Digital Agency Growth Summit | Hero Conf

Where Agencies
Go to Grow

August 22-23 | New York City

Accelerate Agency Learning by 2 2 Days

  • What

  • Why

  • Who

An event designed for the constantly changing world of digital agencies. You’ll learn from the growth tactics, the winners and losers, that have helped Hanapin Marketing grow from 13 to 60+ people in 5 years. Learn how we went from an SMB focus to championing global brands like The Weather Channel, The Home Depot, Icelandair, Shoe Carnival, and Highlights Magazine.


In addition to Hanapin led sessions, you’ll hear from digital agency-specific experts on marketing strategy, law, finance, business development, and how to put together a big-deal-winning pitch.

Because it’s not just about giving you more work to do. Events are effective because they provide outside validation. This Summit can increase your confidence in the areas that are working, while shining light on your blind spots, and allowing you to refocus your energy where your business will see the most lift.


On top of 9-speaker led sessions. you’ll get a networking event at each day end and two dinners. Because every attendee will be an executive from a growing agency committed to lifelong learning, you’ll take away ideas generated as sparks from random conversations that no event, and no amount of sitting in your office, can replicate.

This summit isn’t for everyone. Large agencies with high-performing new business engines and a structure that fuels client retention probably have figured out much of what we’ll discuss.


The Agency Growth Summit is for CEO’s, Presidents and/or Partners at digital agencies who currently have 3-75 employees looking to grow YoY by at least 25%. You will get the most out of this event if you are struggling with the best path to grow new business inquiries, improve new business close rates, increase client retention, and to recruit, train, and retain the best talent.


2 days of the most relevant, actionable content from agency experts.

Tuesday, August 22
Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am - 10:00 am
The State of Digital Agencies:
What Kind of Agency Leadership is Required Today?
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Digital agencies are relative newcomers on the marketing scene. Previously, traditional (TV, print and radio) ad agencies worked with advertisers in long-term relationships, and the other types of agencies — direct marketing, events / sponsorship, sales promotion and PR — played second fiddle. All this has changed with the growth of digital and social media. Since traditional agencies did not diversify and develop expertise in digital media, they opened the marketplace to new competitors, who they saw as “software providers” rather than as potential competitors.


Advertisers have shifted their media spend strongly in the direction of digital and social media, and digital SOW workloads have grown dramatically in size and volume. The grip that traditional agencies have had on their clients has weakened substantially. AOR relationships have declined in number; advertisers now have extensive portfolios of “best in class” agencies, including several digital and social agencies to serve their digital marketing needs.


Digital agencies are increasingly important to advertisers, but to date they have not picked up the mantle of intellectual leadership within the agency relationship.


Should digital agencies be more aggressive and assertive within their relationships? Should they seek to create the type of close relationships previously enjoyed by traditional agencies? Should they seek to become the “brand navigators” and dominant strategic voices within their agency-client relationships? If so, how can they improve the quality of their remuneration and insure that they can afford to assign the highest-quality people?


Michael Farmer’s session will explore these and other questions by presenting a unique view of the State of Digital Agencies today.


Key takeaways:


  • To recognize the need for improved SOW planning, documentation and negotiation for fee-setting purposes.
  • To recognize the need to ensure that SOW mix and spend have a clear “brand-building” or “brand-growing” purposes.
  • To recognize the opportunity that exists for digital agencies to backwards integrate into more traditional media types in order to dominate their agency-client relationships.

Michael Farmer

Farmer & Company LLC

PR & Advertising
11:30 am - 12:15 pm

AKA: how to advertise an advertising agency. We generate 1,000 new leads per month, and have built a repeatable system filled with 13 years of lessons from trial and error. This is the engine that drives us to being recognized as an Inc 5000 fastest growing business 4 years in a row. You’ll learn:


  • Our PR and Advertising Strategy that helped drive 48% YoY growth
  • Why spending $300 a month was better than $1,200
  • If awards are worth the time money and effort

Jeff Allen

Hanapin Marketing

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Personas: The Missing Component in Your Content Marketing Strategy
1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

Content marketing is an amazingly effective way for brands to build relationships with audiences by providing the useful, usable and relevant content they crave. But it’s not good enough to just assume we know who they are and what they want. We have to get to the heart of what makes them tick. Thankfully, doing just that is easier than you ever imagined. In this hands-on session, Anna Hrach, strategist at Convince & Convert, will show you how to create spot-on personas with data you already have.


