The more years I work as a marketing agency owner, the closer I get to feeling like Peggy Olson and Don Draper (from Mad Men). Honestly, the first time I watched the show as a young marketer at a big company I enjoyed it, I could relate to some of it, and I loved the style and characters of the show. Then, I began to feel the pain of creative vs. client requests, growing an agency, and navigating industry trends and changes.
Recently, I started to question why they put up with over-the-top client requests, and focused more efforts on schmoozing than showing off their skill and successful campaigns. It was a different age of advertising and marketing.
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Today, marketing agency relationships with clients are far more collaborative and enjoyable. We’ve worked with agencies large and small over the years and have noticed that the industry as a whole has changed with the growth in independent creators, small teams of freelancers who work together, and agencies of creative professionals.
The old way: whatever the client says goes, agencies have strict rules
After running my agency (CXD Studio) with my business partner Gabby for over five years now, I understand the whole “glass of scotch after every big client pitch” thing a *bit* more. (OK — not to that excess!) I also grow to identify more and more with the Tumblr account Mad Men Integrated that takes clips from Mad Men and adds modern agency captions. It’s spot-on. It makes me feel seen and it’s great for a laugh and a reminder not to take things so seriously.
So, agency life is agency life is agency life, and it has been since the 50s. Right? Not quite.
Today, clients and agencies are equal creative partners
I don’t actually need to immediately pour a glass of scotch after every client call because…our clients are cool. I enjoy chatting with them, brainstorming ideas, and testing out creative campaigns. Pitch meetings aren’t horribly nerve-wracking because they’re based on thorough data, research, industry trends, and best practices, and we can always test and iterate if something doesn’t resonate with the audience like we thought it would.
Don’t get me wrong, Don, Peggy, and team did their research. But the relationships between agency teams and in-house teams has changed since Mad Men. Agencies are partners now, we’re part of the team and valued for pushing back on “the way things are done,” coming up with innovative new ideas, and bringing new perspectives and expertise to the table.
There’s a wide world of amazing creative, women-owned marketing agencies, so if your team is looking for support in content marketing, graphic design, short and long-form content creation, branding and brand identity, general marketing, and more, take a look at the list we’ve created of some of our peers in the industry.
1. CXD Studio
We are a women-owned creative content marketing agency based out of Boston. CXD Studio specializes in B2B content marketing strategy and creation for enterprise teams, and we create content campaigns, reports, social media creative, blog posts, and more.
Helen & Gertrude is a creative media agency based out of New York offering media planning and buying, web & UX design, community management, and insights and research to inform marketing strategy.
3. Metter Media
Metter Media is a fellow Boston-based marketing agency that helps companies tell their stories online through full social media management from consulting, to strategy, to creative, to publishing.
Hoodzpah is a branding agency founded by sisters Jennifer and Amy Hood based out of Orange County, CA. The Hoodzpah team creates custom fonts and has designed logos for Disney films like Luca and Encanto.
Oxford Comma Co has one of the best taglines out there — “Good copy by + for bad bitches”. I mean, it speaks for itself! Oxford Comma Co’s jefa (leader/boss) Yessy Downs is based in the Chicago area, and their agency mission is to “uplift and support members of our BIPOC, Queer, women and disabled community with the power of words”. 👏
Anchor Watch is another marketing agency in our own neck of the woods, the Boston area. Owned by Jessica Ponyrko, Anchor Watch specializes in small business marketing, including brand strategy, website design, and consulting.
Dash of Social is a social media marketing agency run by Ashley Mason. Ashley works with small businesses in the Boston area as well, focusing on social media, content marketing, and SEO for local businesses.
Solicited Advice Co. creates in-depth social media marketing strategies and consults businesses on leveling up their social presence. The last of our Boston-area, women-owned marketing agencies on the list, this team handles all social media from drafting to scheduling content.
Need bold branding? Look no further than Monforte Studio. Monforte is a QWOC-owned design studio and their creative services include Squarespace web design, Shopify web design, custom branding, consulting, and more.
Wildflower is based across the pond from us, in the UK and specializes in branding “for the wildly ambitious”. Wildflower has an incredible social media account for inspiration and offers templates for new designers on their site.
Don’t forget to follow all of these great women-led brands on social media, for design inspiration and to build your community of creative professional women.
And if you find yourself in need of some creative support and have projects and ideas piling up… check if one of these teams is available!