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3 things I would do if I was setting up a new agency today

Digital Marketing agency

30-strong ClickThrough Marketing are an integrated digital marketing agency providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services. They have offices in Lichfield and London.

Phil Robinson, Founder & CEO, Lisa McLaren, Finance Director and Michelle Crane, Operations Manager share with us the experiences they have learned from setting up and running a successful agency. They touch on such subjects as letting clients go and the problem of over-servicing.

"Synergist showed us we had been heavily over-servicing. We just need the facts to make informed decisions.

"The information empowers the team, and Synergist is here to help them. They get that now. Smarter client conversations take place today."

Some clients of ClickThrough Marketing

"It was 10 years ago...

...that I founded ClickThrough Marketing. We’ve grown from a tiny search-only house into an integrated agency. You learn a lot in ten years.

If I was setting up all over again today I’d do some things differently. So here are my Big Three."

1. Create your own values.

“You’ve got to get your values right. We came up with four core values, and they drive everything we do.

"We do everything R.I.T.E. Results, Innovation, Trust and Excellence.

|  Attainable objectives agreed with clients  |  100% visibility on client performance  |  Constant reviews against client and staff KPIs

 Always look for new and better ways  |  Use world-class digital tools and technology  |  Create Industry-leading ideas

|  Communicate openly and honestly with clients and staff  |  Use transparent pricing  |  Use time tracking so clients can see where time has been spent  |  We publish thought leadership ebooks and white papers

 Always strive for excellence  |  Success equals getting things right first time  |  Employ Experts

2. Time. Track it in detail.

“Before we went with Synergist, our time wasn’t integrated with revenues.

"We couldn’t track capacity or client profitability. We used lots of spreadsheets. information was never up to date."

“As finance director I was nervous getting synergist at first. Finance was separate from the rest of the agency. I was in my own little world. Not now. Everything’s connected, visible, Transparent."

Client work for Angel Springs

“Synergist showed us we had been heavily over-servicing. We had to reassure our team that we needed to know these things. It’s not a reflection on them. We just need the facts to make informed decisions. The information empowers the team, and Synergist is here to help them. They get that now. Smarter client conversations take place today.

“We also see patterns in the over-servicing now. For example, by client type. Very useful.

“Upselling takes place now. Before Synergist, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve that. Having the data makes all the difference.”

“When young graduates join us and work on small clients, the data now lets them be strategic. They understand the money side of things right away. It’s such good career Experience for when they are promoted to handling larger clients.

“It’s also helped with fine-tuning targets. It’s removed all the debates and emotions – it’s all factual now. We discuss the benchmarks with each department. We can see when a department has earned extra hours of specialist time. They can allocate it how they need. That’s very empowering.

“Time is completely visible now. It’s helped us sell retainers, improve future estimating and quotes and a lot more. What it gives us is phenomenal.  It’s given us efficiencies from beginning to end”.

Client work for TomTom Telematics

3. Don't be afraid to let clients go.

“Synergist showed us that we had been grossly over-servicing one big client for a long time.

“Before Synergist we had never been confident enough to risk letting a client go. But now the data is clear. We know the time spent, job history, our capacity, everything.

“Previously, we acted like The client had us over a barrel. We don’t do that any more. For any agency, decisions like this are really hard if you don’t have all the facts. They are so much easier when you do."

Client work for Regency Hampers


“So much flows from the proper tracking of time, benefiting the Agency, employee and client alike.

“I can honestly say that I wouldn’t like to lose this visibility now.

"I don’t know where we’d be. We’d be lost again without it. We can now see that ‘A’ joins ‘B’."

Client work for UKDN Waterflow

“And can I please give a special mention about The Agency Works?

“They have helped us throughout the implementation process and beyond. Structuring Synergist correctly to reflect our business has enabled us to extract / achieve the reporting that we need."

“Louise Neale, from the Agency Works, has been an invaluable help throughout this process.  She listened to our business needs and converted that into a structure that underpins how we use Synergist everyday."

“At ClickThrough here we...

...use Synergist’s Timesheets and time management

  • ...handle invoicing
  • ...create purchase orders
  • ...invoice monthly retainers, whilst recording actual costs retrospectively along with factoring in the value of their time
  • ...Create Activities to log details of page content
  • ...Handle Purchase Orders to record Google or linkedin costs
  • ...Create Custom fields to record client contract details
  • also: In order to achieve accurate profitability reporting, monthly jobs are split into a series of phases, with costs recorded accurately, within the correct phase

All this was accommodated by Louise Neale at Agency Works, using Synergist.

“In addition, I must also say that I think the Synergist support has been amazing.”

Client work for Sienna X

“We’re excited when we see what we can get out of the Synergist system. We really like it. Everything is linked together now.”

“Because we can see everything in detail, we can see how the departments work together for maximum benefit to the client. There are no silos now."

“It’s an amazing place to be. Having Synergist is a game-changer.

"You can sit down and see the whole picture, make a change in one department, and then the account managers see it and act on it."

“It creates a new sense of calm that we can track it all. We see all the links, for example between revenue and people.

“Employers like us have responsibilities. We’re not a sweatshop here. People work very hard here, Then they go home. Synergist helps us manage that, to avoid the burnout trap. You want to help people get the balance right, but you can’t help them without the facts. Synergist gives us the facts.

“It’s helped us change our culture. Lisa’s job has become more strategic, and people are empowered to run their own departments like proper little companies now."

“Yes, if I was to set up an agency tomorrow, this is the first thing we’d invest in.”

Client work for Biffa

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