Forrester Survey Highlights Clients’ Lack Of Confidence in Both Traditional And Digital Agencies Alike!

February 9, 2010

Forrester Research conducted a “state of interactive agencies” survey of about 100 global interactive marketers. It found just 23 percent believed their “traditional brand agency” is capable of planning and managing interactive marketing activities.

While that would appear to be good news for digital agencies, particularly as digital continues to enjoy increased allocations in most marketing budgets. The Forrester survey however, found few clients are willing to give them responsibility for the brand’s overall direction. Just 22 percent agreed that their interactive agency is “ready to lead my brand.” Another 33 percent said their digital shops aren’t ready, with the rest neutral.

The result is what Forrester calls “the great race” as traditional shops scramble to add digital know-how and digital shops seek to move up the ladder to become brand stewards, rather than Web site and banner ad specialists.

The survey found that in an ideal world, clients would like to work with a single agency with 60 percent saying that they would like one digital shop.  When you look deeper into the survey data it would appear that even within digital, only one in five respondents currently rely on a single provider. Almost 60 percent of respondents currently have two or more.

For every digital agency that manages to secure brand lead responsibilities, there are just as many traditional agencies making inroads into the digital world.  Add to this the increasing number of emerging media specialists (mobile and social media) that appear on a daily basis and you have the digital equivalent of the Wild West.

No matter whether you are a traditional or digital shop, there is no doubt that you have your work cut out for you.

From a digital perspective your agency might be well served… Investing your time and money keeping abreast of new technologies and emerging media versus chasing those elusive brand responsibilities.

From a traditional perspective, your agency might be well served… Protecting your current turf and client relationships, while at the same time expanding your creative and strategic capabilities to include people like Idea Architects and Idea Engineers. Then partner with digital specialists to develop and execute truly integrated marketing campaigns.


Rx For Agencies Suffering From Digital, Direct, PR and Social Media Confusion Or Disorientation

January 25, 2010

Reduction in the role of channel specialists. Today, interactive marketers want agencies to keep them ahead of the curve. But for most agencies, this means little more than just providing executional help in digital channels.

“As marketers seek interactivity, agencies that subsist will forgo their role as channel specialists and dedicate themselves instead to determining how to change the relationship marketers have with their end customers”.    Source: Shar Van Boskirk, Forrester Research, Jan 12, 2010

The opportunity is clear. Forget about continuing to structure your agency in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. If you can integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to share their personal networks with you, you will have created a powerful channel for your brand in the marketplace.

Click on the link below to view or download the full presentation.

View more presentations from Clive Maclean.

The Top Four New Business Trends for 2010

January 19, 2010

As the advertising world slams the door on a very difficult 2009, advertising agencies are looking ahead to 2010, hoping to deliver stronger growth in the sector. What lies ahead? Nobody really knows – However here are four key trends that in my opinion are sure to make waves in the marketplace!

The End of the Digital/Traditional Agency Divide.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the imaginary line dividing traditional and digital agencies will not completely disappear. But 2010 will see the distinction blur to the point of being meaningless. The Great Race, as Forrester Research calls it, pits digital shops looking to hone their branding chops against traditional agencies adding tech skills. This will in turn lead to more digital agencies competing for (and sometimes winning) through-the-line assignments, plus more clients will be willing to choose a lead agency based on which of its roster shops comes to the table with the best idea.

Social Media Will Become Synonymous With Digital.

There is no doubt that Twitter became the Cinderella of 2009. In 2010 we will see social-media tools being treated as an integral component of the digital world as predicted by Altimeter Group’s Charlene Li :

“Social media will become “like air,” and be pretty much everywhere”.

That means publishers and marketers will use tools like Twitter and Facebook Connect to make experiences more social. More marketers will look at social as an integral part of their digital strategy, rather than a stand-alone area for experimentation.

 The Year Mobile Marketing Comes of Age

I know that I have written about this subject many times over the last year however, 2010 is certain to be the year when the mobile advertising market finally takes off.  According to a recent Adweek article, heavyweights Apple and Google are poised to face off in the key markets, with Google pouring its seemingly infinite resources into the development of the Android operating system.

The competition will open up new opportunities for marketers in the burgeoning app economy. The biggest push should come in location-based services, which hold the possibility of giving brands the chance to minutely target consumers.

