The 10 Most Important Ad Agency New Business Actions

10Here are the 10 most important actions that an ad agency must do to build a killer new business program:



  1. Have a business development plan. The plan could be a one-pager but it must include objectives, target criteria for categories and individual clients, strategies and actions.
  2. Treat your agency’s new business program like a client job. Have timetables, crystal clear internal staff assignments and responsibilities. A business development calendar with deadlines will help with planning and implementation.
  3. Put a senior manager in charge. Give this person the time to do the job. Consider a way to get past the billable hours issue. This job is too important to the health of your P&L.
  4. Think really hard about how to use and manage the power of social media for inbound marketing. The key here is to have a sub-plan for your social media efforts. This is how I rank the value of social media on a need to have basis: search engine optimized blog posts (and agency website copy), then Twitter and LinkedIn (both tied to broadcast your blogs), YouTube, Pinterest, SlideShare and then Facebook.
  5. Build a client prospect database (Excel works. Salesforce works even better — if someone has been assigned to manage it) and, most importantly, track all in and outbound marketing activities. Data is good.
  6. Be consistant. Don’t wait until you lose business to ramp up your new business program. Here is a guarantee – you will eventually lose business so keep filling the pipeline.
  7. Hold periodic status meetings. But, not too many.
  8. Track all activities. Data and analytics are your best friend. Do what works over and over. Kill what dosen’t.
  9. Make sure your CEO is involved. Hungry CEO’s are a very good thing. In my experience, No CEO attention = No ACTIVE business development program.
  10. Stay hungry. Be audacious. Kick ass. This is your chance to look and sound different from the other 3,999 advertising agencies and to drive awareness of a unique door opening message. Need some idea stimulation? Take a look at how London’s Joint uses humor to drive home the idea that they have a few open client categories.

If you need some help  developing your program, building your lists or managing your process give me a call.

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