450 episodes

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan.

Build a Better Agency Podcast Drew McLellan

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 268 Ratings

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan.

    The trends that influenced agency AGI in 2023 with Drew and Danyel McLellan

    The trends that influenced agency AGI in 2023 with Drew and Danyel McLellan

    In 2023, about 45% of agencies took an AGI hit — the biggest number we’ve seen for as long as we’ve been tracking agency trends. Last year was tough, but agencies are finally starting to bounce back from growing their AGI.

    With some of our profitability struggles finally behind us, many of you are wondering how to get ahead of the curve once again. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into some of the biggest influencers of agency AGI during this time and what agency owners can learn from the trends.
    We have a ton of data on agency biz dev trends, specialization and niching, client ghosting, and much more. So join us to dive into the data and learn what your agency can be looking out for to help prevent a big AGI hit in the future.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.


    What You Will Learn in This Episode: The work that has been super profitable for agencies in the past year or two The biggest hits to agency AGI Proving ROI to clients is more important than ever Why you need to raise your hourly rate if you haven’t already Finding ways to get more work out of your existing clients Overservicing clients is costing you money Why it might be time to cut some of your staff Clients want more from their agencies, and they’re not afraid to ghost Investing in first-party data and data analysts

    • 40 min
    How agency owners can get ahead of burnout with Eric Recker

    How agency owners can get ahead of burnout with Eric Recker

    Burnout can sneak up on us; before we know it, we’re ready to sell the agency. But before we get to this critical point, there are usually signs and symptoms of burnout, but it’s not always easy to differentiate them from regular day-to-day stress.

    In this week’s episode, I’m talking to Eric Recker about those crucial signs that you might be burning the candle at both ends a little too often and how to turn it around for the better. If we can get ahead of our burnout by identifying that we’re heading in that direction early, there’s so much we can do to help turn it around before we start making rash decisions.
    If your world is starting to feel a little gray, monotonous, or like you’re in the trenches a little too often for your liking, those might be your signs to start going into recovery mode. So join us to learn how agency owners can start recognizing burnout signs and symptoms and how to recover from them.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

    What You Will Learn in This Episode: Is it burnout or business as usual? The importance of having people around you to check in with How to de-crisis yourself if you feel you’re at risk of burnout Turning off the false sense of urgency in your mind Commit to 30 minutes of unstructured quiet Filling yourself back up after being chronically empty for a long time Disrupting your routine to scale burnout recovery A recipe for sustainable recovery that’s realistic and achievable Setting boundaries between work mode and relax mode Bringing burnout recovery tactics to our employees

    • 57 min
    Defining your agency niche to go from a generalist to a specialist with Tyler Samani-Sprunk

    Defining your agency niche to go from a generalist to a specialist with Tyler Samani-Sprunk

    Agency owners like to think they can do it all, but the real gold is in finding and defining your agency niche. To demonstrate, I spoke to Tyler Samani-Sprunk of Simple Strat to get into the head of an agency that learned this lesson the hard way but still did it very well — once they finally committed.

    Tyler shares the false starts and missteps early on as Simple Strat tried half-heartedly to pick a niche without fully committing. He explained how feedback from prospects asking, “What are you really good at?” motivated them to double down on specializing in content marketing for a while before their YouTube channel HubSpot Hacks really gained traction.
    This episode is your sign to finally work on nailing down your niche if you’ve been going back and forth about it for ages. It might seem like you’re limiting your scope, but in reality, you’re opening yourself up to a whole funnel of right-fit clients who need your expertise.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

    What You Will Learn in This Episode: What motivated Simple Strat to start specializing The 3 phases of trying to find their agency niche Why they chose video and HubSpot as their niche Treating cornerstone content as a client in your day-to-day operations When they knew it was working for them How their sales cycle transformed when shifting to thought leadership marketing How content marketing plays a role in content strategy with clients People want to hear from people, not brands Weaving personality into professional content Simple Strat’s biggest mistakes and best decisions in the niching process

    • 49 min
    Proving ROI to clients with AI tools with Jonathon Reilly

    Proving ROI to clients with AI tools with Jonathon Reilly

    Clients increasingly want to know exactly what they’re getting in return for their dollars spent with agencies. This data can be tricky to compile, let alone interpret and visualize in a way the client actually understands. So this week, we’re diving deeper into the ongoing AI conversation to dial in on one thing — how AI tools can prove an agency’s ROI to clients.

