How Digital Agencies Find (and Keep) Clients
I 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.