Data Du Jour.

In 2010 we will continue to see exponential demand from marketers for data served up real time in a user friendly format. Agencies will be expected to have the ability to integrate data across all channels and from all sources. They will be looking for everything from data analytics, to web analytics to data modeling in support of personalized content delivery to advanced behavioral customer data and segmentation. 

A 2009 survey conducted by Unica revealed that 72% of marketers had no full time staff member devoted to data analytics. In 2010 they will solve this issue by either developing the capabilities in-house or source it from a capable agency partner.

 


This IS The Age Of Mobile Marketing …Is Your Agency Standing On The Sidelines?

December 29, 2009

According to a recent article published by eMarketer, mobile commerce’s time has arrived. Aided by a flurry of acquisition activity, an influx of venture capital funding and growing brand adoption in the latter half of 2009, the year ahead will see mobile continue its shift toward the marketing mainstream.

 It is eye-catching when a consultancy revises a market forecast upward in the midst of an economic downturn. That is exactly what ABI Research did with its forecast of mobile sales of physical goods in North America. In January 2009 it projected m-commerce sales would reach $544 million this year, up 57% over 2008—impressive in its own right. But in late October, ABI upped its forecast, saying sales would top $750 million in 2009, a whopping 117% annual growth rate. M-commerce’s time has arrived, and it is an easy bet that sales in 2010 will pass the $1 billion mark.

 Whereas consumers once limited their mobile phone purchases to downloadable ringtones and games, today they are using their devices to buy books, apparel and other items associated with online shopping on a PC.

 As I have often commented before, this increased growth will ultimately create a need for better creative. Up until now, marketers and their agencies have done a tremendous job of recycling and repurposing creative assets from other media and channels, in an attempt to make sure that as much of the budget as possible goes into working media.

This is an opportunity for agencies to step up to the plate and deliver a better quality product while demanding more fully funded mobile production budgets.  While most creative types currently believe that mobile environments have significant creative limitations, the reality is that this is indeed not the case. The problem is that most creatives are not aware of the technologies currently available and hence what is actually possible.

 While there are currently some notable agencies out there leading the charge and creating excellent work, most seem to be overlooking the opportunity.

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Ad Agencies Need To Learn To Say, “That’s Not What We Do”

November 16, 2009

Say no imagesCA4N0876

In a recent post on Seth Godin’s Blog, he suggests that successful organizations spend a lot of time saying, “that’s not what we do”. He believes it’s a requirement, because if you do everything, in every way, you’re sunk, and I agree.

 He goes on to say that these companies achieved their success by standing for something, by approaching markets and situations in a certain way. Sure, Nike could make money in the short run by licensing their name to a line of wines and spirits, but that’s not what they do.

 “That’s not what we do,” is the backbone of strategy, it determines who you are and where you’re going.

 Too many agencies put themselves in a position where they chase every new business opportunity that comes along, even when they know that they do not have the required capabilities to be successful. Just because you claim to be a full service, 360 Degree agency, does not make your agency competent, let alone an expert in every discipline.

 Ideally, you should ask yourselves if you really have the experience and expertise to address the RFP without reverting to smoke and mirrors?  Even more importantly, ask yourselves if you are really able to deliver the quality of work and results required in order to help the client be successful. If the answer is no, then take a pass and wait for something more suitable.

 The Why imperative:

On the other hand, never use “that’s not what we do” as an excuse not to adapt to change when opportunities come along. In this instance, people in the organization should not forget to ask: “Why?” If the only reason you don’t do something is because you never did, that’s not a good reason. If the environment has changed dramatically and you are feeling pain because of it, this is a great reason to question yourself, to ask why.

 Seth goes on to say that the why factor is really clear online. Simon and Schuster or the Encyclopedia Britannica could have become Google (organizing the world’s information) but they didn’t build a search engine because that’s not what they do. Struggling newspapers could have become thriving networks of long tail content, but they chose not to, because that’s not what they do.

 Maybe Cliff Freeman & Partners could have averted their recent demise if only they had embraced the “Why Imperative”.  They missed the opportunity to leverage their rich creative history and reputation while morphing themselves into a leading edge person2person agency.

