The Secrets of High Performance Ad Agencies and Marketers

The Secrets of High Performance Ad Agencies and Marketers

Successful and extraordinary productive people consistently perform: better, faster, more efficiently and effectively than their peers. And, the best Ad Agencies and Marketers have always understood this!

So why do some Ad Agencies, marketers and entrepreneurs succeed more quickly than others, and maintain their success over the course of decades? Having worked at DDB, Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, MOJO and others – I certainly can vouch for this claim!

Ongoing success, massive results, happiness and fun: That’s the combination we all hope to achieve. But the problem is, how do we become more successful and feel more fulfilled?

I have researched, investigated and interrogated the common elements, tacticsmindsets, practices that the best performing Ad Agencies consistently do to deliver such massive impacts for their clients.

The ‘Secrets’ revealed in this article are based on extensive worldwide research over three decades and five continents, but, more importantly, I discovered practical, real-world ways you can adopt routines/rituals and habits to use in your own professional and personal lives.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Through-out my career, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best advertising, marketing executives and trainers in the world. I have learned from them and modeled my own strategies and techniques based on their winning ‘traits, routines, habits and styles’.

I discovered that the highest performing executives I have worked with are all especially efficient and productive, they:

  • All list of things what must be done and completed daily
  • All have priority lists of people to reach out to
  • All list people/companies they are waiting on to complete a project/campaign
  • All have lists of the key projects they are working on and
  • All have lists of the key steps to take in order to move their project forward

It’s this carefully prepared strategic approach and planning that helps make them shine daily, weekly and annually. Additionally, high performers are more usually more successful than their peers, yet they are also less stressed.

I have also found this is especially relevant to an agency’s positioning, client chemistry, mindset, marketing, sales, new business and growth. In fact, prospecting for new business and selling still fascinates me. BUT, to ensure we are on the same page, I would like to start with the definitions of the key phrases I have used in this article. I have always been fascinated by academic studies and research that has focused on High Performance and Accelerating Growth. Here are some of the elements and definitions that captured my attention:

  1. What does High Performance mean?

HighPerformance teams (HPTs) are a concept within Ad Agency/firm or organization development referring to teams, organizations, or virtual groups that are highly focused on their goals and that achieve superior business results.

I can recall the pride I felt when the Agency I was working at was voted the International Ad Agency of the Year! We even had a ‘tradition’ of singing Happy Birthday after winning every new pitch and account. That traditional began to inspire and lock in a ‘collective’ Agency mindset of winning and success. We never pitched for an account that we didn’t think we could win!

  1. What is a High-Performance Ad Agency?

A High-Performance Ad Agency is one that achieves financial and non-financial results that are exceedingly better than those of its peer group over a period of five years or more. They do this by focusing in a disciplined way on that which really matters to the firm or organization.

  1. Characteristics of high-performing teams include the following:

Most members of high-performing teams report that it’s fun and satisfying to work on collaborative teams because they are asked to contribute at their highest potential and they all learn a lot along the way.

Characteristics of high-performing teams (especially New Business & Growth areas) include the following:

  • Your staff and team must have solid and deep trust in each other and in the Agency’s purpose. They all must feel free to express feelings and ideas openly.
  • Everybody is working toward the same goals and on ‘the same page’.
  • Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks, projects or campaigns.
  • Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected.
  • Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
  • The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute, even the introverts and quiet members!
  • Disagreement is viewed as a constructive and a positive thing and conflicts are managed. Criticism must be constructive and oriented toward problem solving, removing obstacles and achieving growth and success.
  • The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement. BUT, in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor (Or New Business Leader), after which little second-guessing occurs.
  • Each team member carries his or her own weight and respects the team processes and other members.
  • The leadership of the team shifts from time to time, as appropriate, to drive results. No individual member is more important than the team.

Please Note:

  • High performers love challenges and are more confident that they will achieve their goals despite adversity.
  • High performers are healthier than their peers. (In fact, they eat better. They work out more. The top 5 percent of high performers are 40 percent more likely to exercise three times per week.)

