Special teams have been used very successfully in the NFL for many years. While they may not be on the field all the time, team members with special skills are brought into the game when they are needed to help win that play. The same approach can be used very successfully for ad agency new business.
While most agencies have a specific area of expertise/experience for which they are known for, many of the agency staff members bring with them a much broader range of experience/expertise gained in other agency environments. Quite often this expertise is dissipated across the agency’s various departments and client teams, and never brought to bear in a cohesive and organized fashion. By not doing so, you may well be missing an excellent new business opportunity!
Over the years a number of agencies have been successful using this special teams approach to target and win additional new business. By bringing together in virtual teams’ staff members, who possess certain skills or experience, they were able to create a competitive offering in the marketplace. An excellent example is Leo Burnetts’ “Kid Leo” group. A virtual group of staff with specific expertise/experience marketing to kids. Other agency groups have built similar special teams focused around marketing to women.
Special teams are a great way to break into a new category. They allow you to leverage your existing resources without having to hire on new. They aggregate the collective expertise that already exists within the agency into a credible and saleable client offering. The special team provides additional job satisfaction to your staff by allowing them to showcase their past experience and gives them an additional challenge. Best of all, they open up new sources of revenue and new client opportunities for the agency.
The risk is relatively small. If it does not work out, at least you have not invested a huge amount of money and hired on overhead that you now have to let go. It’s a great way to prove out a concept and then bring on additional resources as required.
Try conducting a simple internal audit. Ask your staff to highlight any specific category, product or target segment expertise that they have. If you identify some interesting pockets, find out how broad or deep the expertise goes. They may even have existing client contacts that could be the targets of your initial new business approaches.
You never know, this may well be the start of something big!