Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ad Agency New Business: The Cobbler’s Children Need Shoes

We all understand the value of a robust social media program. More than likely, you are managing a few for your clients. So why do you drop the ball when it comes to your agency’s social brand? More than likely the answer is TIME. We often neglect our own business while ensuring that our clients are well heeled.

In this and subsequent posts, we will offer some practical tips that will help you quickly turn social media into a valuable new business tool – starting with the most popular, Facebook.

As you know, Facebook’s algorithm curates its newsfeed so users see items that interest them. With engagement driving visibility, insights on what followers find useful and entertaining are essential.

ASK and You Shall Receive

Facebook followers need to feel like you get them. So, ASK and LISTEN, instead of TELLING them about what you think they should find interesting.

Heighten engagement by asking professional or personal questions to learn more about your followers’ interests. Shelve content that gets ignored including: generic marketing trend articles, award show participation and office excursion photos.

Turn your followers into advocates by asking probing questions about subjects that genuinely appeal to them.

A fun example might be:

“Which agency would you hire? Sterling Cooper or D&D Advertising? Why?”
(A reference to television’s Mad Men and 90210 ad agencies.)

You might sweeten the pot by making it a contest, giving the follower with the best answer a Blu-ray disc of the show that they chose.

It is also becoming increasingly important to produce content in visual form (e.g., infographics, text overlay images). According to Kissmetrics, posts with images get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs.

So, start by asking a few questions, then listen, and utilize Facebook Insights (and any other automation tools you work with) to see what content drives engagement. By allocating the time to put your best social foot forward, you will turn followers into advocates and, ideally, prospects.

Note:  If your agency position is a general one, your social success will be limited. Make this the year that you communicate your unique market position. Take the Agency Challenge today.


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Ad Agency New Business: It’s Not About You…It’s About Them

Many agency websites and new business presentations lead with lengthy “About Us” sections touting everything from office dog cultures to the personal likes and dislikes of staff. Laundry lists of service offerings accompanied by comprehensive cross industry experience charts often follow creating the impression of a “we do it all” market position.

Pardon me, but my “ Who Cares” alarm is ringing…and loudly. Truthfully, most prospects see this material as superfluous and don’t read or listen much past the first few sentences. They have little interest in your office culture, past experience or generic processes – unless it relates directly to them.

So why do some continue to follow this formula? Because it’s SAFE. It’s safe to be all-inclusive. It’s safe to focus on personalities and past history rather than current niche content that directly relates to your client’s business issues.

Safe, however, does not set you apart. Prospects are quick to respond to firms that are willing to position their capabilities and assets in the context of their very specific needs.

Consider these tips when framing your next agency story:

1.   On Your Website: Offer a “Solutions” versus “Services” section and avoid generalities when discussing them. As an example, check out: This travel-focused agency packages their offerings into solutions buckets that address very specific industry challenges.

2.   In Your Next Meeting: Let Them Go First. Many agencies qualify themselves in a presentation before learning the fine details of their prospect’s need. That sets the wrong tone. Put the prospect front and center from the start, exploring their issues first. There is no better way to get (and keep) their attention than to lead with them. You will also gain additional insight that will help later in the discussion when positioning your assets to the opportunity at hand.

Above all else, assess your agency position. Today’s business environment is not favorable to generalist agencies. Make this the year that you carve out and communicate your unique market position. Take the Agency Challenge today.


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Ad Agency New Business: A Narrow Agency Position Means More Prospects, Not Fewer

Clients are no longer looking for “full service” broad scope agencies. They want specialists. Industry specialists, service specialists, audience specialists.

Few mid-size agencies, however, are willing to put a stake in the ground when it comes to a truly niche position. Even fewer successfully articulate and promote that focus. The bottom line:  most agencies look and feel the same to prospects who are inundated with promotional material touting integrated approaches and pretty pictures that many can claim.

On some level, we all know this. So, why do most agencies fail when it comes to walking their talk? FEAR. Fear that specializing means limiting their prospect universe. WRONG! Agencies that don’t focus rarely gain traction or win business outside of their regional geography. As a result, they LIMIT their target audience and, more importantly, their value to prospective clients.

Is your agency properly positioned to attract high quality new clients? Clients that view you as a business partner and not a project shop or vendor? Take the Agency Challenge and put your position to the test.


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Ad Agency New Business: Welcome to the Pipeline Report

Agency principals are preoccupied with maintaining a constant stream of healthy new business opportunities. To address this, we’ve created The Pipeline Report – a blog designed to share our many years of front line experience.

Within it, we’ll go beyond the theoretical and dive deep into specific strategies and tactics that get you traction with your target audience. We’ll share what works and what doesn’t – occasionally debunking some widely held beliefs. All in all, we’d like you to consider it a resource for building your own successful program.

But before you mount any new business effort, you need a strong agency position. Without it, your program will fail. So let’s start by taking the Agency Challenge – a short questionnaire designed to put your point of differentiation to the test.


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