Blog Posts

The Estee Lauder Agency Review – What were they thinking!

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts

What in Hell were they thinking! I’m not talking about the fine folks at Estee Lauder; I’m talking about presumably one or two within a handful of our industry’s finest agencies unable to keep a secret. So unconcerned for that matter, that by breaking confidentiality, that action stands to “disrupt” Estee Lauder’s existing relationships during the critical fourth quarter retail season this year,” the company said in the brief. What pray tell would prompt any agency employee to run to the press and break the client’s trust? And having done so, should it all end at that?

Read the story in Ad Age; decide for yourself and then feel free to comment. http://adage.com/article/agency-news/estee-lauder-readies-agency-review-2014/244278/?utm_source=daily_email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=adage&ttl=1380765212

Interesting as well, even though this story got significant publicity, first in the Ad-Age agency news of September 26th; then in the 4A’s Smart Brief the following day, other than what we posted, not a single soul posted a comment. Is this such a hot potato that no one wants to touch it? There’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct and participate in an agency review. I’m proud to say we’ve never drifted from the proper path …

Cold Calling – The Death Rattle?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts

In the relatively new LinkedIn group New Busines Hunters, I’m seeing some of the more serious, experienced and talented folks start bobbing to the surface with stories, comments and critiques. That’s a good thing. I tend to see this as for Marketing Firms (i.e – ad agencies, pr firms, digital, experiential, and that long rattles-on list) although anyone is welcome.

Mike Lee, Managing Director at Headway Business Development in the UK started this one off – Thanks Mike! Navigate there to see his original comments, then mine along with others. http://www.linkedin.com/myGroups?trk=nav_responsive_sub_nav_groups  Neil Fawcett, managing partner at Critical Mass Communications Limited posted this today – “Great story Sean….you did it with personality…see?…you contacted a ‘future client …”

Here’s a big chunk of my take on the topic …

I knew I sensed Sean’s innate new business talent; to your point Neil, nothing succeeds unless and until you fine-tune your craft! Cold calling is not the art of making “cold calls” but having the experience, knowledge, training, self-management, charm, wit and personality to positively engage by phone with what began as a stranger and matures into a qualified prospect …

More than a few years ago when I was publishing Richmond LifeStyle Magazine, my mentor and I held serious discussions about launching a college to offer a 2-year curriculum in “professional agency sales.” Even had scouted the campus location! We got distracted but the absolute need still exists. Here and in every market.

At Richmond’s VCU Brandcenter, unless I missed it just now, there isn’t a single course devoted to “Agency New Business” – suggesting that the age-old theory that your agency’s “creative” will get you found is still how new business happens … Under what rock shall we look to find tomorrow’s agency sales people?

You Can’t Get New Business if Prospective Clients Can’t Find You

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

That was the headline at an AdAge Small Agency Diary article. Tom Martin, founder of Converse Digital wrote to encourage agencies to recognize that clients are resorting to search strategies of their own to find new marketing partners. I found this paragraph particularly telling – “This is the point at which many agencies now find themselves — though often they seem to be in denial. They moan and groan about the cost of participating in RFP-based new-business pitches, but aren’t positioning themselves to adapt to clients’ changing expectations, so they can compete for the new business.”

Tom continues to point out clients are searching for answers to their marketing problems; sounds so simple and straightforward, yet so many struggle to make “new business” complicated. He concludes by suggesting – “So if you’re truly tired of the RFP rat race, do something about it. Go find out what you spent last year on pitches and dedicate 25% of that to taking the steps above. Dedicate yourself to giving the system a year to generate results. I promise you, you won’t regret it.”

I couldn’t resist, I had to contribute. I posted:  Tom makes great suggestions for agencies seeking new business opportunities. For those who follow his advice, simultaneously drop the “iron curtain” screen on incoming e-mails from those not yet on your white list. Many legitimate client inquiries and even invitations get blocked and bounced by your filters. Instead, designate a specific e-mail for inquiries (not ), make that easy to find on your website, and only give one or two trusted, virus-aware individuals access to open those.

Next suggestion … with all the competition for SEO awareness, an individual agency will be hard-pressed to successfully compete for visibility in the sea of relevant search terms.  How many agencies in North America? Try 30,000. One benchmark for years has been the 15,000 count at www.Redbooks.com Regardless, there are too many fish in that pond to hope to be found all alone.

But don’t abandon your plan to optimize – register with some of the successful client/agency match-makers who make being found their stock-in-trade. They compete for relevant keywords and tend to be found before an individual agency. Those with time-tested search algorithms and deep agency databases can and do deliver the precision Tom describes. That’s what we’ve been doing at www.agencyfinder.com for 17 years.

Tracking software analytical tools are great, but they often provide more information than you can effectively absorb, and short of conducting “auto-responder marketing” to every likely individual at companies that visit, they all lack the ability to provide the visitor’s e-mail and/or name. But I’ll be first in line when that happens and is legal.

