Marketing Agency Momentumm Skipped Niching Down–and Scaled Fast

Agency Profile Anthony Guilhem, Momentumm Hero Image

There’s a lot said about the benefits of niching down. But what happens when an agency instead follows its clients' cues to expand its service offering, open doors to new industries and technology, and ultimately scale the business faster?

In just under seven years, Anthony Guilhem has grown his digital marketing agency, Momentumm, from a team of two running a handful of campaigns to being home to 10 employees helping more than 50 clients grow their businesses. 

Let’s explore how Anthony and his partner, Steven Yates, followed the breadcrumbs of client demand, scaled Momentumm, and navigated the many hurdles they encountered.

Name

Agency

Agency Stats

Location

Name

Anthony Guilhem

Agency

Momentumm

Agency Stats

10 employees

50 clients

Est. 2018

Location

Montreal, Canada

Spotting the Need for a Better Agency

Some kids envision growing up to drive shiny red trucks, sirens blaring, on the way to raging infernos. Others have their heads far beyond the clouds, riding rocket ships into space. Many more aim to be doctors, lawyers, or athletes.

Anthony Guilhem always knew he was born to be an entrepreneur. 

Originally from France, Anthony moved to Montreal, Quebec, at a young age. As a teen, he mowed his neighbors’ lawns, earning every little bit of extra money he could. 

His career path was clear: Anthony wanted to run his own business. 

He studied sales and marketing in college and managed a video store, where, at 19, he was leading employees more than twice his age. He then served as an account manager for Xerox. 

By 2015, he was the marketing manager for Quebec-based IT firm Microage. At the same time, he co-founded a clinic, Clinique Neurone, that provided tutoring and special education services for children with learning disabilities.

“I never wanted to start an agency. I thought the industry was already crowded.” More than anything, Anthony says, Momentumm started out of frustration.

While running marketing at MicroAge, Anthony approached several marketing agencies to help with various tasks, including web design, SEO, and Google Ads. Following his experience at Xerox and running a one-man marketing team at MicroAge, he had a solid understanding of what to look for in an agency. Still, somehow, each agency he hired during his three years at MicroAge failed to deliver the results he expected as a marketing manager.

I hired and fired three agencies in three years. I wasn't getting the service delivery I was hoping for. And I was like, ‘I just grew this side business on my own and know a lot about digital marketing. Chances are I can do it for myself and others.’

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

During his time spent troubleshooting with agencies at MicroAge, three key gaps emerged that Anthony felt he could improve upon if he were to start a marketing firm:

  • Providing transparency in data collection and reporting.

  • Understanding the client’s business needs.

  • Getting the best results within the client’s budget.

When Anthony eventually sold Clinique Neurone and started Momentumm with Steven in 2018, these three pillars became the focal point of the agency’s offering to clients. 

These pillars were also the reason Momentumm adopted AgencyAnalytics so early in its growth journey: Beyond the reporting solution's obvious practical capabilities, using AgencyAnalytics automatically ensured that client satisfaction, transparency, and measurable results were foundational elements of the agency’s client workflows from the get-go.

Report Smarter, Not Harder.

Better, Faster & Easier Client Reports Are Just a Few Clicks Away

Start Your Free Trial Today

To Niche or Not To Niche?

Momentumm started by focusing on paid campaigns and video marketing—Anthony and Steven’s main areas of expertise. At the time, there was a temptation to remain strictly within this niche—after all, most agency advice extolls the virtues of niching down and focusing on one specific area of expertise–whether a service or a client industry.

Instead, Momentumm chose the opposite: to grow its service offering and remain open to clients from any industry that felt like a good fit.

Seven years later, Momentumm has expanded substantially, providing client services that span the spectrum of digital marketing: video production, website design, SEO, PPC, lead generation, and social media

The need to become a “360” agency came in response to client demand and upselling services.

We needed to balance between so many different services and different industries. One day, it's a nonprofit. The other day, it's an ecommerce company or a lead gen campaign. We still have that variety of clients today. We now get to help our clients on multiple fronts.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Anthony Guilhem and Steven Yates show off their Movember ‘staches.

Anthony Guilhem and Steven Yates show off their Movember ‘staches. (Credit: Momentumm)

The decision to expand services rather than niche down has been a boon for client acquisition and retention. Momentumm has continuously welcomed new clients, and existing clients can sign on for upsell or cross-sell opportunities while keeping their business within the agency.

