Written by:
Justin Rolfes
Founder / CEO

Why I Started My Own Agency

Everyone enjoys a challenge. Some challenge themselves to eat better or workout more often, while others push themselves to climb mountains or skydive.  The level of comfort you have with your current situation dictates how big of a risk you are willing to take. If you are in relatively good shape, you likely aren’t going to try to lose 50% of your body weight, it just doesn’t make logical sense. However, when you find yourself wanting more, sometimes the only road left to take is one that you have to create.  

I had a good job, I had security, I had what most people want, a career that allowed flexibility in my time and surrounded me in an interest of mine; but it wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.  That is where the idea for Mirata Marketing was conceived.  I started my career on the marketing agency side of the desk and that was some of the most valuable time I spent in terms of shaping my future.  I was able to meet some fantastic people both inside the agency, as well as clients, but what I really got was a crash course in project management, client relations, and an intense exposure to creating things from scratch for clients that produced outstanding results.  What I also acquired was the opportunity to note subtle differences in the way I would operate my own agency, inflexible aspects that I had to abide by, but things I would do differently if I had my own agency and could be done differently to the benefit of everyone.  

Eventually, I fell out of love with the agency side of the desk and took a position as the Director of Marketing at a local mid-sized business that operated throughout the region.  A completely different view point as now I was not asking people to do projects with me, but rather I was being asked to spend money on projects with other companies.  The number of requests was, to say the least, unexpected.  From the agency side you always knew other people were asking for their business but if you haven’t spent time on the other side of the desk you truly can’t understand how often it happens and furthermore the thought process that they must go through to evaluate every opportunity.  The other side of this that gave me so much value was being responsible for the projects long term.  From the agency side, you often complete the project, track results in the short term, and leave it in the hands of your clients to maintain. Being the one now responsible for the results allows you to see all the metrics long term, evaluate them, and make changes to improve the campaign, which is a unique perspective to have coming from an outside partner.  

While I truly enjoyed what I was doing as well as where I was doing it, the time came when I wanted more and the search for that ‘more’ began.  I knew I loved marketing and really enjoyed continuing to learn and develop in that field, so leaving the marketing field in totality was never an option.  Eventually the idea of getting back into the agency side of marketing came to mind but I knew I couldn’t go back to the same agency set-up as before, I also knew that the aspects of the agency world that I didn’t agree with were things that I could structure around if I had my own agency, thus Mirata Marketing was born.  

So, how are we different?  Great question.  First of all, we treat each and every relationship like a partnership, not a vendor relationship.  What’s the difference?  A vendor relationship is a very one sided conversation where there isn’t a tremendous amount of collaboration going on, while a partnership consists of open communication, honesty, and trust from all parties.  We will be very honest with you in every conversation.  While ultimately the decision on moving forward with a project or direction is yours, you will know if we feel that is in your best interest to move forward in that direction or not, always with the utmost respect, but I will never encourage you to do something that is not in the best interest of your company or will give you the best outcome.  See, I want you to succeed because if you succeed, I succeed.

The other major way we are different is the way that we structure the partnership with you.  While on the client side of the desk it became apparent that a business really has three options for help with their marketing, hire an internal person, hire an agency, or hire specialized companies and have to manage multiple vendor relationships.  Hiring an internal person is great, you can control your expense because you are just paying the salary but you also are limiting yourself to only the capabilities of a single person, who often leans to the creative side or the strategic side of marketing and whose capabilities are often greatly limited, especially without the assistance of an outside company, raising your expense back up.  The vendor relationship is another good option but again, you have to have someone to manage the relationships as well as inspect what you expect to get for results, so now you’re again paying for a person and outside vendor help.  That leaves the agency relationship, this relationship delivers the most capabilities for you but also typically at the greatest expense.  After years of operating within and cycling through different types of relationships, I knew there had to be a better way, so I developed what is called the Mirata Advantage.  

While I will dive deeper into the Mirata Advantage in a later post, essentially the Mirata Advantage is a structure that combines the best of all the relationship types but does so in a way that saves you money while allowing you to use a tremendous amount of services.  

I am very proud of the agency that we have created because I know the structure is designed in a way that is fair to everyone involved and can really help a business thrive in ways they might not have ever imagined for fear of cost, ability, or marketing strategy.  I know the kind of partner that I wanted to work with and when I couldn’t find a road that led me to one, I had to create my own.