Chuck Meyst
Chairman & CEO
AgencyFinder.com

No E-Auctions or Reverse Auctions at AGENCYFINDER.COM

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

Back in early 2000, my now-deceased partner came to me all excited. His was a website-building company and their newest client wanted to run an “art” auction on line. Dick came to me back then, all smiles but without the benefit of advertising industry experience. He outlined this “really neat auction model” where we’d post the client specs and give our registered agencies the chance to bid on the business, where low bidder was meant to be the winner. That would have made us the first search consultant to use a Reverse E-Auction model, but after I took time, patience and purpose to explain you don’t EVER bid on creativity, Dick and I put that plan in the trash.

My suggestion for dealing with the “Auction” model? Either refuse to participate, or win the business and then give the client what they paid for.

Great, Another Search Consultant with a Clever Angle …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts

The first week in September, AdAge ran a clever angle on the agency search process model, designed to give each agency the enviable opportunity to prostitute itself when there’s excess capacity to sell or a lull in new business activity.  I sense this will ba an overnight sensation. More details here   (you may need to be a subscriber)

Here’s how I see it. Let’s call this new consultant CarFinder. Following his advocacy, rather than “level the playing field” and ask what you want in a car, and rather than learning about your family, your work, your education, your income, your favorite recreations and lifestyle, he’ll present what he thinks you might like. Consider his potpourri of metal and rubber. A Rolls-Royce convertible, a Volkswagen, a Hyundai, a Shelby Mustang, a Fiat, a McLaren and a Harley Electra Glide to mix it up. He’ll take you into his CarFinder Search Suite (twin 58″ flatscreen monitors) where each dealer gets a chance to play his “E-Auction Dollar-for-HorsePower Game” – a Skype-enabled low-bidder-wins scenario! Imagine the tension, excitement, the electricity and ups and downs as Rolls and Beetle each slowly lower their price to $18,500. OMG, you want the Shelby price to come down … Why won’t Ford ever haggle!

Do you have an idea for a Search Consultant model?  Please share …

 

Grumble-Fest; Search Consultants Sound Off

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

There’s apparently little agreement on the role or place of the hired and compensated pricey search consultant in a client’s agency review. And last week (May 1st) as reported in AdAge, “agency search consultants admitted that the process of agency reviews has gotten “totally out of control” during a session at the Mirren New Business Conference in New York. Speaking on a panel called “Why You Are — And Are Not — On Our Radar,” Russel Wohlwerth stressed that the agency search process hasn’t worked efficiently in many years, and is only getting more and more unwieldy. While many in the industry say the (hired and paid) search consultants still manage about 30% overall pitches, Mr. Wohlwerth contended that number is smaller.” I contend that no-cost services like AgencyFinder; sponsored by their member-agencies, have ever-so-slowly drawn business away.

“Another focus for consultants is reconciling the transparency issue. Marketers’ reluctance to disclose the firms involved in a pitch could be harmful to a small agency’s business when that agency is trying to decide whether it’s worth investing in a pitch against a large shop, explained one agency executive during the Q&A session. Panelists agreed that clients should publicize that information.” I noticed there was no mention whether that was something the consultants should do themselves …

“Finally, the consultants advised that in order to get on consultants’ radar, they should provide quarterly updates about their agency, should be active in the blogosphere and on social media, and consider positioning themselves as leaders in specific categories.” I don’t know why they beat this topic to death! The consultants in question and attendance at this seminar were the big boys and girls; those whose fees often exceed the budget of many much smaller clients. Why mislead smaller agencies – you don’t get on their radar by sending stuff; you get on their radar when your capitalized billings are in the stratosphere of multi-millions.

A client with a $40MM budget and able to afford these pricey match-makers, isn’t looking to hire an agency capitalized at much less than $80MM!

Social Networking Milestone – Facebook’s Timeline

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Business Development

Just in time for the holidays; a time of family, friends and old acquaintances. The warmth of a friendly fire, chestnuts roasting there and all that …  In keeping with that theme and thought, the radio announcement I heard in the car earlier this week declared that Facebook’s new Timeline offers “a richer experience meeting people on-line than meeting them face-to-face!”

From your new business perspective then, why bother! What a corruption of human intercourse … Gads!

How to Conduct an Agency Search: ANA, 4A’s Offer Guidelines

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Agency Search Tips, Blog Posts

After Spate of Long, Unwieldy Reviews, Agency and Advertiser Associations Give Advice to Head off Trouble Before It Bubbles up

AdAge broke the news Oct 3rd – go there for the full article and comments. The entire white paper can be found on the 4A’s and ANA websites. Highlights were:

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN 4A’S/ANA GUIDELINES

1.If procurement is going to be involved, decide if its role will be as a facilitator or driver, and be clear with agencies about fact.

2.The ideal amount of time for a search process is three months, and the ideal number of shops who answer a request for proposal is no more than eight.

3.Decide whether a formal search is necessary or whether you can identify a select number of shops — internally — or with the help of a consultant to participate in a streamlined, closed process.

4.Have a discussion about compensation early on, not at the end of the process. Agencies should bring up the topic even if a marketer doesn’t.

