Karl Sakas: Agency Business Expert & Keynote Speaker

Hire agency ‘edutainment’ speaker Karl Sakas for your event

Want happy audiences and high attendance at your upcoming marketing conference or association meeting? Hire me—author and agency expert Karl Sakas—to speak. Four countries, 28 states… and your event next!

You’ll get an interactive ‘edutainment’ talk, filled with concrete advice. As a former event organizer myself (60+ events, including a 2-day conference with hundreds of guests), I always look for ways to make your life easier and make you look good.

My advice helps agency leaders conquer growing pains, with get-the-audience-laughing talks on agency strategy, leadership, and client relationships. Watch the video below to see for yourself.

Popular Talks

I have several popular talks. From my past experience as an event organizer, I’ll work with you to customize a talk that’s perfect for your audience.

Videos of Karl

On the fence? See video what I’m like on-stage, including audience reactions.

Upcoming Events

Get a preview of my upcoming talks in the U.S. and abroad.
“Karl delivered a fantastic presentation to our American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter in Virginia Beach, VA. Throughout the presentation I looked around the room and saw almost every attendee nodding his or her head… I would recommend Karl’s presentation, “Don’t Make the Logo Bigger!” to any organization or corporation; you will walk away with actionable items that will not break your budget!” JAMIE DOUGLAS

President, Hampton Roads AMA

Haven’t seen me speak before? Check out the video below.

I consistently get 95-100% audience satisfaction ratings, and organizers love that I’m easy to work with. It helps that I’ve previously organized 60+ events, including a two-day conference with speakers like Ann Handley and Jay Baer.

See Karl deliver a mini-keynote.

Want to improve as an agency leader? Here’s my top advice in under 8 minutes!

“Karl Sakas captivated the audience with an excellent presentation filled with practical advice. His “Don’t Just Make the Logo Bigger!” client service talk drew our second-highest attendance in the past year, second only to Mad Women author Jane Maas. Karl was easy to work with, and the keynote content appealed to everyone in the audience, including people from agencies, corporate marketing departments, media, and education.” TOM FIELD

President, AAF Roanoke

I speak 20 times a year to audiences at marketing conferences, association meetings, and universities. Past events include AAF, AIGA, AMA, BOLO, Bureau of Digital, INBOUND, PRSA Counselors Academy, The SoDA Academy, and more.

Topics from Karl Sakas

As a down-to-business speaker, I’m on a mission to make agencies more profitable and less stressful! My talks include:

Don’t Just ‘Make the Logo Bigger’: Reinventing How You Handle Difficult Clients

What if client delivery could run smoothly and profitably? It starts by reinventing your process—especially how you handle your most-demanding clients!

Agency advisor Karl Sakas (@KarlSakas) from Sakas & Company will share how to make work more fun and less stressful at your agency. You’ll learn:

  1. Three steps to keep clients happy… without giving away the farm.
  2. A shortcut to gather client ‘secrets’ up front, to prevent problems before things start.
  3. Karl’s simple yet powerful process to say “no” when clients want you to say “yes.”

Karl has advised owners at 350+ agencies worldwide. In the past 20+ years, his clients have included small businesses, large corporations, non-profits, and even an Olympic athlete. Today, he works exclusively with digital agency owners.

With interactive Q&A and fun audience improv, you’ll be laughing as you learn new ways to handle your agency’s clients. You’ll head back to work with concrete ideas you can apply immediately!

What CMOs Say When You’re Not in the Room… And How It Can Help You Grow Your Agency

What if you could read each client’s mind? Now you can… by learning what client-side CMOs say when agencies aren’t in the room.

Since 2016, author and agency advisor Karl Sakas (@KarlSakas) has run a mastermind group for CMOs, representing billions of dollars in revenue. (He can’t disclose names, but you’d recognize many of the midmarket and Fortune 500 brands.)

Come to this session to learn:

  • What your agency needs to start doing immediately, so you don’t lose key accounts.
  • What CMOs really care about today… and how this can either help or hurt your agency.
  • How to enlist CMOs to share a bigger slice of their budget.

You’ll head back to work with specific, actionable strategies to help you improve how you serve your clients this year and beyond!

