Below is a list (in progress) of agency resources and tools that I have personally vetted. I will only recommend resources books I have read and software I have used and benefitted from. It’s taken me time and effort to find these resources, so I hope by sharing them I will make your agency journey a little easier by providing them. Some of these links will be affiliate links (so you can actually support the podcast by clicking on the link and buying a product or service).
Agency: Starting a Creative Firm in the Age of Digital Marketing (Advertising Age)
This is a really great book. Listen to episode 17 for info on how Murmur Creative was inspired to create a vision statement because of this book. Or listen to episode 21 an interview with the author, Rick Webb.
The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business
A great book about pitching. While many of the examples are from very large companies with large budgets, it is still packed with great advice.
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
This book is not geared specifically to agencies, but the Entrepreneurial Operating System that is outlined in the book is an amazing way to start systemizing and structuring your agency for growth. I recommend highly!
The Marketing Agency Blueprint: The Handbook for Building Hybrid PR, SEO, Content, Advertising, and Web Firms
This book is must if you offer digital marketing services to your clients. It also has lots of great agency advice for any growing agency. At times it may feel a little dated (Published in 2011) but the core teachings are super valuable.
Design Is a Job
If you have not yet been introduced to Mike Monteiro and his passionate and profane take on design, you are missing out. You don’t need to be a designer to love this book. I’m not and I loved it. Mike is a straight shooter and this book is a must-read for any creative agency owner or freelancer.
Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) Ths is kinda the user experience/user interface design bible. It’s also written in super friendly easy-to-understand language. If your agency touches design in any way–read this!
Made to Lead: A Pocket Guide to Managing Marketing & Creative Teams
Super quick read by Creative Agency Podcast guest Karl Sakas. Wise advice for creative agency leaders. Good to pull out when you need a little leadership inspiration.
Agency Tools and Services
Google docs, sheets, calendar, and file storage. You’d be hard-pressed to find an agency doesn’t use at least a few of these tools.
GatherContent is currently a sponsor, but I’ve been using this tool at our agency for over a year. It’s awesome for managing, creating, and collaborating on content for a website build. It totally eliminates sending copy edit emails with attachments and it makes an otherwise chaotic process much simpler. We use it every day.
Really it’s hard to imagine life without Proposify. We used to create our proposals in Adobe illustrator and it was a huge pain. Now Proposify makes it super easy to throw together a proposal and get it digitally signed. Also, the people that run it are super nice!
We’ve tried quite a few project management tools and Basecamp 3 excels as being a great way to create project hubs. It makes it easy to store project-related files, notes, communications, and more all in one place.
Screaming frog has many uses. Basically, it scrapes data from websites. If you build websites it’s a great tool for creating content maps, mapping 301 redirects, or just estimating the size of a website. We use it constantly.
Awesome diagramming tool that’s easy to use on the fly. We use this at Murmur to create visual sitemaps of websites before we enter the wireframe stage. This program takes almost no time to learn. Easy to share with clients.
I use Blubrry to host my podcast files and track subscribership. It works great. Highly recommended if you or one of your clients is setting up a podcast. (Get a free month with this link).
Don’t Get Me Started
Interviews with movers and shakers at big agencies like Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Weiden & Kennedy and more.
This is a free online conference that was nice enough to invite me to speak. They have some great speakers. The woman who started this conference runs an agency in Singapore.
I’ve heard great things about this conference from the agency owners I’ve interviewed. I have not attended Owner Summit but would like to. Not sure if they’ll make an exception for a non-owner though. 😉
Web Design Resources
Are you doing “all the things?” This list is a great resource for building and maintaining a rock-solid design process.
Articles/Blog Posts on Agency Growth
Moonlighting managers ain’t got no time for bullshit
Love this article from Signal v. Noise.
7 magic words to kill scope creep by Karl Sakas