By Category: New Business Strategies

What Clients Want From Agencies »

Relationship-building advice
Published on April 09, 2012

ROIWhat's most important to CMOs according to four senior marketers? Return On Investment. If you're in charge of new business at your ad agency, your opportunity is to demonstrate that your agency will grow your prospect's brand and generate significant ROI.

That's what representatives from American Express, Travelocity, E*Trade, and Empire Blue Cross told a packed audience at the recent Mirren New Business Conference.

Biggest challenges for marketers in 2011: accurate metrics

The biggest challenge for digital marketers is to carefully set up campaign goals in order to accurately measure results. Equally challenging is that we still can't measure the results of TV, print, or outdoor with much accuracy.

These four marketers concluded that just about the only accurate measurement in aggregate is the number of new customers. If it's up, you're probably okay.

Tables Stakes for Agencies in 2011

  • Analytics
  • A big idea
  • Good creative

What Separates Agencies

  • When an agency clearly knows what it's really good at, it separates itself from the pack. Do you know where your agency can add real value?
  • Where's your passion? Too many agencies don't have it, and marketers can immediately see  that it's missing.
  • The ability to ask a lot of smart questions. If you show up and talk, you've lost.

Recommendation to get in the door: a unique idea or perspective on your target's business. It must be something that can ultimately increase revenue and provide ROI.

Turnoffs - What NOT To Do in a Pitch

  • Ignore the rules
  • Show up with less people than the client
  • Show a lack of respect for the client's time


Small Touches Create “Wow” The First Time Your Prospect Visits Your Agency »

Be the guest
Published on November 16, 2011

fruit basketYou fly into a strange city. Your flight is delayed. It's raining. You manage to find a cab that takes you to the hotel in a car that's sorely in need of new shock absorbers. The hotel restaurant is closed and there's nothing open nearby. It's midnight, so that's no surprise. You're irritated and tired. What a great way to start your trip to visit a prospective ad agency whose work you really like. Strike one.

In the morning, you find that the "continental breakfast" is hard boiled eggs, over-ripe bananas, mealy apples, and tepid coffee. Cabs are nowhere to be found, but the front desk person manages to call's 20 minutes late. Strike two.

You arrive at the agency, only to find that no one's at the front desk. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 am. In fact, there aren't many people around at all. Is this the right day, you ask yourself? You walk around the office and find someone back in a corner, ear buds in place. They have no idea you're there until you touch them on the shoulder and scare them half to death. They have no idea what to do with you. Strike three.

Sound far-fetched?

Contrast that hands-off approach to this one, using the same storyline:

  • The agency has arranged for a car service to take you, comfortably, to your hotel.
  • Knowing the potential for a late arrival, they've provided you with a basket of food. There's a hand-written note inside welcoming you and saying how much everyone is looking forward to meeting you in the morning.
  • One of the agency principals picks you up for breakfast at 7:15 am. She's taking you to the best breakfast spot in town.
  • The front desk person is at his desk when you arrive, and has been on the lookout for you ever since he got a text saying that you were 5 minutes away.
  • Lots of employees are around when you arrive; there's a buzz of activity.
  • Before the meeting, as the principal told you would happen over breakfast, you're taken on a brief agency tour with a really fun, effervescent employee who makes you feel completely welcome. In fact, you start thinking to yourself, "This is a fun place to work - I'd like to work with these people." She makes a point to introduce you to the creative team, since that's the reason you're there in the first place.

Home run? Maybe not, but at least you're still in the game.

Followed up with a thank you note...priceless.


Innovation to Drive Ad Agency New Business »

Break the mold
Published on July 14, 2011

One of the most thought-provoking and mindset-challenging sessions at the 2011 Mirren New Business Conference was "The Innovators Panel." Why? Because all organizations, including agencies, must innovate to remain relevant.

The chart, below, gives you a simple way to visualize the transformation that needs to take place for real innovation.

Innovator's Quadrant

Same Services for New Clients

New Services for New Clients, with Different People
Same Services for Same Clients

 New Services for Existing Clients


Most businesses and agencies strive to achieve either "same services for new clients" OR "new services for existing clients." The most difficult, risky, and potentially rewarding move, however, is to provide "new services for new clients, with different people." However, to accomplish this transformation you will, over time, have to radically change your business model.

