Agency Life: Insight from KWSM President and CEO Katie Wagner

Feb 2022

agency lifeAs any outsourced marketing team will tell you, running an agency is an experience all its own. From bigger-picture aspects such as developing growth strategies and navigating challenges, down to day-to-day tasks and interactions with clients, agency life is a unique environment that keeps us all on our toes and dependent on fellow team members for success.


In a recent interview with the InspiredInsider podcast, KWSM President and CEO Katie Wagner shares the story of starting the agency 12 years ago, building it from the ground up, bringing on a full team, and leading us on this journey of exponential growth. 


Here are some highlights from her interview,

“Unbundling Agency Life.”


Leadership Guidance is Essential

When you’re the CEO, there is no one above you within the company to tell you how to improve or whether or not you’re doing a good job. As our team began to grow and Katie was overseeing more employees, she knew that guidance on how to lead people effectively would be essential. She found this support in Vistage, a CEO peer group.


“I think that is probably the most important thing I’ve done on my leadership journey – finding other business leaders who had been where I was, who had grown successful companies, and who continued to face the same challenges and the obstacles that I was up against along the way,” Katie says. “They advised me on how to go with my gut, to believe that I could lead the company and make good decisions, and to not look back after I made them. They really pushed me to be better and to build a better business than I could have alone.”


Determining Each Client’s Unique Needs

One of the best parts of our business is that our clients often don’t know what they’re looking for when they first come to us. Most of the time, all they know is that they need more people to buy their product or service – they don’t have it narrowed down to “we need SEO or Facebook or Google ads.” It’s up to us to deep-dive into their respective businesses, team dynamics, target audiences, etc. Each client is entirely unique, so it takes quite a bit of prep work and research to understand who they are and what they offer before we can know what they need to thrive.


This is one of Katie’s favorite parts of agency life:


“I love digging into, not only what the company is trying to accomplish, but what the target audience is looking for. What are their pain points? How are they interacting with content online? How can we create a strategy that gets the right content and the right messaging in front of them and really drives action? You can have the most sophisticated lead generation funnel in the world with 15 different moving parts, but if you don’t have engaging content that gets somebody into the funnel in the first place, it’s all for nothing.”


Project Management Makes All The Difference

As a full-service digital marketing agency that serves businesses across the country in a variety of industries, you can imagine how many projects (and moving parts within those projects) are circulating at once. Here at KWSM, we live and die by project management. Over the past 12 years of business, our agency has tried a few different project management systems, but our favorite and current system is Teamwork, which also serves as our CRM.


As the CEO of the agency, Katie receives hundreds of emails each day. Between overseeing projects, communicating with the leadership team and other members of the agency, networking, interviewing, and more, this influx of communication can easily become overwhelming to take in bulk. To help avoid this, she regularly uses the “Snooze” feature in Google Mail. 


“If I can’t deal with something right now, or the deadline is farther out than the other project in my inbox, I’ll snooze it. I panic when there are 100 emails I haven’t read yet, even if they aren’t all pressing. It’s good for my sanity when I can temporarily clear out the ones that I don’t have to deal with right away.”


Interested in hearing more about agency life?

Stream the full interview here



Ready to try agency life for yourself?

We want to work with people who are passionate. If you have the ability to get excited and roll up our sleeves to serve our clients, we might just be the work-family you’re looking for!

CLICK HERE to learn more.



Fill out the form below to start your conversation with KWSM.

Core Values at KWSM a digital marketing agency