Podcast: Creating Agency Partnerships That Grow Business – Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan - DVP

This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Drew McLellan joins Erik and Tim to discuss how to find agency partners and create relationships with them that will help grow business.

There are many pluses of working with agency partners and one of them is their broad knowledge of marketing strategies. Drew says,

“And one of the advantages that agency folks have is that we do have to know a little bit about a lot. And when we are building strategy for clients, we have to know enough in terms of knowing we’re going to pull this lever or turn this knob, or do this or do that, or these three things work together really well. Even if we can’t do it all, we understand how it works.”

Agencies can often offer timely solutions to issues that internal marketing departments just cannot. Drew says,

“One of the benefits of working with an agency is the speed and nimbleness that agencies can bring to a problem that an internal marketing department simply cannot. There’s too much corporate red tape. There’s too many committee decisions. They have a smaller staff in most cases.”

The most important aspect of an agency and client partnership is the relationships that are developed. Building strong, lasting, beneficial partnerships requires a great deal of work from both the agency and the client sides. Drew explains,

“You have to come to this relationship on both sides with a willingness to be humble and honest and really listen to one another and recognize that there’s nothing cookie-cutter about this relationship. That you have two unique entities with unique people in each of them that are coming together to form a partnership. That takes effort and time and commitment and a modicum of trust. Yes, trust can be earned over time, but you have to start by assuming everyone has the best of intentions. And then talking about it whenever you get a sign that that is not the case.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about agency partnerships and how they can benefit a business.

 About the Guest:

Drew McLellan has worked in advertising for 30+ years and started his own agency, McLellan Marketing Group in 1995 after a five-year stint at Y&R and still actively runs the agency.

He also owns and runs Agency Management Institute (AMI), which serves thousands of agencies small to mid-sized agencies (advertising, digital, marketing, media and PR) every year, so they can increase their AGI, attract better clients and employees, mitigate the risks of being self-employed in a such volatile business and best of all — let the agency owner actually enjoy the perks of agency ownership.

AMI is the only agency network that is run by an active agency owner.  It offers:

-Public workshops for agency owners, leaders and account service staff

-Owner peer networks (like a Vistage group or AAAA’s forums)

-Private coaching/consulting for agency owners

-Annual primary research with CMOs and client decision makers about their work with agencies

-The highly praised podcast Build A Better Agency

-The only conference built for small to mid-sized agencies – the Build A Better Agency Summit

Drew often appears in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, AdAge, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him “one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.”

He’s also written several books, the most recent being Sell with Authority (January 2020). The latest book has garnered rave reviews and has been the guidebook for agency growth and business development in today’s world.

Drew also speaks at leading agency and marketing conferences like Inbound, Content Marketing World and MAICON and is often cited in agency centric content for his expertise in the industry.

When he’s not hanging out with clients or agency owners and their staff, Drew spends time with his daughter and following his World Series winning Dodgers.

Drew has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota but alas, he cannot remember their fight song.