Perfection in Ad Agency New Business Is…Change

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by Todd Knutson

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.

churchill

A speaker I heard last week talked about this quote in the context of leadership. In particular, that change is critical to organizational growth and development.

Many ad agencies and marketing firms are quite good at innovation when it comes to marketing - most likely because it's a requirement for client retention. It therefore makes sense that they're comfortable with this type of change.

However, as the speaker continued it occurred to me that you really don't see that much experimentation and change in new business. And, even when you do, what appears to be a new idea is often just one that's been recycled or re-purposed from what worked 10, 20 or even 30 years ago.

And this thought raised two questions:

  1. What does new business improvement look like?
  2. What change is necessary?

The low-hanging fruit of new business change and improvement for most advertising agencies includes:

  • Developing a one-page new business plan with both proactive outreach and reactive marketing objectives and tactics.
  • Working the proactive outreach plan every week.
  • Implementing planned marketing tactics every week.
  • Measuring activities weekly and summarizing results weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
  • Making changes as soon as results don't meet plan, and then measuring the impact of the change(s).

If your agency implements these five steps, your new business process will show significant change and improvement. However, rather than striving for perfection, first aim for continuous improvement that is both manageable and measurable.

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