Blog Posts

Leads for sale, leads for sale, but just what is a lead?

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

What’s your business title? CMO, CEO, CTO, Company President? As such you are bound to be the target of vendors that have “Leads for Sale.” Just what are these leads that seem so precious?

Spend a little time on social media and you’ll see an amazing variation of “leads for sale.” Presumably hundreds, thousands, even millions of prospect companies are anxious to hear from you, and to learn about your company products and services. But look online for a recent definition of leads and you’ll  find: A lead is an individual or organization that has expressed interest in buying what your business is selling. In short, a lead is a potential customer that has indicated they are interested in buying from you. In most cases, a lead “raises their hand” to show that they wish to be contacted by submitting their information directly to you. (compliments of G2)

Here are some historical definitions: a position of advantage in a contest; first place. “they were beaten 5-3 after twice being in the lead.” Or: To lead means to go in front, or to serve as the leader of a group.

Or this example in marketing slang: Party A sitting at a 2-top at McDonalds. Nearby at a 4-top are Parties B, talking loudly and mentioning their dissatisfactions with their current ad agency. Party A listens more closely to discover the name of Company, and after leaving, calls his friend Party C who owns a small local ad agency. Party A gives the identity of Company to Party C and suggests she call the company to solicit their business.  Party A gave Party C a “lead.”

Here’s recently received LinkedIn example;

William: Message. Let’s use LinkedIn to keep in touch more often

AF: Once you enroll your agency we communicate in that channel.

Hi AF (via LinkedIn), I hope you are doing good. I’m sending this note to introduce myself and our company . As a full-service user experience agency, we are able to deal with unforeseen project needs. Do you think it’s worth a quick 5 minute chat tomorrow or next week to find out if we can help you with this?

AF – Unfortunately you think we are an ad agency, we’re not. So your pitch has missed it’s mark.. But thanks for reaching out!

Every agency needs “leads” or better said “prospects” to engage in outreach marketing. Whether those “prospects” come from bulk email buys, tailored email buys, carefully curated LinkedIn contacts, carefully and meticulously purchased Winmo contacts – until they respond and (as it’s said) raise their hand, they are all just prospects. Don’t be confused! Finally, in our AgencyFinder world a lead with us is an actual “introduction,” delivered in our RFD (Request for Dialogue), a literal handshake and the beginning of a potential business relationship!

 

Just Say’n – WALKING IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S WORD

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

When we need to make a decision, the first question we should ask ourselves is: “Is my decision in harmony with God’s Word?” We have to decide what is going to be our authority in life. It boils down to this choice: God’s Word or the world.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

If we base our lives on popular opinion, we will always be out of date because it changes every day. What was “good” yesterday will be “bad” today, and what is “good” right now will be “bad” tomorrow. If we base our lives on popular culture or opinion polls, we will struggle because we build on a shifting foundation.

On the other hand, if we base our lives on God’s Word, the truth never changes. Truth is always true. If God says something was wrong ten thousand years ago, it was also wrong five hundred years ago, and it is still wrong today, and it will be wrong one thousand years from now.

It does not matter what the culture says or does or even what is popular at the time. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong. It always has been, and it always will be. If God says it is right, it will always be right. That is a solid foundation that has been shown over time.

God has set up the universe with specific laws, physical, moral, and spiritual. God built the universe around these laws because they are all for our benefit. When we cooperate with the principles in this universe, we succeed. If we reject, disobey, ignore, and rebel against God’s principles, we are the one who gets hurt.

We can be confident in our decisions. If God says it is good, then we do it. If God says no, then we do not do it. It is that simple.

Are you going to base your decisions today on what God says or what other people say?

Do you need Prayer? 

“Heavenly Father, when I read Your Word, I will base my life on Your Word alone.

Your Word gives specific instructions on what is right and wrong.

I know blessings in life are from You, and in that decision,

I will have peace. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Whose back have you patted today?

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

As human beings, we crave recognition and acceptance.  It’s wired into our DNA.  We want to be a valued member of our pack — be it our family, our tribe of friends or our workplace.

