How to Run a Marketing Agency

by Ian Linton

Marketing agencies provide a range of professional services to their clients, including marketing consultancy, marketing strategy, market research, marketing communications and outsourced marketing. To run a marketing agency profitably, you must manage it as a business, recruit the right people, manage projects effectively, market your own services and control finances.


Recruiting the right people ensures that you have the skills to deliver the services clients need. Consultancy Stark Reality recommends hiring people with both client and agency experience. Someone with this extensive marketing experience understands the business from both perspectives.The number of people you hire must reflect the volume and value of work you handle. Each member of the team must earn fees sufficient to cover their salaries and make a contribution to running costs and profit. If you don’t have the people on staff to cover a project that requires specialist skills, consider hiring a freelance consultant on a project basis.

Project Management

A prosperous marketing agency has a number of projects at different stages of development: some in the planning stage, some waiting for client approval or input, and some nearing completion. Effective project management ensures that deadlines are met while using the agency’s resources efficiently. Project management software can help you plan and track progress on large-scale projects, such as marketing communication campaigns or product development programs.

Business Development

To grow your business, you must focus on four areas, according to the Bloom Group. You must maximize revenue from existing clients by offering them the full range of agency services. Winning new clients helps you build incremental revenue and replace business that you lose if clients move to competitors. You can expand the business by moving into sectors or areas of marketing that are growing. You may have to develop new services to enter those sectors. The Bloom Group also recommends moving into areas related to services you already offer. If you offer strategic marketing consultancy, for example, consider offering clients services to implement your strategic recommendations.


Marketing plays an important role in the development of your own business. To demonstrate your credibility to potential clients, post case studies of successful projects on your website or email them to prospects. On your website, describe the services that you offer and list the credentials of your team. Writing feature articles on important marketing issues or making presentations at business conferences also helps to raise the profile of your agency.


Strong financial controls will help to maintain profitability and finance growth. Establish charges for the different services you offer. Generally, agencies base charges on hourly or daily rates and set different rates for consultants according to seniority. You must estimate projects as accurately as possible and record all costs so that you can complete projects within budget and make a profit. Prompt invoicing and strict credit control policies will ensure that you maintain cash flow.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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