5.Agencies shouldn’t do a bait-and-switch, bringing in one team to secure the account, and assigning another to do the work. Ensure the client meets the people who will work on their business.

6.Agency visits are a must and cultural compatibility should be weighed just as heavily as capabilities. Clients should understand how the agency behaves overall and should select the whole agency, with its values and staff, not just the handful of people who pitched the business.

7.An agency’s culture shouldn’t only be complementary to a marketer, but also to the other agencies on the marketer’s roster.

8.Speculative work presented by an agency during a review frequently doesn’t translate into a campaign, so decide if it’s really a necessary part of the process. If it is, allocate enough time for agencies to deliver the assignment.

9.Offer non-winning agencies a debriefing phone call and give them honest feedback.

One writer from Europe commented that search consulants were missing from those on the authoring committee.  That might have been helpful, but I suggest they covered most that counts.  When clients see how much is actually involved in an agency review, they might be inclined to take the process more seriously.

I was pleasantly surprised to read that their recommendations reflect what we’ve been advocating and doing literally since we began way back in 1997. We also subscribe to the number of initial invitations as well as those that get the RFP (we use an RFD – Dialogue). And in particular, the agency visit is almost a “non-option”, since that’s when the client can make both chemistry and creative decisions. You’ve got to see the “shops!”  Good job folks!

Chuck Meyst declares – Here’s to agency new business!  

 

Marketer-Led Reviews Have Shops Crying Foul

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Consultancy

For Agencies Feeling Put-Upon by Procurement, Suddenly Search Consultants Don’t Seem So Bad

The following post appeared in the August 8th AdAge newsletter and begged for comment since search consultants seem to get hammered on a regular basis …

On June 29, the head of new business at DDB North America, Brandon Snow, fired off this tweet: “Gotta love this biz. RFI shows up today, for a response by July 6th. I truly believe clients think agencies don’t need holiday time off.”

Ill-advised as it may be to bemoan a chance to pitch a new account, Mr. Snow’s hardly the only exec frustrated by the agency review process these days. A few of the complaints on the list: hyper-condensed timelines; unfair requests by marketers to own speculative creative or strategic work; a lack of transparency about the size of the ultimate prize; and inadequate or no compensation to offset the costs of pitching. One new-business leader at a U.S. agency told Ad Age that of the seven pitches her shop is currently involved in, it’s only being compensated for one.

The spike in complaints about review processes coincides with a rise in client-led reviews and a decrease in the use of agency search consultants.

This article (find and read it in it’s entirety) by Rupal Parekh attracted more than 79 posts at last count …

The first posted response read:  Agencies are commodities so there is nothing wrong with them being selected the same way other commodities are. This is obvious when you look at how they can’t even differentiate themselves on their websites. If managements’ ultra-fragile egos are hurt by this treatment, they should find another industry to work in.

I replied: Part of this problem lies in this article headline – every review should be Marketer-Led. Not to say that selector consultants or industry match-makers shouldn’t play a pivotal role in the ways others above (writing above) have already suggested, but the marketer should always take the lead role in their own review. Years ago, a well-known agency search consultant told us he needed to be so “controlling” because CMO’s were too busy to give the process their full attention! Can you imagine that – a CMO too busy to actively select their employer’s partner in destiny!

It’s good that the 4A’s and ANA publish and advocate process recommendations, but the majority of search volume falls outside their memberships. We find ourselves in the “high-ether” from time to time, but generally concern ourselves with small-to-medium clients and the thousands of agencies also entitled to professionally managed reviews. To see that happens, we devote front-end marketer dialogue to explain their responsibilities in the process and spell that out in our Advertiser Terms & Conditions.

Later, LA “VP fdf fdfd” wrote:  Sandwiched between the $100mm campaign budgets requiring a full-service AOR and the $100 logo budget requiring a crowdsourcing platform, there is a vast marketplace of clients (luxury fashion, tech start-ups, entertainment, etc.) that require specialized, project-based solutions as opposed to all-in-one agency/partner relationships.

Seems there is a huge client need for consultancy within this space and find it interesting that more pitch consultants aren’t already actively involved.

I closed out with this:  fdf fdfd – The companies you describe are less familiar with pitch consultants and would find a disconnect between their smaller marketing budgets and the magnitude of those consultant’s fees. We recognized that back in 1997 when we introduced our agency-funded match-making service.

This selector consultant issue and debate is destined to continue unabated for years to come. To each his own and to his own … Your thoughts? Have some great and not-so-great experiences to report?  We’ll post them if you write ..

My sincere thanks to everyone …

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Blog Posts, Marketing Partenerships

A heart-felt nod and acknowledgement to the hundreds of staff, consultants, agencies, advertisers and close friends who contributed in so many ways to our new site. Time after time, thanks for critiquing my thoughts and concepts. Time after time, thanks for sharing your concepts and ideas. I hope each of you is able to find and admire your unique contributions to this new extravaganza. Explore the Site Map to see what I mean …

My most sincere thanks – Chuck Meyst

Search Statistics

Total Searches:
Searches This Month:
Searches This Year:

Partners:
InfoCommerce