Grow Your Net Margins to 20-30% by Fixing Your Agency’s Profit Leaks

Frustrated that your agency isn’t making you more money by now? If your net profit margins are less than 20%, your agency is “leaking” profits. As an agency leader, those profit leaks keep you from doing your best work and enjoying the lifestyle you want.

You can finally start fixing the leaks this year… but you need to find them first.

Fortunately, there’s a shortcut: the Agency Value Chain framework, from agency expert Karl Sakas (@KarlSakas). You’ll learn:

  1. Industry benchmarks for Quick Wins, so you can find common profit leaks faster.
  2. A simple yet powerful step-by-step process to systematically find the biggest profit leaks at your agency.
  3. How to dig deeper (with your team’s help!) to start fixing your agency’s unique profit leaks.

You’ll hear back to work with specific, actionable strategies to start improving your agency’s profit margins immediately—for a more rewarding year and beyond.

Grow a More Resilient Agency... Without Requiring Appendicitis

At 35, I thought I had it all figured out: a virtual business with low overhead, great clients on every inhabited continent, and a model where I could do almost all of my client work remotely. That’s the dream, right?

Yet over Labor Day 2017, that dream turned into a nightmare. After a misdiagnosis and a week of excruciating pain, I found myself at the emergency room at 1am.

Reality Check: Not only did I have appendicitis… my appendix had ruptured. As a bonus, the hospital turned out to be out-of-network.

The experience didn’t put me out of business, but it was the wakeup call I needed—I’d made myself too mission-critical to my company.

I’ll share what I learned from this, and how you can prepare your business for the inevitable unexpected. You’ll learn:

  • Why and how to make yourself “needed but not necessary.”
  • Three ways to build mission-critical redundancy into your business.
  • What to do first, as soon as you get home from the event.
  • Symptoms to recognize you might have appendicitis.

Thanks to this event, I hope my story gives listeners the wakeup call and actionable tips you need… without requiring morphine and a six-figure hospital bill.

Other topics I speak on include business operations, positioning, marketing, client service, project management, finance, HR, recruiting, and team management. Here’s my Speaker Kit.
“Karl was a great speaker for AIGA’s program, ‘Taking Care of Business: Procedures, Paperwork & Project Management.’ Not only is Karl a great speaker, but he has tons of experience and insights from his multitudes of clients throughout his career. His presentation left no question unanswered, and he didn’t hesitate to provide extra resources to attendees. [Our] programming would not have been as informative or helpful without Karl’s presentation.” CHELSEA BROWN

Organizer, AIGA Raleigh

Upcoming Events

I’m speaking at these events. Use the links below to register online.


AgencyCon logoSept. 23-24 — Keynote at AgencyCon 2019

AMA logoOct. 17 — Keynote at AMA Richmond

  • Luncheon keynote at AMA Richmond: Thursday, October 17, in Richmond, VA
  • Topic: “Don’t Just Make the Logo Bigger: Best Practices for Your Difficult Clients”
  • Register here

UGURUS logoOct. 24-26 — Keynote at USUMMIT 2019

  • Keynote at USUMMIT: Thursday, October 24, in Denver, CO
  • Talk: “Don’t Just ‘Make the Logo Bigger’: Reinventing How You Handle Difficult Clients”
  • Register here

SMX logoNov. 13-14 — Agency panelist at SMX East 2019

  • Panelist in Agency track at SMX East: Wednesday, November 13, in New York, NY
  • Topic: “Getting Your Agency Services Mix Right”
  • Register here (use Partner Code smxeast19speaker to save 10%)

AAF logoJan. 16, 2020 — Keynote at AAF of Greater Evansville

AAF logoAug. 14, 2020 — Keynote at The Advertising Club of New Orleans

“Karl is truly engaging. I loved the interactive pieces, and his content left me with real takeaways that I could immediately implement.


President-Elect, AMA Omaha

Ready to talk?

Please complete this form. You’ll hear back within 2 business days, with a few date/time options to schedule an exploratory call about your event.

Don’t like forms? Email, or call me at +1-919-410-6224. Thanks!

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