How to Blow Up Your Agency

Here are some of the ideas offered by the panel, which included Ed Boches from Mullen, Winston Binch from Crispin, Aaron Shapiro from HUGE, and Tony Signore from Taylor:

  • Stay in tune with start-ups and trends - Listen (see below)
  • Host weekly tech "meet-ups" in your office(s)
  • Recruit from the hacker community
  • Develop an internship program to attract the best and brightest talent

Develop a "Listening Culture"

It's critical that your organization pay attention to what's going on in technology and marketing. Here are 9 ways the panelists suggests you stay current:

  1. Attend tech panels
  2. Host tech meet-ups
  3. Read Wired magazine
  4. Get outside your industry
  5. Attend SXSW
  6. Attend TED
  7. Teach a class on a college campus (innovation is taking place by those in their twenties; you'll learn from your students)
  8. Hire a strategy firm like Jump Associates to help you
  9. Read Tim Brown's Change by Design; and, keep in eye on what his company, IDEO, is doing

As you develop new talent, new ideas, and new services, here are a couple of ways to start getting traction with your existing or new clients:

  • Bring new technology in a "lab format" to your clients every month. Teach them. Let them play with it. Experiment. See what happens.
  • When you recommend new technology or new services, be sure to explain why it's a good idea to try it out. Most importantly, before deploying it, establish metrics - how you're going to evaluate the experiment.

Lastly, make sure your website matches your capabilities. For example, if you're really good at social media or developing apps, don't tell. Show. Show your capabilities via video. Hire a young film student to tell your story for you. All you need is a 2-3 minute video.


Refine Your New Client’s Conflicts Clause to Really Win New Business »

Knowledge is strength
Published on April 29, 2011


You've just received word that you've won the pitch. The new client you've been nurturing for years is nearly yours. And then you receive their contract, which includes a strict conflicts clause. Now what?

When you need a real estate lawyer, do you choose from the best divorce lawyers? If your CPG client wants a management consultant, would you recommend that they choose one who only works with non-profit organizations? Would you rather hire an accountant who handles ad agency clients, or one who knows nothing about the business? Naturally, the answer to these questions is "of course not".

So, why do ad agencies accept conflicts clauses that restrict them from working with clients in the same industry - clients that will help build their expertise and make them more knowledgeable marketing partners?

Think about it: what are a few of the benefits of deep industry knowledge? Certainly, a faster ramp up time because you know the:

  • Industry vernacular
  • Key players, influencers
  • Regulatory environment
  • Revenue models
  • Suppliers, vendors
  • Successful marketing strategies

Keep adding to the list!

So, why do clients even include a conflicts clause? What are they afraid of? How do you find out? The key - and this is a common theme in ad agency new business - is to ask good questions. You need to uncover what's at the root of their fears.

Two likely possibilities...

  • Fear that proprietary information will be passed to their competition
  • Fear that you'll use successful marketing strategies that they've paid you for to help their competition

The only way to find out is to probe - question them to gain the insights you need to structure an agreement. Once you've uncovered their pain points, you should be able to come up with creative ways to work with them. For example, you might significantly refine the conflicts clause by agreeing to:

  • Narrow it to a small geographic territory
  • Focus it on a single agency office (assuming you have multiple offices)
  • Make it specific to a couple of named competitors
  • Create "Chinese walls" in your agency to protect their proprietary information

With this information in hand, don't miss the opportunity to have a professional discussion around the significant benefits they will receive from working with a marketing partner with deep industry experience - just as they do with their other consultants, lawyers, accountants, IT professionals, etc. This is a conversation that should help your agency, help agencies that follow you, and help the industry - as those you educate move to other companies and spread the word.

Lastly, keep in mind The Power of "No". If their conflicts clause is too onerous, you may need to walk away from the relationship.

Does this help? Is it practical?





What is Your Ad Agency’s Talent Risk? »

Are you training?
Published on April 27, 2011

developing talentMcKinsey & Co. managers spend thirty days per year training and evaluating their people. In contrast, agency managers spend two. Given that consulting companies like McKinsey are encroaching on turf that has historically been the purview of ad agencies, what does that say about the future...?

