Unlocking Agency Growth: Key Takeaways from Mirren Live ‘24

Last week, Drake Cooper CEO, Mindy Stomp, and I made the trek from Boise to New York for Mirren’s annual Mirren Live conference, where they assembled more than 60 industry innovators across 30 sessions, all dedicated to revealing new strategies to build an agency growth engine that’s faster, smarter, and more profitable. The conference offered a unique opportunity to collaborate with the best agencies in the business, learn about upcoming industry trends, and discover what these developments mean for agency growth.

Mindy Stomp, CEO & Dylan Amundson, Director of Marketing, Drake Cooper

Each day was divided into three tracks, each emphasizing a different aspect of agency development. Attendees could switch between tracks as they wished. Tracks ranged from building your new business pipeline to inventing new capabilities and revenue streams, with several opportunities to meet in collaborative, closed-door mastermind peer sessions.

Day One Highlights: Unveiling New Business Strategies

Day one focused heavily on agency growth and innovation, and my favorite session was the lead-off hitter, Sandra Alfaro, CEO of GUT. I was already a GUT follower, but this session left me in total fan-boy mode. Her session titled “The Edge: Inside Our New Business Operation” provided a look into their new business machine, where she unveiled the 12 tenets of how they think about and approach new business RFP/pitches. The big takeaway: Know who you are. More importantly, know who you are not.

Sandra Alfaro, GUT

The day’s key panel was “Beyond the Brief: What We Really Need from Agencies,” where industry leaders Tim Ellis, NFL, Victoria Lozano, Crayola, and Cheryl Guerin, MasterCard, discussed the evolving needs of clients and how agencies can better serve them by understanding their business beyond conventional advertising solutions. So what is it they are looking for? New and innovative creative ideas that will solve business problems, build audiences, and create new revenue. Simple, right?

Cheryl Guerin, MasterCard, Tim Ellis, NFL & Victoria Lozano, Crayola

Day Two Insights: Mastering New Frontiers

The second day, the conference shifted toward operational efficiency, new capabilities, and tools. Chris Johnson, CEO of TomorrowToday, and LaneTerralever, one of our Magnet Global partner agencies, presented “Pitch Amplified: Gaining the Winning Edge with AI,” which was a fantastic closer to the conference. He, in almost real-time, demonstrated how AI could be used to expedite and cut the massive costs within the pitching process by utilizing AI tools such as ChatGPT, Claude2, and Waldo, in addition to some excellent video and audio-based AI tools for quick turn creative ideation and creation. His advice to the crowd during Q&A was a simple acronym: FAFO. When it comes to AI, you just have to Fuck Around and Find Out.

Chris Johnson, LaneTerralever / TomorrowToday

The Mastermind Sessions on day two were also a highlight for me. Topics like “Ditch the Pitch: How We’re Moving Beyond RFPs to Build Our Pipelines” and “Organic Growth: How We’re Selling More Capabilities to More Clients” provided strategies for organic growth and alternative pitching models. In these closed-door sessions, agency leaders were candid and generous with their information, thoughts, and opinions—thanks to the moderators and consultants who also sat in on those sessions. Excellent guidance and thought leadership was provided.

Throughline and Conclusion

To recap, I believe Mirren Live’s overarching theme was clear: integration and adaptation are crucial. Agencies must integrate new technologies and strategies and adapt to changing client expectations and market dynamics. By focusing on operational efficiency, innovative revenue models, and strong client relationships, agencies can position themselves for success in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. The future of advertising lies in agility; it always has. The agencies that bring forward-thinking strategies and a deep understanding of client needs will continue to win.

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