies. I have interviewed people from the industry for their take on it. I have interviewed other large agencies and I’ve included all the elements that will help you build and grow your super agency, the agency of the future.
I really hope this book will bring value and that it helps you build or grow a better agency – a solid business delivering quality work you and your teams can be proud of. I want you to build an incubator of happiness, creating, in the words of my good friend Geoff Griffith, former professional rugby player and MD of Builtvisible, “meaningful experience for your team and for your customers”. I’ve included everything I know to help you do that. But you have to do your part for this to work. You have to act. One of the key elements of success, the single factor that will allow you to grow, and be proud of your work, is action. You can read this book hundreds of times, letter by letter, word by word, but if you don’t implement anything, nothing will ever change. Inspiration is the spark that starts the engine, but action is the gas that keeps it running. No action, no motion; no motion, no growth.
My biggest piece of advice is to read this book once, and then read it again as if you’re reading a manual or a how-to book. That way, you’ll be able to implement the ideas you find useful. When you find something that you want to – and can – implement immediately, stop reading. Make a note of the action you want to take and then go on to finish the chapter. As soon as you complete each chapter, take action, implement what you can which is relevant to that chapter and build a roadmap. Once you have set the machine in motion, once the projects or tasks are being actioned, go back to reading the next chapter.
Caution: In the first half of the book, I talk about things I’ve done well, things that worked, the victories. Later I talk about the failures, the mistakes, the vulnerability that inevitably anyone building anything will encounter. Don’t let the early chapters fool you into thinking I think I know it all; I don’t. Don’t think I am super-human; I am absolutely not, and I know it. I mention my achievements early on because this frames the book the way it needs to be framed. There will be plenty to discover about me stumbling, failing and falling, just keep reading.
It is my sincere hope that you’ll build an incredibly remarkable business, one that makes you proud, makes you happy and makes you better at what you do.
We will keep this book alive. Things change, especially now. Change happens quickly, and change is dramatic, so we need to keep things relevant. To do that, I have created a live version of this book at lucasenatore.co.uk/theagency. Be sure to visit the site for additional resources, tools, and updates on the content of this book.
Connect with me: @lucasenatore