Hello there, agency CEO, president and/or agency new business development professional.
Who isn’t looking for new ways to generate revenue? You don’t need another guru preaching about all the change happening in our space. But you might need an innovative thought or two on how your agency can win given the new realities of this ever-shifting industry landscape (insert appropriate guru talk around all the changes.)
As you think about news ways of doing business and making money, here’s one useful tip: look beyond our profession. By all means, ya gotta do what many call the three “Cs” – explore and analyze your company, your category and your customer.
But to me, there’s an opportunity to go a bit further. I think the best new thinking comes from some liberal borrowing from relevant and sometimes unusual sources. Steal a few ideas from other industries.
The job is made even harder should you be an agency leader at a large agency.
Which is why you should check out this article from the Harvard Business Review blog. Entitled, “Can Bigger be Faster,” it offers up a big picture thought on why bigger organizations can, in fact, be faster. The answer seen in the post: due to their networks. And then, they use the US Army, one of the largest organizations in the world, as an example. The article identifies four strategies that are an integral part of the Army’s own change due to…wait for it…THEIR ever-shifting landscape. Sound familiar?
The post is terrific reading, written by some smart dudes. And don’t be thinking, by the way, the thoughts are relevant for big agencies only. If you’re leading a ten-person shop, you should still check out the article.
It immediately made me think about how thinking about you can rethink your agency’s networks, establish a shared purpose; create a shared consciousness; and encourage dissent. (The article’s four strategies to company transformation).
However, the problem with articles like these is that they are too broad. While I applaud big picture, head-nod thoughts like, “build relationships” and “encourage dissent,” I would take this 30,000 foot thinking and bring it down to good ol’ main street. So read the article through an agency lens. Maybe you”ll see what I did:
Technology must be a part of any new solution
Whether you use technology to encourage communication between teams, warehouse category knowledge, or optimize work flow / project management, it can be a useful tool. It can also be marketable and might provide some differentiation in, say…a new business pitch. Or in crafting a new client/agency relationship paradigm.
A dose of “change management” thinking will also be needed
I barely know what “change management” means. Here’s a high level view. Or check out wikipedia. I think it means what you think it means. What’s interesting, to me, is that whatever new operating model or change you are considering, it will be important to consider HOW the change is implemented and that you take into consideration all parties. Staff, clients, suppliers, agency owners, etc.
Test and tweak the innovation first with clients
Avoid the “no proof” objection – a sure-fire killer in new business pitches – and consider trying out and then optimizing your innovation with clients. Not your biggest ones, of course. But someone that can offer you the right balance of risk / reward. Some positive results for a client or two – a case study for your news – can do wonders.
One could even argue that you could take a crawl – walk – run approach to anything new. You do, after all, have mortgages at stake. No matter how big your agency is. Crawl: small clients. Walk: a new business pitch. Run: more external visibility, more clients, etc.
Anywho, hope this gives you an idea or two that will help your business. Check out the article, do your other “C” analysis, and then get to innovatin’. Thanks for your time today.