The Biggest Content Marketing Secret

And Ladies and Gentlemen…. The Biggest Content Marketing Secret

images secretReady, set, go. Shh… Here is the big content marketing secret to delivering brilliant insights, mucho content and a simple way of making you look real smart.

Creating relevant content every week is a bitch for small and medium sized advertising, digital, PR and whateva agencies. The hard part isn’t ‘relevant’, the hard part is doing it consistently.

The Secret

Interview the right, smart, eloquent people that can riff on tight subjets for 15 to 60 minutes. OK, 60 is too much cause you’ll have to edit it.

Do the interview on the telephone, via text-based questions or on Skype (or other Internet conversation platforms). Record the calls. Then, head over to Rev and have them transcribe the audio – overnight.

Easy, right? Yup!

I’ve done dozens of interviews for this blog, for my book (see above) and in guest posts.

Google loves SEO optimized content. Interviews rock.

Then… Amplify It

Every insight / AHA! blog or whatever post must be amplified via one or more of the following (I amplify everything.) I use the Rule of Five – amplify everything at least five ways. Here are some ideas.:

  • On your site in a very simple resources page or blog
  • To your current and past clients
  • To your lists as part of your email newsletter
  • In white papers
  • On LinkedIn to your ‘growing’ Followers
  • To your Facebook Followers
  • On Twitter (yes, it still works and can be used for targeting your competitor’s followers)
  • SlideShare (an underused platform)
  • Commenting (presence on LinkedIn Groups and big blogs)
  • Guest posting (seriously borrowed reach)
  • Your zine
  • And, on…

Need content (and who doesn’t?) Go forth and interview people.

Oh, I get interviewed too.

Here from Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels Of Separation (a master interview website /podcast):

SPOS #569 – The Relevance Of Marketing Agencies With Peter Levitan

You Will Lose 75% Of Your Advertising Agency Pitches

How To Win More Advertising Agency Pitches? Well, Buy My Book

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 9.27.37 AMThink I’m kidding. I’ve seen the common sense and insights and techniques inside my book work after people have simply read the book – they’ve won more advertising, PR, digital, experiential agency pitches. Other agencies have benefitted by hiring me as a business development and pitch coach; or, I’d imagine by watching my HubSpot pitch presentation which is nicely situated below for your viewing pleasure.

75% Sucks

Here’s the drill. You, if you are like most agencies, you will lose about 75% of your pitches*. This fact, of course, is painful. Kinda nuf said. But I’ll add some more heat to this fire. Pitches + the cost of daily business development  + a business development director salary and bonus can raise the hard and soft costs (labor, freelancers, and overhead) of an individual pitch to over $100,000.

  • FYI: Most agency leaders tell me that, given their sales skills, all they need to do is to get into a room with a client and they will sell them on hiring the agency. Hmmmm, sorry, the math does not work.

$14.99 To Leverage Your $100,000

So, for $14.99 you can buy a book that will at least remind you of all of the mistakes you should not make that might reduce your odds. At best, the book will help you win the pitch you are giving in three weeks. Am I selling hard here? You bet. I am getting tired of hearing about the mistakes that it seems every agency – large to small make every day. How do I know this? I talk to the kinds of advertising agency search consultants and clients that are interviewed in the book.

From HubSpot – The YouTube Video

Here’s the online seminar I gave to HubSpot peeps. Hope you enjoy it. Oh, and Win More Pitches. Oh #2, don’t forget to go to the top of this page to buy the book. Or, just go here.

The Secrets of Advertising Agency Business Development

The Not So Secrets of Advertising Agency Business Development

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 5.02.10 PMYou think that advertising agency business development is hard? Try getting on stage on Ed Sullivan or Carnegie Hall.

OK, so how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, you know the answer: Practice,  Practice, Practice.

The 10,000-Hour Rule

Here is a definition from Wikipedia of the 10,00-Hour rule as discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers.

A common theme that appears throughout Outliers is the “10,000-Hour Rule”, based on a study byAnders Ericsson. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous time, using the source of The Beatles’ musical talents and Gates’ computer savvy as examples.

The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time, therefore meeting the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell asserts that all of the time The Beatles spent performing shaped their talent and quotes Beatles’ biographer Phillip Norman as saying, “So by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, ‘they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.’

Gates met the 10,000-Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it.

Is Your Advertising Agency Willing To Work (Hard) At Business Development?

If it isn’t, it will fail.