That said, expansion wasn’t without its challenges–namely, hiring.

Grappling With the Challenges of Hiring For Scale

As Momentumm began to expand its service offerings, the agency encountered significant challenges related to scaling effectively. A major operational roadblock was the dilemma between the flexibility freelancers provided and the commitment that comes with full-time hires. 

The problem with freelancers is that your margin isn't as scalable as with internal staff. You also can't ask a freelancer to be as committed to your client as you are. And you need to provide a lot more quality control, and that becomes taxing really quickly.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Initially, freelancers provided a cost-effective and flexible solution to managing varying workloads. However, as Momentumm's client base grew and services expanded, the need for a more stable and reliable team became clear. 

Furthermore, managing a diverse range of services required a holistic skillset and expertise, which was becoming expensive to execute with multiple, single-task-focused contractors. 

It's not like you can hire four people and start losing money on four salaries, especially when you're a two or three-year-old shop. It's not like we had startup money to burn in prevision of growth. 

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Anthony realized that the success of Momentumm hinged on the professional capabilities of its team members and their cultural fit. To grow the agency, he needed team members driven by innovation, collaboration, and client-focused delivery. This meant looking for skilled individuals who shared the agency's vision and values.

Anthony Guilhem (top left) and the Momentumm team at their first office in Montreal. (Credit: Momentumm)

Anthony Guilhem (top left) and the Momentumm team at their first office in Montreal. (Credit: Momentumm)

To ensure flawless execution of all aspects of the agency’s digital marketing campaigns, hiring wouldn’t just be about filling positions. Instead, it would be about finding the right individuals, blending comprehensive skillsets and cultural fit.

Tweaking Agency Practices For Hiring Success 

To address the fundamental challenge of scaling and quality control, Momentumm refined its approach to building its team, moving away from specialized freelance work.

Anthony stressed the importance of selecting talented individuals who were well-versed in multiple areas of agency marketing. Momentumm first tried to convert contractors into full-time staff, but this didn’t always work out due to their over-specialization. 

They also went the traditional route and used agency-specific job sites, with varying degrees of success. 

Finally, Anthony fielded inbound calls from prospective hires who wanted to join the agency and actively sought to work at Momentumm, which turned out to be a surprisingly successful approach for the agency.

Out of the 10 people I have now, I think three or four of them actually found us first, which was a godsend.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

This proactive interest from potential hires suggested that Momentumm's reputation and work environment—displayed prominently on social media and its website—were directly aligned with what talented professionals in the industry were looking for.

As cheesy as it sounds, they all told me similar things. They were interested in our vibe, and my approach/vision of things closed them to working with us.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

According to Anthony, these successful hires were crucial in enhancing service delivery and maintaining high internal morale. His key takeaways for agency leaders trying to scale and convert outsourced work into internal staff to grow and stabilize their team are:

Bolster Agency Values Through Strategic Hiring

Transitioning from relying on freelancers to hiring full-time staff requires carefully considering both skills and cultural fit. Be open to individuals who organically seek out work at your agency. New hires aligned with your values will contribute positively to the agency workplace and client service delivery.

I always value attitude first—even over aptitudes sometimes. You can learn and grow your craft if you're highly motivated to search, try, and grow. It's really, really hard—maybe impossible—to unlearn a bad attitude.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Invest in Employee Integration to Maintain High Service Standards

Build a cohesive team and promote sound institutional knowledge, which is essential for maintaining high service standards as the agency grows. Train new employees on the technical aspects of their roles and immerse them in the agency's processes early.

We ask each of our employees how and where they want to grow and welcome almost every request to invest in training, whether specialized in what they do or something they want to learn more about–expanding what's in between their ‘specialist’ role and their more senior colleagues' reality. 

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

For example, a developer who wants to perfect their understanding of technical SEO to build sites that perform better will benefit from dedicated training based on the agency’s existing knowledge. This will help grow the team member’s skillset and bolster the agency’s current and future expertise.

Leverage Technology for Transparency and Efficiency

Implement advanced tools and technologies for your team, such as AgencyAnalytics dashboards and automated reporting. These tools will significantly improve efficiency and client satisfaction and allow for better communication and project management.

