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The Marketing Agency Blueprint: The Handbook for Building Hybrid PR, SEO, Content, Advertising, and Web Firms

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When I started HubSpot in June 2006 with my business partner, Dharmesh Shah, our experiences with marketing agencies led us to almost entirely avoid working with them. In fact, we designed our original business model around selling our marketing software directly to end customers, and developed an internal marketing team that would not be dependent on agency assistance. Our decision to circumvent marketing agencies did not result from questioning their skills or capabilities, but rather from their failure to acknowledge the impending shifts in consumer behavior.

I felt as though many marketing agencies were, and still are, trying to cling onto the Mad Men marketing methodology. They want to sit in richmahogany corner offices with 21-year-old scotch on ice, and brood over their grandiose and flowery advertisement campaigns. They rely too heavily on traditional outbound marketing techniques, such as television advertisements and cold calling, which allow them to safely distance themselves from the nitty-gritty operations side of marketing and direct contact with the end consumer. However, the detached Don Drapers of the marketing world cannot simply rely on creating deep and lofty brand awareness campaigns any longer.

Build a disruptive marketing agency for the modern age

The marketing services industry is on the cusp of a truly transformational period. The old guard, rooted in tradition and resistant to change, will fall and new leaders will emerge. Hybrid marketing agencies that are more nimble, tech savvy, and collaborative will redefine the industry. Digital services will be engrained into the DNA and blended with traditional methods for integrated campaigns. The depth, versatility, and drive of their talent will be the cornerstones of organizations that pursue a higher purpose. The Marketing Agency Blueprint is a practical and candid guide that presents ten rules for building such a hybrid agency.

The new marketing agency model will create and nurture diverse recurring revenue streams through a mix of services, consulting, training, education, publishing, and software sales. It will use efficiency and productivity, not billable hours, as the essential drivers of profitability. Its value and success will be measured by outcomes, not outputs. Its strength and stability will depend on a willingness to be in a perpetual state of change, and an ability to execute and adapt faster than competitors. The Marketing Agency Blueprint demonstrates how to:

  • Generate more qualified leads, win clients with set pricing and service packages, and secure more long-term retainers
  • Develop highly efficient management systems and more effective account teams
  • Deliver greater results and value to clients

This is the future of the marketing services industry. A future defined and led by underdogs and innovators. You have the opportunity to be at the forefront of the transformation.

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