May 20, 2015

Twenty years? Really?
When did that happen?

My agency celebrates 20 years of business this month. Looking back, I sometimes wonder how we survived all the ups and downs — plus the occasional reinventions and makeovers — that are needed to weather two decades in the topsy-turvy world of direct marketing.

As you might imagine, there are plenty of stories about our biggest successes and most crushing defeats. About big ideas that worked and some that didn't. About pitches won and pitches lost.

But when all is said and done the agency business isn't about pitches and projects, it's about people. People working together, collaborating and sharing ideas. Many of the clients that were with us in 1995 are still here. They may be with a new company, but they’ve taken us with them. I’ve had as little as one employee and as many as 25 – and many are still good friends of mine. And my Creative Director, Kevin Crotty, has been with me since day one. He’s the perfect partner.

I’ve learned a lot of people lessons in 20 years – here are my top three:

First, always respect your clients, and don’t beat yourself up when they don’t call you back. They still like you — they just haven’t any work for you today.

Second, only hire talent that does everything better than you. Then remind them often of their value.

Third, gratitude is the only attitude. That applies to your staff as well as to your clients.

For those of you reading this that have been part of the past 20 years -- thank you for the trust you’ve placed with us. For those that haven’t, join the conversation. Pick our brains or let us pick yours.

Whether you work for an agency or use them as a vendor, what gives an agency staying power?