Despite extolling the virtues of brand positioning to clients, many agencies fail to properly develop their own brands.
It’s a classic story of the shoemaker’s children who wear no shoes—a tired proverb, to be sure, but perennially appropriate.
But, we never hear how those children turned out. Did they grow up plagued by chronic foot problems? Did they become adults whom you could dress up but never take out?
Or, is it possible they turned out OK?
I’ve met too many agency CEOs, especially of small to mid-sized agencies, who find specialization such a hurdle (mentally, emotionally and operationally) that they end up not doing anything at all.
Rather than let those agencies languish, I’ve started developing alternative methods to at least help them raise their profiles and pursue clients in a consistent, sustainable way.
In this month’s post, I share some of those methods, and offer a way to determine if being a generalist is worth the investment for your agency.
Our complex marketing ecosystem has resulted in a Cheesecake Factory menu of specialist agencies filling every marketing niche imaginable.
As these specialist agencies seek new growth, they’re turning to other agencies.
For example, a social media agency (let’s call it the Selling Agency) might partner with a digital agency (the Customer Agency) to fill a gap in the Customer Agency’s services. The Customer Agency can offer its client what it needs, the Selling Agency gets exposure to more potential clients on the other agency’s roster, and both make money. Hooray!
But there’s a big downside. The Selling Agency will never have as much influence over the client relationship as the Customer Agency will.
That leads to all sorts of hazards. In this post, I’ll tell what those hazards are and give you strategies you can use throughout the sales cycle to hedge against them.
Does the world really need another set of year-end predictions for 2017?
Sure it does! And I’m here to supply it.
My list, a modest but thoughtfully compiled set of five, is partially inspired by a recent conversation over coffee in Boulder, CO with a friend of mine who’s a partner at a small creative agency.
Our wide-ranging conversation touched on a number of influential events that I think are going to have an effect on how ad agencies go about business development in the year to come – from the continued usurpation of ad agency turf by management consultants to the increasing importance of the CEO in all matters related to marketing.
Let me know what you're keeping your eye on with 2017 fast approaching over the horizon.
Sitting under your nose is a sure-fire method to win more of the right kinds of clients.
Sell them on your agency’s culture and values.
Sounds deceptively easy, doesn’t it?
But most agencies have difficulty articulating what’s special about their culture and values. You have to translate something abstract into concrete and persuasive language, which is hard to do.
But not impossible.
Michael Lebowitz, founder of Brooklyn-based creative agency, Big Spaceship is one of the few agency CEOs who's succeeded.
I wanted to know more so I called him up and we spoke about what it takes to sharpen these sales tools so they're effective. In fact, he credits his agency's culture and values for helping not only to win new business, but to win the right kind of business.