S1E7: Behind the Scenes of Life in the Agency World

In this episode of the Candid Conversations small business podcast, your co-hosts Dan and Sagan interview Stew Moffatt of Sherpa Marketing. Stew shares what life is like to work at an agency, how he juggles his task of wearing many different hats, tips on how to have better business meetings, what you need to know about marketing your business, and more.  

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Show Notes

0:00 Introduction to the podcast 

00:45 Update on our business

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“We managed to do a lot of things this past month… What it comes down to is that we’ve been extremely strategic about what we want to focus on for the business. There are certain things in our business that we’ve been putting on the backburner, because they haven’t been as important as other items, and that’s what’s enabled us to make progress with Juxta Communications to the point where we’ve gotten a couple clients and that kind of thing.” – Sagan 

SaganMorrow.com and Candid Conversations will be a part of Juxta, and that will be a very fun launch. It’ll be very interesting from a branding perspective, for how we’ll strategize that and how we want to word things…” – Dan

Visit us on Instagram: @JuxtaComms

7:25 Introduction to Stew Moffat of Sherpa Marketing

8:50 Stew’s favorite podcasts

9:45 Why Stew decided to get into this line of work

“Developing self-awareness in my early 20s told me that I’d want to be a lawyer for the respect aspect or prestige aspect — I realized I didn’t want to be practicing law. So I made the decision to do what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about people, I’m passionate about teams and creating. All of those really fit the world of marketing. I’ve always been very interested in advertising. Once I was in school, specializing in marketing, it was a love match! All of the public presentations, group work, case studies, all of it. I was blessed in that coming out of school I got the job at Sherpa Marketing and I’ve been here for 3 or 4 years now. It reinforced how lucky I was to have discovered that passion so quickly. I have to be a social chameleon.” – Stew

12:00 What does a typical day look like to you?

“The best thing about it is that every day is very different, because there are so many projects you can be doing in a given day… You can only sell as much as you understand what you’re talking about what the people around you do. The execution of everything is very important.” – Stew

13:30 What is TrendSET?

“Our people are busy hosting events. We need people who can actually market the event and unlock the value of an event. TrendSET’s purpose is to unlock the value of events and help organizations to have that asset. We consult with you to understand what stories and content you want out of the event. We also have brand journalists at the event; people who understand the story and almost act as a third-party news outlet. We take all that content and develop it into valuable marketing assets you can use in the future. Along with the content capturing, you’re also getting the social media aspect.” – Stew

“If you have one cohesive team that’s working on that vision that you established beforehand, you’re able to develop the assets you need.” – Stew

18:25 What has it been like to juggle your different jobs and wear all of these hats?

“To an extent, it doesn’t seem like a lot of work because I’m very passionate about both jobs.” – Stew

“What’s the balance? What’s on the table that you have to execute on, and how much can you apply to that project? It can be a very profitable venture. It’s going to be dynamic; you have to feel it out.” – Stew

“New challenges are what keeps me going. Experiences are the new wealth, is a phrase I heard the other day, and I couldn’t agree more.” – Stew

22:35 Shoutout to Women’s Health Clinic

Learn more and donate to this cause which is near and dear to our hearts.

23:25 Why consumer psychology matters for your business

“Consumer psychology stems from understanding people and working with people. Through my upbringing, being in different schools and environments and challenging myself to have different social networks kind of all over the place, it’s forced me to be a social chameleon. I think understanding people—that can be different consumer segments, whomever—is such an important thing in marketing, to be able to really empathize and understand the customer. What are their needs? One of my strengths is definitely understanding different types of people and what their needs are in order to market to them effectively.” – Stew 

“Having so much passion for your work comes through in these situations. It’s important to look at sales from that standpoint of, how is this beneficial to the actual consumer? Rather than, how can we get as much money as possible? It’s about the actual benefit to them. Coming at it from that marketing standpoint is important.” – Sagan

“Because there’s simply more data and more means to get to know who you’re marketing to, you’re able to profile people—in a positive way!—so that ideally, you as a consumer shouldn’t be annoyed by ads. You should be hit in the moment with relevant things. Marketers should be saying, ‘hey, you have this desire or this issue, we can help you alleviate the problem or achieve that desire.’” – Stew

26:45 Why should businesses not do their own marketing (and instead hire someone else to do it)?

“It should be done on a case-by-case basis. An agency is someone you can lean on in your time of need. It allows you to successfully get projects done. There’s so much information out there; you need someone on your team that’s in a different environment who can come to you with different ideas.” – Stew

“You can experience groupthink on any level of business… This is another reason why an agency can be valuable, for that outside perspective.” – Stew

30:20 What’s the best way to manage multiple projects?

