Your first marketing agency should be next door to another marketing agency.

I started my agency in Melville, Long Island which was 30 miles from the big City – New York. I was a good new business person and manager, but knew the real creative talents in marketing were an hour and a half away. However, many of them lived just a few minutes from my office. My objective was to create a New York City agency on Long Island. What I did was offer these talented people an alternative to their three hours of miserable travel to and from the City. I said to each candidate “what are you making in the City? “I’ll give you 10% less, but give you three hours more of your life by working close to your home”. No one said no.

You’re marketing agency is known by the clients you keep.

The names of you clients become the stature of your agency. Many times we were not “the agency of record” for some of our clients, but were the secondary agency doing their collateral work. However IBM, Nikon, Avis, Royal Caribbean, and more were proudly named on our registry of clients. These well-known names helped us acquire the total work of Hohner Harmonicas, Twin Labs, Astoria Federal, Audiovox and many more. My advice is to “put your foot in the door” of famous name companies by taking on an assignment and doing it extremely well. It can often lead to getting the entire account, but at least you can say we do the work for “XYZ”.


Agency partners should have different jobs.

If you have a partner in your marketing agency you will never grow large if you work in parallel. My first partner and I worked in parallel for our first 10 years of business. We grew, but had reached the pinnacle of how many hours we could work in a day. I went to him and said “you do creative better than me and I manage an agency better than you”. We then took on what each of us did best and the agency grew from $10 million in billings to almost $100 million. With more money we hired the best people in all the areas of our agency and let them shine in a smaller agency environment.

Pick the right clients when you start your marketing agency.

What clients do you take when you first open your marketing agency? The answer is simple – take any and all that pay the bills. When I first started I took on several car dealers even though my past experience was with industrial companies. Car dealers weren’t loyal to their agencies they just want sales to go up each week. I looked at their print ads in Friday papers, went to visit them for a few minutes a couple of days later and told them I could do them better. They said “go ahead and show me”. The following week I showed them better ads and they said “you’re my new agency”. Two years later I sent them all a “Dear John” resignation letter and went back to what kind of business I really wanted.

– Ron Greenstone


Where should you start a marketing agency? Don’t do it from home to save money..

An office is an environment to work and a home is a distraction from working. If you’re a management person get a small office, preferably next to a creative service. If you’re a creative person get a small office next to a management person. I started in a 300 sq. ft. office over a barber shop. Hired a high school graduate who helped me answer the phones, did some bookkeeping, paperwork, and listened to my complaining. Soon we grew and took more space and eventually moved to a real office building with 2500 sq. ft. eventually, we had over 30,000 sq. ft. in several offices in both New York and Florida. Recently I started a new marketing company with an office in Bohemia, NY.

– Ron Greenstone