Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – January 28, 2008
1. December 2007 Breaks Search Registration Records!
2. A Faultless, Flawless Match-Making Process
3. Pardon this Blatant Agency Testimonial
4. Write Your Agency Essays To Sell
5. When Your Brag Here, It’s Politically Correct!
DECEMBER 2007 BREAKS SEARCH REGISTRATION RECORDS!
November-December have traditionally been slow search registration months, with clients and agencies working to squeeze all they can from what should be their holiday shopping extravaganza. But surprisingly, 2007 November-December search registrations were up 69% over 2006. Our inventory of “searches-in-process” attests to that. And we’ve already been asked by some forward-thinking agency new business pros what they might expect if the “R” word starts affecting things. Along that line, in the Jan. 14th Adweek, Gregory Solman reported that 45% of those polled said they’d be looking for a new agency.
A FAULTLESS, FLAWLESS MATCH-MAKING PROCESS
By Chuck Meyst
As a registered agency, you should be familiar with what’s needed on your side to make things work, but you’ll also benefit from knowing what’s going on during a client or consultant search. Here’s how it unfolds:
In any agency or pr firm review (or search process), the client’s challenge is to find, speak with, evaluate and then select from a handful of experienced, qualified, creative, fascinating, insightful, affordable and ethical agency candidates. Clients generally want and we agree that 3-4 is the proper number for final presentations, but you’ve got to work the numbers to get there.
With more than ten years of agency search management, here’s our experience. With our assistance, Client’s use our site and search engine (somewhat like eHarmony but launched 3 years prior) to sort through more than 5,000 agency locations to select just 15 or so for formal invitations and introductions. At that, once invited, 3-4 decline immediately for conflict, workload or budget. Next step in our process is the agency no-obligation due-diligence telephone interview. At that stage, based on facts or chemistry, client or agency decisions eliminate 3-4 more. 7-8 elect to send agency brochures, relevant samples and a pitch letter. So far, no “face-time,” no travel expense, no spec anything. Clients that wisely follow our advice now select agencies to meet. Where and how many? About 5-6 and at each agency, not the client’s HQ. The client does the traveling (on their time & money) and that visit consists of an agency tour (by agencies that know how – it’s a powerful, compelling tool) and a wrap-up Q&A. Plenty of time for conversation, case-studies, chemistry checks and that important question of identifying “who will handle our account?”
The perfect 3-4 finalists (there need not be more) invariably surface and all is well in advertising land, and everyone is generally happy. In the majority of our reviews, the client’s most difficult decision is actually choosing between what are often three perfect agencies. Time and energy has been well-spent, check-points and departure points are there for all to use. In reality, the dynamics and idiosyncrasies of client, agencies (and consultants) call for mid-course adjustments. Few reviews will ever be perfect but we try…
PARDON THIS BLATANT AGENCY TESTIMONIAL!
We’re a smaller agency, and as you can imagine, many vendors try to sell us new business “help,” so naturally we were skeptical. We hadn’t budgeted your subscription fee; however, as we recommend to any client when opportunities present themselves, we did our research and decided to try your new business service.
In less than 90 days, we had two new business opportunities where both “introductions” were actively looking for an agency with our experience and capabilities. The courting time it normally takes to develop trust with a new business prospect was eliminated completely because we had been selected and recommended by AgencyFinder. Referrals (vis a vis “introductions”) are much easier than starting from scratch and AgencyFinder has been a welcome addition to our new business efforts. Thanks!
Gregory Watson, CEO
Blue Olive Consulting
WRITE YOUR AGENCY ESSAYS TO SELL!
By Doug Sidle
I handle the majority of new registrants, and enjoy talking them about the power of their essays. It gives the searchers an early “sneak-peek” at the potential for great, or less-than-great agency/client chemistry and has plenty to do with who gets an invitation. When our “advertiser or pr” clients review their candidate agencies following their on-line search, one thing they do know is that all on the list are 100% pre-qualified, so their critical next-step is to create their “short list”.
The essay portion of your record was designed for that purpose. Essays (along with your new Power Index value) are meant to make a convincing “include me, invite me, meet me” argument. Here’s my ten suggestions for how to handle those essays:
1. Use a one-on-one copy style and direct your comments at a prospective client (not an audience). Clients love essays addressed to them personally.
2. Tell them what you’re going to do for them in each category and why it’s got value.
3. Emphasize your strong points and/or uniqueness.
4. Keep them brief.
5. Spelling errors, bad grammar, no punctuation are definitely no nos.
6. Have more than one case study. Clients read case studies to see what you’ve done for someone and it doesn’t matter if the vertical market isn’t their market. Still, keep them brief.
7. Essays should reflect agency personality. See that your best copywriters tackle this!
8. Emphasize 6 to 9 of your vertical market categories and your associated strengths.
9. Avoid buzz words or phrases.
10. Make a compelling argument for hiring your firm (beg if you can do it professionally!).
Periodically check your Agency Search Activity Detail report – if you’re getting found but not invited, consider making changes in your essays. Or give me a call.
WHEN YOU BRAG HERE. IT’S POLITICALLY CORRECT!
By Kaille Padgett
I love to get information and hear from our agencies. The more I know, the more we can help promote you. Don’t be shy; don’t be a stranger. Speak up and tell me about your agency! What many don’t seem to realize is that I’m essentially your “agent.” So is Doug. That’s true for all of us here and when we talk with searchers in the course of the year (I’m talking hundreds, sometimes many more), we speak on your behalf. If I were in your shoes, I’d want that “Kaille Padgett” to be singing my agency praises!
Maybe you haven’t conducted a demonstration search to see what clients see, or how our search algorithms work. Maybe you don’t realize how critical it is that your data be “flawless.” When I ask you to update your profile, you’re not updating a flat-file directory listing; more often than not, I’m asking because I’m confirming your agency qualifications for an actual review!
To be considered a fully-qualified candidate, your attributes and characteristics must match exactly what our clients stipulate. In our search process, it’s an and/and (not and/or) proposition, so it’s critical that everything in your record is current and accurate. By example, claim all valid and recent vertical market experience and then be certain to check ALL agency services you offer. We recently added new choices in all sections, so search for missing data almost immediately. If your agency data reflects what your firm strengths are, we should be introducing you soon to ideal prospects.
I spend hours of my time (on your behalf) exploring your websites, and that’s where I find tons of categories or services you fail to claim. So humor me when I call or write – I’m not selling, I’m offering valuable new business consulting. That’s something you get for the price of admission! BTW, among other things, your responsiveness contributes to your Power Index score.
One last thought … Clients search here first for vertical market experience. After evaluating your clinical data with us, our process takes them to your website. Too often, clients tell us (generally more as a complaint) that they didn’t find any evidence on your website to support your category experience posted with us.
At the least, have an alpha-sort page where you list all the vertical markets you list with us. You don’t need more than that, but without it, they get suspicious.
Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO
Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060