We use the excuse that we don't have time.

The reality is, we aren't taking our own advice - the advice we give to clients every day, said Andrew Benett, Global CEO of Arnold Worldwide at the recent 4As Transformation conference. He conducted a survey of 3,000 people at all levels in all types of agencies. This is what he found:

  • 30% of employees said they'll be gone in 12 months
  • 70% will call a recruiter back
  • 96% are confident that they could easily get a new job

"We accept that an employee will be with us for just a few years." 

  • 30% think they'll be with your agency for < 1 year
  • 37% think for between 1-5 years
  • 35% for > 5 years

Other alarming statistics:

  • 70% believe they need to take care of their own careers
  • 60% would leave for better compensation
  • 43% answered that "employees" are most important in their agency.
  • 50% feel there is no career path

This latter point is critical. Employees want the ability to learn, and the ability to be creative. If your agency can't give them this, they will move on.

It's not a factory, it's a garden. Adjust your paradigm.

Less than 10% of new employees come from referrals. In other industries, it's 50-60%. Bottom line, says Benett, the ad industry is not promoting itself. For example, "We are no-shows on college campuses."

Five steps to get the ad industry moving on talent:

1. Go back to school.

  • Commit senior management time to train
  • Partner with universities; go beyond career services

2. Promote cross-training

  • Share training sessions
  • Encourage reverse mentoring
  • Offer employee exchanges

3. Introduce new incentives

  • Offer paid sabbaticals; education reimbursement; relocation
  • Offer support to families

4. Fix performance management

  • Just do it.

5. Engage employees in the conversation

  • Solicit ideas; listen
  • In the decision-making process


What do you think? Will these ideas work?








Recent Entries

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Christian Juhl on ad agency new business
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published on January 05, 2011

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Some clients provide candid feedback
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Response time is critical
published on June 08, 2010

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Client Perspective: How Your Agency Should Engage With the CMO »

Insider tips
published on May 20, 2010

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Laurie Coots on growing your agency
published on May 18, 2010

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Alex Bogusky on Ad Agency New Business »

Cheating is okay
published on May 13, 2010

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Six Lessons on Ad Agency Pitches from Lorraine Lockhart »

"Live Pitch" provides insights
published on May 07, 2010

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9 Steps to Close 60% of Your Ad Agency’s First Meetings »

Case Study: Cinquino & Co.
published on May 05, 2010

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To Pitch or Not To Pitch - The Ad Agency New Business Question »

Only if you get paid?
published on April 22, 2010

pitcherFive year-old hot-shop Droga5 now only pitches new business if they get paid. Why? They know they win 60-70% of the time when they are, versus only 20% when they're not.

Other agencies pitch and

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2010’s Top Industry Categories to Drive Ad Agency New Business »

Latest information from research firm Mintel
published on April 21, 2010

categoriesKrista Faron, Lead Innovation Analyst at research firm Mintel, gave an inside look at the industry categories predicted to experience growth in the coming year during the recent 2010 New Business

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The New Business Power of a Snail Mail Thank You Note »

How does it make you feel?
published on March 31, 2010

thank you noteI received two thank you notes in the last month that were different from all others: neither was sent via email. One was an "old-fashioned", hand-written note from a friend. The other was from a

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Is Crowdsourcing a Threat to Ad Agencies? »

Interview with Victors and Spoils' John Winsor
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

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Is Procurement the Ad Agency New Business Enemy? »

Interview with Mattel's ex-procurement chief
published on March 23, 2010

procurementWhen you mention to a new business person that "procurement" is getting involved, the typical reaction is dread. You've built rapport with your prospect, established their need, demonstrated how

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How One Agency’s New Business Approach Distinguished Them From Their Competition »

As easy as...Above and Beyond Client Service
published on March 18, 2010

Set yourself apartTrue story from a week ago: Midwest branding and packaging agency seeks Midwest healthcare account. Agency gets to the top of the list of prospective partners - before even meeting with the

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Become The Voice of the Customer »

