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Case Study: Taking a Digital Marketing Agency to the Next Level

Updated: Nov 8, 2019



THE COMPANY:


A 3-person Digital Marketing company providing services such as sales funnel strategy, pay per click advertising, content marketing, and branding.


*Agency name kept private due to client considerations


THE PROBLEM: Chaotic Project Management that Prevents Scaling


Kathleen, the agency director, was struggling with an increasingly heavy workload and felt like she was constantly in “react mode”.


The agency had a growing list of clients and contractors, but scaling up was coming at the cost of Kathleen’s time, energy, and well-being. Rather than focusing on the big picture, she was becoming a full-time and very stressed out project manager.


Kathleen’s days were spent ensuring that projects were on track. Urgent meetings and phone calls dominated her schedule. She was constantly reaching out to her team members to find out whether they were completing tasks on time-- and far too often, they were not.


Team members would wait on others to finish items before they could do their part; as a result, they sometimes had a hard time remembering to accomplish particular tasks.


Ultimately, the team’s chaotic project management style made scaling painful and much slower than it should have been, given the company’s tremendous potential.


THE SOLUTION: Find and Protect the “Fast, Lean Team” Zone of Genius


Ironically, what makes this company so attractive to its clients is its ability to implement conversion-based digital marketing solutions quickly with a lean team.


When this company is at its best, it is delivering great work on demand at a price point that benefits its clients and secures high ROI for itself.


“Quick and precise implementation through a lean team” is this company’s zone of genius. Therefore, our challenge was to determine which systems would protect this zone of genius, allowing it to fire on all cylinders.


How could we solve the problem of “chaotic project management that prevents scaling” so that this team could deliver on its promise of “quick and precise implementation through a lean team”?

Our solution unfolded over two phases...


PHASE 1: SYSTEMS DOCUMENTATION to reveal gaps and opportunities


During the first two months, we fully listed and mapped out this company’s activities, so everybody could see how the whole company worked.


This process allowed the team to visualize their workflows. They could see how each piece fit together-- and where the pieces weren’t fitting particularly well together.


Ultimately it became clear that if they were going to protect their zone of genius, they needed a project management platform and standard operating procedures (SOP).


This would free up Kathleen to lead, rather than constantly react.


Together with AJK Consulting, the agency:

  • Identified systems and processes and created efficient workflows

  • Created lean and logical SOP's

  • Implemented a project management platform to replace “urgent meetings and calls”

  • Trained the team to use the new workflows (including communication policies), standard operating procedures, and project management platform

PHASE 2: HIRING & DELEGATING for faster, smoother scaling


After Phase 1, Kathleen could clearly see that she needed additional account coordinators to manage client portfolios.


With lean, logical systems and processes in place, these new hires could be trained faster and more effectively. That meant they would be bringing in more clients and more ROI for the company at a rapid rate.


Together with AJK Consulting, the agency:

  • Interviewed, vetted, and on-boarded two new account coordinators, using documented processes that allowed for faster training

  • Trained a current team member to exercise account management responsibilities, including creating new workflows and ensuring team adherence to new workflows and SOPs

THE RESULTS: Catch-Up is Over and Growth is Doubled


Thanks to the new workflows, SOP, project management tools, and rapidly trained account coordinators, the days of catch up and react are over.


The agency has entered a new era of double-digit growth that doesn’t at the expense of Kathleen’s well-being.


After investing time to work alongside AJK Consulting to implement and learn the new systems and processes, the agency saw the following results:


Client intake has doubled

The team has the capacity and capability to take on far more clients without sacrificing the lean, rapid implementation that constitutes their zone of genius.


Scaling is smooth

The agency has grown from 3 team members to 10, but Kathleen isn’t doing additional management work. She feels confident to grow her team in response to client demand.


Team members are empowered

Their new business systems, processes, and workflows help them to remember and stay on top of tasks. They also make more decisions autonomously and collaborate more effectively.


Kathleen can lead, not react

Kathleen is now spending time focusing on the big picture of the company, rather than continually putting out fires.


Her peace of mind has been restored, as she knows her team can function without her constant oversight. Whenever she wants to check on project process, she just needs to look at the company’s project management platform.


Kathleen is free

As a final testament to the success of her work with AJK Consulting, Kathleen recently took her first-ever four week (yes, 30 day) vacation.


This would have been unimaginable in the old days of chaotic project management and constant catch-up.


Nowadays, she’s enjoying freedom from her business that only stokes her passion for it.


How can systems and processes work for your business?


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