Yes, Your Advertising Agency Business Development Director Might Be Doomed. A 2020 Update.
Some updated thinking. I am asked on a high-frequency basis by agency management, that means CEO types, if their advertising agency should have a business development director. Because of this question, I thought I’d update this evergreen interview with Brooks Gilley who knows what’s up.
My current thinking based on talking with many agencies is that, at best, only 50% of advertising agency business development directors succeed. I am about to do some haranguing. Why?
- As is pointed out below, most advertising agencies have a low to a non-competitive brand position. The degree of positioning sameness – “we are a digital agency” or “we are creative thinkers” – and messaging sameness – as in no soul or a distinctive opinion or having the goal of being unignorable – is crazy. How could even a competent business director sell the 50% of agencies that cannot define a strong sales proposition? Or not have a well-considered target market?
- A huge chunk of agencies (it has been reported that up to 75% of agencies) do not have a master business development plan, think of it as a sales plan. How is this possible? And, worse, who is supposed to write the plan? I do not think that a business development director alone can write this plan. It should be an agency self-preservation and growth project.
- Many advertising agency leaders have little experience in writing a sales manager compensation plan. Here is a compensation plan you can use.
- Too many agency leaders hand off the role of business development to the director. I owned my own agency and I devoted at least half of my time to business development. And, I provided daily support and thinking and budget.
Give me a shout if you want to discuss your agency and its specifics.
Back To The Interview About The Doomed Business Development Director.
To quote the Beach Boys… Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Yes, wouldn’t it be nice to have a business development director that brought in more business for your advertising agency than you can handle? But is your business development director doomed from the start?
She or he could be if you do not have agency objectives, a competitive agency brand positioning, something to sell beyond, “Hey we are a full-service/digital/social media agency”. Or, not having a list of clients and categories you want to nail; an active up-to-date CRM system or you are now in a state of panic because you just lost your largest client.
I know that this is a tough job to fill and do. I managed my agency’s business development director at my own ad agency; for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in New York and London and as CEO at two Internet start-ups. I have hired ten business development directors over the past twenty years. Some worked out and some, well, not so well. Again, this is one of, if not the toughest, agency jobs to position for success.
But, don’t take my word for it. Before you read on for an expert interview, you might also want to go to my blog post on how to pay an agency business development director.
An Expert Interview With Brooks Gilley On How To Hire A Business Development Director.
Brooks Gilley is the Founder and CEO of Portland’s 52 Limited. 52 LTD is a 15-year-old creative resource company that connects world-class talent with leading brands, marketing departments, design firms, advertising and digital agencies.
In addition to running one of the west coast’s leading creative talent agencies, Brooks ran the Portland Advertising Federation and worked at advertising agencies.
Peter: According to the RSW/US 2014 RSW/US Agency-Marketer Business Report, the tenure of agency business development directors was two years or less. ADWEEK reports that people in this position at large agencies last less than one year. Is this surprising to you?
Brooks: It’s not surprising at all, largely for the fact that agencies I have worked with on business development director searches come to us in a moment of panic, and that’s usually where the ask starts. It’s a role that is needed now but was probably needed at least twelve months before new business gains became an issue. Additionally, it’s not necessarily a strategic role that is esteemed at and supported within a ‘creative’ organization. [Read more…] about Is Your Advertising Agency Business Development Director Doomed?
A nice thing for me… Feedspot has already recognized Advertising Stories as being a top 15 advertising podcast.
Do Not Forget To Subscribe to Advertising Stories Whenever you Listen To Podcasts. Please Tell Your Advertising Friends To Put Advertising Stories between their ears. I LOVE word of mouth.
Does The World Need A New Advertising Agency Podcast?
The big question… Should an advertising agency create and publish a podcast – now, in 2020? Read this before you launch your new advertising agency podcast. I’ll try to get to the heart of the decision – using me as an example. Here are my first eleven episodes. I did these in a bit more than three weeks.
