By Category: New Business and Social Media

» Marketing to Millennials: New Research To Help New Business

by Todd Knutson  |   published on June 02, 2011

millennialsThe 18-30 year old Millennial market is one of the most sought after by marketers and their ad agencies. Read on about an upcoming conference to help you get smart.

Millennials create their own messages and talk on their own channels. They decide what to buy based on snarky twitter posts, excitable blogger reviews, aggressive customer ratings, capricious likes and dislikes. They communicate on a network nobody owns.

I'm particularly intrigued by the potential insights from the report that will be available to all registrants. It's based on a study group of 4,000 millennials and 1,000 of their parents, which was conducted by Boston Consulting Group, Service Management Group and Barkley. It's titled, “American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation."

If you're a new business director, account exec, demographic researcher, in agency leadership, or a brand marketer, this conference holds the potential for you to significantly ramp up your knowledge about this large and influential demographic group.

The conference will be held in San Francisco in September. For more information, the website is ShareLikeBuy.


Full disclosure: Our company, The List, was approached to help promote the conference, but we have no financial stake in it's success.


» Boomers and Social Media; Impact on Ad Agency New Business

Research from Center for the Digital Future
by Todd Knutson  |   published on May 23, 2011

BoomerWhat's the best way to reach your ad agency's new business prospects? It may depend on how old they are.

New research from the Center for the Digital Future at USC's Annenburg School, was presented by Jeffrey Cole, Director, at the recent 4As Transformations conference.

Cole broke Boomers down into two groups: late boomers are those 47-56 years old; classic boomers are now 57-65 years old. The former are most likely of interest to new business people targeting the most-senior marketing executives (naturally, depending on their age).

Key points about late boomers

  • Boomers are the first generation to take digital with them into older age.
  • They are the heaviest users of social - to stay in touch, to learn, and to get help.
  • They are less interested in hanging out their business shingle on social networking sites.
  • They care greatly about the source of the information they receive.
  • They are the heaviest readers of newspapers (online and paper).
  • They use email the most, texting and IMing much less.

Impact on new business prospecting
Consider the following tactics:

  • Use agency PR to build relevance and to get your name in print - in newspapers your prospects are likely to read.
  • Use email to build your agency's brand recognition, with links to microsites that contain testimonials and case studies. You might consider services like Marketing Mine, Agency ComPile, or Adforum to help with this.
  • Focus on referrals. Build your agency's "friends and family" program to make it as impactful as possible to the widest possible audience.
  • If your prospect happens to maintain a profile on a social networking site like LinkedIn (despite the research saying they care less about this), have someone who knows you provide an introduction.


» How Many of Your Ads Give You Goosebumps?

by Todd Knutson  |   published on May 10, 2011

Occasionally you see an ad that gives you goosebumps. This is one of them, from Ogilvy Asia. As we're all getting older, it's inspiring to dream - and better yet - to act on them.

And, of course, to benefit from the new business that can come from a viral video on YouTube.




» The 90-9-1 Rule for Ad Agency Social Media

Impact on new business?
by Todd Knutson  |   published on October 05, 2010

"If you spend any time at all talking about online communities, you’re bound to stumble across the 90-9-1 Principle," says Jake McKee. "The idea is simple: In social groups, some people actively participate more than others." The question is, how can you leverage this for your ad agency's blog and new business program?

Here's the diagram that explains the principle:


Jake goes on to say that,

"It’s typically not possible to change the distribution in significant ways, as the more people added into one group directly drives the growth of the other two groups, maintaining something close to a 90-9-1 split."

Participation tends to follow this rule, where:

  • 90% are the “audience”. They tend to read or observe, but don’t actively contribute.
  • 9% are “editors”, sometimes modifying content or adding to an existing thread, but rarely create content from scratch.
  • 1% are “creators”, driving large amounts of the social group’s activity. More often than not, these people are driving a vast percentage of the site’s new content, threads, and activity.

