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Paul RoetzerApril 18, 20114 min read

An Idea, a Book and an Opportunity for Change

Editor's Note: For more information on the book, see

This is the story behind my forthcoming book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint. A book made possible by the support and guidance of David Meerman Scott, the innovation and vision of my friends at HubSpot, a shared commitment with Shannon Vargo and Wiley, and my amazing team at PR 20/20. 

A Broken Model

"There are times when all of us have to step outside of our comfort zone in order to advance an idea." 

In February 2004, I came to a life-changing realization — the marketing agency model was broken, and had been for years. While I was only four years into my career at that time, a number of contributing factors had become obvious to me:

  • Billable hours were inefficient at best. Professionals were more worried about meeting hour quotas than delivering the level of service and quality needed to produce measurable results for clients.
  • There was little differentiation between firms, and a lack of innovation within the industry.
  • Training and education were stagnant. Firms and universities were teaching the same systems, principles and services that had been applied for decades.
  • Request For Proposals (RFPs) were a waste of time and energy, for both clients and agencies. 
  • Standard measurement systems (i.e. clips, impressions, reach, ad equivalency, PR value) were meaningless, with no real connection to bottom-line results.

The industry was ripe for disruption.

The Opportunity to Emerge: Marketing Agencies and Consultants

Fast forward to 2011, and many of the same challenges exist. Traditional firms — PR, advertising, SEO and web — are fighting to remain relevant by grasping for new services, such as social, mobile and content; rather than focusing on what really matters, including: pricing structure, technology, staffing, infrastructure, processes and purpose.

As a result, there are unparalleled opportunities for emerging agencies and consultants to transform, disrupt and thrive within the developing marketing services ecosystem

The agencies and professionals with the will and vision to adapt and evolve will rise, while many traditional firms will become obsolete.

Accelerating Change: The Marketing Agency Blueprint

I have spent more than five years building a new agency model at PR 20/20 because I passionately believe there is a better way.

We have worked closely with tech companies such as HubSpot to develop more results-driven services and more efficient processes, drawn on the teachings of industry luminaries such as David Meerman Scott and Matt Cutts, and been influenced by the business models of innovative organizations such as Apple, Google, Salesforce, HubSpot and 37Signals.

We are far from perfect, and we certainly don't have all the answers, but I think it's time that we share what we have learned in order to accelerate change.

On April 14, 2011, I signed a deal with Wiley to write The Marketing Agency Blueprint. The book, which is targeted for fall 2011 publishing, presents rules for building tech-savvy, hybrid agencies that are more efficient, influential and profitable than traditional firms. And, most importantly, capable of delivering greater results and value to clients.

The book will explore lessons learned from my own experiences, and integrate knowledge and resources from the leaders and innovators who are transforming the marketing services industry.

In addition, it will feature original research and data, case studies, a dedicated website, downloadable worksheets and software vendor comparison guides.

Leaving My Comfort Zone

The quote at the top comes from a blog post I wrote in October 2009 — "Does Inbound Marketing Really Work?" It was one of the first times I publicly shared intimate details about what we were building at PR 20/20. It also serves as a reminder to me that we have to take chances, and embrace the unknown, in order to influence change.

Writing a book is a daunting undertaking, and quite honestly, not something I had planned to do at this point in my career. Plus, giving other agencies the knowledge and tools to build stronger, more competitive businesses seems somewhat ludicrous on the surface.

But it's the right thing to do. I believe the book and supporting resources will help entrepreneurs build their agencies and futures, stimulate a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem, and contribute to the inevitable transformation of an industry.

One of my favorite quotes, which has come to encapsulate my philosophy in business and life, is from Tim O'Reilly — "Create more value than you capture." 

That is exactly what I hope to accomplish with this book.

Stay Informed

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. If you are a marketing agency or consultant interested in the book, website and supporting resources, complete this brief contact form to receive regular email updates.

About the Author

Paul Roetzer is founder and president of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm, and author of the upcoming book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint. He can be found on Twitter @PaulRoetzer.

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Paul Roetzer

Paul Roetzer is Ready North's (formerly PR 20/20) founder and senior advisor, as well as the founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute. He is the author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence (Matt Holt Books, 2022) The Marketing Performance Blueprint (Wiley, 2014), and The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley, 2012); and the creator of the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON). Full bio.