Winning New Agency Business From Harrah’s. One iTunes Gift Card At A Time.

“Wait a minute, who are you guys?”

That was the question we got from Harrah’s Las Vegas after they received our iTunes gift card. We told them who we were, thanked them again for their help and a relationship was born. Here’s how we got there.

A couple of years ago, we decided that our Portland ad agency Citrus needed a more distinctive  brand positioning. As I suspect you know, finding a new brand position for an advertising agency, especially a “full-service” agency like ours, isn’t easy. While full-service is a highly relevant service offer that many clients seek, it isn’t a particularly distinctive sales proposition in a world with thousands of similar ad agencies. The fact is, full-service sounds rather platitudinous.

To refresh our brand we initiated a strategic branding process. We employed the account panning skills of Lynette Xanders, one of the Northwest’s best strategists, to help us gain a better understanding of the agency’s existing positioning, insights into how our staff perceived the current and future agency, an examination of relevant industry shifts and a deeper view of our dreams. We added in a competitive review and our perspective on what clients need and want from an agency.

Next step was to create an online survey to show the set of alternative positioning statements to marketing decision makers. We wanted to get past our own internal navel-gazing.

We took the branding exercise and added a new business spin.

We used our new business database to select a list of A-level client prospects and used the positioning research as an introduction to Citrus. The program had 6 low-cost elements.

  1. A list of 5 positioning statements.The addition of an agency research section to our website. This helped us to drive the responders to our larger story.
  2. A Survey Monkey online survey.
  3. An email list compiled from our The List Inc. database.
  4. Three-stage email outreach.The offer of winning a $50 iTunes gift card to add an incentive.
  5. The prospect group’s response rate was surprisingly high at about 30%. Sometimes if you ask nicely people will want to respond.

Winning Harrah’s

One of the respondents was a corporate marketing manager at Harrah’s (now Caesars Entertainment.) After the manager answered the survey we sent her a nice note and gift card. Her response was, “Wait a minute. Who are you guys?”

This question led to more emails, phone calls and a trip to Las Vegas. The meeting resulted in our working on Harrah’s national Las Vegas Meeting’s By Harrah’s program that sells thousands of room nights per year for Harrah’s 8 Las Vegas casinos. Our work included a new website, a direct marketing program and a print advertising campaign.

This was a rather decent result from sending out a couple of emails, asking for some help and the delivery of an iTunes gift card.

Oh, in addition to a new client, our research also netted a new agency brand positioning.

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