‘Marketing Momma’ Offers 3 Tips for Agency Owners
By Matthew Schwartz
“I’m the kind of person who ends up being everybody’s momma,” says PR veteran Lucy Siegel. “All kinds of people come to me with problems and ask for advice.”
Well, the self-described “momma” is now looking to monetize her many years of experience in the creative services industry.
After parting from Didit, the integrated marketing firm that acquired her second company, Siegel took some time off.
“I was feeling burned out from so many years of agency management,” she says.
But, looking toward 2018, she’s eager to get back in the game and ramp up business.
Siegel is quick to point out that her new company is not a “PR” firm, saying she doesn’t provide media relations or most other traditional PR services.
Rather, she’s specifically catering her expertise to the growing number of startup companies in need of marketing savvy as well as brands based overseas that want to boost their visibility in the States.
“They may be skilled and experienced in marketing and PR in their home countries, but usually aren’t knowledgeable enough about cultural differences in marketing and communications to develop successful strategies” for U.S. markets, Siegel says. “They often make false assumptions that what worked at home will work here, and will cost about the same, as well.”
In addition, Siegel looking to partner with agency/firm owners who need advice and counseling temporarily regarding management strategy.
“I have spent so many years in management at companies large and small that I can provide the experience and objective vision that my clients need,” she says, adding that her experience can prevent clients from making the “wrong choices” and wasting their budgets.
Siegel, who is co-founder of PR Boutiques International, a global network of about 40 PR firms, is familiar with the challenges agency owners face.
“Looking back now with the wisdom of hindsight, I see the mistakes I made that interfered with the growth of my agencies at times,” she says. “I’ve also had the advantage of knowing many other agency owners over the past 30 years and listening to their problems.”
Siegel offered three tips for agency owners to learn from her wide breadth of experience:
- Hire the right people. Siegel says there are many ways to mess this up. One is to let insecurity prevent managers from hiring people who are more knowledgable about the business. Another is to ignore your gut feelings about someone you don’t connect with but hire him anyway. Siegel says she’s done this out of desperation when she had trouble filling a position, and regretted it later.
- Show the door to unreasonable clients. If firm owners insist on keeping unreasonable (if well-paying) clients they risk losing good people. “I know what it’s like to worry about making payroll and paying the rent, and feeling that you have to take whatever business you can get,” she says. “But unreasonable clients who treat your staff poorly are very harmful to employee moral.”
- Don’t lowball the firm’s rates and mitigate overservicing. Siegel stresses that overservicing is a double whammy: The firm ends up working for nothing and owners end up hamstrung when it comes to providing raises to staff members who have moved the needle financially. “It causes staff burnout and there’s no pot of money at the end of the rainbow to reward them for their hard work.”
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