100 episodes

The Agency Leadership Podcast provides insights for agency owners and executives. Co-hosts Chip Griffin and Gini Dietrich share practical advice and industry news relevant to PR and marketing agency leaders.

Agency Leadership Podcast Chip Griffin and Gini Dietrich

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 18 Ratings

The Agency Leadership Podcast provides insights for agency owners and executives. Co-hosts Chip Griffin and Gini Dietrich share practical advice and industry news relevant to PR and marketing agency leaders.

    Adapting your agency for risk-averse clients

    Adapting your agency for risk-averse clients

    Are you finding biz dev harder in 2024 than you expected?







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss the increased risk aversion and prolonged decision-making processes among clients and prospects in the agency industry, especially in light of economic uncertainties and the 2024 U.S. election. They emphasize the importance of agencies adapting by providing project-based work and suggest looking into using AI for optimizing tasks and offering new services.







    The conversation also explores the benefits of flexible, short-term engagements and the potential pitfalls of long-term contracts.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “Something that agencies frankly should always be thinking about, but particularly in times like this is how do you offer less risky solutions, or at least things that appear less risky to the prospect if you want to close business in the near term. And, a lot of agencies don’t want to hear this, but that means doing more project work.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “The flip side of a short-term engagement is it gives you the opportunity to know if they’re the right client for you because you’re not married to them for the next year.”







    * Chip Griffin: “I think that agencies by and large today would say that they are more fearful of AI than hopeful for it. I think that is a giant mistake.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “I don’t think the industry is quite here yet, but I think Artificial Intelligence is going to offer agencies a really big opportunity in the next couple of years.”









    Related









    * Is business slowing down for agencies in 2023?







    * How to build accurate PR agency project budgets







    * The challenges of project-focused agencies











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin.







    Gini Dietrich: And I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: And Gini, I really don’t have an opening today, so I guess…







    Gini Dietrich: I was waiting patiently.







    Chip Griffin: Yeah, I, I just, I, I couldn’t come up with something on the fly today. I don’t know whether my brain’s not working or what, but we’ll just, we’ll just have to dive right into the topic without that witty opening that I always have.







    Gini Dietrich: Witty is in quotes.







    Chip Griffin: Wow. Wow. Already taking shots at me in less than 30 seconds.







    Gini Dietrich: You’re welcome.







    Chip Griffin: Well, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it. Probably well deserved today since, you know, I couldn’t even come up with my bad opening. So what we are going to talk about though, is whether our, our clients out there in agency land are taking longer to make decisions and, and more risk averse when it comes to spending their organization’s money and what that means for agencies.







    Here in, in mid 2024.







    Gini Dietrich: Yeah. I mean, we talked earlier this year about how crappy 2023 was genera...

    Building an agency culture where everyone can take time off

    Building an agency culture where everyone can take time off

    “If an employee is too critical to take vacation, your problem isn’t the employee.”







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss the importance of ensuring that no one in an agency, including owners and key employees, is too indispensable to take time off. They explore the belief versus reality of being irreplaceable, and provide actionable strategies for agency owners to create processes allowing team members to take vacations without disrupting operations.







    The conversation touches on company culture, employee empowerment, and the benefits of experimenting with practices like four-day work weeks and dedicated days for business focus.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “No one person should be that critical to the operation that they can’t step away for a week or even two, and be completely disconnected.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “One of the things I like to see agency owners do is have one day a week where they’re totally solely focused on the business. And if you get in that habit, people are already accustomed to not having you for a day. They’re going to be okay for four more days as well.”







    * Chip Griffin: “As the owner, you don’t have to solve all the problems yourself. If you have team members, you should be tapping into them.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “Coach your team to delegate and do the right kinds of things so that they’re not micromanagers and they’re not control freaks. And that goes for the owners too.”









    Related









    * Should you force employees to take time off?







    * What to do when you feel burned out as an agency owner







    * Setting your agency’s PTO, vacation, and leave policies







    * ALP 25: Unlimited PTO policies for agencies











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin.







    Gini Dietrich: And I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: And Gini, you know, I really want to take a week off here. But, you know, the show would not go on. So







    Gini Dietrich: that is true. The show would not go on without you.







    Chip Griffin: Well, so maybe this isn’t the best example for our conversation today.







    So what we’re going to talk about today is a line that a friend of mine had in a LinkedIn post and the rest of the post is not really relevant to the conversation. But, as part of it, he had the line: “If an employee is too critical to take vacation, your problem isn’t the employee.” And that just really resonated with me because of the number of times that we have conversations with agency owners, where they either say







    they have a team member they can’t have, can’t afford to have them take time off or they need to really tightly regulate when they take time off or the owner themselves feels like they can’t take time off because the agency can’t live without them. And I,

    Setting honest expectations for your agency employees from the start

    Setting honest expectations for your agency employees from the start

    Don’t sugarcoat it when writing up a job description or interviewing potential new hires – painting a rosy picture that doesn’t match reality will only cause you headaches down the road.