While it would be lovely if everyone could simply recognize their own worth to the team, that’s not how we pesky human beings work. We need validation. We need the “atta boy.” We need the public acknowledgement.

And your employees need it from you. Even if you never work with them.

This is even more critical if you are not fully back in the office. Remote work means nothing happens by lucky accident. You don’t just walk by someone and remember to thank them for staying late or knocking it out of the park at the team training.

I know for some of you this feels ridiculous. I’ve had agency owners say to me, “I keep paying them. That means they’re doing a good job.”  While it may not be in your nature to demonstrate your gratitude or call out the behaviors you want to reinforce in your team — it pays off.  If it’s not your style, think of it like eating vegetables or walking 10,000 steps even though you don’t want to.

It’s an investment in the longevity of your agency and that employee.

Drew points the way

If you naturally love to catch your people doing things right and shouting it to the moon — awesome. Except, you aren’t doing enough of it. And odds are, it’s not as universally spread out as it could be. You need to schedule and track it, to make sure you’re spreading the love evenly among your people.

I know…it feels artificial. And it is. But with a good outcome. I have a lot of friends who schedule date night with their main squeeze. Is that artificial? Sure…but you know who gets quality time with their mate every week? Right, the date night schedulers.

It can be as simple as a spreadsheet. Make sure your favorites don’t get all of the praise. Put a note to yourself on your calendar on Wednesday or Thursday. Use some code to remind yourself to go out of your way to pat someone on the back before the week is out.

As I mentioned last week — agencies are struggling to find good hires. If you have good people on your team, you want to keep them. If you don’t shower them with praise, someone else will…as they are wooing them away from your shop.

Spread the love people, spread the love!

Says our friend Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute
 

You Think That’s Scary? How About Finding and Landing a New Client for Your Ad Agency!

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

Consider Setup’s newly released study reporting “nearly one-third of U.S. brands may be contemplating switching up their ad agency in the next six months, while more than nine in 10 say chemistry is the most important factor in forging a new agency partnership. Their study sought insight from more than 300 marketers across major brands and agencies.” Of equal interest, more than 25 years ago, Sanders Consulting Group conducted a similar study but exclusively of major brands. There too 30% of polled clients expressed a willingness to consider a new agency if approached.

So there’s good news and bad. Good news if your agency has capacity and the desire for new clients. That being the case, get moving. Refresh relationships with traditional and on-line search consultants. Clean and update your profile here at AgencyFinder. Where you have directory listings, clean up that content. Ramp up your pro-active efforts. Keep your ears open. However, there’s bad news if any of your existing clients decide they want a new agency and start looking around. To stem the tide, pay close attention to existing clients. Deliver “First-Class” service and support. Learn and become adept on what they need to stay ahead of their own business development curve.

Take note – literally one-in-three advertisers could be potential candidates for movement, either in or out. So make your agency visible. Wave your hands; make some noise. Spend some money and now is a good time to make that investment at Manager Plan – not later when other agencies have already done what you need to do.

Prepping your agency for sale – Are you? Might you?

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

Retirement. Now there’s a loaded word. For some — it’s the holy grail that they’re working toward. For others, it’s the epitome of boredom and obsolescence. Others believe it’s an impossible goal.

Whatever your feeling about retirement, there’s one thing we know for sure. You can’t work at your agency forever. So what’s the plan?

The truth is — most of you don’t have a plan. You might have a vague idea or two, but in terms of a concrete plan, not so much (if you don’t have SMART goals and deadlines, it is not a plan!).

We do a lot of work with agency owners to get their agency in a desirable position for someone to buy it. And in most cases – it’s tough going for awhile. Most owners wait too long to get started. They want to be out in a year or two but haven’t prepped the shop for that. Waiting too long diminishes their options. I can tell you horror stories of agency owners who wanted to be out five years ago…and are still running their agency today.

