Pitch Predictor: MasterCraft Boats

ad agency new business pitch predictionThere are lots of agencies out there that would love to work on a sport boat account. If you already follow the industry, you probably already know that MasterCraft just hired a new Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

But if you didn’t know…enjoy.


Publicis Omnicom Merger Story Collection

Hello there, ad agency new business and industry watcher!

Thought you might appreciate ONE place that has a few of the more interesting stories  written about the Publicis – Omnicom merger. So, here you go (in no particular order):

NYT’s Sunday article: merger reflects big industry changes.

Not surprisingly, Havas CEO says it’s no good for clients or employees.

Leading agency recruiter Paul Gumbinner not so keen on it, either.

Search consultant Avi Dan: merger a sign of strength or weakness?

Some nice Adweek coverage by Noreen O’Leary:

Ad Age, too, does pretty well:

Will Burns (Forbes contributor) on an unintended consequence.

And, of course, the ever-lovable George Parker.

More posts as I come across them. I’ll do what I can to avoid duplication. Enjoy!


Pitch Predictor: Arby’s

Hello, gang. Wanted to make sure you saw this tidbit: that CMO Russ Klein is leaving Arby’s. Per the story, the search is now underway for a new leader and Chief Marketing Officer.

Ad Age has suggested that other senior people have also left Arby’s.


Relationships: the currency in ad agency new business

Hello there, liker of ad agency new business! Yours truly was chatting with someone the other day about new business. And we stumbled onto a terrific phrase easily worth a few hundred words that can help grow your agency.

Get your brain thinking around this simple question: what are you doing to nurture and then harvest the power of your relationships? How are you leveraging this currency?

Now, when you read “currency,” you might be thinking of your relationships like a bank. You can do things to strengthen or weaken them. While that’s true and worth a few hundred words by itself, you can get that down the street. Today, I want to suggest there may be other ways currency relates to your relationships. And your ad agency new business plan.

Per Merriam-Webster, here are a couple of other definitions for the word, followed up with potential new business implications for your agency…

Currency: circulation as a medium of exchange. Take a look at your clients. Yes, they pay you for thinking and work. But how can you use the relationship to get referrals?

Currency: general use, acceptance or prevalence. The mere fact that you have a relationship can help. Here’s a related thought on how to get three more meetings this quarter.

Currency: a medium of verbal or intellectual expression. Hmmm. Is there an agency positioning here? Are you one of those rare agencies that keeps clients much longer than average? You don’t see many or maybe, ANY agency that leads with this.

Two agency models immediately come to mind that are leveraging their relationship currency pretty damn well in terms of cross-selling. Leo Burnett – Arc (I wonder how many brands are shared between the two agencies) and Epsilon – Hyper Marketing. Hyper is an agency roll-up that includes Ryan Partnership, Solution Set and others. Epsilon is one of the Big Data companies.

What’s that? You say you’re an proud, independent agency without those kinds of relationships. It just means you have to work a little harder, that’s all. Or hire someone like Thunderclap to help you figure it out. But I digress.

For now, think a bit more about the relationship currency you enjoy (both inside and outside your agency.)

You might also find it helpful to look at a couple of other posts related to this theme:

Tap into your service providers for more ad agency new business

Open up your rolodex for more new business

Being a nice neighbor in new business


Avoid the strategy booty call in agency new business

ad agency new business development strategy football playHowdy, ad agency new business zealot. Had lunch with a friend of mine the other day. He said something so interesting it was worthy of a few hundred words. Like you and I, he has a challenge. When you’re in relationship building mode with a agency prospect, how can you avoid being asked for a “strategy booty call” vs. a friendly, stay-in-touch experience?

Said in another way, how can you avoid giving away thinking as you woo your prospect? Typically, this situation comes up not during an initial contact, but further on in the prospect / agency relationship. (Assuming this is a qualified prospect for your agency.)

Seems like some spec thinking might be unavoidable. You do, after all, need to demonstrate some expertise. And many agency new business folks do this by talking about the prospective client and tying those challenges to past agency or staff experience.

But what follows are a few thoughts that can help avoid that feeling like you’ve been kicked out of bed without seeing any money left on the table:

Plan the interaction ahead of time

It doesn’t matter if it’s a phone call, lunch, social event or even an email. Understand YOUR goals for the interaction before you start. This will help keep you focused on the matter at hand.

Listen more than you speak

One easy way to think about this is to simply talk less. The less you say, the less risk you have of saying something you may not get paid for. Listening is a critical skill, particularly in this aspect of relationship.

Think fact finding and discovery (not problem solving)

Before you are actually “pitching,” you’re trying to get the lay of the land and building the relationship. Of course, your mileage will vary. And it completely depends on the setting and feeling of the situation you find yourself in. But to understand what’s really going on, think about asking questions that will get at some key issues:

  • What do they need?
  • What created the need?
  • Why do they need  help now?
  • What are the issues around the need?
  • What difference would having this need met make to you?
  • Who else is involved in the matter at the company?

There are more questions, of course. Please note the above are not necessarily the questions you should be asking. Some of the above are fairly blunt. You can be a little sharper, and ask questions that help you solve the problem later (as well as provide valuable insights that can drive pitch content and context.)

You’re in the agency business. The business of ideas. You can’t help but offer up a thought here or there. Sometimes, it just can’t be avoided. You are, after all, a smartie. And you can always make more ideas. But do give some thought to the value of what it is you do for a living. It’s billable!

Anywho, hope this has helped. And should you have any related thoughts on how to avoid a strategy booty call early in the prospect / agency relationship…feel free to share with your fellow ad agency new business junkie.