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss the importance of being open and honest about work expectations at your agency, including hours, tasks, and working conditions. They emphasize the need for clear communication during the hiring process to ensure the best fit between you and your employees.







    None of this gives you license to abuse your team members, but it is better to acknowledge things that new employees may not like before you bring them on board and have a much bigger problem to solve.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “If you are an agency where you’re expected to work 60 hours a week because it’s the only way that the business can make ends meet, at least be honest with your employees about that up front.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “Expecting employees to work 60 hours a week consistently is not going to fly. You shouldn’t be working more than 40 hours a week and they shouldn’t either.”







    * Chip Griffin: “It’s not just around the number of hours or the working conditions. If there are other things that you know people have had concerns about, you should get that out on the table during the hiring process.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “Line out what your expectations are, and then you will attract the kind of people that are a good fit for your business. And then you as the agency owner won’t be frustrated because they’re not living up to your expectations.”









    Resources









    * David C. Baker’s LinkedIn post









    Related









    * Recruiting the best talent for your agency







    * Are you trying to hire unicorns for your agency?







    * ALP 21: How to hire agency employees











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin.







    Gini Dietrich: And I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: And Gini, I expect that we are going to take the next 60 hours to record this and get this show exactly perfect. We’re just going to keep going and going and going. No breaks, no sleep, no snacks, nothing.







    Gini Dietrich: You will not want to see me at the end of 60 hours if that’s the case.







    Not good.







    Chip Griffin: Yeah, I, I’m not sure I look good at the start of the 60 hours, so probably another 60 wouldn’t be good.







    Gini Dietrich: I would be cranky, hungry, tired.







    Chip Griffin: But, but it, it does bring about the, the question, I mean, the agency industry has a well-deserved reputation built up over many decades.







    Gini Dietrich: Yes.







    Chip Griffin: For often being a very difficult place to work.

    Agencies need to adapt to effectively manage Gen Z employees

    Agencies need to adapt to effectively manage Gen Z employees

    Gen Z employees tend to have a different (not worse!) approach to their jobs than the older generations do. Which means that as an owner, you need to evolve the way you communicate with and manage them.







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss those differences and the importance of effective communication and feedback in managing and leading. They highlight the need for two-way feedback and setting clear expectations, which will in turn foster a culture of trust and creativity in the workplace.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “Because the nature of work has changed, it has changed the relationship between employers and particularly those newer to the workforce employees.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “Gen Z are making demands in their professional lives that are annoying for us. Because it’s not the way that we did things, nor the way that we do things now. But I think it’s really smart and really healthy.”







    * Chip Griffin: “I don’t have to be tethered to a physical desk. Our generation views that as a freedom, but if you never grew up in that fashion, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like a tether that doesn’t ever allow you to fully disconnect.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “Feedback is probably the number one thing. Once you do that, you start to prioritize the soft skills, you start to unbox creativity, and you start to create a level of trust that I think a lot of organizations don’t have.”









    Resources









    * Creating space for Gen Z to ‘ask everything’ will strengthen your team. Here’s how.









    Related









    * Managing Gen Z agency employees (and anyone else with less experience than you)







    * CWC 17: Ann McCain on hiring and working with millennial PR professionals











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin.







    Gini Dietrich: And I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: And Gini, I think we’re going to talk about one of our favorite subjects today, Gen Z.







    Yay! Because who doesn’t? I mean, you know, part of it is, you know, the old, we get older and so it’s all get off my lawn.







    And, you know, we, when we were young, we had to walk uphill to school both ways, but I think there are indeed some differences with Gen Z that are worth discussing. And in part, this is based on our experiences, but in part, it’s also based off of an article that we’re linked to in the the show notes. it’s titled “Creating space for Gen Z to ask everything will strengthen your team and here’s how.” And so basically, what we’re going to focus on today is Gen Z and how you communicate with them effectively, how you can provide useful and meaningful feedback because They are, they are a little bit different than previous generations in how they approach work.







    Gini Dietrich: Yeah. I mean, I think with our generation and even a little bit younger,

    • 17 min
    Should you start your own agency because your boss is making too much off of your work?

    Should you start your own agency because your boss is making too much off of your work?

    It must be nice to own an agency because then you’re earning the big bucks, right?







    Many agency employees complain that clients pay so much more than they are making, so the owner must be reaping a huge profit.







    It makes it easy to think that setting out on your own and working for clients directly is the right answer.