The glue in the marketing organization
published on February 24, 2010

silosThe marketing organization inside many of your larger prospects or clients is becoming increasingly fractured and siloed, creating a big opportunity for agencies to exercise leadership and vocally

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Hot Categories for Ad Agency New Business - Today »

Where and how to successfully prospect
published on February 18, 2010

hot off the pressThere are only a few people in the U.S. who have a broad-based and in-depth view of the proactive new business market, and who can speak to all geographic regions, industry categories, and types

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The Failsafe New Business Committee »

7 ways to make your committee more effective
published on February 09, 2010

FailsafeMany smart ad agency Presidents create new business committees with the best of intentions: bring together the best and brightest in the agency who touch new business, give them a mission and

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Guest Post: Taking New Business Dating to the Next Level »

Know your type
published on December 18, 2009

dating typeThis is a guest post from Craig Kavicky, Vice President at Big Red Rooster, an independent research, strategy, and design company in Columbus, Ohio.


In recent posts, Todd has referenced the

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How Not To Be The Talk Of The Prospect’s Office »

"Jarring" is not the reaction you want
published on December 11, 2009

talk of the townA few weeks ago I wrote about how not to self-destruct during your first meeting. Unfortunately, in this true story the agency became the talk of the prospect's office. Here's the back-story.

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A Tablet to Cure Magazine Ad Sales Blues? »

Wonderfactory prototype is an exciting development
published on December 03, 2009

media decoderThe Wonderfactory, in collaboration with Time, Inc., helped design the prototype of what Sports Illustrated magazine might look like on a tablet computer.

Revealed on December 2nd, this innovation

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The “So What” Behind a Prospect’s Pain and Aspirations »

Reveal the answer to close more new business
published on December 02, 2009

so whatBefore a prospect can become a client, they have to clearly understand the value of working with your ad agency or marketing services firm.

Does your current new business process demonstrate what

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The Other Reason Why Your Clients Buy Marketing Services »

Help them create a new future
published on November 23, 2009

aspriationThe common approach to selling marketing services is, "Find their pain, and then show how you can solve it." But, if you only focus on your prospect's pain, you're leaving half the potential new

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How to Build Rapport, Before Talking New Business »

People do business with people they like
published on November 13, 2009

genuine85% of buyers of marketing services state they're more likely to purchase from a provider with whom they've established some kind of personal chemistry. This was cited in a white paper I read

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Great Rainmakers Sell While Serving Their Clients »

Stay true to yourself
published on November 09, 2009

keys to serviceTo many marketing services providers, sales is the equivalent of checking your values at the door and becoming a slimy salesman. Your mental image is along the lines of getting a prospect to part

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Knowing What You’re Worth: Part of Your New Business Allure »

The issue is timeless
published on October 30, 2009

SteinmetzKnowing what your services are worth and being able to articulate and sell the value to a prospect is a critical new business skill.

I was recently emailed the following story, which was delivered

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

Guest Post
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

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New Business Cold Calling Conundrum: Research More or Make More Calls? »

The answer depends...
published on October 22, 2009

conundrumThis is the last in our three-part Q&A from our reader in Finland, who posed an often-debated question: "Should I thoroughly research my prospects and make fewer calls, or research less and make

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What’s The Best New Business Strategy for a First Meeting? »

Question and answer from a reader (#2)
published on October 20, 2009

build relationshipRecall that I promised to answer three questions from a reader in Finland. His second question is, "What's the best strategy for a first meeting?"

I've written in the past about the importance of

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As a New Business Person, Can you Close at the First Meeting? »

Answers to a reader's new business question
published on October 16, 2009

first meetingA reader from Finland recently emailed a few questions, which I'll answer over the next few days. The first is, "When you're selling something as intangible as advertising, how can you close at

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Delivering on Expectations, Communication Create Organic New Business Growth »

How Justin is turning around an almost-lost client
published on October 08, 2009

no surprises

Customer retention, let alone organic growth, usually comes down to people delivering on promises. Missed deadlines, less than acceptable quality, and poor communication all naturally lead to

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Forwarding is the New New Business Networking Strategy »

Cultivate your network with relevant information
published on October 07, 2009

newspaper article

It wasn't that many years ago that you'd send snail mail that included an article with a note attached that read something like this,

Saw this and thought you'd enjoy it.