Agencies ultimately sell time and expertise. If we can maximize the time of our staff, operational efficiencies create themselves and we can focus better on strategic tasks. If a specialist wins back 5-10 hours per month, that's more opportunity and client work that can be unlocked.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Respond to Client Feedback Faster with Internal Staff

The shift from external to internal capabilities will allow the agency to be responsive to client feedback and resolve pain points more efficiently than relying on a contractor or external resource that may not always be available. 

For example, Momentum learned that having a developer or designer available in-house allows them to provide added value for PPC and SEO campaigns when they need to figure out a tracking issue for a client or revamp creative assets for campaigns quickly.

Receive Agency Growth Tips, Delivered to Your Inbox

Creating an Agency Framework for the Future

Once Momentumm had scaled its internal team to handle the breadth of clients' requests, its next hurdle became creating strategies that would allow it to adapt to the rapid industry pivots that so often threaten to derail agency progress. 

As Momentumm looks ahead, technological innovation stands at the forefront of its strategic planning. Anthony’s vision for the future extends to cultivating a broader client base, targeting different industry segments and possibly international markets.

Here’s a look at some of Momentumm's actions to future-proof the agency. 

Embracing New Video Practices to Answer Client Demand 

Momentumm remains a high-quality video marketing provider and HubSpot Partner Agency complemented by strong CRM, marketing automation, and marketing tools services. 

Their core focus includes marketing videos promoting client products and services (branding, lead generation, and conversion generation), corporate videos communicating client values, vision, and benefits, animated/infographic videos, and training/explainer videos that improve company culture and performance.

Video marketing is a challenging niche, and Anthony understands all too well how video trends are evolving.

Momentumm video production team at work

Momentumm’s video production team at work. (Credit: Momentumm)

Currently, Anthony sees three pillars in video marketing content taking center stage:

  • Corporate and Promotional Video Content: High-end productions more in line with traditional video advertising.

  • HR-Driven Video Content: Content that evolved out of necessity during COVID that companies produced to attract the workforce they needed.

  • Instantaneous Video Content: Content popular on platforms like TikTok and Reels made by individual creators for a fraction of the cost of traditional video marketing.

For Momentumm to remain successful in an area that was their original core service, they’ll need to adapt and evolve based on changing video trends and styles. 

I can't wait to see how it pans out. I see all these short-form, iPhone-made videos made by individuals, which end up performing like crazy with very low production value. It's raw content people really like. It’s an exciting future.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

Adopting AI to Optimize Agency Processes

Like most agencies, Momentumm has begun integrating AI into their processes, using it to fill gaps and increase productivity to deliver more efficient results for clients.

AI’s undeniable impact on content creation and optimization across the industry means Momentumm must continue refining and enhancing its marketing strategies to stay competitive.

AI is something you’ve got to be leveraging and utilizing. It's a tool that everybody needs to at least somewhat understand.

Anthony Guilhem, President, Momentumm

The adoption of AI has helped agencies like Momentumm streamline operations and obtain predictive insights that dramatically improve campaign efficiency and effectiveness. 

Momentum has created its own GPTs for blog article writing and uses AI for image and video generation support. Momentumm also uses AI as a brainstorming tool for developing campaign ideas, headlines, and scripts.  

By leveraging AI, Momentumm will ensure the agency delivers personalized marketing solutions at scale, enhancing client engagement and satisfaction.

Believe in the Power of Your Vision

Anthony’s journey from a young entrepreneur in Montreal to being the leader of Momentumm reflects a path marked by innovation, adaptation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Today, Momentumm is a testament to Anthony's belief in the power of digital transformation and strategic marketing.

Under his leadership, Momentumm has grown significantly, expanding its services and adapting to its clients' evolving needs.

Looking ahead, Momentumm is poised to continue its upward trajectory, embracing technological advancements to refine its strategies and expand its impact. Anthony focuses on ensuring his agency's sustainability and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in marketing. 

Headshot for Francois Marchand

Written by

Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, journalism, and content production. His goal is to equip agency leaders with innovative strategies and actionable advice to succeed in digital marketing, SaaS, and ecommerce.

Get Started for Free

Try AgencyAnalytics risk-free for 14 days. No credit card required.
AgencyAnalytics Dashboard Preview