So let’s make sure that is not you. For the next few weeks, I am going to focus on one aspect of your agency that needs to be in place before anyone will considering buying it. I don’t care if you’re 35 and just launched your business. You should still be building your shop so that it can stand on its own. Just like Stephen Covey taught us — begin with the end in mind.

Is your agency sellable element #1:

The more specialized your agency is, the more likely it is to sell.

I know you’re sick of the niche propaganda but hear me out. Outside buyers are much more attracted to agencies who serve a specific niche or a couple of related niches. The competition is much lighter, you can command a premium price, and the target market is clearly defined and contained. It typically also means you have fewer clients with a higher AGI and either consistent project work or a retainer agreement of some kind. Which also delights a buyer!

If you’re a generalist agency, your only real option is going to be an internal sale. Odds are your clients are local/regional and you have a lot of smaller clients with one gorilla or two.

There are a couple exceptions to the generalist rule. If you are a PPC/Paid search/lead gen. agency — then your clients aren’t typically local and you’ve got a lot of retainer clients. That makes you more attractive than a generalist marketing agency. You’ve also probably put 20-25% profit to the bottom line for the last several years, so that’s also in your favor.

For this to be a selling point for you — you have to embrace it. Your website, content, and client roster all need to support your specialization claim. You can’t hid it under a bushel because you don’t want to say no to any/all prospects who do not fall into the specialty area.

Of course, I am just scratching the surface here — but you get the message. When you’re talking about selling an agency — there are riches in the niches.

OK Drew, we’re ready to hear more! 

Today’s post by Drew McLellan of AMI

 

The danger of family thinking

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

For the past year, you have done everything you could to protect your team. Many of you have made some pretty significant sacrifices to make sure your folks had a job, health insurance, etc. during the pandemic.

But as I told you last week, their gratitude for all you’ve done was worn a little thin by November and now, you’ve got people asking for raises, leaving you for other opportunities, and just tapping out.

Behind closed doors, agency owners bemoan their employees behavior and admit that they’re taking the departure personally. It hurts when someone you’ve bent over backwards to help and to grow decides they want to leave. And the conversation usually starts like this, “After everything I’ve done for XYZ, they do this?

The answer is because they don’t think about you the way you think about them. Many agency owners think of their employees as family. As such, they go way above the call of duty to care for and nurture their employees. You might even refer to them as the kids or some other family colloquialism.

But they don’t think of you in the same way. Now, if you have a partner of the opposite gender, they might jokingly refer to you as mom and dad. But that’s in the “if dad says no, ask mom” sort of way.

They like and respect you. They might even love you. But they’re much better at separating their feelings for you from the job itself than agency owners are.

This was true before the pandemic and now that the crisis has passed, it’s true again. In last week’s newsletter I wrote about the shift from gratitude for having a job to asking for a raise. Again — they see the relationship differently. And, may I suggest, they view the relationship in a healthier way than some of us owners do.

Before I get hate mail, I want to be clear. I want you to love your team members. I want you to treat them well, pay them fairly, and create an amazing work environment. I want you to be invested in their growth. My personal goal is to ruin my employees for all others. But some have still left. Because it was the right thing for them, for their family, for their career, etc. We have to know that sooner or later, every employee is going to walk. No one can be indispensable.

We can’t think of the agency as our other family. It’s not healthy for us or the agency. When we think of them as family, we make bad business decisions. We keep a C player because we’re not sure they can get a job anywhere else. We tolerate lousy, corrosive behavior. We neglect to cut payroll when we don’t have the business to support it. We don’t call individuals out when someone disrespects the agency’s values. We go without a paycheck so everyone else gets paid.

They like/love and respect us. And many of them will stick around for a long time. But when they get a job offer for $10K more than we’re paying them, or they can get a promotion they might not get at our place for years — they will leave. Because it helps them get where they want to be.

We need to find a way to have that same healthy view of our employees. We can still love them as people but not be beholden to them for life. Next week we’ll explore how we can begin to make that shift.

