“Buy one, get one” can apply to ad agency new business

So, The Missus was telling me about her experience at Maggiano’s the other day. For $17 (tip concluded), she had a nice lunch. A big ole fat bowl of pasta that she couldn’t possibly finish. So, it’s to-go, right?  Well, at Maggiano’s, she not only gets what she didn’t finish, but she got an extra heaping portion of an entirely different pasta! She told everyone at work about her surprising and positive experience. And we bought a bottle of cheap vino and had a lovely meal that next night.

Pretty damn smart marketing. Are there any implications here in the agency business model or in winning ad agency new business?

Sure. Here are three quickies:

  1. In a new business pitch, deliver free thinking over and above the required deliverables. For instance, after you submit the RFP, send a quick online (read: inexpensive) quant study on target brand perceptions. This is also an example of marketing between the deliverables.
  2. Another little pitch trick: offer a “best practices” white paper in addition to the assignment. Let’s say you’re pitching a bank right now. The assignment is to provide ideas to cross-sell (growing existing business with current account base). Deliver the ideas. But then package up any and all the research you did, too of other banks’ programs.
  3. With your existing business, is there some kind of value-add agency capability you have or can build that will help a client’s business OR their career? This could be anything. Access to things like Nielsen; Ad Spender; etc. Or the new fangled things like social media tracking and monitoring platforms, online research tools and more.
  4. Could you create some kind of business building retreat for all your clients – a relaxed Friday off-site somewhere where your clients can meet each other and help each other solve business issues? Gosh, I wonder if your clients had a good experience with this, might they be wiling to invite a friend or two? (Read: anew business prospect.)

Here’s why this little “buy one, get one” idea could be interesting for you:

  • Enables you to charge a premium
  • Encourages word of mouth – a leading source of pitch opportunities
  • Differentiate you in the crowded sea of sameness

All from a bowl of ziti! Go figure. Should you have any comments feel free. Thanks.