The 10 Most Influential Women Leaders to Watch in ...

Brittany Filori: Making a Revolutionary Impact in the Digital Marketing Industry

The 10 Most Influential Women Leaders to Watch in 2024

The current CEO of 51Blocks and an accomplished former COO, Brittany Filori’s story is a testament to her dedication to leadership, operations, and agency growth. Her journey from SEO Account Manager to CEO highlights her commitment to creating a supportive and thriving workplace. She has authored three digital marketing books, including “White Label Digital Marketing: How to Effectively Scale Your Agency for Time & Financial Freedom.” Her expertise lies in helping agency owners’ step back from daily operations to focus on scaling their businesses. Brittany co-created The Just Sell Method™, which has assisted over 300 partners in growing their client base and increasing profitability.

Brittany’s career in marketing began with an MBA and an entry-level role in SEO, where she quickly rose to leadership positions. Before joining 51Blocks, she mentored a group of young SEO professionals. Her journey at 51Blocks started in 2017 as an SEO Account Manager. Within weeks, she was working closely with the owner, Michael Borgelt, helping to organize the agency’s SOPs. Recognizing the need for structured support, Brittany offered her insights, which led to her promotion to COO within two years.

As COO, Brittany focused on transforming company culture and understanding partner needs. Her leadership philosophy, prioritizing people over profits, resonated well with her team. Despite the challenges of being a young female leader in a predominantly male industry, Brittany found her voice through writing about their business model. Her book, “White Label Digital Marketing,” initially a sales tool, became a valuable resource for others in the industry.

In 2022, Brittany and Michael introduced The Just Sell Method™, revolutionizing their agency’s approach. This method provided a complete turnkey solution for outsourcing after a sale, without contracts or additional fees. The model’s success allowed Michael to shift his focus to another venture, BionicWP, paving the way for Brittany to step into the CEO role.

Brittany prepared for this transition by working with a mentor to develop a “big picture” mindset. Despite feeling overwhelmed at times, her passion for leadership drove her forward. In July 2023, Brittany became the CEO of 51Blocks. Under her leadership, the agency achieved significant milestones, including its highest revenue month of the year.

Empowering Agency Owners to Focus on Growth

Brittany believes the core principle of The Just Sell Method™ is to transition agency owners from operational roles to focusing solely on sales and marketing. This approach allows 51Blocks to manage everything post-payment, freeing up CEOs and owners to concentrate on selling. This method has proven highly effective in enabling people to start and scale digital marketing agencies more efficiently than traditional outsourcing models.

The unique advantage of 51Blocks is not just in performing tasks but in monitoring the entire client experience ecosystem daily. This ensures that retention is an integral part of the service, alongside delivering results. These two factors—retention and results—are crucial for scaling an agency.

Many agency owners are unaware that their growth is hindered because they spend too much time immersed in the daily operations of their business, such as client projects and other duties. 51Blocks is designed to handle all these aspects, replicating the capabilities of a standard in-house structure. This comprehensive support allows agency owners to reclaim most of their week, enabling them to focus on areas they are passionate about and driving their business growth.

The Cornerstones of Brittany’s Leadership

Brittany’s leadership style is deeply rooted in empathy and prioritizing people. She believes that if a decision benefits both the team and customers, it is ultimately good for the business. Brittany’s sensitivity and understanding of the fear employees might feel about job security inform her rejection of fear-based leadership. From early in her career, she knew she wanted to lead differently.

For Brittany, leadership is not a default skill that comes with a title. Genuine care for the people you lead and serve is essential for building trust and deepening relationships, which in turn fosters loyalty. Simple acts of kindness and support are vital, especially when employees might fear failing in front of their leader. Brittany champions the idea that growth comes from making mistakes.

Effective communication is another key aspect of Brittany’s leadership. She spends time understanding her team’s personalities and listens to how they prefer to communicate, ensuring that her messages are received effectively. This personalized approach to communication extends to customers as well, with the team asking each person how they prefer to receive information—be it video, text, or audio. This practice enhances collaboration and helps achieve goals more efficiently by minimizing miscommunication.

Brittany’s leadership philosophy centers on empathy, support, and effective communication, creating a work environment where people feel valued and empowered to grow.

Overcoming Profitability Challenges in Digital Marketing

Brittany identifies profitability as the most significant challenge for digital marketing agencies as they scale. The hard costs associated with systems, tools, and personnel often escalate dramatically with growth. Services that cater to ten clients can look vastly different when scaled to accommodate 100 or 1,000 clients. Additionally, the rising costs and seat restrictions of SaaS products exacerbate these challenges, turning affordable solutions into costly investments.

51Blocks addresses these issues by integrating cost-effective solutions directly into their operations. They built a reporting tool within a framework that delivers live data from providers like BrightLocal, ensuring affordability and efficiency. The agency supports its team with necessary tools and access points, all included in the operational costs. This approach allows 51Blocks to manage a team of over 40 members and the requisite software, all within the cost of one campaign fee.

This model makes 51Blocks a more cost-effective solution compared to in-house operations. By covering the high expenses of tools and systems, they alleviate a significant financial burden from their partners. Furthermore, 51Blocks operates on a month-to-month basis without partner fees, emphasizing their commitment to building long-term relationships. They focus on delivering promised results, fostering trust and satisfaction among their clients.

Brittany’s strategy at 51Blocks demonstrates a keen understanding of the financial pressures digital marketing agencies face and provides a sustainable, cost-effective solution for scalability.

