Flash Report – May 26, 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. Agencyfinder Survey Indicates Credibility a Driving Issue
2. New Business E-Mail Secrets of the Rich & Famous
3. Agencies Decry New Business Investments
4. PSST!!! Website substantially revised
AGENCYFINDER SURVEY INDICATES CREDIBILITY A DRIVING ISSUE
Richmond, VA – In a poll of over 4,000 marketing directors and business decision makers, Agencyfinder.com, the largest marketing services search engine of its kind in the world, has found that although advertising and PR agencies may say the right thing, clients are still concerned about the firms’ credibility and truthfulness in the claims that are made.
“Issues of honesty and credibility ranked the highest in our survey,” said Charles G. Meyst, Agencyfinder’s Chairman and CEO. “Clients like what they’re hearing, but they want reassurance that the information is current and accurate. Remarkably enough, the agency’s size in terms of either billings or number of employees, ranked near the bottom of the list in importance.”
Findings from the survey will be used to enhance the Agencyfinder service to allow marketing directors and business decision makers to conduct a fair and impartial evaluation of the more than 2,500 headquartered agencies participating in the service’s database.
What can agencies do to enhance their perceived credibility by prospective clients? Agency-finder’s Meyst suggests including third party references in introductory material so prospects can make screening calls in advance. “But if you’re going to do that,” he adds, “avoid setting up a bunch of client-side shills who will only say the good things about your agency. Everyone has warts and if a prospect calls your references and feels they’re not getting the full story, that could actually be worse than not providing any references in the first place.” The Agencyfinder.com survey was sent to over 4,000 of 9,500 previously registered marketing directors and business decision makers who have used the online matchmaking service in the past seven years.
The survey identifies key issues of concern to those contemplating and hiring advertising agencies and public relations firms. Of those participating in the survey, nearly one- third of them reported their intent to hire a new or additional marketing services agency in the next twelve months.
NEW BUSINESS E-MAIL SECRETS OF THE RICH & FAMOUS: Rich and famous is stretching it, but we wanted to address some obvious but repeated errors many agency folks make when sending mission-critical new business and/or prospect e-mails. If you see yourself in any of the mentions below, make changes so you don’t lose business opportunities.
As you probably know, we’re dependent almost entirely on the Internet to bring us our client leads, so we can’t allow spam filters or the like to screen for us. This Monday (5/24), I combed my way through 3,643 e-mails that accumulated over the weekend, starting late Friday until early Monday morning. You can count the legitimate messages on two hands, but each was worth the manual
review. On weekdays, the count is typically over 1,000.
That brings me to the “rules:” (e-mail to prospects or others that aren’t familiar with you)
1. NEVER leave the subject blank
2. ALWAYS include your agency name as part of the subject line
3. ALWAYS include some portion of your name and agency in the sender address
4. DON’T use an AOL address if you also have an agency address
5. Study your junk e-mail to learn what to avoid and what NOT to do!
6. Use “Return Receipt” and “Priority” features in your e-mail program
7. Carbon others using the BCC option – not CC.
AGENCIES DECRY NEW BUSINESS INVESTMENTS:
Ad agencies and PR firms are constantly investment-spending for the sake of new business development. Even when an agency is the benefactor of one of those cherished “referrals”, it still entails expense. That includes the cost of the first and subsequent calls (at someone’s billable hourly rate), agency materials, relevant samples and the time to gather them, the micro-proposal (if one is prepared), and the often-taken cross-country trip to tout the portfolio and test “chemistry.” Maybe the New Business Director works on commission; paid on appointment or when the work comes in. Many agencies also hire consultants (pitch or analysis experts) to help land an account, and those guys and gals can be downright pricey.
On a recent Chicago-area food review, more than one invited agency chose to explain those expenses to the client (apparently meant as an educational experience). In one case, those expenses for a west coast agency were proposed to exceed $10,000. In the context of that same conversation, the agency explained they were not yet “fee-paid” with agencyfinder, so that would have to be added as well.
That degree of “openness” can be a double-edged sword. Clients know but are always told that our certified agencies sponsor or pay-for our services. They know that’s why they and consultants always search for free. Our rates are a matter of open record and posted on our web site. And they also know that agencyfinder alone was responsible for giving them the tools to identify and then subsequently invite the candidate agencies.
Our clients (regardless of budget) are universally puzzled and turned off when they hear the expense story, particularly if it begins with our fee. They clearly recognize that each invited agency wants their business and wouldn’t otherwise, if it weren’t for the fact that they (the client) is going to pay – not only for all THEIR new business development (motivated and made actionable as paid advertising or publicity) but in agency fees and commissions.
If they have to pay for new business, they assume you should too. Consequently, compete or don’t compete for their business, but don’t engage them in discussions about the costs of doing so.
For a complete new business costs primer and an interesting anecdotal look at your new business options, check out page 5 of “Fishing for New Business”
Even to the trained eye, you may miss the changes. But our Web site is fresh and new in a myriad of ways! Many of the changes were for Search Engine Optimization, but if you spend some time, you’ll see we’ve added new “good stuff” and removed some old baggage. In particular, if you’ve wondered what we look like, check us out at “Meet The Team”:
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