Ad Agency New Business – Build A Community, Not A Target Market.

August 7, 2009

Social media community

From the customers perspective there is a huge difference between being part of a target list of prospective customers and part of a community. Guess which approach is the most effective when it comes to ad agency new business development?

Advertising, whether it be delivered through traditional media, direct marketing or even online channels, relies on predetermined messages pushed out to those individuals who we believe could be likely customer prospects. On the other hand, online communities are based around members who choose to be part of that community and have a reason to engage and participate. A very simple analogy can be taken from the world of sport. One is a spectator and the other a participant sport.

The same principals apply to ad agency new business development. You can choose to continue doing what you have always done or, you can seek out new ways to develop deeper opportunities and involvement with your key prospects. I am not suggesting that you abandon all of the traditional tried and tested new business methods. They should all be considered as components of your new business development program. However when you do all the talking, you miss out on what a community has to offer.

Your goal should be to genuinely involve your audience, get them engaged and allow them to contribute. Encourage them not only to help you generate the optimum content, but create it too. The result will ultimately be a prospect that has a higher predisposition to buy from you versus having to be sold.

Before you go off and rush into creating your social media following, please consider this. There is a fine balance between trying to drive customers to the social media environments and messages that you have created, versus becoming a meaningful part of their social media environments.

Here are a few quick ideas about how to go about building your community through social media:

  • Look beyond your specific services and expertise and identify what your agency is about and demonstrate your passion. All agencies claim to have the same services and capabilities. “We are a full service agency”. What does that mean? You will find it more effective to have them rally around you and your passion, versus your products and services.
  • Avoid the monologue and promote dialog and engagement. You cannot allow your voice/message to dominate the conversation. Provide a forum for your customers to contribute and encourage them to do so.
  • Be cogniscent of the need for balance. It is more important for you to insert your message into the conversation where the customer is already participating, as it is to create your own forums and channels and invite them in.




An Ad Agency Nightmare. The Day The Media Died!

August 6, 2009

madison avenue blues

I recently wrote a post describing how the Magicians of Madison Avenue have become obsolete. This video tells the story far more poetically than I ever could. 

Just after writing that post, I came across this video on you tube. It is probably one of the most insightful and funny parodies ever produced about the advertising and media business. At the same time, it is also carries with it a very strong message…A wake-up call for everybody in the marketing communications and media industry.

The video puts into perspective the real impact that technology has had on our business and illustrates just how slow many of us have been to adapt or at least embrace it. No one is left unscathed in the process.

We have all heard the proverbial phrase that dates back to the 19th century, “less is more”. In this instance I am going to say less and let the video tell you more about the story.

Enjoy. I know that I did.




Wow! What an Innovative Agency New Business Growth Strategy!

July 16, 2009

IMC2Interactive Agency IMC2 has put $500,000 into what it calls “The Social Media Innovation Fund.” Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! Not only does this demonstrate how serious they are about the social-media space, it also will allow them to attract additional business from both new and existing clients. Not to mention build an enviable agency social media portfolio at the same time.

All agencies spend a significant amount of money trying to develop new business opportunities. In a pitch environment it is not unusual for an agency to invest anything from $100,000 to $500,000 in agency time and effort in a single pitch, with only a 1/5 chance of winning it. As I have said before, new business strain is one of the largest cost overheads for any agency.

IMC2 has cleverly set up this fund in the amount of $500, 000. In reality, no more than their normal investment in single pitch for a marquee client. When you take into consideration that by far the largest costs associated with social media are internal billable agency hours, and you have a very low cost low risk offer from the agencies perspective

  Even more ingenious is the way they are allocating the funds – by matching up to $50,000 against what a marketer spends on a social media project that “creates brand impact and showcases our thought leadership and offerings”.  In other words, it will only be allocated against projects that the agency considers worth of supporting, and that will help build their portfolio.

Wow, now the agency is a partner and enjoys joint decision making responsibility on the project alongside the client. If IMC2 allocate all $500,000 of their fund, that will have generated a minimum of $1 million dollars in innovative showcase work for them. And if all that’s not enough, IMC2 have also made it a condition that the client agree to allow the work to be promoted via case studies and agency PR efforts.

In an environment where all you read about is clients cutting back on their budgets, this is a great idea to give clients like that a reason to approach IMC2 and in the process not only hire a great agency but also double their social media project budget.

I know I am sitting here thinking that I wish I had done that.