Avoid the “me, too” in ad agency new business pitches

OK, something caught my eye out there and I wanted to bring it to your attention. Only because it is an interesting way to talk about yourself.

The agency, who we will call, “Anon,” had a bit at the end of one of their press releases that suggested they competed regularly with the other leading agency in their market. They even went so far as to name the names.

Now, to be clear, the statement wasn’t in other releases. They weren’t hanging their hat on it.

But should they?! Or more importantly, should you?!

I dunno. But probably not.

Yet what struck me about the idea is that it could be an interesting little talk point for some. Because it can immediately put an agency in the right crowd. In Anon’s case, I had never heard of them. But had heard of the agency they mentioned, and thought well of them. So, it was easy to see why Anon borrowed a bit of existing goodwill and elbowed their way into the crowd.

Kind of a crazy thing, though, right?! I mean, couldn’t a prospect just hire the other agency?! Why hire a “me, too” when they can have the original?!

Well, there is that!

One could argue that yours truly recently used a version of this idea.

It happened…in a first telephone conversation with an agency’s prospective client, telling him we had recently tried to compete for the business of one his competitors. It was a throwaway line, delivered in passing.

To the prospect, it helped give him a frame of reference. He had little awareness of who we were. It also subtly suggested category understanding. That we were paying attention to what was happening in his space.

Even as I share this true story with you, I wince a bit.

And yet, thankfully, there is a difference in the approach. In a “me, too” approach, Anon is defining the crowd. But you know what? It’s the agency crowd.

In the telephone conversation example, the “crowd” was from the client’s perspective. Through his eyes.

A “you, too” approach?

And to set the record straight, my conversation with the prospect ultimately led to another chapter in the story; he ended up asking for agency credentials after I answered several more questions about the agency that quietly ticked off his mental checklist of what he was looking for in a new partner.

Turns out the agency could do plenty of things that could help his business. (Which is why he heard from us to begin with. But I digress…!)

The moral of our tale?!

In general, I would stay away from a “me, too” message. But a “you, too” might work. In the right circumstances, natch.

It also bears repeating that in both examples, neither agency focused on any kind of “too” whatsoever.

After all, if “me, too” is the only thing you have to say about your agency, you’re in big trouble! But a quick call to your friendly new business consigliere can fix that…!

Later, gator.

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