How To Fire Your Ad Agency.


I got a call from a client friend of mine the other day. He asked me “How Do I Fire My Agency?” I had never been asked that before. I have been fired by a client or two when I worked for agencies so I know how bad news feels.

I have also met many agencies while conducting agency searches for clients and I know that some agencies deserve to be fired.

He shared that the agency had been with them for a number of years.

I immediately said that you should do it in person. They aren’t local he replied. Then by phone and a letter but not just an email I added. I have talked with him many times over recent years about the agency in question and he had shared his frustrations that they weren’t staffed correctly and had become order takers.

I guess the chicken had come home to roost. Continue reading


I’ve Been Aged Out Of My Job.


I heard a term the other day that I had never heard before.“I’ve Been Aged Out of My Job.”

I have never heard or thought of that before. Maybe because I work for myself and if I aged out of the business I wouldn’t be writing this.

I have the same internal voice that I did when I was a kid. It never goes away. At times the volume goes up or down. It always goes forward even with bumps in the road.

Sure, I have heard about hiring biases for older folks which is totally true but you shouldn’t let companies define your age or your journey. You can always turn your knowledge into a job by working for yourself. You only have to be comfortable with jumping off tall buildings without a parachute and hoping you catch one before you hit the ground.

Not for the faint of heart. Continue reading

How to On Board a New Agency.


Or a new client.

It’s all the same from both sides. It’s about liking each other, trusting, dependability, availability, watching backs, and responsiveness.

You can’t get that without establishing a strong relationship.

That is the end result that you both want.

Correct on boarding is key to great outcomes.

I have done many reviews for many clients.

When I complete reviews I tell clients that I am a bad guy and they are the good guy. That they should call the winning agency instead of me.

I make the hard calls to the agencies that didn’t win. They always want to know what they did wrong which is very difficult to answer. Closing between good agencies is often a nuanced decision. Eliminating a weak agency is simple. Continue reading

Why It Doesn’t Matter Why Your Agency Wasn’t Selected.


Sure it does in the short term but it doesn’t mean much in the long term if your agency is committed to your vision.

I have conducted a fair amount of agencies searches over the years. Jenny Craig, Jacuzzi, Toyo Tires and Villeroy & Boch to name a few.

I first met a search consultant when I worked on a major national brand that spent mid eight figures. I was a fairly young lad. I got a lot older fast.

I liked the search consultant. I thought he had a great day job.
He told me that his world was 50% hunting and 50% working. I have learned from that because I have worked for myself for over a decade.

I have always believed that is how agency principals should also live their days.
We lost the business but I never forgot the lesson. Continue reading

Why The Career World is Flat in the New Normal


I remember being in elementary school in downtown Toronto and my teachers would do a history lesson about how many people in the Middle Ages or before thought the world was flat.

Many countries believed that their navy could fall off the end of the world.

How could that be? There were Portuguese students in my class.

I didn’t think it seemed feasible at the time. Where would they go I thought?

I got an email the other day from somebody who had read one of my blogs.

She shared that she had moved to my hood from somewhere else to take a new job. Then she also shared that her employer just told her that her job was eliminated. She had only worked there for a couple of months.

Her job just sailed off the edge of the world. Continue reading

Why Agency Case Studies Are A Blessing And A Curse.


I know from the many times that I have conducted agency reviews that clients want the security of agency case studies.

Experience is one on the key ways that agencies get on the short list.

It provides reassurance for the client’s management. Some talking points when they bump into their boss on your way to the bathroom and they get to do their sixty second update.

They tell me that yes I am considering them because they have done great things for similar clients with similar problems and have had success. At the start of a search you can’t tell your boss that the agency has great chemistry because you haven’t met them.

They can also talk about the passion of your agency, if your agency sent them a first class submission that they are proud enough to share.

The good thing for those agencies is that you have what clients want. Clients want experience.

That’s the blessing and here is the curse.

Continue reading

Do Traditional Agencies Have a Place in the New Normal?


Yes but the bucket is leaking fast.

There are some clients that are comfortable with what you and they know.

They are looking for your kind of solution.

They grew up with that.

Nothing wrong with that today but wrong for your shop and employees tomorrow.

These types of clients may have a digital agency in place and they spend some time there but not too much.

They have too much to do already. After all, they have fewer people supporting them.

Many clients don’t have the time capacity to change.

Their offices aren’t fancy. Continue reading