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EPISODE 5 | How to Run a Truly Successful Digital Marketing Agency with Erik Huberman

Hawke Media CEO Shares What Makes a Successful Agency





How do you grow a small agency of 7 people to a $100 million outfit with over 200 employees across North America? Hawke Media CEO and serial entrepreneur Erik Huberman did just that with his own agency. With a portfolio of incredible industry awards to his name, Erik has managed campaigns for household brands like Red Bull, Verizon, and Alibaba and found some time in his busy schedule to recently become a pilot.


Between running a successful digital marketing agency and earning a pilot’s license, Erik graciously found time in his schedule to join us for a talk about his views on success and entrepreneurship. Here are some key takeaways from his talk with Tim and Marcus:



Prefer to Watch? Check Out Our Talk with Erik Here:



Erik’s Tips for How to Run a Successful Digital Marketing Agency


1: Define Your Value

If you were asked to define your agency’s unique value in one sentence, could you do it on the spot? Defining the value you provide shapes every aspect of your business culture.


Erik’s value proposition for Hawke Media: Create accessibility to great marketing for everyone. The Hawke team and their processes allow for their clients to better market themselves without having to jump through digital hoops to make killer campaigns a reality.


2: Be an Expert Marketer

Beyond unique value propositions, successful agencies need to deliver on their claims. The digital world is flooded by “wantrepreneurs” that attempt to sell snake oil with a digital marketing agency label on the bottle. Your agency’s ability to credibly fulfill your value propositions acts as the quality seal that separates your business from the pretenders.


Credibility grows your reputation, attracts higher-quality clients, and creates a culture that drives performance. However, this raises an important question: How do you demonstrate that you’re an expert marketer?


Erik outlines four simple ways to do this:

  • Be accessible to your clients

  • Be easy to work with

  • Strive to be the best at what you do

  • Offer transparency and avoid gatekeeping


Excellent communication, performance, and transparency all contribute to building a credible foundation for your business. When these are synchronized in execution, you can position your agency to scale successfully.


3: Align Your Team with Your Values

Your team supports your ability to keep pushing success at your agency. When they’re aligned with your values, your business is humming at the right pace and you can provide a superior quality of service to your clients.


Treat your hiring process as a value alignment exercise. Ask potential candidates questions that relate directly to your agency’s core values. You can easily train someone who has less experience but the right mindset over someone who has years of experience but will cause friction in your company culture.


4: Build Client Strategies Around Awareness, Nurturing, and Trust

Erik’s upcoming book, “The Hawke Method,” advocates that agency owners adopt a new 3 pillars for framing their strategies: Awareness, Nurturing, and Trust. When campaigns reach audiences at each of the three phases of this journey, you can generate better conversions, move them more easily to the decision stage, and retain them after becoming a trusting customer.


5: Market Yourself

What’s the easiest way to grow your agency’s footprint while also showcasing your marketing abilities? Market yourself! Practicing what you preach illustrates your authenticity and lets your potential clients preview your methodology and strategic mindset during the presale.


The One Big Thing: Don’t Chase the Agency Life for Glamor and Comfort

Erik closed out his episode warning aspiring agency owners to not chase the agency industry to satisfy a get-rich-quick fantasy. Rather, as we know, running an agency is hard work. You have to enjoy making high-stakes business decisions, solving complex problems, and managing the countless moving parts of an organization.


Don’t Start an Agency if You’re Not a Good Marketer

Marketers need to substantiate the claims they make to their clients. Sales and fulfillment are two sides of the same coin, and an agency needs to excel at each if building a successful business is the goal.


Don’t Get Into the Agency Business to Get Rich

Successful individuals don’t start businesses to make a quick buck. They find a way to provide tangible value to others, make good on their mission, and communicate their unique selling points excellently. When you lead with value, the revenue will follow.


The Best Time to Plan Your Next Milestone is Yesterday

Client-service business models like digital agencies are sustained through growth. Set your next milestone as you’re working on your current big-picture objectives so that you can continue building toward success. Finish lines are rest stops on the entrepreneurial highway.