“Know how you work! Also, delegate and lean on people. Often, we’re afraid to leave work with others. But coaching is a very important thing to delegating work. Get someone to shadow you, walk them through the process, and you’ll be surprised at what they can do.” – Stew

“If you’re doing a full-time gig as well as a side hustle, then you’re going to have to put in those 10- and 12-hour days. There’s no way around it. So then it’s just a matter of maximizing your time outside of those productive hours and being as efficient as possible so that when you get into work, you’re fully there.” – Stew

“It’s not life or death. Take a step back, breath.” 

33:40 The problem with business meetings (and how we can do them better)

“I think one of the things we need to do better in the business community is to be better at having meetings. And to know that it’s okay to have a short meeting! It doesn’t need to be a big production. Be prepared, get to the point, talk pleasantries and have fun, and then get out of there. Also ask yourself, ‘is it important to actually have this meeting?’ This is nothing new, but I feel like people need to be reminded of that. To be candid about it! Sometimes you wonder about the burn rate of the meeting. It can be a simple conversation or deliverable, and there’s 5 people across the table from you, which is totally unnecessary. Remind yourself that productivity is working. There are so many great ways to communicate with clients and vendors. There’s a lot of ways we can save time and be more efficient, which is what you need if you have a side hustle.” – Stew

“How many hours are being lost because you don’t have an agenda for the meeting or someone to lead the meeting?” – Sagan

“Understanding the different between tactical meetings and brainstorming sessions is a big thing.” – Dan

“You’re only as effective as the work you’re doing. Unless you’re a strategy genius who doesn’t need to execute at all, you need to make it work, and you can’t spend all day in meetings.” – Stew

39:25 What Stew likes best about his work

“My passion is people. To have different types of clients with different personalities, and to deal with the different staff we have, they all have fantastic personalities and great stories to tell and value they bring to the table. To have a mutual vision and to work with people collaboratively to shape that vision and see it come to fruition, is my favorite thing. At an agency, you do that so much.” – Stew

40:35 What’s the one thing you wish people knew about marketing?

“The product that’s marketed the best will often win. It doesn’t matter how good of a product you have! If you can’t let people know about that, if you can’t find them in the moment and let them know you’re here for them, then you can’t be found. The better product does not always win. A great product that is marketed well will win.” – Stew

“Marketing doesn’t mean advertising. It’s about finding those moments… There’s a lot of companies that are successful without doing traditional advertising. It’s about having a purpose-driven brand, knowing the consumer and knowing where they’re going, and having that vision. Marketing, I can’t stress it enough, is not a bigger ad spend. It’s the purpose behind the product, and ensuring it’s found in the moment.” – Stew

“Marketing is really all about strategy. There is no one platform that’s going to be perfect; it’s what you do with it, and the strategy behind it, that matters.” – Sagan

“Strategy is where marketing all starts. Take it back a step, understand what the product or service is, understand who the people are and what their needs are, and then identify the pain points and opportunities, and then we get into fun stuff about tactics.” – Stew

“It’s the drive and purpose you put into it. Even though someone else is doing someone similar, you can always do it better. Work smarter, not harder.” – Dan

“Take the time… Go back to strategy and map everything out. Don’t get lost in the day to day. Have those strategic evaluations.” – Stew

45:20 Advice for others who want to get into agency life

“You have to work very hard at an agency, and you’ll grow and gain a lot of experience very quickly. There will always be burnout that happens at an agency. Understand and articulate your value when you’re being employed! Advocate for yourself. What are those things that are going to help you and your employer? It could be unpaid leave or gym memberships etc. It’s fast-paced, but it’s also a lot of fun and there’s flexibility.” – Stew

47:50 What’s coming up next for Stew

“I’m a big goal planner. I do a lot of goal planning and year-long plan. I have a grand plan of where I want to be, but it changes so much. There are so many different opportunities; things can go in a different direction.” – Stew

49:30 Where you can go to learn more about Stew

Quick tips & marketing advice:

“Know yourself, advocate for yourself, and be passionate about what you do, and you’ll find success. Whether that means you’re working for a massive company or you’re doing the startup thing, know yourself and what makes you happy and get after it.” – Stew

50:50 Thanks for listening!

If you enjoyed this podcast episode, give it a like and a share. It would mean a lot!

51:20 Outtake 🙂

Awesome Resources + People Mentioned In This Episode:

Don’t Be a Stranger!

Hang out with us! We’d love to chat with you.

For example, you could…

  1. Tweet at us (@JuxtaComms) to let us know what you thought about this podcast
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Pssst… want to grab Dan and Sagan for an interview on YOUR podcast or blog? We’d be honoured! Shoot us an email and let’s chat.

Find out what Stew’s up to now in our book, A Year in the Life of Candid Conversations: Behind the Scenes of Creating a Podcast From Scratch.

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