Advice for Scaling Your Agency: Delegate and Let Go

Brittany shares practical advice for agency owners looking to scale their businesses effectively:

  • Identify Your Preferences: Start by creating two lists—things you like to do and things you don’t like to do. Delegate tasks you dislike. These are often the areas that can slow down your business growth.
  • Ensure Business Continuity Without You: Assess if the tasks you enjoy can continue without your direct involvement. Ask yourself if these tasks would still be handled if you took a month-long vacation. If not, look for ways to automate or implement training so others can manage these aspects.
  • Let Go of Control: Control is a common challenge for many agency owners. Trusting others to take care of your clients can feel like trusting someone with your firstborn child. However, letting go is crucial for scaling your business. Build trust with key team members and allow them to maintain operations.

Brittany emphasizes the importance of delegating and building a self-sufficient team. If letting go seems overwhelming, she recommends leveraging The Just Sell Method™, which helps agency owners focus on growth by handling operational tasks efficiently.

By following these steps, agency owners can focus on scaling their business while ensuring it operates smoothly in their absence.

Commitment to Transparency and Client Success

Brittany values transparency as a fundamental principle in business. Inspired by the approach of Michael, who built 51Blocks with the same integrity his grandfather used to support local farmers in the Midwest, Brittany upholds the tradition of doing business on a handshake. She ensures that partners not only think good things are happening but can also see and feel the positive impact of their collaboration.

This commitment to transparency and mutual benefit is central to 51Blocks’ philosophy. Brittany emphasizes that the ultimate goal is to support the end client, typically small business owners, who invest their hard-earned money to support their families. She assures partners that 51Blocks will do everything possible to ensure their success, creating a genuine win-win situation.

Brittany’s leadership ensures that transparency, integrity, and dedication to client success remain at the core of 51Blocks, fostering trust and long-term relationships with partners and clients alike.

Driving Success with KPIs

At 51Blocks, Brittany emphasizes the importance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in driving success across all departments. For instance, a KPI in SEO might be achieving 20-40% lead growth. Each service area has its own specific KPIs, reviewed quarterly.

To ensure comprehensive client satisfaction and retention, 51Blocks tracks everything from client results to client emotions. This thorough approach helps the agency capture every opportunity to improve services and prevent client churn. Remarkably, 51Blocks maintains a churn rate of just 3-4%, which is significantly lower than the industry average of 20-30%. This achievement is particularly notable for a no-contract agency, where monthly churn is a constant risk.

Brittany highlights the importance of listening to client feedback, even in cases of cancellation. Understanding why clients leave helps the agency make necessary improvements. For 51Blocks, client feedback is a critical guide, driving continuous enhancement of their services.
A Premium White Label Digital Marketing Agency

51Blocks is committed to remaining a premium, turnkey white label digital marketing agency. Beyond the structure and tools, what sets 51Blocks apart is its team of handpicked experts from the digital marketing world, each trained to perform as an A-player. Brittany shares that their continued innovation is driven by the needs and ideas of their partners, ensuring they stay at the forefront of delivering faster results and higher ROI for both end clients and agency owners. The ultimate goal is to be a vessel that enhances profitability for everyone involved.

Brittany is also passionate about supporting women in the industry. Recognizing that women are a minority in business, she is dedicated to spotlighting female agency owners and industry leaders. She hosts a podcast called “Girl Talk” on Spotify, where she invites women to share their stories about motherhood, personal growth, and business leadership. Additionally, Brittany was recently honored as one of the Top 50 Female Leaders in Oregon, placing #13, a testament to her influence and commitment to empowering women.

Through her work at 51Blocks and her personal platform, Brittany is making significant strides in both the digital marketing industry and the movement to support and elevate women in business.

Vision for Leveraging AI

Brittany recognizes that AI is the biggest trend in the industry today. At 51Blocks, AI is already being used strategically to enhance the research process, but Brittany believes the full potential of AI is yet to be realized. Rather than using AI to cut corners, she sees it as a tool to deepen industry knowledge and better serve diverse communities.

Brittany envisions AI playing a significant role in automating lead acquisition, which would allow the agency to streamline processes and focus more on strategic growth. 51Blocks has exciting plans to leverage AI in ways that will help their partners land more clients and continue on the path of focusing solely on sales, while 51Blocks handles the rest.

This forward-thinking approach to AI aligns with Brittany’s commitment to innovation and excellence, ensuring that 51Blocks remains at the cutting edge of digital marketing. By integrating AI thoughtfully and strategically, the agency aims to enhance its services and provide even greater value to its partners.

Path to Authentic Leadership

Brittany encourages everyone to be genuine and their most authentic selves. Reflecting on her journey at 51Blocks, she notes that she is far from the quiet and timid person she was almost seven years ago. Initially lacking the confidence to be a CEO, she found her footing through facing challenges and seizing new opportunities.

To build expertise, Brittany advises focusing on areas of the business you are passionate about. For her, this passion was Operations, which gradually evolved into a comprehensive understanding of building and running an agency. She emphasizes the importance of saying “yes” to new experiences, even if they are daunting. Stepping into the public eye and establishing oneself as an expert or thought leader can be intimidating, but it’s essential for growth.

Brittany suggests joining free groups, building a like-minded inner circle, and consistently providing value in conversations. Feeling uncomfortable is a sign of progress, indicating that you are exploring and developing new skillsets. Embrace the discomfort and keep pushing forward.