Write Your Advertising Book

Write Your Advertising Agency Book

I’ve written and presented at conferences about writing an advertising agency book. It could be a book book, a digital book or even a zine. Just write it and benefit.

The benefits? People will buy it. You will look like an expert. You could make a few bucks. You will get more incoming leads. Actually, it should be about getting more leads.

The Levitan Pitch — My Sales

The sales of my book The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches. (look at the top of this page) are still growing. And, I keep getting leads from people that read it. This is all good. While not a goal, I even make some bucks (for me and Jeff Bezos). See a decent the two month period below. Hey, book sales are buying me my trip to this summer’s Hungarian Grand Prix (that’s Formula 1 for you NASCAR fans.)


My Two-Month Amazon Book Sales

How Digital Agencies Win Clients

How Digital Agencies Find (and Keep) Clients

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 8.56.39 AMI was interviewed for the DM News article, “How Digital Agencies Find (and Keep) Clients”. Were my comments brilliant? Well, brilliant might be a stretch. But here are my key points.

Referrals – The Default Business Development Tool

Where do clients come from?

“The traditional rules of marketing have not changed,” says Peter Levitan, former agency executive and owner, now a self-employed strategist. “The primary way, the default, is referrals.” Levitan says. “Who doesn’t like referrals?”

So why is it that word of mouth is the way agencies get business? “They do not have an active business development program,” Levitan says. About 60% of all agencies have no business development plan. “That is the problem of being in a low-margin industry….finding the manpower to run  business development when you spend 10 hours a day taking care of the client.”

Takeaway. I love referrals and have a master plan for how to actually manage a referral program, Too many agencies are passive about getting referrals from friends, family and current and past clients. Hey, ask people to refer you. Have a plan.

However, the issue with referrals is that mot agencies rely on them to get new business because they do not have a proactive 24/7 business development plan. Referrals become the default new business tool.

The Power of Insights

“I suggest providing an insight the client does not have,” Levitan says. Google Survey is a good place to start looking for those insights, he noted. Finding that insight “will get you new business,” he says.

Levitan gave one example from personal experience. While trying to get a non-profit to sign on, he pitched this insight: the public perceived the organization as one of the five most well known, but least in need of donations.

Pitching the crucial insight harkens back to the Mad Men era of advertising in the 1960s, when ad agencies pitched on the basis of the “one big idea”. Levitan explains that today, “ad tech rules. The Mad Men days of the big idea have been pushed to the back burner.” Digital firms lead with technology, but “forget they are dealing with humans.” he added.

Actually, the non-profit story is about an agency that hired me to help them win more new business. I’ve helped them achieve their goal. One piece of advice I gave them was to lead every pitch with a very compelling insight. I bet that sounds easy. It isn’t. It can’t be just any insight. It has to be an insight that the client never thought of.  But, you know that.

A great insight tool is Google Consumer Surveys. Try it out.

Or, just go to my Let’s Talk page and I’ll help you out.



Listen To A HubSpot Advertising Agency Expert

I’d Never Say I Am An Advertising Agency Expert. But HubSpot Says I Am.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 3.29.41 PMSo, who am I to argue with the ‘expert’ thing? I am doing a session for HubSpot’s Agency Expert series on:

June 14 at 11 AM ET that’s 4 PM GMT.

My online presentation is: The Pitch: Present Smarter To Win More Clients. You can sign up right here @ Registration.

My goal will be to help your agency and people master the new business pitch process. This means more wins; more profits; more happiness; more craft beers and longer holidays (OK, more beers.)

About HubSpot’s Agency Expert Webinar Series

HubSpot’s Agency Expert Webinar series is an opportunity for professionals in the agency space to hear from industry leaders and learn about their areas of expertise.

Hear from thought leaders about their experiences in agency life in one-hour YouTube live segments, focusing on topics ranging from agency growth and brand experiences to finding new talent and procuring clients.

My Presentation On Pitching & Presenting

My presentation will track the key elements and advice from my book, “The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches.”

You don’t have to buy the book to track the presentation. But, why not buy it anyway – you will win more advertising agency pitches. Hey, go ahead and buy multiple copies. You can do that with just a couple of clicks … and even get a free chapter at the top of this page.

What You Will Learn

I’ll track these key elements of the book…

Chapters One & Two:

These chapters reveal the very high cost of failing to run well-crafted, efficient pitches. Chapter One includes an instructive and humorous story about the worst advertising pitch ever… for the global Adidas account at Saatchi London. Chapter Two offers a system for how to choose which pitches to go for and which must be avoided.

Chapters Three & Four:

Chapter Three begins to help you position your pitch and presentation for success by learning how you will understand the client’s mindset, type of assignment and what style of agency and relationship the client is actually looking for. Chapter Four covers “The 12 Deadliest Presentation Mistakes” that must be avoided to win that new account.

Chapter Five:

This detailed chapter is a ‘how-to’ of 30 techniques on how to build a brilliant presentation that will increase your odds of winning. These ideas cover the three major elements of a successful pitch: process management, content development, and how to craft a compelling presentation. Each element is supported by an insight that offers a fast way to achieve these objectives.