A Team Charter also paves the way for collaborative success by providing clarity that builds trust and accountability. With a Team Charter in place, you’ll be able to unlock the potential value of your people by empowering them to contribute.

In the long run, teams with a clear purpose and good ‘chemistry’ drive business results. Job satisfaction goes up, employees stay engaged in their work and everybody wins.

Here are some ‘Secrets’ of the habits, rituals and routines that have dominated successful Advertising Agencies and marketing for decades:

  1. Chemistry – Chemistry wins new business. If you go into a new partnership – you must always go in with a WIN-WIN attitude from the start and always make sure you treat your clients as equal and involve and engage them often and equally – go that extra mile!

Make sure you consistently share your thoughts, feelings, needs and dreams and live with courage and the truth!

Chemistry is a simple ‘emotion’ that occurs two people get when they share a special connection. (It is not necessarily sexual.)

It is the impulse making one think “I need to see this [other] person again” and that feeling of ‘we click’. And, importantly that a level of trust and respect has been established.

Additionally, Chemistry relies heavily on shared values and culture. Building trust is particularly important in ‘service’ pitches where the client will be committing to a personal relationship.

Trust is more easily given between two similar groups; groups that have already established commonalities, i.e. You are like me; therefore, I understand you better and can trust you more easily and faster.

  1. Mindset – All the most effective Ad Agency leaders take the time to establish a healthy growth mindset in pursuit of that dream before they jump aboard. They take a time to remind themselves of how competent and capable they are and what their agency has contributed to the industry and categories.

The best leaders also think about the other goals in life they have achieved while envisioning their new dream as fully achievable, and they do this with confidence and self-trust.

  1. Morning and Daily Routines – The best and most effective leaders, innovators and Ad Agencies have all had people at the helm who have developed a morning and daily routine that inspires, exhilarates and supports their own abilities. They also have a growth mindset, an abundance or energy, passion and open-mindedness too.

They all focus on their key business and personal priorities without interruption most of the morning before jumping into meetings, checking endless emails or talking to staff, friends or family on the telephone first.

Basically, if you focus on your highest work priorities before lunch each day, you are going to have a hugely productive week full of wins, progress and rewards. I have discovered it’s far better to resist being in a ‘reactive mode’ and apply yourself to focus on ‘productivity’ first – especially in the mornings!

Bottom-line: focus on personal and business priorities should be your focus every morning to set up the day, week and month. And, remove all distractions as much as you can! Remember, it is consistent, purposeful and deliberate practice that opens a world of infinite possibilities for human improvement.


About Geoff De Weaver


Super Strategist for the Fortune 500 – Geoff is a leading international expert on new business development, brand marketing, innovation, and growth. He has also directly assisted hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and clients generate billions in new business revenue from North America to Asia to Europe, South America and Australia/Oceania.

Geoff has successfully built businesses, agencies, opened offices worldwide, saved companies and helped clients generate billions of dollars of revenue and growth with their brands.

Geoff is passionate about the art of influence, new business and presentation. His techniques can help you communicate and lead more effectively. As a global marketer, coach and workshop leader, Geoff makes mastering these advanced skills an enjoyable and achievable process. His sound business acumen and results driven approach have made him a trusted business advisor to many of the world’s leading organizations and their senior executives.

Geoff works with business leaders to ignite their courage and confidence, so they can step up and step out in the way they engage people and communicate their leadership style. He is in high demand with CEO’s, CMO’s, directors, corporate executives and senior managers for his expert counsel and guidance in creating strategies for face-to-face communications and integrated global campaigns that are engaging and delivered with confidence and passion to key stakeholders.

For more information, contact Geoff De Weaver at or DM me on Twitter at:



Share This Post


Join Geoff’s millions of online subscribers. Get world-class results fast to be more productive, confident and be the next ‘success story’

* indicates required

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Geoff De Weaver will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.