Flash Report – March 19, 2004
This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.
1. Getting on a Consultant’s Radar Screen
2. Are Advertising Agencies All Alike?
3. A Good Example of a Bad Example
4. New Business – A Literal Frenzy
5. Turn On E-Mail Return Receipt
6. An Auto Racing Opportunity
7. Note: Clients DO NOT PAY
GETTING ON A CONSULTANT’S RADAR SCREEN
On a regular basis, we get calls from agencies asking how to get “noticed” by other agency search consultants. They’re asking because they haven’t been found so far. Invariably, they’re ready and anxious to launch a nationwide Show & Tell or Lunch & Dinner tour. Their excitement is contagious, so we hate to dampen that enthusiasm, but let me share some sage advice given by our sister-company, Sales Marketing Institute. It still applies and we’re a believer.
First question – how big is your agency? (as in capitalized billings) $2, $5, $10, $20, $30 million? When a search consultant (as in someone who gets PAID by the client to manage their review) is running things, they try to keep it simple. Imagine a client with a $25 million budget. How big must the agency be? Try $75 million or more. It’s the “factor” thing. The client budget has to “fit” – can’t be smallest or largest. Ain’t no way your out-of-the-box, creative, growing, $30 million agency is going to get a crack at that $25 million budget (except in the most unusual of circumstances – as in current “media darling”).
Do the math – it’s a size thing. And sure, they could follow our December 8th Flash Report advice (Smaller Agencies Tackle Giant Accounts) by splitting the media from the rest, but don’t count on that happening.
Our suggestion? Break your back doing everything you can now to grow your agency without them. Employ professionally executed outreach efforts or reel them in on your agencyfinder magnet. Grow your firm to $75 million or more – THAT will put you on their radar and then they’ll call! Over simplification? Certainly, but the truth. In the meantime, plan to visit us in Historic Richmond, Virginia. Like those that have, you may find our process and how we do things fascinating and informative. ARE ADVERTISING AGENCIES (EVEN PR FIRMS) ALL ALIKE?
Clients tell us agencies work too hard to be different when in fact they’re not and shouldn’t be. Our agency essay section will attest to that. Many agencies introduce themselves to explain that they’re NOT like all the others, and then proceed to use the same (almost identical) language to describe themselves.
In general, most agencies are different only by their physical locations; their personalities (chemistry); and their creative “style.” In New York, some (say clients) even occupy the same address.
Consider dentists. If you’re looking for one, you expect them all to:
1. Be educated and properly trained
2. Be licensed and accredited
3. Do great painless work
4. Offer competitive rates & take insurance
5. Enroll in continuing education programs
If you heard anything much to the contrary (like “we don’t think a license is necessary”), that wouldn’t be welcome news. Beyond the “givens”, how would you select one?
1. Location, location, location
3. Pleasant breath
For most clients (except those with rather significant budgets), location (as in reasonably close and/or convenient) IS an issue. Once equally qualified agencies are selected and invited, it is ultimately creative (style/strategy) and personality (chemistry) that makes the difference and wins the account.
Be certain prospects know your agency has ALL the proper and necessary underpinnings. Emphasize that, then seek to differentiate yourself by proximity, creative and chemistry.
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A BAD EXAMPLE
Fortunately we’re seeing fewer and fewer clients wanting to conduct an old-fashioned review or asking for spec creative. We do everything we can to kill a request for spec creative, but we did hear about a certain liquor review late last year with an award in February that took the cake. And it didn’t happen here!
The review started with an RFP to 80 (count them) 80 agencies. Outlandish in itself. Then they cut to 16. That’s still no short list. For those, they were asked to answer more than 20 elaborate questions and to volunteer strategy, concepts and tactics (we have the papers). We understand they cut again at 4 and then made their award. Golly Miss Molly, and shades of Donny Deutsch’s comments at last summer’s 4A’s New Business Summit – choose the new business opportunities you respond to carefully. We feel for any agency that ran that gauntlet (thank God this was NOT a consultant’s review).
NEW BUSINESS – A LITERAL FRENZY
In all the years since we began back in 1997, I have never seen such volume and quality of search activity! We had a bout of temporary insanity and contemplated “turning off” the incoming spigot to stay ahead of assignments, but we adjusted with longer work days instead. For us, for our registered agencies, and for clients as well, the signs of a strong recovery are certainly evident. We did a “data pull” and found that we’ve processed over 4,000 client searches. Actual searches, not “hits”, not “visits”. That puts things in perspective. So please, for your sake – be certain your agency record with us is both current and complete.
AN AUTO RACING OPPORTUNITY Last fall we had the pleasure of working a PR assignment with
Braun Racing – a team in NASCAR’s Busch Series. Their driver was Casey Mears and they had partial sponsorship from Target. Sponsor for 2004 is Trim-Spa and their driver now is David Streme. Last week we were approached by a major supplier with an innovative co-op and/or subsidy proposal. This one is tied to the Grand American Road Racing Association events headed by Jim France – the Rolex Series and the Grand Am Cup. Cars are Daytona prototypes and GT’s. If you have a client already involved or interested in an “auto racing” connection, with this connection, you can show them how to STRETCH their sports-marketing budget. It’s CONFIDENTIAL, so call me (Chuck Meyst) for details.
TURN ON E-MAIL RETURN RECEIPT
Each time your agency is invited to participate in one of our client reviews, your invitation is sent as a fax; generally 4 – 7 pages. We confirm by e-mail (enabling the Return Receipt feature) and then we also telephone. We assume you want new business, so we persist one way or other until we know you’ve seen it. It really helps if you make certain your Read Receipt feature is ON. GoTo: Tools/Options/Receipts and we suggest you choose “Notify me for each read receipt request” so you can see but always choose not to acknowledge. Thanks! NOTE: CLIENTS DO NOT PAY – EVER
agencyfinder’s search service is always FREE to clients and consultants because registered agencies pay to make it so. That’s our business model and has been since day one. Clients never pay anything, not even a minimal access fee – it’s Free, No-Cost, NADA! We do give you the option to defer your primary fee payments (that’s the Iridium Level), and only when you decide to become a contender following a client telephone interview must you become fee-paid. If we went any deeper with you we’d become your business partner!
Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060