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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Jan 13, 2020


Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres, and Ken Ott discuss the practice of setting a purpose and direction for your agency this year. In a world where you’re always worrying about your clients, it’s important to take the time to be intentional about your own business.


Resources Mentioned: 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:

  1. Ken’s word for 2020: GO. Go Public with your purpose, mission, and work. Be intentional with your purpose and share it - boldly! 
  2. Brad’s word for 2020: CLARITY. Gaining clarity about the 5-year snapshot of your agency and who you want to be is vital to long-term growth and success. In an industry that is being disrupted every day, gaining clarity on your services, value proposition, and mission and pivoting accordingly is a must. 
  3. Bob’s word(s) for 2020: TRANSFORMATION and LEAP. In keeping with the forward-thinking trajectory of this episode, Bob speaks on having the bravery to transform your business and take leaps into new territory. 


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 


Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:


Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:52] What’s the 1 word that will be your focus in 2020? What word do you want to define YOU and your company this year? 

  • Ken: “For me and for Metacake, our word is GO… the reason is that for us, we’ve been really good at creating concepts. We’re traditionally more reserved when it comes from shouting from the rooftops. 2019 was a big push towards syndicating our message about our services that we provide… and now we’re boldly, publicly, talking about that message.”

[8:00] Going Public with Metacake’s unique purpose:

  • “The number with any business or anything you’re doing is to figure out the why and purpose behind it… when you do have that, you have true genuine raw human nature fire underneath what you’re doing… it allows you to enjoy what you do and push you through the hard times… money and success only fulfills you so much.”

[10:00] Go Public with Purpose means being intentional about your message regardless of the circumstances 

  • “We’re talking to brands and trying to help them become healthier organizations and grow in healthy ways… Your ability to push through roadblocks is only relative to the why and the reason behind why you’re going public.” 
  • “We have a purpose and our purpose is greater than just the services we provide… 
  • “Helping those brands be just 1% better with their message, their mission, their success in a healthy way… has an exponential impact on the world in a positive way.”

[11:12] Metacake Store / 2020 T-Shirt

  • If you want to see our 2020 theme team shirt, you can check it out here:

[15:35] Brad’s New Years word: Clarity

  • “We’re in an industry that is hyper-disrupted at this point. Two years is a lot of time for change.”
  • Brad speaks on the value of integrating new products and services with the next 5 years in mind, thinking about how to keep his company valid and current along with the changing industry. Getting Clarity on the long-term vision as the industry shifts.  

[17:44] Bob Hutchins reflects on his past in running an agency and fighting the same mental battles. 

  • “There’s a difference between goals and priorities… We can have goals for the new year, but those only go so far. If you don’t integrate them into your priorities for your business or don’t have clarity about what’s really important… Those goals just become another service that you perform. They don’t get integrated into who you are.”

[20:00] Ken on aligning your business with a purpose regardless of the business beginnings. 

  • “Some of the struggles of being in an agency is that, without realizing it, you didn’t necessarily start it with a purpose or out of a need.”
  • When your USP (unique selling proposition) is based on services, the true scope for competition is decreased. But from a business strategy standpoint, having a mission and a vision and a purpose and capturing that passion with the way you run a business- this is the key to long-term, impactful success. 

[22:45] Brad asks Ken what he does to measure the effective success of a yearly mantra or vision.

  • [23:50] “ influences the actions and the vision and priority. Maybe not of everyone in the entire company, but certainly myself and the tip of the spear.”
  • “I have to be completely bought into the idea and have it come from a genuine place and that influences other people, but most likely my actions more than anything else.”
  • “In 2020 with greater intention, we’re going out and booking speaking engagements and conferences.”

[27:00] Bob speaks on how the mentality of the leader impacts the entire team. 

  • “I think what you guys are talking about- Brad with clarity- as you push into that, you’ll see that with your team.”

[28:10] Bob references The Big Leap by Gay Hendrixson.

  • “The upper genius- what’s that ceiling that keeps you from breaking through? They get it, but then somehow sabotage it. He talks about how to leap and get over these things.”

[30:17] Bob’s words for the New Year: Leap and transformation

  • How do you stay in the transformation process continually while also making leaps and strides forward, always?
  • “Where do I need to be placing my skills and abilities?”

[31:45] Ken asks how Bob will make this happen in 2020.

  • “I can take those lessons of human personality and business and management and technology and… it’s a wide open universe to apply those kinds of things and explore and be willing to explore than in the leap when needed… not everyone has the freedom or luxury to do it and maybe it’s not about the highest paying gig but the most purposeful.”

[35:00] Sometimes taking a leap means a leap of faith- having the guts to leap and trust that the net will appear.

[36:25] On the importance of receiving advice and feedback:

  • “It’s important to get advice and feedback from people you trust.”

[40:00] Ken’s reflections on the true role of a leader

  • TD Jakes quote “As a leader your job is often to be crushed while being consistent.”
  • There is a delicate balance between the pressures of the outside world and the inner workings of a business. The leader has to be able to honestly portray risks when taking a Leap, but also fortify their team with confidence that they can lead properly and with enthusiasm about the risks and rewards of the Leap.

[45:00] Diving into transformation with confidence also means having the right team around you. 

  • “Loyalty can be the best thing in an agency, but it can also be the worst thing in an agency. You’re an entity, and you’re only going to grow as an entity. You can grow all you want as a leader, but if people aren’t following then there’s no point.”

[48:09] Brad speaks on clarity

  • “For me, clarity comes with time to isolate myself, to be able to focus and get away from the day in, day out stuff. So part of my clarity is protecting my time so that I can get clarity, number one.”
  • Spending time alone to compare notes with yourself, take stock of ideas, and bounce ideas off of those that you trust means gaining clarity of your purpose, which then equips you to better lead your team and inform them of the reality of the work that they’re doing.