Giving Thanks to the "Sparks"

July 22, 2014
AgencySparks has been rapidly growing and for that I am thankful.  We have been having conversations with many, many brand marketers and connecting them with the, now seven marketing agencies that make up the AgencySparks Network.  We have comfortable office space and two excellent employees have joined our team.  Startups have plenty of challenges, but this has been the most rewarding experience of my life, so far.

Of course I could not have built this company alone.  Along with the great team here, there were many mentors and friends who provided guidance along the way.  I wanted to come up with a special gift to thank these individuals who inspired me to launch AgencySparks, so I called on local artisan/glass blower - Matt Janke to create a special, unique piece that these individuals could proudly display to signify their small role in the company's formation.

Behold the hand-blown and custom etched paperweights I have been giving to the "sparks" that helped make AgencySparks a reality:

Thank you:
  • Stephanie Peterman
  • Katia Herrera
  • Michelle Koufman
  • Jeff Hilimire
  • Lisa Katz
  • Glen Caruso
  • Kelly Deen
  • Genevieve Bos
  • Dave Williams
  • Jennifer Dorian
  • Kelly Gay

Insight, Objective, Strategy, and Tactic - Trojan War As An Analogy

June 24, 2014
I have been spending a lot of time talking both to both clients and agencies about Insight, Objective, Strategy, and Tactic. It seems that a lot of people confuse them, so I have suggested the Trojan War as an excellent analogy to explain the differences:


By the way, if you want to see a hilarious rendition of the Trojan War story, check out this video.

Would love to hear your thoughts.


Adding to the AgencySparks Team Again - Welcome Katia Herrera

June 11, 2014
We are so pleased to welcome Katia Herrera to AgencySparks!  

Katia joins Stephanie Peterman and me as our third employee and a valuable member of our team.  We were thrilled to have Katia join us due to her enthusiasm, stellar intellect, and strong work ethic.

Katia will be graduating from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia in August 2014.  She will be receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing with a Digital Marketing area of interest.  

During college, Katia served as a Parts Sales Manager at AutoZone.  There she gained valuable experience working with customer relationship management (CRM) software and providing excellent service and sales to both business customers and consumers.  Katia also served as the Social Media Chair of PESA (Professional Entertainment & Sports Association) and Public Relations Chair for Women in Business. 

For AgencySparks, Katia will be focused on creating content, building lists, developing marketing automation campaigns, managing social media, and working with agency partners.  Katia has already proven to be a valuable addition to the AgencySparks team!

Please join me in making Katia feel welcome to AgencySparks.


AgencySparks featured on Smart Agency Master Class - What can you do better in your Agency’s Business Development?

June 4, 2014
Jason Swenk has built a nice business advising marketing agencies on how to be more successful.  His experience comes from running a digital agency for 12 years before selling it in 2011.

Jason asked me to participate in one of his Smart Agency Master Classes.  When I saw his A-list of other participants (including good friends Del Ross, Jeff Hilimire, Richard Warner, Simms Jenkins, John Waddy, Rich Wilson, and Raj Choudhury), it was a no brainer for me to get involved:

Here is a link to the podcast.

On the heels of a fantastic Atlanta Ad Club event focused on Business Development in the Modern Age, the timing of the release of this podcast could not be better.  In this conversation with Jason, I reveal the answers to questions such as:

  • What is the one thing that an agency can do to improve their business development process?
  • What technologies are crucial for better business development?
  • What infrastructure is necessary to win?
  • What are the really big ($1M+) pitches like?
  • What is a great resource that will help improve my business development process?
Please give it a listen.  I think you will get a lot out of this conversation.



New Business in the Modern Age - Atlanta Ad Club event recap

May 30, 2014
I had the good fortune to moderate an EXCELLENT Atlanta Ad Club event entitled New Business in the Modern Age.  There were over 100 people in attendance and they were delighted by the all-star panel:

The event was sponsored by Nebo Agency and was held at the very cool venue - the Herman Miller Gallery on the West side of Atlanta. 

Here is the video of the event:

Atlanta Ad Club Event: New Business In Modern Age - 05/28 from Nebo Agency on Vimeo.

Thank you to Nebo Agency for capturing and editing the video.  (I really should refrain from standing in front of the projector...)

For those of you who have asked to see the presentations, here  you go:

Atlanta Ad Club - New Business in the Modern Age - May 2014 from Joe Koufman

Many of the comments made on Twitter are captured here: (be sure to click Read Next Page to see them all)

Some of the questions that were answered by the panel include:
  • What is the typical process for finding new clients for your agency?
  • How is your process different because of the size (breensmith = small, Sparks Grove = medium, Razorfish = large) of your agency?
  • What do you like best about the BD process?
  • What is the most exciting thing you have done to attract and convert a new client?
And for Scott, giving the client's perspective, he answered:
  • How do you usually connect with agencies?  
  • How do they find you/you find them?
  • What is the wackiest thing an agency has done to get your attention?
  • What were the best and worst pitches you have seen?
  • Are there things agencies should avoid if they ever want to work with you?
  • What best practices should agencies follow if they want to work with the Cartoon Network/Turner?
I hope to have video footage from the event to share with you soon.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a stunning success!


