Epic Marketing Lessons From The Best Small Ad Agencies In The World

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When Lindsay, Stone and Briggs first built its reputation, it wasn’t based on a stunning creative campaign. Instead, it credits BrandWorks—its pioneering three day retreat for brand marketers in Madison, Wisconsin—an event that put the agency on the map. At SXSW last year, nFusion hosted the “Cojones Awards” to honor risk taking and bold thinking corporate marketers. Both agencies credit their signature events with helping them get on the radar of big brands and build their reputations in the process. The lesson is clear: Sometimes the best way to build your reputation is by owning something public, real and valuable.

iStrategyLabs has produced experiences for the Washington Redskins and Nickelodeon. At headquarters, mechanical and electrical engineers work side by side with designers and copywriters to create new and unexpected experiences. Argentinean agency +Castro brings in collaborators like architects and cardiologists on a project by project basis in order to deliver new creative ideas and campaigns. What both agencies know is that sometimes the most creative and groundbreaking work can come from fostering an intersection of expertise instead of just gathering a big group of people who all share the same skill set. At the AdAge Small Agency Conference leading up to the awards, founder of Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun shared four red flags agencies should look out for when deciding whether to take on a questionable client.

She noted that chaos, no budget, cluelessness and disrespect are all signs that a client should be avoided. Her list works perfectly for any type of creative services industry, but ask yourself if you have built a similar list of things to look for when considering a new customer for your business. The point is, sometimes knowing who you don’t want might be the best marketing strategy of all.

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