Potential new trend in ad agency new business: hiring category ringers

Hello there. Saw this news and thought you might appreciate seeing it. Zimmerman, a large agency down in Florida that specializes in the retail category, has added a senior person to head up a new area in their business: hospitality, travel and tourism. The man is from the client side. This particular story offers you detail on their other hires. This includes a biz dev pro for the digital business, too. (Hmmmm…)

To yours truly, hiring a category specialist is a smart move. It’s a no-brainer that category expertise is the leading factor that qualifies an agency to enter a pitch. The great big, fat checkmark all point that both client and agency point to. By hiring someone with deep expertise in this area, they have the potential to hire someone with a built-in set of relationships, expertise and industry gravitas. And, of course, hospitality, travel and tourism is related to the idea of retail transactions, their core specialty. Heads in beds, butts in seats. etc. Pitch a couple of these kinds of brands and you’re bound to run into that language.

What does this trend mean for you? A few quickies:

  • If you seek more thinking around this idea of hiring a specialist to jump-start an initiative, gimme a call. Ideas and candidates available, but at a price.
  • This again is a demonstration of specialization in our business. This has been the ad agency new business consultant theme of the year. Specialization has pros and cons of course. And immediately becomes real the very first time you turn down a pitch that is not a fit for you. Which we all know rarely happens nowadays. Which is too bad! But anywho, you are being saved that rant for another time.
  • Should you happen to be a player in the category, heads up.
  • Should you be a small guy, think carefully of this kind of approach. These kinds of professionals have the potential to be very expensive and it could take years for them to pay out. In fact, I probably wouldn’t do it. Instead, I would look for other kinds of things that would do the same thing. For instance, partnerships with industry media sources, associations, consultants, etc. Win-win type stuff.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! Hope you have found this helpful and a little thought provoking. Any comments are, as always, welcome.