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Marketing Agency: 3 things I wish I’d known

Three Things I Wish I Knew Before I Owned a Marketing Agency

Running a digital marketing agency is challenging if you know exactly what to do and have all the time and money to do it. That is, however, rarely the case. In my case, Stack Digital is my second marketing agency. I gave up the first because I needed to know more about agency life. Below are three of the most important takeaways from my time inside and behind the scenes.

  • A happy client is worth up to six times as much as a dissatisfied one.

Not only will a satisfied client stay with you four times as long as an unhappy one, they’ll also refer you new clients who will stay twice as long as that one dissatisfied client. One happy client brings in the same revenue as six who aren’t getting the results they expect.

Business owners are aware that retention costs less than acquisition but the difference in total revenue is even more important. It costs 4 to 10 times as much to acquire a client but a 5% increase in retention yields a profit increase of 25 to 95%.

Marketing is a month-to-month venture and an unhappy client can average just 4-6 months lifespan while a happy client can easily be on for 24-36 months, drastically improving your profit and creating the type of long-term relationships that will make your agency thrive.

  • Clients aren’t hiring you because of what you do. They’re hiring you because of the problem you solve.

Billionaire Mark Cuban once said the NBA isn’t in the sports business, it’s in the entertainment business. Once you understand this concept you realise just how right he is. People don’t choose between his team’s NBA game and another NBA game. They are choosing between a concert and a game or a weekend away and his team coming to town.

What problem do you solve? Clients don’t come to you in order to “do SEO” or pay you to write ads. They want to grow their profit by gaining new customers at an affordable price. If you can solve that problem, they’ll stay with you. Your agency isn’t just competing against other agencies. You are competing against your client buying tools, hiring internally and finding other marketing channels, such as tradeshows, that solve the same problem without your assistance.

  • Celebrate every win & solve your failures. Then move on quickly.

It is very easy to take everything personally. Lose a deal and handle an angry customer on the same day? It feels like the world is collapsing and you’ll never get the hang of this business. Close two deals on the same day and you’re ordering champagne and taking Friday off.

Whether you win a deal, lose a client, get a huge result or have a massive business failure, you will always have ups and downs with a digital agency. Business life is never just one emotion and you will frequently feel all-powerful and awful in the same week.

Celebrate your wins. But don’t take the celebration so far that you don’t keep working hard. Examine & solve your failures so you don’t continue to make those mistakes. Then forgive yourself and move on. Get back on the winning side quickly.


Running your own digital agency is a constant learning experience and these three tips are not all you’ll need to get through it. But if you learn your numbers, solve problems for your clients and keep a level approach to the wins and losses you will be much closer to achieving your business goals.


stack digitalmarketing adviceMatt Antonino is full stack marketing consultant and owner of Stack Digital in Melbourne.


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