Chapters Six & Seven:

These chapters deliver insightful interviews with advertising industry leaders. You’ll get valuable learning via 14 interviews with a range of clients, presentation gurus, and industry association experts. Finally, the book includes real-world insights from 16 of the world’s leading search consultants. Believe me, they’ve heard it all.

The Art Of Personal Branding

A How To – Personal Branding Is A Fine Art

28905-poster-10-toc-posterWarning, it will take you close to 500 words to actually get to my main point about the art of personal branding and a great example of How To. So, if you want, skip ahead. However, if you need a bit of branding history, don’t scroll yet.

A Definition

Today, everyone (well, OK, not everyone, but it sure seems like everyone) from high school students developing their college resumes to job seekers to ad agency owners like you to consultants like me, use personal branding to create their very own brand. What is a personal brand? A definition from our friends at Wikipedia…

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters.

Do you know Tom Peters? I bet many of you don’t. Back in the 90’s Tom was a major marketing influencer and as you can see from this 1997 Fast Company article, “The Brand Called You. Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here’s what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc.”, he laid it all out. FYI: 1997 was twenty years ago. Side note, I kinda laughed when I read how Tom boldly referred to himself at the close of the article…

“Tom Peters (TJPET@aol.com) is the world’s leading brand when it comes to writing, speaking, or thinking about the new economy. He has just released a CD-ROM, “Tom Peters’ Career Survival Guide.”

Tom states (Tom!)…. Tom Peters (TJPET@aol.com) is the world’s leading brand…” Cool. You know, most people don’t really have time to figure you out so go ahead and tell them that you are the guru. It works. Here is what I say (I say!) on my (as in this) website: I Am The Most Experienced Business Development Consultant.” It works (and it is true.) There…. I just personal branded. Back in the day, I studied Tom peters, read his books and watched his presentations. Look him up, you’ll see what I mean.

Oh, just in case you don’t remember 1997, note in the statment that Tom had an AOL email address and created CD-ROM’s.

Back To Personal Branding – Actually, The Art Of Personal Branding

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 8.25.25 AMI will not get too deep into the concept of how to do the nuts & bolts of personal branding because there is a very good chance that you do that and Google will return 11 million results on the subject. Plus, you probably already use one or more of the following tools to get your brand out there. Or, should.

  • A blog (if you know how to use keywords, have something to add to the conversation and write decent English)
  • LinkedIn (your profile, groups, and publishing)
  • Facebook (your profile and advertising)
  • Instagram (image marketing)
  • Twitter (yes, it still works)
  • Snapchat (people won’t remember your inanity)
  • Pinterest (amazing what people search on)
  • Medium (borrowed reach)
  • Slideshare (an underused platform)
  • Commenting (presence)
  • Guest posting (seriously borrowed reach)
  • Recommendations and referrals (ask for them)
  • Awards (third party endorsement)
  • Buffer (efficiency)
  • Buzzsumo (more efficiency)
  • Word of mouth (yup, that old thing works too)

Margo: The Art Of Her Branding Is In The Execution – Not Just The Tools

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 9.00.10 AMAll of these tools are nice. But, as is always the case, the devil is in the details. Here are the details of a personal brand I found (actually it found me) yesterday.

I have some bad habits. Instead of waking up and immediately studying Spanish (I now live in Mexico), I turn on my iPad and read my business email. So there I am in my bed (too much info?) with my iPad and I see an email from Medium that points me to… “How The Best Marketers Read Minds. How to hear the unspoken stories your customers tell themselves.” I read it. It’s an excellent take on marketing and messaging. It is very current. You should read it.

I then go, “Huh, who wrote this?” I click on Margo Aaron’s byline, I see this: “I write about the dubious underbelly of marketing and other lighthearted topics at www.thatseemsimportant.com.” I like the name of the website. I like the idea of reading about the “dubious underbelly.” I like Margo’s attitude.

I then go to Margo’s That Seems Important website. I find the following:

She points out that she is a ginger and is cute (my interpretation.) Just to be clear, I would have also thought that if it had been a cute guy like Domhnall Gleeson.

She has a sense of humor: The top of the home page visual says, They say if I have a photo here it will increase my conversion rates.” Take that SEO / SEM folks.

She asks me to join her email list via this, “Please join this list so it’s not just my mom.” More humor.

I go to the About page and read her bio. Nice track.

Then I take her up on this… “If you’d like to “pick my brain” you can do so here.” Of course, I go. “Pick my brain” kinda reminds me of my Corleone Offer.

I arrive at a Clarity page where I can buy her time for $4.17 / minute. I see a couple of reviews like this…

Margo is a rock star. I gained more insights from a one-hour conversation with her than I would have in weeks of fumbling around with the marketing for my coaching service.

She has a rare acumen for asking the right questions to understand you and your offer and then translating that into a captivating marketing strategy.

