Client Search News @ AgencyFinder – May 7, 2007
This CLIENT SEARCH NEWS is for individuals registered @ agencyfinder.com. Forward to those in your company or others elsewhere involved in the advertising or public relations agency selection or review process.
1. Agency Pros Reveal Rare New Business Secrets at Private NYC Meeting
2. What Exactly Do Clients Want & Expect From a Search Consultant?
3. If You’re Thinking About an Agency Review, Get Started Now.
4. Do Not Implement Off-Shore Tech or Customer Support!
5. CMO Tenure @ 23 months? Do You Believe That?
AGENCY PROS REVEAL RARE NEW BUSINESS SECRETS AT PRIVATE NYC MEETING
It’s often helpful and educational to know how agencies think, so I wanted you to expose you to what some 400 of the industry’s finest new business pros (ad agencies, pr firms, etc.) were addressing as they gathered March 27-28th in NYC to share and compare effective new business secrets. The Mirren/Adweek New Business
Conference was well attended by those who heard entertaining and educational stories, case histories and a rather amazing willingness to share what otherwise has been kept close to the vest, in the way of pitch and presentation errors, in-depth self analysis, and corrective actions. We’re talking industry “Big Boys & Girls” including Saatchi & Saatchi, The Martin Agency, Kaplan Thaler and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Not one described internal machinations or fights over “what to call ourselves”, but rather how to identify a prospect’s needs and then articulate that and the ability to deliver accordingly.
The overriding advice was to chose your battles carefully. Whether the prospect is one you identified yourself, or one that singled you out (via a consultant invitation, an AgencyFinder invitation, a referral or as a “blue bird,”) they were advised not to move forward to invest time, talent, effort or cash unless or until they were able to establish there’s a fit and reasonable chance for successful conversion. Interestingly, that was what Donny Deutsch and Andy Berlin proclaimed from the podium at the 4A’s New Business Summit a few years ago. Nothing’s changed, but agencies need to be reminded. WHAT EXACTLY DO CLIENTS WANT & EXPECT FROM A SEARCH CONSULTANT?
The current Porsche review raises that question. Plans for the review had been in the works since early November 2006. When the story broke in the press on March 8th, it stated the client was “currently considering consultants to handle the review process.” On March 23rd, they announced they had made that appointment. Most clients assume the consultant plays a pivotal role in the identification of candidates, yet this “pre- consultant” announcement and the 15 days hence gave more than adequate time for every agency in the country with an appetite for a car account to pounce. Time to prepare and dispatch another FedEx bouquet. I know for a fact that many of our agencies did just that.
In a client search, I know what we do. Our virtually fool-proof process identifies agencies that have precisely what the client (or consultant) says they want. Meaning previous category experience, services, target markets, size, age, location, even type of firm. We facilitate all that up-front imperative, but in most cases, we fall back in the shadows after we issue the invitations. Historically, AgencyFinder clients prefer to manage what happens next. We’re there to help, but we don’t “run” the process. From the client’s perspective, they love the confidentiality, the broad selection of agency candidates, and the fact that they get everything we offer at no-cost. From
the agency perspective, most love it, since they always get to speak directly with the client and don’t have to speak through any contrived “screen” that we could impose.
There’s no particular standard for “search consultants”, so it would be helpful for conventional consultants (those hired and compensated by the client to do their bidding) to share, to explain, even to publish a bit more detail of what they do and when, how they affect the ultimate decision, and even how (but not necessarily how much) they get paid.
IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT AN AGENCY REVIEW, GET STARTED NOW!
If you’re thinking about conducting a search for an agency (new or additional) or some public relations assistance, let me encourage you to begin almost immediately. Memorial Day triggers the agency “summer” – and that generally means half-day or no-day Fridays. I suspect you’ll want full attention from your contenders; register here at AgencyFinder this week or next so we can get you started down that path. It’s a serious commitment for any client, and we’ll help you each step of the way. Somewhere within the thousands of astounding registered firms sits one that could be precisely what you need. These are “right-sized firms for budgets less than $100,000 to more than $100 Million.” It doesn’t take much to find that firm either; click here to get started:
DO NOT IMPLEMENT OFF-SHORE TECH OR CUSTOMER SUPPORT!
There is NO ROI in off-shore tech support or customer support! Sure it’s initially cheap. But please ignore any such recommendation by your agency or an agency pitching your business. Please do not go “off-shore” unless you’re prepared to take a big hit with your loyal customer base. Don’t go offshore unless you can be assured they won’t be guilty of those idiosyncrasies that drive folks mad.
Want to trigger an emotional eruption? Talk to almost anyone about the infamous off- shore (typically Indian dialect) customer support; the phony cover names, the fact they sound virtually identical. Add the fact that when we call from the US, we’re talking with people that ought to be sleeping and who have the uncanny talent to ignore most of what we say, and instead encourage us to follow a
step-by-step process from their one-size-fits-all support manuals.
How many times have we heard that it’s cheaper and more effective to cultivate more business from current clients than to create new ones. So when off-shore support drives your customers away, that’s not cost-effective!
CMO TENURE @ 23 MONTHS – DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?
The media is full of CMO/Death stories, warnings and speculations as to what’s going on. We heard it from the podium as well. What I meant to do but didn’t was get a question directed to the attending audience of 400 representing 4,000 or so client CMO’s (400 agencies x 10 clients per agency) and ask – is that your perception or experience with the CMO’s at your clients? If CMO’s are as gun-shy as the press reports, agencies should take the initiative to let clients and prospects know that they (the agency) are willing to share the blame as well as the success. Remember, no one has the magic wand. This business of advertising, public relations and marketing is a series of carefully and intricately planned, pre-tested and executed steps that must be observed, measured, adjusted, corrected and done again and again. There is no magic bullet! Seriously, I’d appreciate some feedback on this (as in CMO behavior and attitudes) because we need to pay particular attention to that, even to consider what I suggested from the floor – how about a “How To Be Great Client” Seminar?
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA