What I Learn By Visiting Advertising Agencies.


I like speaking to AAF and AMA Chapters. I have spoken in Amarillo, Fort Worth, Louisville, Jackson MS, New Orleans, Great Falls, Duluth, Biloxi, Mobile, Norfolk, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Little Rock and other spots like Nashville, Louisville, Omaha, Lincoln, and Tucson to name a few.

Every time I travel to a town I have some down time. Most likely in the morning prior to presenting. I can do emails in my hotel room anytime but I can’t meet people in whatever town everyday. So I send out emails to ad agencies in those cities saying I am coming to town.

I have conducted agency searches for Jenny Craig, Jacuzzi, Villeroy & Boch, Toyo Tires and other companies and coming to your town I write. Have anytime for a coffee I ask?

The majority are silent. It always surprises me. Over a decade of speaking and reaching out to people across the country.

Are agencies shy? I doubt it. I think it is more that agencies don’t like to get disturbed. They like the status quo which a precarious in changing New Normal.

Some agencies meet with me and the journey begins.

I come in and often get a nice journal to blog in, a pen for sure, warm coffee and a smile or two and most often much more.

I learn what agencies have ping pong tables, free pizza lunch, a dog free work environment, long tables with only ear plugs separating people, beer pulls that work and motivate.

I visited an agency and saw a wall with 4 draft pulls of different beers. The bar opened at 4 for any employee that wanted free beer. Scan your employee card and if your time sheet is up to date you get a free beer. If it isn’t you get frustration. Advertising is still a business.

In most smart agencies the principals are not in the game but on top of the game. Check out Why Agency Principals Need to Be Out of the Business.

“Our CEO would have been here to say hello but she is at a Conference.” How much of the time is she out of the office? “About 50% of the time at networking events and Conferences and speaking events.”

Networking and speaking to get New Business. Imagine that. When is the last time you spoke somewhere?

I also learn about how much digital work agencies do. In some places it is as low as 10% and this is the 25th year of the internet, and some places it is 100% and some places in between.

I also have learned that the average size of an agency in the U.S. is 7 people and that there are smart people going through most agency doors no matter how small of a building.

Some of them make a lot of money and some are lost.

I have also learned that smart and successful agencies have management that is very focused when it comes to New Business. They don’t chase stretches. They dump the clients that are a mess. And they only chase what they can win. That’s why they are where they are.

And that’s why I like to travel.

Can I come visit?

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Read How Agencies Can Get More New Business

Watch The Secrets of Agency New Business


3 thoughts on “What I Learn By Visiting Advertising Agencies.

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