    In the episode, our guest, Jonathon Reilly, gives a great overview of how AI can revolutionize this task. The big idea is that AI tools can crunch huge amounts of data and surface valuable insights way faster than a human data analyst could. It allows you to be more responsive to clients, show the impact you’re delivering, and ultimately retain clients longer by demonstrating your value more clearly.
    But it’s not just about reporting — Jonathon thinks AI tools will help agencies be more efficient across the board, from creative ideation to repetitive tasks. The goal isn’t to replace human effort, but to use AI as an assistant that makes us faster and better at our jobs (more ROI for clients).
    Tune in to learn more about how AI tools will level the playing field for small- to mid-sized agencies to bring more value to our clients in a tangible, understandable way.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

    What You Will Learn in This Episode: How AI intersects with data to help agencies prove their worth to clients Helping clients understand the data and numbers Will AI tools remove the need to hire data analysts in the future? Being data savvy to prove ROI Leveraging AI tools to maximize agency efficiency How AI will change the billable hour Starting the conversation with your employees about encouraging the use of AI tools Embrace AI, but with boundaries and structure Getting more educated in the AI landscape How AI tools are leveling the playing field for small- to mid-sized agencies How Akkio works to maximize agency efficiency

    • 51 min
    Methodologies for agency owners to navigate HR issues with Allyns Melendez

    Methodologies for agency owners to navigate HR issues with Allyns Melendez

    As agency owners, we all want to be different. We don’t want to be the boss who is a stickler for punctuality or to feel like we’re micromanaging our employees. But HR issues will inevitably arise, and that’s when the reality check sets in.

    HR issues aren’t always as intense as the term may imply. They could be as small as someone being late to a couple of meetings or an employee missing a deadline one too many times. They’re often small things that build up over time and can balloon into bigger issues — like souring client-agency relationships or diluting the agency’s core values.
    In this week’s episode, Allyns Melendez shares lots of great tips and tricks to help prevent minor HR issues from getting out of control. From leading by example to being a chameleon leader who can shift based on who you’re talking to and what tone is needed, she knows exactly how to help agency owners and leaders resolve nearly any conflict an agency might face.
    Tune in to learn tons of valuable tactics that will make you feel like no employee problem is too big for you to handle.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

    What You Will Learn in This Episode: How HR has stayed surprisingly the same over 100 years How to show up as an agency leader to everybody vs. with individual employees Handling first-time HR issues with an employee What happens when we don’t address bad habits immediately Preparing for difficult one-on-one conversations with agency employees Conflict resolution with agency employees and how to follow up with your plan Why chameleon leadership will help you communicate better Get to know your communication style and how you show up in a room How to ask for candid feedback and make your employees feel safe to do so

    • 56 min
    Why agency owners should start online communities with Drew McLellan

    Why agency owners should start online communities with Drew McLellan

    Online communities are quickly becoming one of the most powerful biz dev tools out there, but there’s etiquette to starting and maintaining one. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are ready, an online community could be your ticket to selling without ever having to actually sell.

    This week, we’re continuing the conversation about online communities vs. online audiences, and the vast benefits they can offer to agency owners. Now that we’ve established the differences between an audience and a community, it’s time to ask ourselves deeper questions about why and how we should start one.
    The main purpose of starting an online community shouldn’t be selling or profiting from its members. But if you’re in it to genuinely help others and create an avenue for collective thought leadership and connection, increased sales are just part of the benefits.
    If you think starting an online community could be the right move for your agency, tune in to this week’s episode of Build a Better Agency.
    For 30+ years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies, and then started his own (which he still owns and runs) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.
    A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

    In This Episode: How to start an online community (who, what, where, why) Are you starting a community for the right reasons? Why you should expect nothing in return from online communities Identifying your target audience What a community leader should provide to community members, and vice versa The main difference between a community and an audience 3 questions to ask yourself before creating a community Consistency wins over complexity in online community building How to benefit from a community without starting one yourself Using online communities as a powerful biz dev tool Qualifying your community members

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
268 Ratings

268 Ratings

kcharper ,

A must-listen for agency owners

I have been listening to this podcast for 3+ years, and it has helped me implement valuable changes for my agency. Drew and his guests give actionable advice and tips, and truly understand an agency owner’s unique issues. Can’t recommend this enough! Thanks Drew!

Arob27___13 ,

Invaluable insight!

This podcast has changed the way I think, manage and operate my agency. Through the help of this podcast, I have been able to take actionable steps towards the huge (almost impossible) vision I have. Thank you Drew and team for what you do!

Anniebec22 ,

Game changer

I first learned about Drew and AMI last year, when a friend and fellow PR agency owner attended the Money Matters workshop. She told me it was literally a game changer and paid for itself based on the changes she implemented after attending. Since then I have followed the podcast, joined the Facebook page and incorporated multiple best practices into my firm, which celebrates it’s 15th anniversary this year. The end-of-year worksheets, planning, and goal setting have been fantastic and I’m eager to incorporate more AMI teachings in 2024. Hoping to attend the Money Matters workshop myself in a couple of months!

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