New Business in the Modern Age - Atlanta Ad Club - May 28th

May 14, 2014

On May 28th, I will be moderating an outstanding panel of experts for the Atlanta Ad Club on the topic 
New Business In The Modern Age. (REGISTER HERE)

We will be hearing stories from different sized agencies - large (Razorfish), medium (Sparks Grove), a small (breen★smith advertising) and a client (Cartoon Network).  Each panelist will be delivering a 10 minute presentation of stories about the good, bad, and ugly of agency business development and then we will open it up to questions from the audience and Twitter.

I am so excited about our panel of experts!

Joe Koufman - CEO, AgencySparks

Chris Breen - Creative Director, breen★smith advertising
Patricia Camden - VP, Client Engagement, Razorfish
Minsoo Pak - ‎VP, Chief Creative Officer, Sparks Grove
Scott Thomas - VP, Consumer Marketing, Cartoon Network

Also, it is in a super cool venue (Herman Miller showroom in Atlanta) and tickets include food and drinks!


AgencySparks First Hire - Stephanie Peterman

May 1, 2014
I am extremely proud and excited to announce that Stephanie Peterman has joined AgencySparks as our Director of Business Development

Stephanie left Engauge/Moxie a few months ago to join a small digital agency, and I immediately began talking to her about the idea of joining AgencySparks.  In case you do not know about Stephanie's very interesting career path, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Stephanie was a Journalism major at the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
  • After school, she moved to Atlanta and joined The List, Inc. where she rose the ranks (over four years) to become the Managing Editor of DailyVista, which is a subscription newsletter that researches and reports new business leads for marketing agencies throughout North America
  • Stephanie decided to make the leap into the agency world by joining a small design shop in Boulder, CO, where she helped the agency win clients such as Nike Swim, Adidas Eyewear, and Kettering University.
  • I recruited Stephanie to join Engauge (acquired by Publicis and now merged together with Moxie) as our Business Development and Marketing manager, with responsibilities to find and initiate introductions to major brands such as Papa John's, IMAX, POM Wonderful, Crate & Barrel, and Netflix.
  • Like me, Stephanie decided that the mega-holding company life was not for her, and so she joined a small digital agency here in Atlanta to head up their business development efforts.
  • As soon as I saw that she had left Engauge, I immediately contacted her to talk about how we could work together to help grow AgencySparks and serve independent marketing agencies to help them grow.
I could not be more excited about Stephanie joining the team!  Stephanie has a unique blend of skills (researching, interviewing, writing, and cold-calling) that makes her key to the success of the marketing agencies we are helping to grow.

Please help me welcome Stephanie to AgencySparks!


First look at the AgencySparks offices

April 21, 2014
Many have asked me about our new offices.  I wanted to give you a glimpse into our space.  We are very fortunate to have an amazing location right where the Buckhead and Midtown neighborhoods of Atlanta come together.

Here are some photos (in order of how you move through the space, when you visit):

Here is the floor plan:

Looking forward to having you visit us at AgencySparks!


AgencySparks and me featured on Jeff Hilimire's blog!

April 18, 2014
Long time friend and colleague - Jeff Hilimire (CEO of Dragon Army and former president of Engauge) has been writing a series of blog posts in which he asks a CEO five questions.  Today he featured his questions for me and my answers:

What fun!  

Thanks Jeff!


AgencySparks - Major Momentum

March 26, 2014
Big things have been happening for AgencySparks since I announced the company launch on February 2, 2014.  

Between February 2nd and 5th, AgencySparks:
  • Received our first signed agreement from an agency
  • Got our Tax ID
  • Formed our corporation
  • Received our business license from the City of Atlanta
  • Set up our checking account and accounting system
On February 6th, Michelle and I jumped on a plane to Peru where we experienced one of the most amazing trips of our lives.  While on that trip, I received the second agreement from an agency wanting to work with us. 

Here is a picture of me countersigning our second agency agreement from our hotel in Lima, Peru:

In the last month or so since we returned from our vacation, AgencySparks has:
  • Received our first few checks
  • Signed an agreement with our third agency partner 
  • Completed and delivered our first Marketing Readiness Report™ (with much fanfare)
  • Secured office space and phone number for the business
  • Hired our first employee
  • Met with MANY potential agency partners
  • Been hired to do some contract work for an agency
  • Connected our first client with one of our network agencies
I honestly feel I was born to help agencies grow, and I have been having the time of my life making it happen!  

I appreciate all of your kind support.  For those of you who have asked me how you can help, it would be great if you could spread the word about how we are helping brand marketers find independent, specialist marketing agencies.  

Also, I would not mind at all if you followed AgencySparks on
LinkedIn and Facebook...

Thank you,