Have you ever said to yourself in the final weeks of December, “Wow, the advertising business got a whole lot easier this year!”?
I didn’t think so.
We often see the mounting complexity, shrinking budgets, and unexpected competitors more clearly than we see the opportunities.
But the opportunities are always there. Sometimes they’re more evident when we stop reacting for a moment and observe what’s around us. And this is a great time of year to do just that.
As we slide down the back end of December, here’s what I think did the most to shape the agency new business in 2017 and where opportunities may lie in 2018.
Thanks to Publicis Groupe’s CEO, Arthur Sadoun, it was an especially headlined-filled week at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Sadoun’s announced that Publicis Groupe would take a one-year hiatus from awards shows and other industry events to focus on building out a network-wide, AI-enabled platform called Marcel. It sparked surprise and skepticism (among other things) from both marketers and agencies (some of them Publicis executives who were as surprised by the announcement as everyone else, apparently).
It got anyone with an opinion about creative awards coming out of the woodwork to express it–including me.
For most of my career, I’ve had mixed feelings about awards shows. Do awards materially affect the ability to win new business? And is it commensurate with the massive investment of time and money that competing for them requires?
I don’t think it is for most agencies. In my latest post, I’ll tell you why and offer a few suggestions for other, more efficient ways to redirect that budget.
I’m often surprised by how many ad agency executives ignore their own network of contacts. Somehow, between servicing current clients and chasing after new prospects, these valuable contacts get taken for granted.
Your network is one of the best sources of new business you have, but it needs care and feeding. One way to do this is through a re-engagement campaign.
“But that’s an email marketing tactic,” you might be saying to yourself. And you’d right. But, as I explain in my recent guest post on HubSpot’s marketing blog, you can adapt it to generate new business leads quickly and efficiently. After all, it’s easier converting someone who knows and likes you into a prospect than it is building a whole new relationship.
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.
I talk a lot about why you need to be strategically ready to embark on a prospecting campaign. Your sales efforts aren't going to be successful if you can't communicate to your best prospects why your services are more valuablethan other agency.
But in my latest blog post I shift gears a bit to talk about some practical tools that are important to have in place if you are to support a strong prospecting program. They're tools that are easy to start to use right away and that I've come to consider indispensable.
Still managing your contacts largely through Post-It notes? Relying too much on a white board (the one that got erased by mistake last week) to track your marketing activities?
The beginning of a new year is a great time to set positive intentions, such as reeling in a big, game-changing client. It’s a daunting challenge for any agency, but it is particularly challenging if you’re a small- to mid-sized shop. You have to work that much harder to differentiate yourself and get the attention of the "big guys".
The good news is that hooking a big client doesn't require that you make massive operational changes or even hire an expensive "rainmaker". It relies more on having the right mindset. Check out my guest column in today's Agency Post (also on my blog) to see if there are things that you can do today to best position yourself to win big this year.