By the end of the session, you’ll have the blueprint you need to speak more effectively to your target audiences and strengthen your entire content marketing strategy.

  • Why personas should help guide your content marketing efforts
  • How to create personas that accurately reflect your customers
  • Do’s and Don’ts for using and creating personas

Anna Hrach

Convince & Convert

Smart Financial Management for Agencies
2:30 pm - 3:15 pm

Agencies are a terrible business. Your biggest asset walks out the building each day, your clients have more leverage than ever, and you have 10,000 competitors in the U.S. alone. To stay healthy you have to have great financial management.


This session will walk through a sample budgeting process, including how to prevent folks from thinking too small but getting too excited about going big, and how to manage invoicing and collections in a way to ensure you always have money in the bank.


Key Takeaways:


  • A zero-based budgeting plan
  • How to prevent the toxic socializing of budgets before they’re approved
  • How we cut our collections in half

Jeff Allen

Hanapin Marketing

Agency Law
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Drinks Reception
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Wednesday, August 23
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Hiring and Onboarding Top Performers
10:00 am - 10:45 am

For more than a decade, Hanapin Marketing has found and trained some of the most talented folks in the PPC industry. While many of these folks have stayed, others have gone on to Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and to leadership roles at start-ups in the space. Finding and developing this level of talent requires a keen eye for spotting potential, as well as a way to make sure your onboarding process builds a strong foundation for the rest of their career.


Key Takeaways:


  • How to pre-screen candidates so you don’t waste energy
  • How to prevent new hires from having “buyers remorse”
  • Effective interview loops, including grading rubrics

Rebecca Reott

Hanapin Marketing

Employee Performance Management
11:15 am - 12:00 pm

According to Gallup, only 21% of employees think the way they are managed inspires them to do their best work. From performance reviews to stay interviews, Hanapin has doubled employee retention while allowing folks to craft a career path that plays to their strengths and interests.


Key Takeaways:


  • Hear how our award-winning management training drove up employee satisfaction
  • Get our guide to career paths, and what we learned from our failures
  • Learn how we identify, and reward, top performers
  • See our compensation philosophy and process

Rebecca Reott

Hanapin Marketing

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Why Business Development Should Never Take a Back Seat
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

In the agency world, most agencies deprioritize business development for a multitude of (bad) reasons.  This can have serious consequences for any agency that is looking to grow their revenue and expand their client base.  In order to ensure growth, we need to establish a scalable and repeatable business development process to make sure you agency is winning more!  Throughout our session we will cover:


Key Takeaways:


  • Why your team needs to be proactive rather than reactive – and how to make that shift
  • Tools and technology necessary to building a business development machine
  • The benefits and pitfalls of outsourcing business development or building an in-house tea

Matt Chollet

Catapult New Business

Pitching Your Agency: The Zen of Awkward Conversations
3:15 pm - 4:15 pm

Congratulations! You’ve been selected as a finalist to pitch onsite to a potential client. Now what? Getting to the pitch can feel like an accomplishment, but many agencies (including ourselves) can lose focus and make critical mistakes that can lose the business.
This session will cover the entire pitch process, from framework to preparation through to all the awkwardness of delivering in front of a room of total strangers. We’ll discuss the highs (and lows) of pitching for new agency business while sharing the key elements of the Hanapin process that has helped us close more pitches.
Key Takeaways:
  • How to organize the pitch prep process
  • How to craft a key theme that’s client-centric
  • How to maintain team focus on strategy vs. tactics.

Tom Hootman

Hanapin Marketing

Closing Drinks Reception
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm



52 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

A corporate meeting space wired for creative, productive meetings in the agency capital of the world. Learn from the top agency experts in the heart of midtown Manhattan.


An all-inclusive experience, designed for maximum impact and long-term effect. The Full Summit Pass includes:


  • 9 expert-led agency sessions designed specifically for executives
  • Resources selected by our experts, tailored to you
  • 3, thirty-minute post-event phone consultations with Hanapin experts
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 networking dinners
  • 3 nights accommodation at the conference hotel
  • Car service from JFK, Laguardia, or Newark Airports

Full summit pass: $5,000