How to spin your agency’s experience in new business

This might be a bit basic for many of you. But it’s being shared because it’s an essential new business skill as it relates to your agency’s experience, capabilities or expertise. By “spinning,” I mean, in a word, RELEVANCE. Tying an aspect of your agency story to a prospective client’s need. Here are some common links:

  • Category / business segment
  • Marketing communication challenge
  • Target
  • Marketing challenge? (Think 4 Ps)
  • Distribution / channel structure
  • (Specific retailer?)
  • Internal stakeholder alignment
  • Media investment
  • Industry changes
  • Product/service life cycle
  • And on and on
I’m sure you’ve got the hang of it.
The skill is seen in just about every aspect of the new business pitch process: from prospecting to closing. Here are two related tips:
  • Kinda goes without saying, but the closer your story matches the prospect’s need, the better off you are. Period. Spin too much and you risk losing precious credibility. Your competitors that don’t have a relevant story will play a card like the following. “We have no experience in the category. But this can bring innovation to your brand and business.” Or something similar. Believe me, if they had a good tie or relevant spin, they’d use it. One could ask why the agency is pitching, but we digress…!
  • Call out this relevance in a case study before it is presented. This ensures you have the prospect’s attention. In a written RFP response or presentation, for example, I like to add a bullet point or sentence or two up front, before the reader gets to the case study.
Oh, and the term “spinning” is, well, what it is. The word itself has become a negative. Everyone thinks about slick, inauthentic PR folks, political mouthpieces or unprofessional “media relations” people. The perception is that “they” are usually backpedaling or trying to shape a perception.
It’s too bad the term has been maligned. And sure, when you think about it in the common way, the bullshit meter goes off, right? I suggest to you the term is used differently here. But to be clear, it would be smart for us as an industry to coin a new word for this essential practice. The agency business has enough problems with our perceived image.
By the way, if you’re interested in discussion around the common definition of “spin,” check out Arment Dietrich. For years, Gini Dietrich has been writing about the practice through her blog, “Spin Sucks.” She has since morphed into helping businesses and firms with their social media efforts. Very smart. Nice, too.