The approach was simple

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Social Media, a Good List, and New Business Karma »

Helping your network with no expectation of ROI
published on October 05, 2009

karmaOne definition of karma is "actions that bring bring upon oneself inevitable results". I was intrigued by a recent conversation with Jane, a new business person, who claimed that this was the key

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New Business Face-to-Face or Virtual? »

Study reveals execs prefer face-to-face
published on September 23, 2009

face to face

According to a recent Forbes Insights study, business executives prefer face-to-face meetings and conferences over virtual meetings, and overwhelmingly agree that they're necessary to build

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Benefits of a New Business Referral System »

The lifeblood of most agencies
published on September 21, 2009


When you analyze the cost of acquiring a new client, generating new business from referrals is usually the least expensive. Realizing this, the natural question to ask is, "How do I get more?"

Read on...

New Business Prospecticide »

Add value so you don't kill your prospects
published on September 17, 2009

Pros-pec-ti-cide  [pros-pek-tuh-sahyd]


  1. The act of killing prospects.


What a great word! I came across it in an article by Paul McCord. He raises valuable issues and recommendations that

Read on...

5 Reasons New Business Change is Hard, And How to Avoid The Common Traps »

Real change requires real effort
published on September 16, 2009


A recent Harvard Business School article addressed why it's so hard to change, which is a good follow up to my last post on the need for constant change and improvement in ad agency new business.

Read on...

Perfection in Ad Agency New Business Is…Change »

A call to action
published on September 14, 2009

You've probably heard the expression, "Change or Die". Winston Churchill had another take on it that, to me, is even more powerful:

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.



Read on...

To Defend or Not To Defend - It’s a New Business Decision »

And it needs to be a sound business decision
published on September 10, 2009

sword defense

A few years ago I was faced with a decision about whether or not to file a lawsuit. As I considered my options, an old friend related to me what his even wiser lawyer once counseled him about

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$40,000 Off Our Fees. Your Next New Business Pitch? »

($ Canadian, that is.)
published on September 09, 2009

$40,000 off coupon

How many of us are willing to offer $40,000 off agency fees to bring in a client? Well that's what The BrainStorm Group did at the end of May. And it worked.

Ron Telpner, chairman and CEO of the

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Do Retainer or Project Clients Build an Agency’s New Business Pipeline? »

What's the right mix?
published on August 31, 2009

layered drinkAd agency clients regularly ask us this question, "What's the best mix of retainer vs. project work?" I think the answer can determine how successful you are at creating a sustainable new business

Read on...

Agency New Business Killer or Promoter: Your Director of First Impressions »

You are judged on first impressions
published on August 27, 2009


A recent survey reveals that only one in three agency receptionists meet the characteristics of a Director of First Impressions. Staffed well and you'll have another new business weapon in your

Read on...

Ad Agency New Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint »

One benefit is time to think and plan
published on August 26, 2009

marathonIn a recent post I wrote about the importance of getting away from ad agency new business to get refreshed and re-energized. But there's more to it: it's taking a long-term view of the work you

Read on...

Negotiate to Win New Business For Your Agency, Without Giving Away Your Profit »

Resist pressure to reduce your fees
published on August 24, 2009

negotiatingA recession is a scary time for the person trying to maintain the financial health of the agency.

I got into a conversation with a fellow CEO the other day about the pressure agencies are under to

Read on...

Skillful Listening Critical to Ad Agency New Business »

Listening = Winning
published on August 20, 2009

active listening

We've all heard the expression, "People love to hear themselves talk." When it comes to new business, your success is often determined by how well you get your prospects to do the talking.


Read on...

Prospecting Tip: Use Your Cell Phone for Ad Agency New Business »

One of the old rules may need to be rewritten
published on August 19, 2009

cell phone with lock

It wasn't long ago that calling a marketer on their cell phone was considered "too personal".

However, as cell phones are becoming mobile computers, and the lines between work-time and

Read on...

How to Reach the Marketer Who’s Screening Your New Business Calls »

Caller ID doesn't have to be your enemy
published on August 12, 2009


How often do your prospects answer the phone?