How might this principle impact your new business efforts? Here are three ideas:

  1. If you have an agency blog, recognize that the vast majority of your readers will be the "audience", so don't expect higher participation from them than you're likely to get. In other words, set realistic expectations.
  2. The larger your blog's audience, the more creators and editors will join the conversation. So, work at increasing the size of your blog's email newsletter list to attract more readers.
  3. Leverage the power of Twitter and Facebook to expand the conversation. Michael Gass is a great resource to learn how to do this.

How else might you use this principle to your advantage?


» Marketing to Millennials

Intelligence Report
by Todd Knutson  |   published on September 09, 2010

marketing to millennialsI recently read the just-released Intelligence Report from DailyVista, "Marketing to Millennials", which gets inside the minds of the Millennial market. It provides revealing facts and figures as well as suggestions on how companies and brands can effectively reach this high-value demographic group.

The report features interviews with marketing execs from companies such as Innovative Beverage, State Farm, and, Millennial expert Carol Phillips, as well as a few real-life Millennials.

Says DailyVista's Managing Editor Stephanie Jacoby,

Compared to our last report – an overview of Web 3.0 and how it can be used to market effectively – this white paper goes even further, digging deeper for more information about a very complex consumer group. Millennials are an important aspect of today’s marketing trends, especially given their extensive buying power and influence on other end users, both young and old.

If your ad agency has expertise marketing to this demographic group and your new business efforts target companies who want to better tap it, this is a report to check out.

[Full disclosure: DailyVista is a division of my company, The List.]



» You Can Do More Than You Think You Can - In Ad Agency New Business and In Life

by Todd Knutson  |   published on September 03, 2010

Motivational...periodI received a link to a You Tube video in a blog post the other morning. While I rarely watch videos at work, something in this caught my eye and I did. That evening my 14-year old son, who's playing in a soccer tournament this weekend, mentioned that his team was pretty good, but were definitely going to lose this weekend. Off to You Tube we went. Soon he was watching this short video. It's often hard to get a lot of words out of a teenage boy, and this was no exception. However, I could tell this made as much of an impact on him as it did on me.

This following was written by Todd Miechiels (click here to view the original post):

More times than I like to admit, I limit myself with glass ceilings and false beliefs about what I am capable of doing. It bleeds over into my professional life as a marketer, both strategically, and from an execution point of view. When I think of myself, I'm never at my best. When I focus on the success of others and look up, is when I'm humbled and pleasantly surprised with what can be accomplished.This clip from the movie Facing the Giants, is a great example and reminder of what we can accomplish when we put our trust in others who want what's best for us. It's also a great lesson that often times the thing that is holding us back is a false belief.

Whether you are an executive or a coordinator, ask yourself, "What are the false beliefs that are holding us back as individuals and organizationally?" What's the "death crawl" that your team needs to suffer through to emerge victorious and stronger as a company and as a person?



» Jump Start Your Ad Agency Blog Using Email

Quality and Reach
by Todd Knutson  |   published on July 28, 2010

email iconIf your ad agency has or is considering writing a blog, deciding how to spread the word to acquire readers is important: If relevant corporate marketers aren't reading it, the time you invest in writing may be in vain.

Common ways to promote your blog include:

  • Email marketing
  • Twitter
  • Links from your website

This post is a guide to using email as a blog promotional tool.

Your most important decision is choosing between using an internal email list or purchasing a list. There are pros and cons of each:

Your list - pros

  • You own it.
  • It's free.
  • It has your clients and some prospects on it.

Your list - cons

  • It may be out of date.
  • It may not include all the prospects you should be pursing.
  • It may be too small (you need at least 1500 good names to kick-start your blog, and more will get you there faster.

External list - pros

  • It's the most effective way to increase the size of your list.
  • The right list will allow you to reach the corporate marketers that exactly fit your prospect profile: by the geography, industries, titles, company size(s), and media spend that are appropriate for your agency.
  • The right list will be high-quality (i.e. clean), with a low (5%) bounce rate.
  • Certain list companies will completely update their email list multiple times per year, and/or will offer to correct or replace emails that bounce.

External list - cons

  • There are few, if any, opt-in lists for corporate marketers.
  • You'll get what you pay for: low price usually equates to not being able to effectively target as described above, or you'll experience a high bounce rate.