Note: Critical Thinking by Drew McLellan of AMI

The aftermath of a 10-month adrenaline rush

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

Reflections by Good Fellow Drew McLellan of AMI

In March, you shot into action. You were unstoppable because you had no choice. Either you were fighting to save your agency or you were so slammed you were struggling to get the work out of the door.

You chased clients. You soothed employees and came up with all kinds of crazy ways to support them. You approached your bankers with dogged tenacity to get financial support. You clung to every penny and squeezed a nickel’s worth of value out of each one. You were ON.

Drew points the way

As things stabilized, you scrambled to delight the clients old and new, dealt with medical surprises, and fought to cross the 2020 finish line in the black.

Your adrenaline kept you fueled for those ten months. You were relentless in your efforts and it paid off. But you drained the battery dry.

You shifted into a lower gear throughout the holiday season and then, as January arrived, instead of being refreshed, focused, and fired up — you were the total opposite. I’ll bet you thought you’d come out of the holidays raring to go, with boatloads of energy and focus. But instead, those adrenal glands that have been working all three shifts for ten months, appear to be on strike.

See if you recognize any of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue, particularly when you first wake up, with episodic crashes throughout the day
  • Poor stress response
  • Challenges with regulating your moods
  • Brain fog/difficulty focusing for any length of time
  • Cravings for salty and sweet foods
  • A reliance on caffeine and other stimulants
  • Apathy or struggles to rise to the occasion

Many of you have described it as struggling to find your “mojo”. Since you don’t have the luxury of taking a month off or cruising to a remote island, you’ve got to identify some techniques to replenish your adrenal glands so they can give you the boost you need when you need it.

I don’t even play a doctor on TV so I’m not going to prescribe specifics beyond saying that several medical sites suggest upping our intake of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B5, B10, and B12
  • Magnesium

They also suggest adding more water, more sleep, and avoiding too much sugar and caffeine. Nothing earth-shattering — but all good ingredients for replenishment. I think the most important recommendation is recognizing that you need to re-fuel.

The sprint is over. I’m not saying everything is rosy but the crisis has passed and you have survived it.

We’re now in the marathon stage of working our way through a recession and getting back into our groove. Now is the time to slow your pace a little, fuel your body, and re-boot your adrenal glands.

I’m sharing all of this with you because many of you have been pretty frustrated that you can’t just “snap out of it.” I want you to see that you’re not alone in experiencing this and it’s not just in your head.

Stop beating yourself up and go give your adrenal glands a spa day!

Are you surprised at how 2020 is wrapping up?

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

To be honest, I’m not. I’m inspired by how 2020 is wrapping up, but I’m not all that surprised. I’ve watched you since the pandemic struck, and you’ve been remarkable.

Here’s what I’ve been witness to since early 2020.

  • You and your team reacted quickly when the lockdown hit
  • You made sure your team had everything they needed at home — extra monitors, better chairs, etc
  • You reached out to your clients with a very genuine desire to help and stayed by their side as they navigated the craziness of COVID
  • You started working double shifts to help clients, counsel your team, and face the financial truths
  • You made the difficult decision to crunch the numbers and watch them every week so you wouldn’t be caught off-guard
  • You started beating the streets — reaching out to former clients, the prospects in your pipeline, and anyone who responded to your outbound efforts
  • You chased down the PPP funds so you could ride out the storm
  • You created new offerings that would help your clients climb out of COVID’s grips
  • You found new ways to do old marketing tactics that worked in this weird moment in time
  • You made some difficult decisions and faced some hard goodbyes that broke your heart but protected your shop
  • You buckled down and created some truly helpful content that served your audience and attracted new people into your community
  • You hosted zoom cocktail hours, trivia contests, and karaoke debacles to keep up your team’s spirits
  • You landed some new clients and figured out how to onboard them even though you’d never met them
  • You kept up the crazy hours, working nights and weekends to keep everything running and your team calm
  • You guided your team back to the office in a safe and sane way (or this may still be on your to-do list for 2021) and reveled in the energy, collaboration, and joy of being back together
  • You brainstormed with clients to help them see the opportunities within the crisis and maximize them
  • You celebrated every win (big or small) with your team, and you’ve shouldered every loss in private, trying to keep everyone’s spirits up
  • You have clawed, crawled, and kicked your way back to profits, and now you are not only surviving in 2020, but you are thriving in it. For 90% of you, that means financially thriving. But even if you’re still working your way back money-wise, you’re thriving in other ways.
  • You have set yourself up for an amazing 2021

No wonder you’re tired, and no wonder I’m not surprised. You’ve been amazing.