New business people say that if feels like their calls are being screened. I agree. If your prospects don't recognize your number, they're unlikely

Read on...

Premature Presentation: The Ad Agency New Business Affliction »

You may have it if your new business revenue is falling short of expectations
published on August 10, 2009


I was doing some role practice recently and observed the following: the new business person asked a few good questions and then, thinking he'd identified the need he could satisfy, switched into

Read on...

The At Least 80% Formula for Ad Agencies to Win More New Business »

There are two things every client wants. K.I.S.
published on July 21, 2009


We all know that when you Keep It Simple (K.I.S.) - I'll assume no readers are stupid - business success comes easier.

I've been thinking about agency-client surveys. Each tells us what clients

Read on...

New Business Strategy: Commercializing Your Own Products »

Why shouldn't ad agencies or design firms launch their own brands?
published on July 17, 2009


In a recent post I mention the opportunity to partner with upstart technology companies as a new business play. This month's Fast Company article titled "Selling Soap. Literally" shows how some

Read on...

Changing Role of Ad Agency New Business Rainmakers? »

Adweek doesn't suggest an answer; Here's one.
published on July 15, 2009


Large, well-known agencies are getting frustrated at the length of time it's taking to fill open CMO positions and with the lack of available talent, according to a July 13 article in Adweek.


Read on...

Ad Agency Guide To Breaking In To New Categories »

published on June 29, 2009

Every ad agency wants to break into a new category. How do you do so when you don't have the experience? How do you avoid spending a great deal of money on a pitch that you have no chance of

Read on...

Sad But True: How One Ad Agency Completely Blew Their New Business Credentials Presentation »

Making brownies while presenting your credentials doesn't mix
published on June 25, 2009

One day during the week of June 15th, 2009 a multicultural ad agency that can't be named had a conference call with a very large, well-known telecommunications company. They completely blew it.

Read on...

Gen Y, Shapeshifting, and What the Future May Hold for Ad Agency New Business »

The greatest change of our work lives is on the horizon
published on June 23, 2009

Michael Malone's new book, The Future Arrived Yesterday hit bookshelves on Monday. You may remember his name from the early 1990s prediction that work was going to become increasingly virtual. He

Read on...

Strategy to Drive Small Ad Agency New Business »

4 steps to benefit from focused learning and strategic targeting during slowdowns
published on June 16, 2009

Elizabeth Baskin of Tribe passed along a good idea to me yesterday that may be of use to those who work or own small agencies. We ran into each other at Catapult New Business' New Business from

Read on...

Distinguish Yourself From Your Ad Agency’s Competition to Drive New Business »

Aggregating or disaggregating your services could be the key
published on June 15, 2009

Too often marketers complain that agencies are alike, that their services are a commodity.

As frustrating as this may be, Kaihan Krippendorff argues in a recent Fast Company article that there's a

Read on...

New Business Success Starts With Your Ad Agency Setting High Expectations »

A homeless man provides a life lesson
published on June 12, 2009

My son got a powerful dose of wisdom from a homeless man yesterday. When I heard the story, I couldn't help but think about the applicability of what he said to business in general, and to ad

Read on...

Ad Agency New Business: Appointment Setting »

5 ways to ensure your appointments stick
published on June 10, 2009

Does this sound like something you'd say, after hearing your prospect express interest in speaking further about your agency's credentials (recent work, award, new client win, etc.):

"Great! I'll

Read on...

Organic Growth Drives Ad Agency New Business »

Recession success proves the power of a well executed strategy
published on June 09, 2009

Amid stories about client losses, staff cuts and reduced spending are powerful reminders that a well-executed organic growth strategy can be a powerful revenue-generator in good times as well as

Read on...

Learning Ad Agency New Business from a Chess & Tai Chi Champion »

Relentless focus on improvement is a key to success
published on June 08, 2009

Bottom Line interviews Josh Waitzkin, a former national chess champion and current martial arts world champion, in their most recent newsletter. Waitzkin shares insights that may cause you to

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Ad Agency New Business Update: Cold Calling Isn’t Dead »

It may be the most dreaded type of prospecting effort. Some claim it's dead. But, it still works.
published on June 04, 2009

"I just got a call-back from International Paper."