Check out my Advertising Stories podcast list.
Back To 2006.
My first podcast series was launched in 2006. I was a bit early. Ya think? But, the podcast did support my advertising agency’s brand and helped us to market the agency. After all, it showed the world of prospective clients that we were ahead of the curve.
The podcast was The 360 View, the agency, at that time, Ralston360 (‘360’ = very 2006). I interviewed a range of people including an AOL exec; Rob Walsh the podcasting genius from Podcast 411 (now of Libsyn); a Saatchi & Saatchi president; a major agency search consultant and an ADWEEK editor on what was coming in digital marketing. I also included me just talking about marketing. The show was professionally produced. I’ll be adding a couple of the old audio shows to my new series. Nice to take a look back to what people were thinking in 2006.
Oh, I added the copy from a 2006 show on podcasting, the white paper version, at the bottom of this blog post. I admit it, a good history lesson.
Another podcast history lesson is for you to listen to my two 2006 interviews with podcasting world leader Rob Walch – now of the major podcasting publisher Libsyn. These interviews are informative and have insights that are relevant 24 years later.
My New Podcast – Advertising Stories
Advertising Stories, my new podcast series launched three weeks ago. Go here to see what Advertising Stories will be talking about.
It is 2020 @home-style… No more “professional” production as I am recording myself by myself from my home office in my Mexican house. I am currently getting listed on all of the podcasting platforms (that takes up to two weeks) and I am recording a bunch of early series episodes so I launch with some bulk.
More on what it is and the launch later. However, my personal activity does bring up the question:
Should advertising agencies podcast? Which brings me to this…
Should An Advertising Agency Podcast?
OK, I admit it, there is no totally instant social media content. But, there is fast. In fact, fast and good. In fact, there really is fast + good + cheap. Which, as you might suspect, will make a brand and any advertising agency very happy.
I have used a few different methods to accelerate the generation of my more than 700 blog posts. Try a few of these on for size.
I am going to write about TikTok in detail in the very near future. TikTok which, given its size and growth, is the most underutilized advertising agency business development social media platform. Hmmm. Why?
Here is what I think. Some possible agency excuses not to use TikTok…
- TikTok is too young.
- Too international.
- Too new. As in, why should I bother? Um, remember when you didn’t use Instagram?
- None of my clients have asked about it.
- Worse… I do not have a TikTok account.
Interviewing an expert, or even a consumer in your client’s or client industry or target market can take as few as 5 minutes up to say 45. A 45-minute interview will deliver approximately 8,000 words that you could cut up into 4 2,000 word blog entries or whatever you like to do with social media content, ur, I mean highly valuable insights. My book on presenting and pitching has multi interviews that I also amplified into blog posts. You bought the book so you’ve read those interviews and will now win more pitches – right?
I was recently interviewed for the Working Without Pants podcast. After Selling Your Agency, was published, I sent it to Rev.com and now have an 8,000-word transcript I will soon edit down into bite-sized blog posts. One will be a foundational blog post on how and why to sell your agency.
Easy… just turn on your webcam (or iPhone) and talk. I mean, you are an advertising agency, right? You can do this and start to own some SEO juice on YouTube. Less easy, but easy enough ideas: Go on the street and do some interviews (social distance yourself, please) or do a webcam interview with a genius (remember you can turn that into copy via an audio transcription company like REV.com.)
Rip Off A Podcast
Here’s a post I created by responding to the Adage interview with Lindsay Slaby. I took the interview, sent it to rev.com for transcription, and commented on what Lindsay was saying. Easy, smart, and brilliant. All around. Here is the blog post that was created by borrowing some content from Ad Age, Ad Age Small Agency Conference Podcast.
Do Your Own Podcast
I have a new Advertising Stories podcast. I interview people. They talk to me. I, well do not steal, but I do get lots of smarts out of their mouths. Plus, the entire process is essentially free.