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss the realities of quitting your job to start your own agency, emphasizing the importance of understanding the costs of owning a business, and how as an owner it’s up to you to communicate transparently to your team how revenue is not the same as profit.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “Revenue does not equal what’s in your pocket.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “In most cases, your agency owner boss is not making any money.”







    * Chip Griffin: “Too often, it’s not so much that the employees feel that they’re being underpaid. It’s that they feel like they are not being respected sufficiently.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “It used to really bother me that I would train interns to have them go work for other agencies. And then I realized that if we treated young professionals well, we were going to see that benefit us in the long run.”









    Related









    * What to think about when starting your agency







    * ALP 1: Starting your own agency











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin







    Gini Dietrich: and I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: And Gini, you know, today I think that, that I’m going to just, I’m going to ditch you on this podcast. I’m going to go it on my own. I’m going to, because I can make so much more money. I can take all of the money that we’re currently getting for this podcast and I can take it all for myself.







    Yes, you can. That’s how it works, right?







    Gini Dietrich: Totally. How it works is exactly how it works. We, we saw a, conversation on Threads of all places, about a young professional who said my salary was 52, 500 at a creative agency. I asked for a raise due to my higher performance. Management said, we’ll think about it.







    I left the job, started my own creative business. I made 56, 000 in the next six months. There’s often more risk staying where people don’t respect you, he says. What’s amazing about this conversation, though, are the comments, because, you know, you’re, you’re not supposed to read the comments, but. They’re pretty amazing on this one.







    Chip Griffin: The comments were absolutely fabulous on this.







    Gini Dietrich: Yeah.







    Chip Griffin: And the original poster, you know, got into the back and forth of some of them as well. Which doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the original poster just sits back and lets the comments fly. Yeah. But in this case, they decided to engage. And look, I mean, this is probably true of some of our listeners, right?







    Maybe they,

    • 22 min
    Should your small agency hire senior-level pros?

    Should your small agency hire senior-level pros?

    Hiring seasoned professionals sounds like it will solve a lot of headaches you have as an agency owner. But will it?







    In this episode, Chip and Gini discuss the importance of balancing senior and junior hires in agencies, highlighting the pros and cons of primarily staffing with senior level talent.







    They emphasize the need for clear expectations, relevant experience, and the importance of understanding what each hire truly needs to do before you commit to senior level hires.







    Key takeaways









    * Chip Griffin: “Part of the challenge is because it’s expensive, it means that you also need to be expensive to your clients. So if you’re going to staff with high level, high priced people, that’s okay. As long as you can command the appropriate rates.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “When you have senior level employees, not only do you have to pay them what they would command anywhere else, but you have to pay yourself the same or more than they’re getting.”







    * Chip Griffin: “If you can’t let go, please, please do not waste your money on a senior hire because the last thing you want is a senior hire that you don’t even allow to work at a senior level because you felt compelled to micromanage them.”







    * Gini Dietrich: “It’s going to evolve, it’s going to change, as you grow, as your business matures, so be okay with that fluidity.”









    Related









    * Questions solo PR pros must ask before hiring first employee







    * ALP 34: How to help junior agency employees grow







    * Be smart about titles at your agency











    View Transcript

    The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.







    Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin.







    Gini Dietrich: And I’m Gini Dietrich.







    Chip Griffin: Gini, I think we need to go out and hire some senior citizens. They’ll just, they’ll do this podcast for us.







    Gini Dietrich: Okay.







    Chip Griffin: I would say right after this, but we don’t do that, that little Diddy music here anymore because we just have it before anyway, but no, not senior citizens, but we are, we are going to talk about seniors.







    And that’s senior hires and whether you’re professional, whether you should hire and staff your agency with primarily senior level talent. And I know this is something that’s very popular amongst some small agencies, particularly as they’re getting started. Maybe they’re getting started with a couple of partners with real experience.







    And so they’re, you know, it’s all senior on that basis. It might be that as you hire, you want to hire people who are like you or closer to you and experience so that you can offer that same, that same level of service to your clients by having people who have that level of experience. And there are certainly some pros to that, but there are also some significant cons that you need to think of before you have an agency that is staffed almost entirely by seniors or completely by seniors.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

LK_red_5 ,

Very informative

Very useful information on improving agency operations

Mike_Rosenberg ,

Informative with specific tips

Very informative for agency owners with a diverse list of topics. I love the perspective that Gini and Chip provide and they alway provide some specific example of what to do. Plus their banter is entertaining.

Ken Schulz ,

Consultant

This is a program I look forward to each week. With each episode I'm learning new things or being reminded of things I know but should be paying more attention to in my day-to-day. It's a terrific guide for any agency owner looking to grow revenues and build stronger businesses.

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