Turns out this new business person made one introductory phone call to track down the appropriate person, left a voicemail message, sent

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Broken Promises Kill Ad Agency New Business »

The deal was almost inked, and then he tried to change the terms
published on June 01, 2009

I love asking agency principals the question, "What's the first thing you think of when you think of sales?" The answer is almost inevitably "car" or "used car".

Last Saturday morning my wife

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Reveal Ad Agency New Business Opportunities by Asking Analysis Questions »

If you determine the depth and weight of your prospect's needs you'll clearly define the potential opportunity
published on May 27, 2009

Most proactive new business efforts take place over the phone, which is at the heart of any outbound new business process. Most sales people know about the idea of identifying needs, but as Art

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Ad Agency New Business, First Build a Relationship »

Your agency's first meeting with a prospective client should be all about them and not about you or your capabilities
published on May 21, 2009

I've enjoyed reading Norm Brodsky's articles in Inc. magazine for years. He's seen and experienced just about anything you'll ever encounter, and there's a wealth of good business insight in every

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Effort Trumps Ability in Ad Agency Business Development »

David beats Goliath
published on May 21, 2009

There's a great article titled, How David Beats Goliath in the May 10, 2009 edition of "The New Yorker" magazine by Malcom Gladwell. This article made me think about the small agency Davids who

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Is Your Ad Agency Practicing Inward Facing Dog? »

Don't be one of those new business professionals (or CEOs) who's missing what's happening outside the four walls of your agency
published on May 18, 2009

If you're the new business person at a small or medium-size agency, or the agency CEO, a recent post from OnStartUps by Dharmesh Shah may resonate.

I borrowed this post's title from Dharmesh, who

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Eavesdropping as an Ad Agency New Business Strategy »

Use search and social media to reveal insights and initiate conversations with prospective clients
published on May 15, 2009

Medical Marketing and Media magazine published a story called "The Science of Eavesdropping" in the May 2009 issue. While the authors, from Wunderman NY, are writing it from a client research

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New Business and Your Ad Agency’s Vision »

What is the clear, specific, measurable and achievable Vision motivating your agency?
published on May 13, 2009

Yesterday I participated in a Vistage meeting that featured an excellent speaker, Dan Barnett. Dan has run businesses for 25 years at companies like Pillsbury, Nestle, Constellation Brands,

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Slow and Steady Ad Agency New Business »

Your new business program will benefit from applying the principals of healthy living
published on May 13, 2009

I was struck by the parallels between maintaining good personal health and a successful and healthy agency new business program when scanning the recent Zappos blog, Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

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Ad Agency New Business Strategy: Employee Referrals »

Push responsibility for new business throughout your entire agency
published on May 04, 2009

I'm talking to more agencies and marketing services companies that are trying to enlist everyone in their companies to drive new business. Miriam Marcus wrote an article in Forbes magazine the

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For Ad Agency New Business Success, Focus on Just a Few Prospects »

Why is it that most large advertising agencies focus on only 10 or 15 prospects?
published on April 25, 2009

Here are 5 reasons why large agencies focus on fewer prospects:

  • Client "conflicts" limit the industries where they can pursue prospects.
  • Budget: they are looking for big game, big budgets, and

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13 Questions Ad Agencies Should Ask Prospective Clients »

What are the best questions to ask when your ad agency first meets a prospect? Check these out and then submit your favorites
published on April 17, 2009

In every prospect meeting, new business people have the opportunity to ask a few good questions. Ask the right ones and you'll find the opportunities you need to win.

Here are 13 good questions

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Ad Agency New Business: How Not to Sound Like a Used Car Salesman »

New business wins are rare if your prospect feels like a piece of meat
published on April 14, 2009

What are the first words that come to mind when you read the word, "Sales"? When I ask this of ad agency new business teams, or friends at cocktail parties (however embarrassing, yes, I've asked

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For Ad Agency New Business Success, Hire a Sales Person with These 4 Traits… »

Hire someone with proven success in consultative sales ... then ... let them sell!
published on April 01, 2009

Sales is a profession and a critical business function. The sales professional's personality is very different from any other staff member.