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Rx for Ad Agencies Suffering From Direct, Digital and Social Media Confusion or Disorientation

October 18, 2009

CB067305

The opportunity is clear. Forget about continuing to structure your agency in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. qIf you can integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to share their personal networks with you, you will have created a powerful channel for your brand in the marketplace.


Goodbye Brand, Direct and Digital…Hello People to People Marketing!

October 8, 2009

 

 

person to person 2

 

Marketing communication has evolved from the early one-way media (TV, print, radio) to two-way media (Internet) and now multi-way media (social, mobile). As the lines between these channels and media are blurring so quickly, it has created an identity crisis among many agencies.

Can a direct marketing agency be effective without digital and social media skills? Can a digital agency deliver the best work without direct marketing skills? Is social media just another word for PR, or is it in fact the ultimate one to one medium?

Traditional marketing and advertising thinking is no longer effective as consumer media habits continue to evolve.  Branding is for all intents and purposes dead, as most consumers’ first impressions of a brand are what they find in search results or what they read from other people in reviews. As consumers circumvent traditional media approaches, they are gravitating towards those media/channels that provide easy access to information, advice and recommendations, plus allow them to socialize and be entertained at the same time. In the process, these consumers are building and refining their own trusted personal networks.

The opportunity for agencies and marketers alike is clear. Forget about continuing to structure your organization in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. If you can integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to share their personal networks with you, you will have created a powerful channel for your brand in the marketplace.

Those of you who are direct marketers will be disappointed to hear that targeting is dying too. As consumers change to pulling information as they want or need it, push marketing becomes less and less relevant no matter how “targeted” the marketer thinks it is. No longer can you just drop an email to your house file or run a banner campaign with the simple objective to sell more products or generate more leads. You have to become part of the conversation, where they are and when they want to have it. Also, keep in mind that conversations cannot be bought either, and if they are the community often quickly finds out and retaliates.

The new age of People2People agencies have to be experts in understanding consumer habits and expectations in this new media environment. They need to be the unbiased filter that prioritizes the media/channels and indentifies the ones that will yield the greatest ROI.

This new breed of agency will avoid the temptation to shout messages at consumers disrespectfully or target thousands of people multiple times (reach and frequency). Instead, they will embrace techniques that cultivate genuine and open dialogue with customers, where brands quietly listen and learn, and then respond with new features and product innovations that better match the needs of the consumer.

These agencies will be rewarded by clients who not only out perform their competitors, but also deliver industry leading financial results. You may be interested to know that in July 2009, a report by social platform provider Wetpaint and analyst firm Altimeter found that: “Companies deeply engaged in seven or more social channels (blogs, branded social websites, Facebook, Wikis, ratings and reviews etc.) significantly surpassed their peers in terms of both revenue and performance.

Future growth and success will be led by those agencies that embrace this new media environment and choose to become part of a new breed of People2People agencies. Those who remain siloed will continue to become less relevant over time and unable to deliver against evolving client expectations.

 

 

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NFL Type Special Teams Are Perfect For Ad Agency New Business

October 5, 2009

special teams

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!

 

 

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Social Media: Ad Agencies Just Don’t Get It.

September 14, 2009

My agency does not get it 

Social media is the antithesis of advertising. Most traditional agencies do not have the required social media skills and they struggle with how to integrate it into their overall marketing communications plans. The minority, who get it, have competitive advantage!

Awareness Networks recently hosted a webinar titled, “Social Media: Your Agency Does Not Get It…Who Does?” The speaker was Jason Falls (www.socialmediaexplorer.com), a well known and respected blogger in the public relations and social media space. What makes Jason particularly relevant to the ad agency world is that he has worked with and for a host of marketing agencies.

I have listed below  a link to the podcast of the session, however before you go ahead and view it, here are some interesting highlights I wanted to share with you:

  • Most agencies tell the client that they can do anything. They then go right ahead and outsource the work. Given that the very essence of social media is transparency, agencies should either be up front with the client or invest in the capabilities beforehand.
  • He suggested a series of questions that clients ask agencies before awarding them the work. I thought you might like to know what they were, in case one of your clients was listening to the podcast:
    • What is the strategy behind your recommendations?
    • Who does the strategy
    • Does the agency have a blog?
    • Are the agencies employees on Twitter?
    • Can you share several case studies for other client work?
    • What social media mistakes have you made and what did you learn from them?
    • Who does the execution?
  • Jason maintains that ROI is easy to measure in social media, if your media programs are aligned with clear business goals.
  • The biggest challenge brands face is that there are conversations happening everywhere and most brands do not have the right people to manage social media.
  • In social media there is no B2B or B2C. It all about People2People.

