It is hard to believe that February 4, 2018 represents the fourth anniversary since I founded AgencySparks. I am constantly amazed at the growth and momentum that is driving the future of the company. I recently told the team how proud I am of them and the growth that they have helped us achieve. At the beginning, we set out to build something special - change the way brands and marketing agencies connect with each other. We have been delivering on that goal every day since AgencySparks was born.
The first agency signed with AgencySparks on January 29, 2014, but the LLC was formed on February 4th. The second agreement was signed on February 6, 2014 while my wife and I were on vacation in Peru:
The third agency signed after a snowstorm lunch meeting with the CEO in late February 2014 (they still work with AgencySparks today). I thought it would be difficult to convince agencies to work with us, but we have been fortunate to have had a lot of interest that began very early in our history. That first year, we made several quality introductions to those agencies, but we were just getting started.
The numbers are impressive: AgencySparks has worked with 30 agencies over the last four years and made over 300 introductions to companies looking for marketing assistance. Some examples of the over 50 brands who signed deals with one of the AgencySparks agency partners include The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, VeriFone, Piedmont Healthcare, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Cartoon Network, Red Bull, Valpak, and Carrier.
Here are a few of the highlights from the last several years:
- We established clear values that we reinforce at every company meeting.
- When AgencySparks started, almost all of our communications was outbound. Now brands are frequently reaching out to us to ask for help connecting with agencies that might be able to help solve marketing challenges.
- AgencySparks successfully transitioned from only having one agency in each “category” to having multiple agencies of each discipline. This was a fairly large transition in our business since we now can offer clients more choices.
- We have conducted hundreds of team “huddles” (misheard as “cuddles” by an unnamed member of our team) designed to ensure that everyone is aligned and to share in each others’ successes.
- We have held over 10 #MarketersBreakfasts. These events always leave the audience filled with knowledge, inspiration, connections, and delicious breakfast.
- We hosted an event with the Atlanta Hawks that provided a show to over 350 attendees witnessing agencies competing onstage in front top Hawks brass including CEO Steve Koonin and vice chairman (and seven time NBA all-star) Grant Hill. It was a nice bonus to receive press coverage from USA Today and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, among others.
- Serving on the boards of the American Marketing Association - Atlanta Chapter, the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, and the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia has been personally fulfilling and good for AgencySparks. Also, being involved in the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), 48in48 (nonprofit), and on the boards of a few startups has helped me grow personally as a leader.
We have some exciting developments with the business in 2018:
- We are launching an events business to connect brands and agencies.
- We are developing a web training series designed to help marketing agencies around the US (or world) learn to be better at business development.
- We are offering to consult with brands that need help evaluating their current agency roster.
This entrepreneurial journey has been incredibly fulfilling. It is not an easy path, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. There is something truly special about being able to contribute to our society by delivering value, providing for your family, and building careers. I appreciate your sharing this journey with me.
- Joe Koufman, Founder and CEO, AgencySparks