Try This Agency Road Map

  1. Have a master business plan that is reviewed at least annually. The marketing environment, especially in advertising, is changing on a monthly basis. Know how you will make the big bucks and plan for it.
  2. Have clear business development objectives. Not, “I want to work with Nike or Google.” Be real.
  3. Have an in and outbound marketing plan. It must be an easy to follow plan – or you will join the 60% of advertising agencies that do not run their plan.
  4. Up your Goggle ranking.
  5. Your plan must be smart but not too complicated. Process rules here.
  6. Be slavish to your agency’s brand positioning. Make it something client’s want.
  7. Have a business development leader that is 100% responsible for making sure the Biz Plan runs like clockwork. I suggest that for at least the first 6 months that that it be the CEO or COO. She is the feet-to-the-fire person. If the top person isn’t committed to putting agency time and assets towards business development 24/7 – fuhgeddaboudit.
  8. Biz Dev has to become part of agency culture. And, yes, it can be fun, too. Winning business because your plan is working is super fun.
  9. Biz Dev must a job on your daily project list like every client job. You are your agency’s client. If you don’t support the program, then what you do for paying clients will not matter when you shut down.
  10. Distribute the workload to responsible people in the agency. Make it part of their compensation plan. If they don’t do their part – they are not rewarded for their client work. They are not going get any bonus.
  11. Have a marketing calendar and be slavish to it.
  12. And… Whatever you do, make sure it’s Unignorable. Boring sucks.

Go do it. From Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Photographs Vs. Brilliant Business Development Insights

No Brilliant Business Development Insights Today

download (1)Too busy to pontificate (or bore you) – I am moving homes in Mexico. Going from my one-year rental to my newly built house in the Guadalupe Colonia in San Miguel de Allende. Guadalupe is known for its murals and tranquil vibe.

So to pass the time, here are some photographs from my growing La GENTE photography series. Here is what I say about the project on my photography website:

La GENTE — The PEOPLE is an extensive photographic project that seeks to celebrate the greatness of the people of San Miguel de Allende. My goal is to have more than 400 portraits of young and old from San Miguel de Allende that will be shown through a public art event in 2018. This will be a personal + visusal feast for the city.

La GENTE is my personal ode to my town San Miguel de Allende and its beautiful people. I go out into the streets using a portable white background to make my portraits. My goal is to have over 400 photographs of young and older Sanmiguelense that will be shown via a public art event in 2018. I hope this will be more of a party than a traditional photography show. The whole town will be invited.

Here are some shots.

SMA La Pulga P+L+L-158 Gente San Miguel de Allende_-7 La GENTE-37 SMA La Pulga P+L+L-25 Gente San Miguel de Allende_-12 Gente San Miguel de Allende_-12-3 SMA Centro 3.20 La GENTE SMA-12 SMA La GENTE B&W_ 20170607-DSCF6842 SMA Valle de Maiz-35 Bomberos-21 20161203-dscf6168

The Diminished Ad Agency AE

Today’s Ad Agency AE

hey-it-s-not-so-easy-being-an-account-executive-men-s-premium-t-shirtA friend of mine, a long term Executive Creative Director and advertising professor, is writing a book on advertising based on his multi-decade major league career. He is asking a range of experienced colleagues and friends to add to his book’s subject matter (by the way, a great way to get smart content to bulk up your book). He asked me about my thoughts on today’s Account Executives – yes, the AE.

Here is a part of my contribution. As you’ll see, I think the role of the AE has been diminished. I view this as being a result of lower gross margins – we no longer can afford to train our AE’s and, in many cases, we don’t pay them enough to attract the best and brightest. Parsimonious clients are reaping what they’ve sowed.

As an aside, I once ran the Northwest Airlines account. Northwest left Saatchi & Saatchi because they got a new CMO. An insecure bloke who decided he’d give the account to his friends at Ogilvy. I ran into one of the client’s mid-level execs one day and she asked me why Ogilvy did not provide the same level of account management care as Saatchi. I reminded her that she was now paying an 8% media commission vs. the 15% she had paid Saatchi. Yup, you get what you pay for: Parsimonious clients are reaping what they’ve sowed.

My Take: The Diminished AE

Like much of advertising, the role of the account executive has morphed over the past 25 years. In the olden days, the AE was an agency’s highly valuable point person. The AE had daily conversations with the client, acted as the go between the client and agency services, tracked programs and, in the best of all worlds, was a strategic thinker and brand resource. Today, given the reduction in agency gross margins, we are not training our account people to be the best representative for the agency. As a result of this plus the fact that many clients want to talk directly with the “doers” i.e. the creatives or digital planners, the AE role has been severely diminished.

That said, the best AE’s do have a holistic understanding of today’s complex marketing options and know how to build a client relationship. The key difference is that we have fewer of this type of AE. Agencies simply do not pay enough to attract the best AE candidates (thanks in part to reduced client compensation) to be competitive with other career options.

My Experience

I started my first AE job at New York’s giant (over 1,000 people in the Crysler Building) Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in the 1980’s. We were eventually bought by Saatchi & Saatchi and I even got some lunch money. My first job was working on the large General Mills account. I quickly became the agency’s lead on  Total and Kix cereals and began traveling to Minneapolis. I felt highly valuable to my client and agency… it was fun.

Every week the agency had a two-hour training program that included client management, presentation skills, and strategy development. After 6 months I was promoted and had my own office with a desk and window — take that today’s large AE field of desks.

Over the years, I got to use my early management training to help train the employees of my own companies and agency.

….. I’ll let you know when the new advertising book comes out.