SeeDepth Masters In Marketing Interview: Author And Marketer Drew McLellan

 In Marketing Leader Interviews

DrewMcLellanDrew McLellan has worked in advertising for 25+ years and started his own agency, McLellan Marketing Group, in 1995 after a five-year stint at Y&R. MMG will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the Fall of 2015. The agency specializes in B2B financial services industries. Drew also owns and runs Agency Management Institute (AMI), which offers agency management training and consulting. AMI also facilitates agency owner peer networks for small to mid sized agencies (advertising, digital, marketing, media and PR) so they can increase their AGI by at least 25% to attract better clients and employees and, best of all, exceed the agency owner’s life/financial goals.


Drew launched his agency’s blog in 2006 and it has been on the AdAge Top 150 since the list’s inception. His first book, 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing, was published in 2003 and Drew and Australian marketer Gavin Heaton created the Age of Conversation series of crowdsourced books in 2007. To date, the AOC series has raised over $50,000 for charity. Drew launched the AMI blog in 2012 as a resource to agency leaders.


Drew is s often interviewed and has been quoted in Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him “one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.” Publications like The Washington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur and others have invited Drew to write for them as well. When he’s not hanging out with clients or agency owners/staff, Drew spends time with his family and pondering why the Dodgers can’t seem to get back to the World Series. Drew has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota but alas, he cannot remember their fight song.

Here’s our Masters in Marketing interview with Drew – who can clearly remember how to tell and promote a good story!


Tell us a bit about your agency.  McLellan Marketing Group will celebrate its 20th anniversary this October. We’re a small shop (12 full time people) that specializes in working with large regional or national clients in the financial sector (banks, credit unions, financial advisors, insurance, etc.) and on the small side, working directly with regional business owners.


How did you decide on a career in marketing/advertising?  For me, it was the perfect blend of the things I loved and found interesting — psychology, business and writing.


If you were not in this industry, what do you envision yourself doing? — Writing the great American mystery novel.


Please tell us about your book, 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing. It’s a collection of marketing tips and tricks, each written to be bite sized and immediately actionable.


Any others in the works?  Yes — I’ve got another book, tentatively titled “Marketing. Actually, it is Rocket Science” that’s due out this summer.


How do you approach story telling? What seems to work for you?  I think storytelling is most appealing and effective when you figure out the human/emotional element in the story.  We’re so driven by our emotions — any story that’s missing that piece just feels like you’re dressing up a marketing message and trying to pretend it’s a story.  I like the drama/excitement and the whole good guy/bad guy portion of the story too. Give me a hero to root for and help me understand why he/she is driven to do what they do — and I’m hooked.  So that’s how we approach storytelling in our work as well.


What is your ideal type of client?  We have built our business working with large regional or national clients in the financial sector (banks, credit unions, financial advisors, insurance, etc.) and on the small side, working directly with regional business owners.


Favorite book?  Non-fiction/business — “Radical Leap” by Steve Farber.  Fiction — the Harry Potter series.


What is next for you for the remainder of 2015?​  A book launch, planning our 20th anniversary celebration, landing/onboarding one more great client and spending several weeks in Disney World, leading some workshops.


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