The opt-in question is tricky: to my knowledge, highly targeted, opt-in lists of relevant corporate marketers just aren't available. Our clients tell us they've purchased opt-in lists from many different list companies - and they're universally terrible. We've tried them internally and experienced the same result. I think the reason is fairly simple: the corporate marketers you want to reach just don't opt-in very often. However, that doesn't mean they aren't interested in relevant content.

Your next decision is to choose an email provider. I recommend you look for one with as many of the following features as you can get:

  • Overall ease to use.
  • Easily manages opt-out requests and out-of office replies.
  • Tracks soft and hard bounces, and opens.
  • Creates browser-friendly, text-friendly, and HTML-friendly formats.
  • Allows you to test different subject lines to see which ones work the best, with follow-up emails going to non-opens of the first message.
  • Allows you to easily manage scheduling: days, times, time zones for each send.
  • Easy, one-click analytics / reports so you can effectively measure your performance over time.
  • List management features like merge, purge, drip marketing, etc.
  • CAN-SPAM compliant.
  • Telephone support - if you need it.
  • Integration with your CRM system.

Promoting your blog well makes the effort it takes to write all the more worthwhile, and email is a great way to do so.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.


» Save Time and $ Using Jigsaw-like Services for Ad Agency New Business?

Look before you leap, and measure carefully
by Todd Knutson  |   published on July 07, 2010

jigsawIt's really tempting for an ad agency new business person to look at inexpensive data sources (call them "Jigsaw-like") and get enticed by their low-price business models.

We get asked about services like this all the time, so I thought it might be helpful to provide a framework to review them.

Of utmost importance: Accuracy. These services usually claim an accuracy rate of around 75%. Taking this number at face value, they're admitting that 25% of the data is wrong.

Now, the reality of measuring accuracy. Unless these services are actually cleaning their data themselves, they really have no idea how clean it is. The questions to ask yourself are, "Am I okay knowing that one out of every four contacts I get is inaccurate?" And, "Am I okay wasting 25% of my time?"

When you're purchasing data from a service that relies on users to keep it clean, be cautious about data accuracy claims.

Why does this matter? When you think of accuracy, think of this formula: accuracy = time savings. The more accurate your data provider's information, the faster you'll reach your intended decision-makers. The less accurate it is, the more time you'll spend researching, trying to find your intended prospect.

With this in mind, here are some Pros and Cons of "Jigsaw-like" services:


  • Wide variety of contacts
  • Inexpensive
  • Exchange out-of-date contacts with another
  • No long-term contract


  • No industry focus - you'll sort through lots of companies and titles to find good prospects
  • Inaccuracy
  • No research support
  • Highly competitive - millions of people are going after the same people
  • Value of your time - if you have a minimal amount of time to spend prospecting, how quickly you can get to decision-makers is critical

The best way to evaluate various data sources is to do some measurements. For example:

  • Out of 100 contacts, how many are incorrect information? More than 10 incorrect data points and you're dealing with inaccurate information.
  • How long does it take you to find the contact you're looking for? How does this compare to your current data provider?
  • Once you have your desired contact, do you have the (correct) email, direct dial, address? If not (or it's incorrect), how long does it take you to get this information? Does your current information provider have it? Is it accurate?
  • What's the value of your time? Calculate it as follows: (annual salary+bonus)x1.3 / 2080. This will show what it costs your agency to employ you, and takes into account taxes and benefits. If you apply this rate to the time it takes you to do what you've identified above, and extrapolate it annually, you'll have a true measurement of what your data really costs.

With this information in hand, you'll be able to decide whether a "Jigsaw-like" service is right for your agency.


» Is Crowdsourcing a Threat to Ad Agencies?

Interview with Victors and Spoils' John Winsor
by Todd Knutson  |   published on March 25, 2010

crowdsourcingBrent Hodgins of Mirren recently interviewed John Winsor of Victors and Spoils, which calls itself the "The world's first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles." John is a serial entrepreneur: Victor and Spoils is the fourth company he's started and the eighth he's invested in. He most recently worked in a very senior position at Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Denver.

