This week, Marcus and Tim virtually sat down with Paul Roetzer - one of the foremost leading minds on artificial intelligence in marketing. Before he emerged as the AI authority in the industry, he was a successful agency owner for 20 years and is the author of thought-provoking titles like The Marketing Blueprint and The Marketing Performance Blueprint.
In Agency Talk’s first two-part episode, Paul covers his career as an agency owner, leading to when he ultimately sold his business to found the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute. Check out Part 2 for the full discussion on AI!
Watch Paul Roetzer’s First Episode of Agency Talk Here:
3 Ingredients for a Value-Driven Agency
Paul was inspired to start his own agency when thinking of ways to support small businesses that could not afford the traditional agency pricing model based around billable hours. For many agencies, this might appear counterintuitive. How do you remain profitable without billable hours?
As he assembled his business plan, Paul set a clear goal: Achieve economy of scale on the production and deliveries of services. After quickly growing his agency into a six-figure business, this model led him to become Hubspot’s first Partner Agency in 2008. He accomplished this by creating his model on three core concepts:
Adhere to a set pricing model
Train and certify the right people to do perform highly specific tasks at peak efficiency
These three elements all support one another. A standardized range of services backed by an actionable process infrastructure can allow your agency to more accurately price the value of its team’s expertise. When the team consists of the right people who can execute specialized tasks at great efficiency, hitting desired turnaround time evolves from an abstract concept to an innate sixth sense.
The End Result: Value
Value-based agencies emphasize the quality of results over the time it took to produce the outcome. When the value is tangible and your client can clearly see how your team has helped their business succeed, the dollar amount on the invoice becomes far less relevant.
By combining the three ingredients for value, your agency can become more accessible to a wider range of small and large businesses. It also allows you to charge less while making more for the value you provide across a longer and stronger client roster.
The One Big Thing: Pursuing Purpose is the Greatest Driver
There’s a reason that the topic of understanding the why behind running an agency has been mentioned in multiple episodes of Agency Talk. Successful entrepreneurs, regardless of the businesses they operate, succeed because they remain committed to a greater purpose beyond revenue.
Consider the why behind your own agency. Why did you start it? Beyond Paul’s marketing expertise and business plan, he was motivated to start his because:
He wanted to enjoy more of the life he wanted
He wanted to enjoy the financial freedom of self-employment
He wanted to make a real impact in others’ lives
Value springs from aligning business objectives and personal goals together. However, there’s no simple formula for this.
Remaining Focused on the Purpose
Whether an agency, a financial firm, a local nonprofit, or anything in between, operating a value-driven business requires a laser focus on your purpose. This may also require saying “no” to what might appear as a can’t-miss opportunity.
Paul was approached by Hubspot to have his agency become their agency or “The Hubspot Agency,” as he said in his talk with Tim and Marcus. Though he likely left a large sum on the table, he says he never regretted saying “no.”
Why say “no” to a major industry brand like Hubspot offering to acquire your agency? For Paul, the answer was clear: He didn’t want to give up his personal and financial freedom.
In the end, his decision proved the right one for him and he was able to successfully sell his agency to another entity and launch the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute. He created his own standard for success, achieved it, and had the security in his purpose to say “no” to an opportunity that another person might view as unthinkable to pass up.
Next week, Paul, Marcus, and Tim discuss AI’s role in the digital marketing industry in-depth in Part 2! Check our episodes page, our YouTube channel, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out when the next episode goes live.