Digital agency gets its mojo back

By putting outside expertise on its senior team, an ambitious digital agency was able to quickly update employee skills, stabilize cash flow, develop better client processes and reimagine itself as a digital transformation agency.


Digital agency

Company size

25 employees


2019 –


Ongoing in-house support

What We Delivered

Marketing strategy

Branding strategy

All facets of digital marketing

Client management

Project management

Measurement training and design

Team mentorship and training

The Challenge

We need a temporary team leader.

When the head of a digital agency’s marketing department went on leave, the sales director asked me to step in and temporarily lead their four-person team. I joined the company three days a week and to everyone except the person in charge of payroll, I looked like a part-time employee, complete with the company email address.

The Ah-ha Moment

From a leadership gap to knowledge gap.

Digital marketing, like the software and platforms it uses to achieve results, is constantly changing. Unfortunately, the marketing team members weren’t on top of their game and this lack of skill development meant client programs were stale and underperforming.

The Hard Conversation

If we don’t act quickly, clients will leave.

The rumblings of frustrated clients were impossible for me to ignore. I had to convince senior leadership that the agency needed to change course or clients would jump ship. And there was no time to waste.

The Solution

Do what it takes to increase client confidence.

The team needed to update their skills, fast. First, I hired one of my analytics partners to help them learn the importance of measuring what matters and how to generate meaningful reports. Next came new tools for search engine optimization, graphic design, video production, A/B testing and more. At the same time, I made sure there was a marketing strategy for every client. Now the team had a plan to implement, tools to increase their productivity and ways to measure success—and clients were seeing results.

The Outcomes

Rediscovering what made them great.

At the end of six months, we had stabilized cash flow, increased team morale, and created a standardized, client-centred process that included strategy, monthly reporting and quarterly check-ins. One of the team members I had mentored was now the digital marketing manager.

The company had started describing themselves as a digital transformation agency. And revenue was on the upswing. Senior leadership may have felt this strategy-first, metrics-driven culture was something new, but happy clients told me, “This is what it used to be like here.”

Connecting the [marketing] Dots

“An outsider makes change easier.”

Most of my clients come to me knowing something isn’t working, but they struggle to give their challenges a name. They need a neutral third party to uncover the true problem, make innovative (and sometimes initially unpopular) suggestions and provide on-the-ground support that gets results.

The small investment my clients make in an external advisor provides momentum for growth and justification for the change. They get a reassuring ally and senior team member who moves the business forward by both seeing the big picture and sweating the small stuff.