Traction Case Study: Marshall Communications

Strengthen Marshall Communication’s business practices to add value to the agency as a service provider

Situation Analysis:
Marshall Communications had recently expanded its client base into Portland, Maine, and had secured the account of a major national brand, Orvis. The business was thriving. Never one to rest on her laurels, agency CEO Nancy Marshall saw a need to improve and streamline operations internally. This would allow the agency to expand smoothly while continuing to build client relationships that last.

Traction infographicAgency Management Institute (AMI) is a management consulting business that specializes in helping owners of small and medium-sized marketing communication companies move up to their next performance level—and keep improving. Nancy first learned of Traction, a book by EOS Worldwide founder Gino Wickman, at an AMI gathering where agency owners share best practices and big ideas. The best-selling book details an entrepreneurial operating system that standardizes sales and delivery of services to drive success. Nancy felt it had great application to what the Marshall Communications team was looking to achieve.

Drew McLellan, owner of AMI, was brought in to serve as the team’s consultant and guide through an agency-centric process based on Traction. The process took an entire year and a great commitment of time and resources from the agency’s team.

One of the key outcomes was a complete re-branding to convey the new energy the leadership team has infused into the agency and to shine the light on the talents of the entire team. Nancy’s first name was removed from the agency name because there was now a deep bench of front-line leaders at the helm – not just Nancy alone.

A new tagline, “Maine Based. Globally Connected.” reflects the network of contacts the agency has established around the world thanks to its work with the Maine Office of Tourism, the Orvis Company, Discover New England, and others.

Now that the process is complete, Nancy continues to meet with the leadership team and watch the business thrive. As a result of going through the process, Marshall Communications has grown in profitability, and the infrastructure of the agency is much stronger.

McLellan says, “The Marshall Communications team achieved a great deal in a short amount of time due to their dedication to the process and desire to make the agency the best it can be. They are a very different leadership team than they were a year ago in terms of being able to have candid conversations, work through difficult barriers, and stay hyper focused on the most important goals. I expect great things from them.”


  • A complete rebranding with a fresh new look
  • A new leadership team that will spearhead the agency’s growth in the years to come
  • Weekly leadership meetings to review progress, track new business opportunities, recognize new business wins and acknowledge employee successes
  • Personal and business bests recognized each week
  • An ongoing list of “pebbles” and “rocks,” projects to benefit the agency internally, and ultimately its ability to serve clients, that the leadership team is constantly moving forward
  • Establishment of a Vision/Traction Organizer, an infographic that lays out the agency’s core values, focus, 10-year target and three-year picture
  • Annual and quarterly goals for revenue, profit, employee satisfaction and more are established and regularly revisited
  • A new practice of writing thank-you notes to team members who have done outstanding work and reading them aloud at staff meetings; once a month, a drawing is held to award one of the recognized staff members a gift card
  • Landing a major account worth 10 percent of the agency’s gross