I highly recommend this podcast for all agency management and new business professionals. It is especially relevant if you are thinking of expanding into social media or alternatively, currently claiming to be experts in the space without really having the ware with all to honestly deliver.

 

 

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“Socialnomics” The Fuel For Future Ad Agency Growth

September 10, 2009

Social media has created a fundamental shift in the way we all communicate. In the process, we sometimes lose media, develop new media and in some cases see traditional media adapt to the new sociology and technology. A excellent new book titled “Socialnomics” explains how social media has transformed both the way we live and the way we do business.

Yesterday I was searching through some YouTube content when I found this great video about the book that highlighted almost 40 observations about the impact of social media. Some of them might be considered predictable, but many are really eye opening. What’s even more amazing is the speed at which these shifts have taken place, as well as the sheer size and geographic impact of many of them.

When I consider all of this from an ad agency perspective, it all just seems so overwhelming, yet exciting at the same time. From a sheer speed perspective, how does any agency be it specialist or full service keep up? How do they monitor these new trends and at the same time develop the expertise and capabilities to competently deliver them. Even more frightening is the concept of how an agency can stay ahead of the changes and deliver innovation and thought leadership to their clients? without resorting to the good old default approach of smoke and mirrors.

Here are a few findings from the book that I think you will find thought provoking:

  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 brands are links to user generated content.
  • 90% of people who can Tivo ads actually do it.
  • 25% of Americans have watched a short video on their phone in the last month.
  • 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in readership because we no longer search out news, the news comes to us.
  • By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers, and 96% of them will have joined a social network.
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest between the USA and India. A true example of a global community.
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females.
  • 80% of twitter usage is on mobile devices.
  • Email is passé’. In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing email addresses to young freshman.
  • There are over 200,000,000 blogs out there.

If you have not seen it already, please take a moment to view the YouTube video entitled “Social Media Revolution” by Erik Qualman. I think you will find it well worth your time. I know that it will get you thinking about your agency and whether you have the right plan and resources in place to take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior both now and in the near future. They are the fuel to a whole new world of opportunities for agencies who are embrace the changes and adapt accordingly.

 

 

 

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Call To Arms, No More Ad Agency RFP’s!

September 3, 2009

call to arms

Is now the time to fix the RFP process? Historically ad agencies have always done their level best to scratch each others’ eyes out as they give away the farm competing for a new account. In this tough economy it’s only getting worse.

I and so many others have written about this subject over the years. The AAAA’s tried some time back to entrench a set of best practices that no one paid any attention to. The whole process remains a free for all where anything goes and in the current economy the larger agencies are even fighting over scraps they would not even have sniffed at two years ago.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of work continue to be given away for free by agencies while clients continue to pay only for the chosen agency’s work and then leverage the euphoria of the win to negotiate a bottom dollar compensation agreement with the agency. The agency costs incurred during the pitch are most often ignored resulting in the agency having to dig itself out of a financial whole at the outset of the relationship.

For those agencies that did not prevail, the pitch becomes just another “investment” that adds to their overall new business strain and has to be funded by either existing clients, reduced agency profitability or a combination of the two. If agencies on average have a success rate of 3/10, that leaves seven lost pitches that have to be funded. It’s an unsustainable model.

Joseph Jaffe, Chief Interrupter at Crayon, recently wrote an article for Adweek entitled “No More RFP’s”. In his article he lists what he calls “10 points or calls to action…Arguably even calls to arms”.

CLICK TO READ ARTICLE

 

 

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CMO’s Have A More Positive Outlook. Are Ad Agencies Prepared and Ready?

August 27, 2009

CMO outlook

According to the July 2009 “CMO Survey” by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the AMA, CMO’s are looking more hopeful coming out of a gloomy recession. The question that comes to mind now is, do ad agencies have adequate resources to take advantage of this upturn?

59% of the marketers who responded to the survey claimed to be more optimistic about the current economy than the preceding three months. A full 47% reported being more optimistic about revenues from end customers, however, they remain concerned about lagging customer spending.

