When I was on staff leading new business teams at ad agencies, I spent many an August working late nights and weekends in overly air-conditioned offices instead of enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer.
I attributed this spike in new business activity to summer vacations – not mine but the client’s. I imagined the client realizing somewhere in July that the agency search she’d planned to do that year hadn’t started yet. But if she could rally and send that RFP before her vacation started, the agencies that received it would have a couple of weeks to respond while she enjoyed the beaches of Nantucket.
Maybe you spent your summer pitching a lot of business and not resting too much – and I hope that most of those pitches ended successful—but as we move into Q4, you should be focused on two priorities. Read more.
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.
It’s January, a time to stride forth into the new year and activate the plans you've made to grow your ad agency – dust off that prospecting list, revive the agency’s blog, hire a biz dev whiz to steer the efforts.
How’s that going so far?
We're as quick to break resolutions as we are to make them. Psychologists call this “false hope syndrome,” which means our resolutions are unrealistic and out of alignment with our internal view of ourselves.
What's the secret to counteracting this natural tendency?
For a moment, put aside your ambitious plans for 2017 and take a critical look at your team (including yourself) and what it's best equipped to do. See if your agency matches one of these five types. It could unlock the secret to winning more new business this year.
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.
This year I was both a first-time speaker and a first-time attendee at INBOUND, a
four-day extravaganza dedicated to inbound marketing in all its forms. Not that anyone was keeping score, but I'm pretty sure I absorbed way more information
than I imparted.
Thinking about the big themes that were communicated throughout the event, the one I heard most consistently was this: the line that used to separates sales and marketing no longer exists.
Why does that matter to your ad agency? Because it matters a lot to your clients and prospects - they want to work with agencies that not only understand their challenges but have a clue how to address them.
Start by taking a walk in another man's shoes - it might even put you in a position to win more new business yourself.
Q4 often brings a flurry of pitch activity, known to ruin many a Thanksgiving or Christmas for the ad agency new business professional. And while all this activity helps to fill the pipeline, the timing can be unfortunate because it distracts you from tackling one of the most important things you’ll do all year: plan for 2015.
It’s well worth finding the time now, while there’s still more than two months left to the year, to put this crucial road map in place. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, so in my latest blog post, I’ll get the ball rolling for you by giving you a basic outline to follow.
I can't promise a last-minute RFP won't ruin your holiday season, but now it's a lot less likely that your new business plan will.
Adweek featured an article yesterday declaring business development the "most dangerous job" at an ad agency.
The piece raised a lot of important issues but I'm going to focus on two of them.