Bold Content Veteran Industry Experts Offer Top Tips to Grow Your Marketing Business


What are the key tips for success every marketing company should know? The Drum helped answer this question at its Agency Acceleration Day—bringing in CEOs from the fastest growing agencies to share their secrets. Marketing and business representatives from around the globe gathered in London to discuss how to grow your marketing business.

The success stories of Iris Worldwide and Blue Glass spanned the day’s presentations and panels. Iris was founded back in 1999 by 6 advertising executives. Their success skyrocketed, and then plunged, after the market crash of 2009. In the aftermath, the founders discovered they still cared about the company. They returned to their roots, rebranded, and rebuilt.

Blueglass was founded by Chelsea Blacker and Devin Gibbons. They, too, learned from their shortcomings—Chelsea shared their U.S. partner company was forced to close within its first year. Blueglass fought its way back with consistent clients they retained through their core values.

The day featured numerous speakers and panels based on a wide variety of themes. Attendees were welcomed by Richard Draycott, the managing director of The Drum Network.

The first presentation featured the success story of Oracle NetSuite, as told by Chris Hering, the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Advertising, Media, and Publishing. Netsuite assists start-ups in achieving global success with their cloud-based platform.

We then heard from Steve Bell (Co-Founder and European CEO), and Claire Humphries (CMO Europe) of Iris Worldwide. Claire mentioned their biggest challenge was their impatience to grow held them back, and she urged anyone wanting to grow a business to be careful of what they invest in. Today, the company employs 1,000 staff across 13 offices.

This solid advice was followed by a panel that discussed using in-house technology to grow your agency. The panel consisted of several impressive business people:

Charlotte Wilson, Managing Director of Pure Events
Cain Ullah, Founder & CEO of Red Badger
Chris Hering, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Strategic Initiatives for Advertising, Media and Publishing of Oracle Netsuite
Micheal Saunders, Finance Director of M & C Saatchi
Richard Draycott, Managing Director of The Drum Network

Agency Acceleration Day

Chelsea Blacker, MD and Co-Founder of BlueGlass, then spoke on how to achieve fast growth. Blueglass was recently names as one of Deloitte’s top 50 fastest growing tech companies. They have managed to achieve an astounding 561% revenue growth over four years.

Chelsea was followed by a second panel. This one covered the topic of growing your client base: how to successfully market your agency. The speakers were:

Lena Robinson, Co-Founder of Kiwi Gray
Mike Shaw, VP, EMEA of DataXu
Richard Draycott, Managing Director of The Drum
Charlie Hurrell, Managing Director of McGarryBowen
Sally Pritchett, Co-Owner of SomethingBig

Charlie mentioned McGarryBowen’s biggest challenge was finding time for themselves, as a brand, when so much of their time was allocated to doing their best for clients.

This panel was succeeded by a presentation titled, ‘Obsessing For Growth—why focusing on your own business success (and not just that of your clients) is the critical driver of agency growth’. Marina Lumley, Co-Founder of Greengrass, and Suzanne Hounslow, Strategic Partner of Live Strategy, were the keynote speakers of this topic.

agency acceleration day

Next, Cain Ullah, the Founder and CEO of Red Badger, discussed ‘Codifying Your Culture’—how to maintain your agency’s culture during key stages of growth.

Following lunch, Agency Acceleration Day continued with a presentation from Peter Czapp, the Co-Founder of The Wow Company. Peter discussed the latest benchmark data that challenged modern notions about pricing and profitability.

Grow Your Marketing Business: The Benchpress Report

You can download the full report here.

The next panel was comprised of ‘serial agency entrepreneurs’—people who have launched multiple companies over time. These business people discussed what they learned each time they began a new agency. The panel consisted of:

Michael Scantlebury, Creative Director and Founder of Impero
Oliver Bishop, Founder & CEO of TIPi Group, ROAST, and Kitty
Dave Buonaguidi, Co-Founder of UNLTD-INC
Jess Davis, Account Executive of the Drum Network

agency acceleration day

This was followed by another panel—a group that would discuss the topic of, ‘who are tomorrow’s partners and buyers?’ These speakers took a look at the agency landscape and options for growth. They pointed out partnerships they saw forming among agencies, who are the upcoming buyers, and how agencies are negotiating deals to retain their independence. The following people spoke on this panel:

Jackie Stevenson, Founding Partner & Global Managing Director of The Brooklyn Brothers
George Tsangarides, Investment Manager of British Growth Fund
Tony Walford, Partner of Green Square Associates
Richard Draycott, Managing Director of The Drum Network

The final presentation was given by best-selling author, Kevin Murray, whose talk was titled, ‘Leading with Purpose’. Kevin looked at how great leaders can use purpose to drive their organizations and power performance.

The day was jam-packed with useful information for marketing companies – all about how to grow your marketing business. Thanks to The Drum, a wealth of agency CEO’s were able to share their experience with other industry professionals.

agency acceleration day The Drum is a media platform with worldwide influence. Their slogan, ‘We believe the marketing can change the world’, reflects the content and events they offer to industry professionals. You can read more about The Drum here, and check out our collaboration with the Campaign Against Living Miserably that resulted from The Drum’s Do-It Day 2017.