While increased CMO confidence is great, the big question is just how will their optimistic attitude affect their spending behavior? According to survey respondents, their biggest increases in spending over the next twelve months will be online marketing at 9.5%, followed by new product introductions, CRM and brand building. While overall marketing budgets are expected to increase slightly, respondents reported that they plan to slash traditional ad spending by nearly 8%.

 Customer priorities

 

While this is clearly good news for some agencies, it may be less so for others. No matter what your agency discipline however, these numbers are a great barometer for agency management as it relates to which capabilities to focus on and invest in. Agencies have in the recent past trimmed down their resources significantly, almost to the point where they have little to no spare bandwidth to handle any proactive or developmental work.

 While online is a very broad category and could probably have been predicted, growth in other areas like new product/service development, CRM and brand building could potentially be big opportunities for agencies of all disciplines.

 Those agencies that have both a plan and the resources to help develop these potential opportunities will benefit from the upturn. Those who are caught by surprise are likely to miss the boat.  

 

 

 

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Naked Brits Lead Current Ad Agency Communications Planning Trend

August 26, 2009

british_invasion

The days of brand agencies aspiring to be the “Lead Agency” are fast disappearing. Clients are increasingly turning to specialist communications planning agencies, to help them take a more informed approach to their integrated marketing initiatives. In many instances, the work of these truly media neutral agencies informs and directs all other roster agency assignments and work.

In the US we experienced the “British Invasion” from a music perspective during 1964-66, with bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Kinks. Right now we are experiencing another British Invasion of a different sort: Brand Communications Planning agencies.

These agencies do no creative work or execution whatsoever. Some have developed very powerful planning tools/models, powered by a significant database of both quantitative and qualitative data, related to over 90 distinct marketing channels. They are channel planning experts and are probably the only breed of agencies who can honestly claim to be media neutral.  

One of the leaders of this invasion is a company called Naked Communications. A quick word of warning, do not go to Naked.com after reading this post. It will only help to put you on the radar screen of your IT and HR department for improper use of the internet. (They have two distinct websites: www.nakedcomms.com and www.houseofnaked.com). There are a number of others out there that all hale from the UK and have similarly bizarre names.

While most other agencies are out there running around claiming to be full service, fully integrated, media neutral and 360 degree agencies, specialist communications planning agencies, like Naked, are quietly and effectively taking control of more and more large advertising and marketing accounts. Early in 2008 Naked made the trade media headlines when they were awarded the Kimberley-Clark account. Take a look at what K-C said about the appointment in their press statement.

Tony Palmer, CMO at K-C, said in a statement that producing marketing efforts built around TV commercials is no longer relevant in today’s business environment. “It is incumbent on clients to take an active role in reshaping the model,” he said, adding that hiring Naked is a step in this direction. Naked’s role is to help K-C and its agency partners identify the best communications channels it can leverage, to execute specific brand programs.

Agencies like Naked usually do not replace the client’s lineup of creative and media buying agencies. Instead, Naked works like a consulting firm, advising on how to best use the roster agencies. This may cut into the revenue of traditional agencies. Kimberly-Clark, for example, did not increase its ad agency budget in order to pay for Naked’s services. Instead, the company “reallocated the spending” according to Hedy Lukas, Vice President for Integrated Marketing at Kimberly-Clark.

Not long after Naked’s appointment came the announcement from Kimberley Clark that it had decided to move a quarter of its spending into non-traditional media.

Not something a “traditional lead agency” would be likely to recommend.

 

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Client Churn Causes 70% Of Ad Agencies To Miss Their Numbers!

August 24, 2009

miss their numbers final

If your agency has previously omitted preparing “Key Account Plans” as part of your overall agency growth strategy, these recent survey findings may convince you to do otherwise!  

In my recent national online survey (Ad Agency Business Growth Strategy Survey), I found that 57% of respondents admitted to having missed their financial numbers over the last three years due to an unexpected client loss. Another 12% claimed that while they had hit their goals, the client loss had significantly impacted their overall performance for the year.  

Based on in depth analysis of the survey information, I found conclusively that failure on the part of the agency to include “key client account plans” in their agency growth strategies, was a major contributing factor. Here are some additional findings and supporting details.

