‘Tis the season for reflection and planning about the ad agency and where you want to go in the new year.

ad agency retreat

Think different. Break the patterns.

Every year, we help more agencies develop their growth plans than any other firm in the world. We work with the world’s best managed agencies in the areas of growth, new business, operational improvement, agency and management teamwork to learning how agencies can work better with today’s new breed of clients.

The future for agencies will belong to those agencies who brand themselves best, enter into new service areas such as branding and consulting at the right time, don’t competing where there are few home-field advantages, and avoid getting checkmated by quicker cheaper competitors on the tactical side and consultants on the strategic side. In the future, agencies will discover that there will be no winners left standing in the middle. Agencies will be forced to move one way or the other. It all starts with understanding where you are, where you need to go, and how to get there.

It starts with creating a vision.

It’s time to pull your best and brightest together and develop a vision for your agency. We typically help ad agency leadership approach the planning and vision question three ways:

1. Focus On Growth:

The first way is new business oriented, since so much planning for agencies typically starts and stops with getting more new business. We run a standard new business planning session in one day that agencies love. The day is built around a basic planning track that cracks open the best growth options and gets a management team to decide together how best to solve new business. We call this the DayOne. It involves a half day of one-on-one meetings with the senior team so their concerns get heard, followed by a group session focused on new business growth. The objective is to build a strong new business plan for the new year by the end of the meeting which the team commits to execute.

2. Focus On Change:

The second approach is more of a general management meeting. New business is only one item on the agenda, there are other issues that are very important like structure, profitability, M&A, adding new talent, expanding PR, growing subsidiaries, etc. We work with the management team one-on-one to get their feedback to build an agenda, get ownership direction on where they want to take the meeting, and then structure a one or two-day meeting with sub-groups perhaps, focused on the most important management concerns. This is often an off-site meeting with a dinner the night before to set up the teams and the time schedule and then launch the program the next day. The session is very popular, since agencies usually don’t focus on themselves as much as they should. By putting this time on the most important client in the agency– the agency itself– is a welcome change. We refer to this as the Agency Retreat.

3. Focus On Operations:

The third way is moderating a one-day session that outlines changes in the industry in a way that allows you to pick and choose what applies to your unique needs and goals. You benefit from our experience of visiting and working with over 5,000 agencies. After your management team develops a common understanding of what can be accomplished, we work with you to identify productivity issues and opportunities within your current operations. Specific client service issues are surfaced, product development lead-times are reviewed and agency definitions of service and quality are clarified. Finally, the consultant then works with your management team to evaluate how a range of operational solutions can address these strategic needs. A plan for action is created that allows you to build on the day’s experience. This is built around a standard planning session with an outside moderator, who is very experienced in the agency world, providing perspective, insight, help and a neutral POV.

When it comes to ad agency planning, we have been doing this successfully for over 30 years. Call Bob at 412.897.9329 and let’s start your planning off the right way.


Photo and copy idea by gilad