I know more about the art and science of ad agency business development than any other human. My programs deliver a very detailed strategic plan sandwiched between efficient branding and messaging programs that are designed to make your agency unignorable. Talk to me.
Me In 20 Seconds
During 16 years at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide I ran business development across Europe and the USA, was EVP Management Director in London and New York and was GM of the Minneapolis office.
From 2002 to 2012, I owned Citrus Advertising in Portland and Bend Oregon.
I was CEO and a founder of two major Internet startups during the dotcom boom. Advance Publication’s New Jersey Online was an early leader in online news, and the intelligent bot company ActiveBuddy was sold to Microsoft in 2006.
I am a New York native. I now live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Me In 2 Minutes
I went to the San Francisco Art Institute to study photography. That led to SF’s Levitan & Feinstein Photography. Our clients included San Francisco Magazine, Robert Mondavi Winery, Sonus, and Visa.
I joined New York’s largest Mad Men agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample Advertising in 1980. DFS had golden clients that included P&G, Nabisco, General Mills, Hanes, Wrangler, Toyota and HP. One of my clients invented email.
Saatchi & Saatchi bought DFS in 1986 while I was running the Minneapolis office and the global Northwest Airlines account. I started to buy English suits. I won EFFIES that delivered sales from content marketing. This was content before we called it content.
I moved to Saatchi’s London office in the 90s as European Director, business development director, and managed Johnson & Johnson and other accounts across Europe. I bought more English suits.
I discovered early-stage digital marketing when I returned to New York in 1995. After AOL’s President Ted Leonsis told to me to “get the fuck out of advertising”, his exact words, I left the agency to invent the online newspaper industry for the third largest newspaper group and Conde Nast. The Newspaper Association of America named me its New Media Pioneer.
In 2000, I founded the startup ActiveBuddy, raised $30 million, lead the world of natural language bots. Our SmarterChild bot had over a trillion Instant Messenger conversations across AOL, MSFT and Yahoo. Microsoft bought the technology in 2006.
I moved to Bend and Portland Oregon in 2002 and bought the ad agency Citrus. Our clients included Nike College and MLB AOR programs; multiple banks; healthcare accounts including the five-state Providence: hospitality accounts including Harrah’s Casinos; the Montana Lottery; Seaswirl Boats and Legalzoom. We delivered national and uber local advertising.
I sold Citrus in 2014. I’ve bought and sold three agencies. I know the art of buying and selling agencies.
I have spoken at the 4A’s, the ANA, Newspaper Association of America, Radio Advertising Bureau, international and regional advertising orgs, and recently at marketing universities across India.
What I am Doing Now
I counsel and coach advertising, digital, and PR agencies across the globe on how to build kick-ass business development programs.
I wrote The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches. I have over 800 blog posts on business development. Over 2,000,000 views.
I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s coolest city, in 2016.