50% of total survey respondents indicated that they currently do not have “key Account Plans” in place for their top 5 agency clients. Interestingly, there is a very high correlation between these respondents and those agencies that indicated they had missed their numbers due to unexpected client churn. In fact, 87% of the respondents who said they did not have “Key Account Plans” for their top 5 clients, all had instances where they missed their financial numbers over the last 3 years!

Next, I took a deeper look at those respondents (62% of total sample) who answered yes to having clients within their agency that either run at a loss or alternatively break even at best. Just over 70% of this group also answered “no” to having key client plans in place.  

Finally, I took a look at the respondents (31% of total respondents) that answered affirmatively to having a nightmare client in the agency that their staff hates to work on. In this case, 84% of this group did not have key account plans in place for their top 5 clients.

These survey findings clearly indicate that, the omission of key client plans from an ad agency’s growth strategy can have a significant impact on its financial performance. Absence of these key client plans substantially increases the risk of the agency losing a key client, as well as increasing the incidence of poor performing clients within the agency client roster.

 If you really think about it, this should come as no surprise to any of us! In the absence of a plan how do we:

  • Plan and focus the resources needed to support our clients?
  • Consistently stay pro-active and deliver innovation?
  • Maintain client satisfaction levels, keep ahead in their category and deliver incremental value?
  • Plan and execute against organic growth targets and opportunities?
  • Integrate metrics, measurement and results into our work?
  • Optimize resource allocation and management. Making sure that we do not either under or over service the account?
  • Focus resources and effort in the areas that THE CLIENT deems of value versus what the agency values?

Bottom line! Client retention and churn management is without doubt one of, if not the most important pillar of any agency’s growth strategy. Unfortunately, most agencies do not allocate anywhere near as much focus and resources to it as they do new business. Many even overlook it altogether.

My 5 pillar agency growth strategy approach enables you to consistently deliver superior agency growth and profitability.

 

 

 

 

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Ex Ad Agency Executive Demonstrates the Real Power Of Social Media.

August 20, 2009

If you were not convinced about both the power and effectiveness of social media before, I am sure that after reading this post you will be. Here is an example that demonstrates just how effective social media can be when used correctly.

70,000 Advertising professionals have already been laid off in the current recession. The worst I have experienced in nearly 30 years of being in the business. It has impacted both client and agency people alike and has reshaped our industry forever! If you just sit back and consider this statistic, it’s nothing less than mindboggling. Many are talented individuals with years of experience under their belt, and unfortunately, many will not be returning to our industry.

The recession has brought into question many of our values and priorities as individuals, consumers and employees. It’s caused many of us to move from materialistic to minimalistic and reassess what’s important to us and what is not. It’s driven significant changes in overall consumer behavior and impacted where and what they spend their money on. The recession is changing the way we do business and how we manage our businesses.

Most importantly it has forced many of us to reconsider our life’s purpose and what we ultimately want to achieve during it. We have all heard the truism, “When Life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  If you have not already heard, the movie “Lemonade” is going to be released sometime in September 2009. In essence, it’s a 30 minute documentary film that showcases the lives of former advertising professionals from the time they were fired through to how they used their dismissal as an opportunity to discover their dreams.

While I am certain that the movie itself will be of interest to you, the story behind it is even more fascinating.

  • It all started when a 37 year old copywriter from Arnold (Eric Proulx) was laid off during October 2008. (The third time in less than 10 years)
  • He started a blog called “Feed The Animals”, to serve as a venting ground and support system for other ad people who had been laid off.
  • After launch he decided to make a promotional video. The people and stories for the video all came from a call for submissions on Twitter.
  • He was going to conduct interviews himself using a handheld camera, however due to all the buzz, Picture Park, one of Boston’s largest commercial film companies sent a tweet offering their expertise.
  • Using Twitter, Proulx recruited an entire volunteer film crew.
  • He put an open letter on his blog and sent out a tweet that said “if @virginamerica got retweeted enough, maybe they’ll consider donating flights.” Not only did the airline come through, but A-level photographers also came through.
  • The film will be released free on the web even though that automatically disqualifies it from most documentary competitions.

Consistent with his overall approach, Proulx said, “I’d rather have a million laid-off viewers than 500 at a film festival!”