“Brands struggle to find the right marketing agencies. Agencies struggle to find the right brands. AgencySparks is the matchmaker bridging the gap between brands and agencies.”
This was the idea that Joe Koufman, founder and CEO of AgencySparks, hammered home in two of his most recent interviews.
Three major takeaways that provide entrepreneurial success and a competitive advantage emerged from the interviews:
- Emphasis on Relationships
- Room to Evolve
- Tireless Commitment to Core Values
An Emphasis on Relationships
In Nathan Latka’s podcast, titled “The Top”, Joe discussed how he has always excelled at making connections in his professional life, as well as his personal life. This passion enabled his ascent to success in multiple marketing agencies. Amidst his agency-side journey, Joe noticed the disconnected, troublesome road to finding a “perfect fit” between brands and marketing agencies, thus, the idea for AgencySparks was born. After Joe left the agency world, he turned down multiple job offers to create the initial business model for AgencySparks:
AgencySparks is the “dating service for brands and agencies,” Joe told Latke. “[We strive to] make connections between brands and agencies.”
AgencySparks makes connections between brand and agency marketers in a number of ways. One way is by holding quarterly Marketing Breakfasts. Here, Joe’s team listens to the concerns of clients about the marketplace and facilitates introductions in a more personal and comfortable environment.
AgencySparks’ culture of connectivity starts internally. Everyone on the team is encouraged to share their ideas and opinions and potential opportunities for the company. He noted Greg Crabtree’s labor efficiency ratio to Latka: the need to bring in 2.5/3.5 in revenue for every dollar spent on payroll. If the ratio is high, his staff needs to increase as to not burn his team out. However, if it is too low, the profitability will suffer from too many employees.
Key takeaway: Relationships are everything. How you interact and treat your clients and staff matters. Success is reflective of how relationships are fostered.
Room to Evolve
AgencySparks is continuing to adapt to the need of the market and clients. Since the founding in 2014, AgencySparks has experimented with additional service offerings. 2017 is a big year for AgencySparks, bringing along plenty of changes.
For one, the business model has evolved to benefit the clients even more. AgencySparks understands there is just not a single best agency for all clients. This insight led to the expansion of service offerings to include multiple agencies in each category, an Agency-Client Speed Dating service, and an option for clients to outsource their RFP process to AgencySparks. Now, when a brand asks for multiple agency options, AgencySparks has the ability to deliver. The speed dating format enables the client exposure to several potential partners without investing a lot of time and energy which results in a more efficienct selection process. The process often results in a more “perfect fit.”
AgencySparks is also a valuable resource for marketing agencies. AgencySparks is working on a training series that enables agencies to improve their business development efforts. The web product is scheduled to launch in June 2017.
Key Takeaway: Markets and clients will often dictate shifts in service offerings. Companies must evolve so they can thrive.
A Tireless Commitment to Core Values
AgencySparks firmly stays true to its values - emphasizing them at every weekly company meeting. Ensuring the entire team is aligned with the values enables the company to remain consistent as it grows. Also, clients like working with companies with compatible values.
Key Takeaway: Companies that live their core values tend to thrive more than those that have no clearly defined values.
AgencySparks continues to challenge the market to unlock the keys to success. By staying true to the core values, adapting to the market, and constructing solid and loyal relationships, AgencySparks is experiencing significant growth and setting itself up for the next phase of opportunities.
Key Takeaways from Nathan Latka’s “The Top Podcast”
- As a CEO of a company, if you’re not pulling out the salary that you would be making as a hired CEO, then your business is NOT profitable.
- Continue to grow your business as much as you can, but be mindful of the interesting offers that come along the way.
- Invest in relationships.
Key Takeaways from The Dana Barrett Show:
- What is right for one brand, is different for another...hence the need of a matchmaker like AgencySparks
- Adjust business model depending on marketplace need
- Integrity is of utmost importance in any business interaction