Digital ad agency-7 (1)How to Define the Results/Success of Your Team?

As a project manager and account services director, my definition and measures of success are always ROI focused – both return on the project internally by adhering to budget and return for the client by meeting their business objectives.

“Be passionate about your company’s culture and your mission. Remain positive because it inspires others.”

A digital marketing agency has a comprehensive team of graphic designers, web developers, creatives, specialists in digital advertising, analysts, and account executives. This team is overseen by senior staff with extensive business experience to ensure all of the agency’s work aligns with the client’s business objectives. Without this experience, it is very difficult to ensure that the execution will bridge the gap between the marketing efforts and the strengths, weaknesses, and other characteristics of the product or service.

Many companies use an agency because the costs are much lower than if the company would maintain its own team of digital experts. Not only the costs needs to be considered, but also the expertise of the agency, the experience, creativity, and focus when developing digital strategies.

Behind every great digital campaign is a great agency. Thanks to the growing role of internet in our lives, agencies have come a long way in the past decade, and they’ve begun to hone in on and innovate the realm of digital marketing. Whether the agency is a dozen people or 500, or was founded as a traditional agency or a digital agency, every creative group brings its own flair and aesthetic to its work. Good digital marketing agencies are characterized by being specialists in digital communication, always focusing their efforts on ROI (Return on Investment) for the client.

Our Agency interview today is with Trellist Marketing and Technology.

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Trellist was founded in 1995 and has always put a focus on the convergence of marketing and technology.  While the industry has evolved significantly over the past 20+ years, Trellist has continued to adapt our structure, operating models, and offering while retaining our culture of entrepreneurialism.

Trellist has evolved to become a 100-person professional services firm with divisions in Consulting, Branding and Marketing, Digital, Enterprise Technologies, and Staffing. We have breadth and depth of expertise working with global, national, and regional clients across various industries. What sets us apart is our unique collective approach to business. It is at the core of everything we do – from how we are structured to how we partner with our clients.

We are truly grateful to Tyler Holloway for sharing insights on Trellist Marketing and Technology and being a part of our agency of the day interview series:

1. How would you describe the culture at ‘Trellist’ ?

The culture at Trellist is one based on collective intelligence and entrepreneurial spirit. These foundations are possible because of our sociable and self-managing environment, which improves trust and collaboration among our teams. We treat our clients like partners and our employees like owners, believing that this approach cultivates a shared passion for the work that we do and the solutions that we provide.

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2. Tell us about your Agency Culture Code? (Your Vision & Values)

At the core of the Trellist Culture Code is the company’s Charter, consisting of 3 concepts that lay the foundation for the sustainability and scalability of the company’s culture:

  1. Make money for ourselves and those that invest/work with the company
  2. Make a work-home for ourselves and employees
  3. Do interesting work and projects

These values are the key to the company’s culture and apply to every employee, role, and activity that the company pursues.

3. How do you assess people for cultural fit while hiring? Especially for the higher roles?

We are rigorous in hiring and consider individuals’ drive, passion, and fit within our culture to be as important as their skill set. We look for employees that have a balance of characteristics and can be described as Consultative, Creative, Intelligent, Collaborative, Business Minded, Inventive, Analytical, and Reflective.

While these qualities are difficult to assess in a traditional interview process, we leverage our consensus-based processes to hold group interview sessions where a wide variety of Trellist employees (Trellistees) across many divisions and functions of the company are involved. During these sessions, we can probe deep into specific or broad tests of character, skills, and philosophy – ultimately providing feedback internally and voting to ensure total group consensus about a hire. This collaborative, consensus-based approach applies to many decisions company-wide and leads to optimal outcomes while ensuring each party has their voice heard.

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4. How do you build a creative culture at your agency?  (What do you consider / what do you do)?

Trellist has established and maintained our creative culture through the adherence to our charter, namely through the work-home environment for our employees and through the pursuit of interesting work.