These 4 traits are critical - and common - among

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Procrastination Can Kill Your Ad Agency New Business Program »

Any excuse is a good excuse not to make prospect calls
published on March 23, 2009

Just last month an agency president told me, "Over 20 years I've made up every possible excuse in order to NOT make the new business calls I needed to make."

Here are 4 common forms of new

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Voicemails can Break through Proactive New Business Clutter »

The words you use and the way you use them say a lot about you and your agency
published on March 13, 2009

They will determine if you are able to move from voicemails to conversations.

Think about how we pre-judge people who leave us voicemails. If they are a fast-talking salesperson we'll call them "

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Chemistry Wins Ad Agency New Business »

The determining factor at “decision time” is often how your prospect feels about your agency team
published on March 04, 2009

Full-disclosure - I've been in the room less than a dozen times during the agency selection decision, so I'm relying on search consultants who confirm that once there are 2-3 comparable agencies

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Proactive Ad Agency Business Development is Relationship-Building in Action »

Jumping on a plane at the first whiff of potential client interest in your agency is a quick way to waste time and money
published on February 26, 2009

I had lunch the other day with a friend who's in charge of business development for an agency with a half-dozen locations across the country. She's a true expert in proactive business development,

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Persistence Determines Successful Ad Agency New Business Development »

CMO friends consistently tell me that new business people give up too early
published on February 23, 2009

Here are the unofficial statistics they cite about agencies' proactive business development people:

  • 50% never follow up on the email or material they send
  • 25% follow up only once or twice by

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7 Voicemail Messages for Successful Ad Agency New Business Development »

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign
published on February 17, 2009

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign: they develop awareness and rapport before a conversation begins.

I have a friend who's the CMO at a major

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10 Steps to a New Business Plan »

Make your plan, and then work your plan
published on February 12, 2009

A former senior colleague of mine on the client side used to preach the old adage, "Make your plan, and then work your plan." It works. Applied to new business, it works really well.

I remember

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Learn to Engage With Your Prospect to Win More Ad Agency New Business »

Your first client meeting is like a first date: handle it well and you have a chance to get engaged
published on February 09, 2009

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you finally score a meeting with a prospect who asks you to give them a credentials presentation. You arrive at their office, fire up your Mac and run through your

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Focus on your Core Competency to Increase your Ad Agency’s Speed to New Business »

Spending money on what you don’t do well is as important as spending it on what you do well
published on January 21, 2009

Last week an agency principal from the West coast called and said, "I haven't forgotten you, we just got busy (months after his initial call). But, now we're ready to move forward with new

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5 Steps to Prepare for Your Agency’s Next First Meeting with a Prospect »

90% of ad agency principals say, "Get me in front of a potential client and I’ll close the business"
published on January 16, 2009

Most of the time, this is both the wrong objective and not the outcome.

I remember a client from a successful regional agency. They had outstanding creative, long-term client relationships, and

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Win More Ad Agency New Business by NOT Asking Your Prospects to Call You »

Treating your prospects with respect and showing consideration for their time demonstrates your professionalism
published on January 06, 2009

How many times have you listened to cold calls in your voicemail and actually called the salesperson back? If you're like me, you never do. And why should you? What right does a salesperson have,

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Setting Next-Actions Drives Ad Agency New Business Success »

Next-actions move the proactive new business process forward. Without them, it’s like playing baseball without bases
published on December 31, 2008

How many of us recall exciting, engaging, thought-provoking meetings that end on a high-note, but when asked later what the results were, you can't answer with anything concrete? Too many new

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8 Systems for Proactive Ad Agency New Business »

To achieve long-term success at proactive new business, ad agencies commonly use one of eight methods
published on December 29, 2008

Here they are:

  1. Sell & Do: The antithesis of an organized, strategic, proactive new business plan – and vast numbers of small firms operate this way. With this method, everyone is busy until

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To Attract Ad Agency New Business Perhaps You Should Ask “Why?” »

Asking why is a simple way to get to the heart of what your agency really does and better help you and your staff communicate
published on December 17, 2008

Asking why is a simple way to get to the heart of what your agency really does and better help you and your staff communicate what it can do for clients.

If you were to go around the table asking

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