Mr. Mark. Drager Founder and Director of Phanta Media, speaker, and host of the super successful podcast, We Do Hard Things.
He’s interviewed the likes of YouTube sensation. Evan Carmichael, legendary motivational speaker, Les Brown, and SEO master Rand Fishkin to name a few.
Over 15 years of agency experience and cut his teeth in the agency world back in 2005. Thrown in at the deep end with a full-service marketing firm before then going on to build his multiple seven-figure agencies, working with clients from startups to household name brands and multinational corporations.
In our chat today, we chew the fat on sales, marketing, and strategy processes of top running agencies.
So if you want to learn from a multiple seven-figure agency leader about how to position to attract better leads, how to convert those leads into clients, and the most potent strategy for organic agency growth and stick around for this article.
The Importance Of Strategy
Why don’t you give us a quick background of where you’ve come from, starting from getting into the creative industry right up until where you are today and what you’re doing now?
A big part of it, I think like so many of our journeys is we start off with a tactical skill set.
I went to film school because in my mind originally I wanted to be an architect. I loved space. I love environment. I love light. I love materials.
I used to, as a kid draw floor plans in imagine eyelines and I build out of Lego and I would just, I was enamored with space and design and all of that stuff.
Then I got really scared and I thought being, becoming a civil engineer, becoming an architect, spending 12 years, doing that and the stress, and then can I do it.
I just got scared and I went to film school instead. Graduating film school I was lucky enough to work in television. I was lucky enough to work some freelance, but where I was luckiest was I landed a job at an internet marketing franchise in 2005.
I don’t know if people remember young listeners, what young people do you guys know that the internet in 2005 seemed pretty cool at the time, but YouTube wasn’t owned by Google.
We still had dial up, Broadband was just starting. MySpace was a thing because Facebook hadn’t yet been really launched.
I was responsible for producing all of the video content and all of the training and all of the marketing and all the materials for this franchise that had 1500 offices in 89 countries and territories.
It was like a crash course in business. I’m this film school guy who gets this job, cause like I can edit and I know Final cut pro and I could figure out Photoshop.
I got this job and I realize this is about storytelling. This is about communications. This is about educating. This is about retention, this is about understanding.
And so very quickly, because I was terrified of getting fired from this job. I covered my butt by asking a million questions. I would just;
What are you thinking internal client?
What does this project look like?
What do you think?
Who are we speaking to?
And what do they care about?
And just helped me understand everything.
So that way, when I give you what you’re asking for, if you’re like this, isn’t very good. I could at least say “I gave you what you want“.
Let’s go back to the beginning. That was day one for me, realizing that
More important than creative, more important than ideation, more important than anything else is strategy mixed with how people think and feel about what you’re doing.
Start With A Tactical Set
That’s what we live with and that’s, that is really the crux of the problems that we come to with clients when they decide that they want to build a brand and they’re having the opinions based on taste.
What they like, whether it’s naming their brand after their dog or their street, or it’s picking their brand colors because they like that, that’s their personality.
And this is why they’re are so many misconceptions and so much misunderstanding about what branding is.
And I guess that’s really where strategy comes into play. So when it, when it came to, so you’re doing all this work, right? And you’re, you’re creating all this content.
At what point did the conversation become a bad brand, as opposed to, I’ll just ask you a bunch of questions here, your answers. Here’s what you’re looking for.
At what point does brand come into it and then thinking strategically about making this brand a success?
Great question. So, so 2005, 2006, I leave that company to start my agency, Phanta Media.
I started at the end of 2006 and I bring a lot of the thinking that I was taught. So even already, then we have split testing headlines on landing pages.
We were split testing offers as we like, again, I learned in, on day one pre-social media, internet marketing, and because I wanted to be an engineer and an architect and stuff, I loved the process.
And so I grabbed a bunch of this stuff again, out of fear, because I’m going to be super honest with you.
People who are non creatives think that I’m creative, creatives realized. I’m not that creative. And so when I went to film school, I looked at all these people who came up with all these brilliant, fresh ideas.
And I thought all I’m doing is just cherry-picking bits and pieces of other people’s good work.