The work-home environment exists both in-office and outside, encouraging a communal workplace and allowing employees to work from home. Similarly, the dedication to provide interesting work to our employees allows our teams to supplement their primary accounts and industries with fresh projects or to explore new skillsets and new roles.

Personally, an example of this culture in action is the support that I have received in pursuing my own non-profit venture outside of Trellist – The Travel Songs Foundation ( Within my first six months working at Trellist, my band successfully raised the funding to produce a documentary about music and culture in Peru. Not only did Trellist encourage my participation and provide the flexibility to take over 2 weeks off, they promoted the initiative via social channels and continued to support as the documentary evolved into a non-profit – even including the charity in their annual holiday donation and encouraging me to return to Peru in 2017 to open a luthier school. Additionally, several of my peers have offered their creative services pro bono as an outlet for interesting work and reinforcing the “home” side of work-home – supporting me like family.

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5. How to Define the Results/Success of your Team? How do you celebrate success when key metrics targets are met?

As a project manager and account services director, my definition and measures of success are always ROI focused – both return on the project internally by adhering to budget and return for the client by meeting their business objectives. This measure of success ensures that the work we do exceeds client needs and is vital to sustaining our business relationships. This return-based measurement is one of the reasons we earn our client’s trust and treatment as a true extension of their team.

On my project teams, I celebrate successful projects with praise and acknowledgement – both among the project team and company-wide using our intranet. In some circumstances, the celebrations are more physical. For example, when I returned from Peru most recently, I brought back over 60 pairs of Alpaca scarves, socks, and hats for my team members as a small gift of thanks for their constant hard work and supporting my projects while I was away. Sometimes, a free coffee or snack doesn’t hurt either.

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6. It’s Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM, what would you guys be doing? How do you wrap up the week?

These types of activities held by Trellist are not just limited to Fridays but we have a number of company-sponsored events to encourage comradery among our coworkers. Weekly food truck lunches on Mondays, Friday pizza lunches, assorted happy hours, and pot lucks are a few of my favorite casual events supported by Trellist. Aside of these special events, for me, Fridays at 4 are still for work (although, sometimes with a beer in hand).

7. Tell us about ‘Bonding Outside Work’ in your Agency?

Trellist organizes several events throughout the year to bring employees together to have fun and bond outside of the office. These events range from happy hours to ball games, as well as participation in creative events like the 24 Hours of Lemons (we purchase a junk car and work as a team to redesign it to participate in a day-long race).

Aside from organized company bonding events, Trellist encourages employees to submit ideas for events that interest them and, if they can get consensus and interest from their peers, we will support it and cover the costs.

Similarly, we started a Trellist band consisting of employees from across the company with experience playing a wide variety of instruments ranging from singers, guitar players, drummers, and horn players. Using my studio as a rehearsal and recording space, we worked up a night’s worth of music and booked a concert at a local venue. For many of the musicians, it was their first time performing in front of a crowd and turned into a great casual bonding experience for both our employees and for our clients.

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8. While space might not determine the success or failure of a creative team, what would you say would be the minimum requirements needed for a creative team in regards to space?

The minimum space requirements will vary for different types of creative teams, however there are several important considerations to make. Does the team have enough physical space for their tools of the trade? Can the team work in an environment that is conducive to productivity and creativity? Does the space encourage collaboration and teamwork?

At Trellist, we have an open-air office that is designed to enhance collaboration among our teams. While this may be a difficult adjustment or distracting for some individuals, we have found that it leads to a more cooperative working environment – making it very easy to bounce ideas off colleagues and get a “second set of eyes”. I appreciate being able to quickly lean over to ask a colleague for advice or an opinion without needing to leave my desk, which, I feel, is a very efficient way to work that oftentimes produces to better results.

Today we got to know a few interesting facts about the digital agency “Trellist Marketing and Technology”. Going forward there are many more digital agencies that we want to host in our Agency of the day blog series.

Until then, Happy Marketing!!


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