Getting It Right
Here’s a look at some agencies that get their business development marketing right care of a request from Todd Foutz of Virgina’s NDP agency.He asked me if I could point to advertising agencies that looked like they had their business development act together. This post attempts to answer Todd’s question via some smart examples and asks you… “Does your ad agency get its marketing right?”
I told Todd that I could take a good look at and report on what is visible to the world, but could not comment on marketing that is not visible – read that as being 1:1 agency to client prospect direct marketing.
A quick bit of biz dev history.
When I returned from Saatchi & Saatchi London to New York, I was tasked with running business development across our North American offices. Early on, I happened to meet with Jon Bond of the hot agency Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. KB had some small accounts like BMW, Citi and Victoria’s Secret. I asked him what the agency did for new business marketing. He said, “I never know what works so, we do everything.” I got it. But, that was in 1994 before time chewing digital marketing and its tracking capabilities. Today’s advertising agency cannot do everything. There is simply too much everything. So, I’ll lead with one point: focus. Work on doing just one or two marketing programs right. If they don’t work (after you’ve given them time), adjust or move on.
As you might expect, I cannot see agency to client direct communications (except for what my clients do and I’ll keep that confidential). It is unfortunate that I can’t see what everyone is doing since direct contact should be a key element of any agency’s outbound marketing and it would be very cool to be able to have a look.
That said, this is what I do know:
I’ve discussed that there are three primary ways that agencies drive leads. These include the all-mighty referral (an unmanaged default for way too many agencies), inbound searches (i.e. SEO and content marketing) and via direct outbound.
Outbound, which used to be called sales (OK, still is), has been revved up in recent years via the “new” idea of Account-Based Marketing. This means that an agency utilizes a very strategic managed approach to capture the attention of a prospective client.
Most agencies do direct outreach (possibly too much, too often or much worse, very poorly done). As I am sure you know, there is a great deal of client marketing research that supports the fact that all sorts of agencies hammer prospective clients all day long. It is a barrage that makes it difficult for most agencies to get noticed. To this point, Atlanta’s digital agency Cardinal has a very smart / strategic video on their website where they show one of their clients talking about how many times they get hit up by Cardinal’s competitive agencies – and are not interested in switching.
So, to hammer my point… outbound marketing is critical to agency success. However, poorly delivered outbound does not work, full stop. Super compelling well-targeted insights will break through the clutter to get the attention of the clients you want.
Good news for agencies: most of their agency competitors do not have a clue about how to look and sound trully attractive.
Bad news: these unattractive agencies that hammer clients without any productive, interesting sales pitch or all-important relevant insights help ruin communications for the agencies that actually have their marketing shit together.
Some Agency Biz Dev Research Read More