How Defining Purpose Propels Digital Agency Growth

By Jason Swenk on December 28, 2020

Are you struggling to find your purpose in the marketing agency world? Do you find yourself doing all the work, taking all the risks, and feeling like you should have all of the early rewards as well? Are the clients you’re taking on reflecting the vision you have for your agency? There is a lot of joy to be found in owning your own marketing agency, and it is most often found when values are aligned.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why being prepared and reinvesting are important.
  • Identifying your marketing agency’s purpose.
  • Three ways to find joy in your agency again.

I talked to Sean DallasKidd, Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Demonstrate, a boutique agency that provides public relations and creative content. At just over one-year-old, Demonstrate has two offices and close to 20 people on its team. Sean talks about the ways he was able to find such quick success with his agency while continuing to enjoy the work and the atmosphere he has created.

Why Being Prepared and Reinvesting Are Important

While Sean and his partners only started Demonstrate a year ago, they were hardly newcomers to the agency industry. Sean worked for a number of agencies and in the marketing departments of large companies before taking on the endeavor. “We got lucky by being prepared, willing to invest in the business, and not letting greed get in the way.” He adds that other components he and his partners brought to Demonstrate were a strong network, good momentum,

Often, new agency owners find themselves doing the bulk of the work and making the bulk of the investment. So, it is not uncommon for an owner to decide he or she should keep all of the early rewards. This is often a mistake, as it gets in the way of investments that should be made in order to help the business grow. Further, if the single focus of the business is to make money, it prevents an agency owner from building the team and attracting the clients that will help your agency succeed and grow.

Identifying Your Marketing Agency’s Purpose

Sean and his partners spend a lot of time helping their clients identify the purpose of their brand. In order to do this effectively, the team at Demonstrate had to identify its own brand purpose. Sean says, in order to do this, they started by asking themselves two questions:

  1. What would you like to do every day?
  2. What do you never want to do?

“On your slowest week,” Sean says, “You’re going to be focused on your work at least five-sevenths of the time. If you don’t like your work, you won’t enjoy your life.”

Three Ways to Find Joy in Your Agency Again

How do you make your agency something you enjoy, rather than something that merely pays the bills? Sean offers the following tips.

  1. Is your team on board? Use the same filter when choosing team members as you do when choosing clients. For Demonstrate, that filter is whether the individual or company’s beliefs and desires align well with the vision they have for the agency.
  2. Who is in control? Sean says there is a decision to make: You can choose to define your agency by selecting the type of work you want to do and the clients you want to work for. Or, you can let your clients define what type of agency you are. Staying in control of who and what you’re willing to take on is an important part of enjoying the work you do.
  3. Don’t get stagnant. Losing passion for your work is a quick way to lose your grip on the agency culture you’re trying to create. Sean believes that continuing to grow, learn, and develop relationships with your team and clients is the way to create a more dynamic business.

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