Is Your Ad Agency Practicing Inward Facing Dog?

Don't be one of those new business professionals (or CEOs) who's missing what's happening outside the four walls of your agency
by Todd Knutson

If you're the new business person at a small or medium-size agency, or the agency CEO, a recent post from OnStartUps by Dharmesh Shah may resonate.

I borrowed this post's title from Dharmesh, who alludes to the popular yoga pose "downward facing dog" when he asks his readers, "[are you] practicing inward facing dog? That is, are you overly focused on things going on inside the company with too little attention on what might be going on outside the company?"

Here are his 6 ways to determine if your agency is Inward-Facing (he wrote this for start-ups; I've re-written his points to apply to ad agencies):

1. You haven't talked to your client(s) this week for any reason other than to provide support.

2. You don't know what your closest agency competitors are doing, or what new ones are cropping up (yes, even in a recession).

3. You don't read the blogs of at least 5 people you respect in the advertising industry. Read. Stay up to date on the conversations shaping the industry.

4. You haven't been to an industry conference in years - solely to learn and have in-person conversations.

5. You don't follow the news about where the money is flowing in the ad industry or your clients' industries. Who is being funded? What technological innovations are occurring? What companies are getting bought, being sold?

6. You don't regularly meet with other new business professionals (or agency CEOs). Your experiences, challenges, frustrations are not unique - others have been through it before and you can learn from them.

Hopefully, one or more of these ideas will help you get tuned back in to what's happening outside. It's important for your professional growth as well as as the health and vitality of your agency.

What other signs might indicate that your agency is too inward focused? What else do you do to make sure you stay in touch with what's going on outside your four walls?

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