Smart Agency Podcast: The #1 Digital Agency Podcast for Social Media, SEO, PPC & Creative Agencies

Do you want to level up leadership in your agency and empower your team? Providing resources and training to your leadership team is important in helping build their confidence and creating a trickle-down effect to the rest of the team. Today's guest believes it all starts with the hiring process and creating an agency that is desirable to work for. He is on the show sharing how he and his agency business partner maintain a balanced relationship that benefits the agency and how they've created an agency that is in high demand not only by clients but by protective employees as well.

Brett Curry is the CEO of OMG Commerce, a performance marketing agency that manages YouTube, Google, and Amazon campaigns for growing ecommerce brands. They’re a Google Premiere partner and Amazon partner. Brett is also the host of two ecommerce podcasts Spicy Curry and Ecommerce Evolution, where he highlights what’s new and coming in e-commerce.

In this episode, we'll discuss:

  • Creating balance with your agency business partner.
  • Cultivating leadership and empowering your team.
  • 2-step strategy taking e-commerce brands to the next level.



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Pivoting Away from the Full-Service Agency Model

For as long as he can remember, Brett has been captivated by the world of advertising and marketing. Even while on vacation, he can be found diving into the latest marketing books and publications. His passion was sparked early on when he discovered direct-response marketing gurus like J. Abrahams and Dan Kennedy in his teens. Though the mediums may have changed over the years, as an agency owner he has maintained that intrinsic drive to understand what makes great marketing.

Brett and his partner first started the agency in 2010. By then, he had a successful career in marketing and owned a company focused on print, TV, radio, and direct mail. The agency started a project to try their luck with online advertising. They started with local Google map optimization for businesses and was a hit right away. With time, they started doing website design, copywriting, and TV advertising. However, it quickly became too much and they pivoted away from that full-service model.

It was time to drop some services and focus exclusively on an area where they truly shined. The clear answer was search marketing. It combined all the things they were really good at as a team, so they went all in. Right away they formed some key partnerships and started working with ecommerce clients.

Creating Balance with Your Agency Business Partner

Starting out, both Brett and his partner had existing businesses to lead, so balancing the agency became a challenge. How could they each utilize their skill sets and still work as a team? They share the most important value which is their trust in marketing and leadership style. When it comes to their individual strengths, Brett is really good at pitches and leading teams while his partner loves everything about the sales process and is very good about following up. This is how they complement each other and divide the workload.

For agency owners with co-founders, Brett recommends having very clear expectations about what each one brings to the table. It’s good to have this in writing from the beginning instead of figuring it out along the road. In fact, this is something they still revisit 16 years later when they talk about how their roles need to shift every couple of years as the agency grows.

The most important thing is having a good understanding of each partner’s personality and areas of genius. Get clear about how you’ll work together and which decisions you can make individually and which must include all partners.

Cultivating Agency Leadership and Building a Great Team

For Brett, everything rises and falls on good leadership. To ensure he’s creating the best conditions to build great team leaders, he leads a monthly leadership development training open to everyone in the agency. He’s a big believer in providing the right resources and training to empower people to make decisions. This is the fastest way to prevent a bottleneck where every decision has to be run by you. Having good leaders working alongside you ensures they can make decisions. It’s not easy to do for agency owners. We love to solve problems! But you need to show people you trust them to make decisions.

Finding and training great leaders starts with the hiring process. Brett is proud of his agency’s process and the type of people their culture attracts. They’ve had some disastrous experiences with past hires, which have mostly traced back to hiring friends of friends. They’ve since learned a lot from their mistakes and made great key hires who have been with the agency for a long time.

How to attract the right people to your agency team. Brett loves podcasting and speaking at events and admits he would do it just for fun. However, he says a really cool benefit of having a podcast and being a regular speaker at industry events is not only attracting clients but also attracting employees, too.

2-Step Strategy to Take eCommerce Brands to the Next Level

Brett declares YouTube as one of the fastest-growing and most used platforms by younger generations. If you want to learn or research something, YouTube is the place to go. It has reach and targetability so you can be really specific about what you want to reach.

As opposed to other platforms where the video is just doing part of the work, on YouTube the video is everything. YouTube videos must interrupt, grab attention, overcome objections, demonstrate the product, get the viewer to take action, and have the right pacing. Furthermore, it's important to understand video ad campaign structure to identify how to bid, measure, and look at things to get the most out of your video. It’s not enough to measure direct conversions. Many people watch an ad and then go to Amazon rather than click through and purchase directly.

Owned by Google, YouTube holds all the search behavioral data you need. They’ve been collecting the data for decades and you can tap into that keyword search behavior and target people based on that. Build your audience based on what people search on Google so they’ll see your ad. YouTube really understands audiences and creatives.

Brett has witnessed many shifts in the marketing game over the years. However, he still thinks email remains as powerful as ever. It’s a good way to warm someone up to your brand and cultivate them into a great client before they buy. Once they do buy, it’s also a great way to get them ready to get the most out of the product. It basically facilitates repeat purchases and product launch sequences.

Put them together for a strategy that takes brands to the next level. YouTube ads are a great way to get people introduced to a product and send them to a landing page to opt-in to an email list. Then, use email to close the deal. In fact, in Brett's opinion, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand email should be responsible for 30% to 45% of revenue.

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