What is Crowdsourcing? John defines it as:

The act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and giving them to a group of people or community, through an "open call” asking for contributions. Hence, provide all of the services that a traditional agency does, from brand strategy to creating TV spots and branded digital tools.

How is it used? Does it work?

John cites two examples of crowdsourcing advertising from this year's Superbowl:

  • "Doritos and Career Builder both outsourced their ads from a crowd of consumers", cutting agencies out of the process.
  • Google in-sourced their ad from their employees.
  • The Doritos and Google ads were rated among the highest.

Victors and Spoils is applying crowdsouring to the way they work:

We feel like an ad agency. But we work like a crowdsourcing platform. At the core of our agency is our creative department. A creative department made of everyone from art directors and copywriters to strategists and producers who come together to solve strategic problems. A global digital community that will not only be rewarded for the solutions they develop (both individually and as a group) but also for participating in the community itself.

Why create an agency like this, and why now? In John's words:

  • The business of marketing and advertising is in the midst of a massive cultural shift.
  • While crowdsourcing is certainly the buzzword of the moment, there’s actually a much bigger and deeper change going on with the way work gets done that is changing not only marketing but many other industries.

He continues...To me, there are three disruptive forces [at work]:

  1. The expectation of transparency;
  2. The further digitization of the workforce; and,
  3. The rise of the curator class.

John believes that:

Companies need an alternative to both current ad agencies as well as current crowdsourcing platforms. One that offers the strategic direction, engagement and relationship management that agencies deliver today, but one that also delivers the engagement, cultural relevance, results, and return on investment that crowdsourcing (if managed and directed well) can deliver.

John will be providing his insights on Crowdsourcing at the Mirren New Business Conference 2010. I've attended the conference since its inception and recommend it. If you plan to go and haven't registered yet, you'll receive a discount if you use this code: LIST2010. [Neither I nor The List have any financial interest in the conference.]

» What’s Working in Agency PR to Generate New Business?

Guest Post
by Todd Knutson  |   published on October 27, 2009

NorthenJanet Northen is Partner and EVP Director of Agency Communications at McKinney. She's been in agency PR for many years, including significant stints and Fallon and The Martin Agency. When I think of agency public relations and how to do it right, I think of Janet. She graciously accepted my invitation to write a guest post on its state of affairs.

First, I'm happy to say agency PR is working.

It’s been a tough ride for agencies large and small and while agencies might look at this area as a place to decrease resources, most agencies are keeping their agency communications pros in place. Staff size may be smaller and budgets for travel tightened but the overall need to keep your brand top of mind is just as important as it ever was.

What’s been the impact of social media?

It’s one more very powerful way to help tell your agency’s story. At McKinney, we’re always working to reinvent the conversation to build more powerful connections between people and brands. So I keep that top of mind when I do any outreach on behalf of the McKinney brand. For me, it’s a real balance of traditional and non-traditional methods

Let me tell you a story. I was at a recent industry event. A reporter I’ve known a long time said it must be hard for agency PR folks like me. I asked him what he meant. He said with newsrooms shrinking, there are fewer and fewer folks to pitch. I just about dropped my obligatory glass of chardonnay. What rock is he living under? 

Just that day, I had reached out to a wide array of journalists and bloggers with several different ideas for adding to the conversation. I had encouraged one or two of our agency’s bloggers to blog about same idea on our agency’s blog. I checked to make sure work was going to be uploaded to YouTube. And scheduled pending news story for our agency web site news feed. And that’s just one idea for one conversation we were hoping to join or even create.

Now one more note. For fear that that reporter or anybody else thinks I sit in my office and “check the boxes” to make sure I’ve dumped our stuff in all the social media buckets, that’s wrong thinking. I make sure there’s a strategy for using social media in the first place. Maybe it’s right. Maybe not.

Are you worried about the decline in traditional print media?

I hate to say it: I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the decline in print media. Instead, I am reading, viewing, listening and experiencing every kind of media out there to determine how McKinney can add to the conversation. Of course, if anybody, repeat anybody, ever takes my Sunday New York Times print edition away, I will tell the reporter living under that rock to move over. I’m coming in!

Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 

Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (13)