The Old Town Media team strategizing at a whiteboard


A Colorado digital marketing agency radically transforms their workflow and culture after partnering with Louder Than Ten

When OTM reached out, the digital marketing agency was growing, but it was also hitting several operational issues. After completing the Digital PM Foundations course, OTM’s Chief Creative Officer, Val Kailburn, knew a custom engagement with Louder Than Ten was the answer. This is the story of how the next nine months transformed OTM’s PM operations, workflows, and accountability structure, and the rippling effects they are still experiencing over a year later.

OTM logo

Organization type
Digital Agency

Based in
Fort Collins, CO

Company size
23 employees


Training, consulting, coaching

20% pricing increase

76% net profit increase
(from 17% to 30%)

30%more revenue
(with 10% project reduction)

Growing pains

OTM had hit a ceiling. After growing from five to 15 employees, their existing relaxed operational systems weren’t working the same. Things began to break.

They needed to split the team into pods. OTM’s leaders couldn’t afford to oversee every detail on every project any longer. The team needed to be autonomous, accountable, and effective while building a more cohesive process and structure. Project quality was suffering.

We had start­ed to split into pod-based deliv­ery. So instead of the one team one dream’ mod­el, we start­ed to split up. It was the first time in our com­pa­ny where exec­u­tives did­n’t have com­plete over­sight over every­thing. Before that, our Chief Cre­ative Offi­cer over­saw every­thing and our Chief Strat­e­gy Offi­cer over­saw every­thing. When we went to the pod struc­ture, they took a back­seat. They were still review­ing things but they weren’t in every sin­gle meeting. 

As the front end of our work start­ed to change, how we start­ed projects need­ed to get a lot bet­ter. Specif­i­cal­ly around project onboard­ing. Bring­ing a lot more inten­tion­al­i­ty to that stage was cer­tain­ly key.”

Miles Kailburn , CEO/Founder at OTM

Our operational findings

Every custom engagement with Louder Than Ten digs deep into an organization’s unique process and pain points. With our CEO and lead consultant, Rachel Gertz by their side, the OTM team broke down their entire project lifecycle and made candid discoveries like:

Missing info in the sales cycle was negatively rippling throughout the entire project lifecycle

Clients that weren’t well-aligned on the Client Fit Matrix, were pulling OTM away from their revenue goals (even when projects looked profitable on paper)

They were servicing way too many clients, creating a reactive approach that led to scope creep and quality issues

Missing knowledge gaps between teammates was causing unnecessary (and expensive) back-and-forth delays

Gaps in the QA process were costing more money than they could recoup

Mistakes during project launch and no accountability framework meant the team couldn’t create a clear forecast or have autonomy to do their work

There weren’t any repeatable criteria for project success

Clients didn’t have insight into their own growth or marketing opportunities. Strategy and delivery were disconnected

The abil­i­ty to work through the unique process­es that we have for every­thing we do. Every agency is built dif­fer­ent­ly, man­ages its work dif­fer­ent­ly, and has dif­fer­ent kinds of metrics. 

What we strug­gled with were out of the box solu­tions.’ We tend to take a process and change it fair­ly sig­nif­i­cant­ly to work for us. The abil­i­ty to work with Rachel’s flex­i­ble and adapt­able approach was key.

Rachel’s approach is fab­u­lous: very flex­i­ble, and adapt­able. Out­comes-focused. Inclu­sive. She’s an incred­i­ble facil­i­ta­tor. And we’ve worked with quite a few, maybe a dozen over the last few years. She eas­i­ly ranks in the top two or three.

She has an abil­i­ty to empa­thet­i­cal­ly under­stand the clien­t’s side — what they’re going through, what change would look like for them, and how they would go about chang­ing. She also knows the amount of polit­i­cal or social cap­i­tal that would be need­ed to make these changes.”

Miles Kailburn , CEO/Founder at OTM

After identifying key areas for improvement, the team spent the rest of their sessions making actionable changes to address existing issues and cultivate project and people health. Learning and change happened simultaneously.

Results and highlights

Improved sales and onboarding experience for clients that accounts for risk and ROI from day one

Increased net profit from 17% to 30% through better project scoping and estimation

Converted to an autonomous pod structure and team members that have the skills to lead and generate business value for clients

An improved QA process that encourages senior team members to pass on skills to more junior members

The ability to answer the questions, “are we okay?” and “are we going to be okay?” at all times

All projects now go through a thorough team driven scoping and project planning phase

Increased project value by 20% without reducing the win rate

Reduced the number of projects in the shop by 10% but generated 30% more revenue

Project man­age­ment is real­ly — this is a weird anal­o­gy — but I think it’s almost like the cen­ter­piece in a mind map. Every­thing else, like how you pro­duc­tize ser­vices, how you deliv­er ser­vices, how you’d scope ser­vices, anchor back into PM.

When you start to map your project man­age­ment out, when you start to look at the cas­cad­ing changes, how much your agency oper­a­tions have to change.

Scop­ing is part of what we went through with Rachel. It’s like the sec­ond or third item. We took her on a walk through our approach. We need­ed to change scop­ing to sup­port new engage­ment options. We had to build that whole sys­tem and change how we scope and who scopes. We ulti­mate­ly end­ed up with one per­son doing pric­ing to seg­ment out people’s bias­es. So, this came out of the project man­age­ment piece, but ulti­mate­ly impact­ed the sales side, too.

Scop­ing and onboard­ing were the two biggest items, no doubt. We changed how we scoped and it changed our margins.”

Miles Kailburn , CEO/Founder at OTM
The Old Town Media team in the stands at a college football game
The Old Town Media office dog
A designer at Old Town Media sketching a logo concept
A video set at Old Town Media
The Old Town Media office
Vallene Kailburn and Rachel Schlegel of Old Town Media enthusiastically jumping in the air
The Old Town Media team enjoying a meal at a large picnic table outside on a sunny day

The future

These days OTM is stronger than ever and still implementing the changes we helped them identify and strategize when we started. They’ve grown and are implementing a specialized consultative approach to serving their clients in a way they know will help them scale sustainably while helping them generate more business revenue. Their team is happier and their leaders get to spend more quality time with their families. PM is OTM’s super glue.

We’re start­ing to look at like the next lay­er, which would actu­al­ly be how do we start to struc­ture ded­i­cat­ed time block­ing and things like that. We’ll actu­al­ly do the sec­ond wave of our process imple­men­ta­tion at the end of this year.

Project man­age­ment was so anchored in agency oper­a­tions. Agency oper­a­tions span every­thing from sales esti­mates all the way through prof­itabil­i­ty on the tal­ent and team struc­ture. It was in project man­age­ment we found our project anchor.”

Miles Kailburn , CEO/Founder at OTM

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