Innovation in ad agency business development through other professions

Are you looking for new thinking to find and win more ad agency business? Trying to do something new and engaging that will differentiate you from agency competitors? Perhaps you will find value in this idea: adopting lessons learned from other professional service industries.

Earlier this year, I was a guest judge for the Legal Marketing Association’s Your Honor Award Program. The awards recognize the best in legal industry business development practices. Every year, they elect someone who has relevant, but indirect experience. It was a pleasure to judge. And I picked up a thing or two that could be applied to the ad agency new business function. Here are just three quick thought-starters:

Leverage the power of the alumni network

This seems to be a much bigger new business tool in the legal profession than in agency life. I personally have very fond memories of my experiences with places like Ogilvy and Foote, Cone & Belding.

The legal business celebrates their alumni, treating them like university alumni. Think about what that could mean for your agency. And to me, agency size doesn’t matter. Perhaps it is as simple as a little “where are they now” snippet on a newsletter or blog. Or, if you’re driving the agency business development efforts one of those great big alphabet soup agencies, perhaps you take lessons from university fundraising, and create a magazine that lets former alumni see the latest agency news, work and accomplishments. Just don’t forget the bits at the end that update fellow alumni.

How might LinkedIN and other social media relate to this concept? While groups exist of agency alumni, I think there’s opportunity to do something different. And, the more positive, warm relationships your agency has with people outside the firm, the more pitches you’ll hear about.

Consider specializing. In a target, or a category or situation, or…

Seems like the legal profession is more crowded than the marketing communication industry. There’s a lot more specialization where you find more Latin being used. (Although this isn’t cause and effect. I just felt the need to shoehorn “ipso facto” into this post.) The legal business applies the concept to not only how they market themselves, but how they’re structured, and in some cases, where they’re located.

Heed the words of terrific consultants out there like Michael Gass, Tim Williams or a host of others. And make new business development easier, more efficient and more fun. Specialize.

Re-define and leverage “alerts”

Legal alerts are announcements of legal changes and are a very common business development practice in that business.  They are the perfect opportunity for a legal professional to add a quick bit of smart commentary to demonstrate expertise. I wonder if you couldn’t do this with content related to your agency specialization. Or, maybe this be a branding opportunity for you.

Why, Thunderclap’s own pitch predictions are an example of a relevant alert. You’re looking for more new business pitches. And Pitch Predictors and Thunderclap supplies them – free of charge.

Anywho, hope the inspires you to find new ways of pursuing your next agency new business prospect or winning more pitches. As always, you are welcome to give me a phone call to discuss what’s shared here. As well as talk about your agency’s new business challenges.

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