The value I received from the call far exceeds her rate. If she’s amenable to helping you, don’t hesitate to work with her.

I think, sure I’ll call her.

My Point? Margo Seriously Branded Herself.


Marketing  – Margo introduced me to her via a broad reach vehicle – Medium. Somehow she got Medium to get her into my email.

Persona – Her branding delivered a smart, funny persona. Not a me-to list of attributes. She is likeable.

Smart  – She writes very well on subject that should be of interest to you.

Sales funnel – She funneled me to her bio.

Sold  – She further funneled me to her advice site.

Margot did all of this in a way I call – Unignorable.


ask_garyvee_template_Podcast_copy-1You can do this too. This is particularly important if you run an ad agency. Here’s an example…

Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary has done a masterful job of self-branding. I am sure you know his story. From wine shop to YouTube star to building the fastest growing ad agency in the universe (Gary’s words thought.)

His secret… He used marketing; a unique compelling persona; he’s smart and makes damn sure you know it; he funnels you into his books and speeches and if you are a client, into his agency. He is not timid. He has sold you. His brand sold you.

Does your brand sell your agency?



3 Ad Agency Websites That Work

Inspiration: 3 Ad Agency Websites That Work

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.35.20 PMYes, another post on ad agency websites. This time I am writing about three very different approaches. All work. How do I know this? These agency sites deliver via unique approaches at a time when many agency websites act more like a ‘me-too’ non-sales oriented brochure. To start, here are some of my key website success points.

You will only get 8 seconds of a prospect’s attention. So, state your reason for being — fast.

That means, KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid.

Walk your talk.

Help me to want to meet you.

Try to look and sound different. The sameness of agency website messaging, look and attitude is distressing.

Your website is a sales tool. Worth repeating. It is a sales tool.

Use video to tell your story.

If you dig social, then deliver some highly targeted thought leadership. Provide more substance than a ‘me-too’ agency blog.

Entice a prospect to contact you. Friendly sales works.

The 3 Agency Websites.

1. HawkSEM


Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 2.50.46 PMHawkSEM is a digital / PPC marketing specialist based in L.A.

Here is why I dig the HawkSEM website.

  • Slavish devotion to the agency’s Results / ROI positioning. That means their messaging supports their stance. As in: “No BS, just Results. Average Clients see a 4.5x ROI”
  • The positioning is client focussed.
  • Massive use of videos. Mucho people to watch on this site.
  • Sexy client list plus relevent cases plus video testimonials.
  • Very serious Google endorsement.
  • They ask for the order via simple offer… “Request a free consultation.” Not just the usual, all too usual, “Contact Us.”

This approach makes them successful.

2. Wise Branding Group

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 3.43.06 PMI’d never heard of Betsey Wise until I read her right-on quote in Ad Age’s “Agency Nostalgia Hits SXSW.” See what I mean (as in, this must be the dream of every employee working at WPP or Publicis):

“And this is what’s wrong with the agency model,” said Betsy Wise, CCO of her own branding group. “Too many people in a meeting, and not enough getting done.”

Ms. Wise was just joking about the room too full for her to even enter, but she was also kind of serious. She was there to talk about what agency workers can do to overcome the waning influence of their industry. She used to be in it, until she started her own company, and now sets her own hours.

“I’m working 30 hours a week, and I’ve easily doubled my salary, maybe tripled,” Ms. Wise said.”

Here is why I dig the Wise Branding Group website:

  • Super clean design.
  • The site’s navigation elements are the graphics / the graphics are the navigation.
  • Who We Are. / What We Do. / What We Believe? / Who We Serve / What We Are Up To.  Is kinda all you really need to know.
  • I like the copy and its tone.

More? Could Wise add more stuff? Sure and it might help. Or, um, distract.

3. Joan.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.13.11 PMMore women. I am only saying this because Joan. celebrates women. Especially women named Joan. Need rationale?

“Throughout history, various Joans have shown up on the scene and completely changed the landscape — from rock and roll, to comedy, to helping put a new face on the protest movement of the 60s, and of course, to our favorite Joan, who triumphed on the French battlefields. These Joans knew that the combination of talent, ambition, curiosity, imagination, an eternal work ethic and a completely irregular perspective from the norm would allow them to question, challenge and change.

We take inspiration from these incredible women. And we hope to do some good in their name.”

Here is why I dig the Joan. website:

  • The name is intriguing.
  • The founders are named Lisa and Jaime.
  • Interesting, non-standard-resumes: What happens when one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and Refinery29’s former COO start an agency?” And leadership positions at Widen + Kennedy and Pereira & O’Dell and Ogilvy and Mather, Saatchi and Saatchi, BBH NY and Fallon.
  • Sweet, diverse client list that includes: General Mills, Unilever, Jack Daniels, Coca-Cola, and Intel.
  • Joan. walks the talk. They are establishing: “The Joan Foundation for Diversity in Advertising.”

Ok, I admit it. Much of what I dig is Joans.’s straight forward approach to all of the reasons I’d give them a call. The site is tight.