Have you done it all perfectly? Probably not. But have you done it all with a full heart and the best of intentions? Have you run yourself ragged to take care of your clients, your team, and your family as 2020 is wrapping up?

The answer to all of those is a resounding yes. So you shouldn’t be surprised. You are right where you deserve to be because you earned it. With every late night and moment of worry. I hope you’re proud of yourself and what you’ve done. If you’ll permit me to say so, I’m incredibly impressed and proud of you.

All this as expressed and said by our good friend and association leader Drew McLellan at Agency Management Institute, AMI, check out Drew and his association!

 

 

What Did You Think of the Rubber Chicken?

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

What did you think of the rubber chicken? Today’s business development pros strongly suggest you avoid the cold call. Maybe that time is gone but maybe it’s time to bring it back. Folks are abandoning email like files on dead meat; the experts now advocate we annoy people in a new way. Let’s fill up their text message folders. People have considered text messages personal and sacred. But they do see business intrusion coming and they aren’t happy. But there’s good news for those working in the B2B world. Your intended recipients expect to be approached, one way or other. Enter direct mail and the call.

Your lead to leadsYour targeted B2B phone call will hit the target. It will always take more than one attempt, but your target finally answers. “Bernard Epson here”, and you say “Bernard, what did you think of the rubber chicken?” Rubber chicken you say! Yes you sent Bernard (or his female equivalent) a bright yellow rubber chicken. And he’s been waiting for your call. This call format is not for the faint of heart. It takes someone who can strike up a conversation and keep it going. The chicken (or anything else) is your conversation starter. What happens next is up to you but if you’re good, you had a warm conversation and an open door to call again.

Forrester: US Agencies Will Shed More Than 50,000 Jobs By 2021

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

by Alison Weissbrot

US agency sector will lay off about 52,000 jobs

The US agency sector will lay off about 52,000 jobs over the next two years as media spend declines 23%, Forrester predicts. Agencies are projected to cut 35,167 jobs in 2020 and 16,578 in 2021.

The global picture is even starker, with the big six agency holding companies poised to eliminate an additional 49,695 global positions by 2021.

“It’s a dismal forecast,” said Jay Pattisall, analyst at Forrester and author of the report. “Layoffs are inevitable and already underway.”

To date, all of the major holding companies have announced layoffs, furloughs and voluntary pay cuts. This activity will only continue as large swaths of the economy remain shut down and categories such as travel and retail are dark.

“This set of circumstances is unprecedented,” Pattisall said. “The contraction of spending is across the board, and agencies as a service provider take the biggest hit.”

Advertising agencies, which have struggled to adopt technology and are experiencing a long-term financial decline, will be the hardest hit by layoffs.

Advertising agencies already account for more than 50% of layoffs across the sector, and they are currently laying off 15% of staff on average, compared to 7% at digital and media agencies. Digital and media agencies offer more relevant services to clients looking to embrace digital transformation and communications.

“Economically, [advertising agencies] have been the most challenged in the United States,” Pattisall said. “Advertising has become a more programmatic and data-driven offering, and [advertising] agencies have been slower on the uptake of that technology.”

As agencies shed jobs, some will inevitably close, especially those that skew toward pressured categories or traditional services. Smaller agencies are more likely to close than larger ones with more resources or cash in the bank, but public companies are held to greater scrutiny for cost-cutting and creating shareholder value.

“The impact should be pretty even across the two,” Pattisall said. “But it’s likely that you see publicly owned companies taking action earlier because of the economic pressures.”

Silver lining?

As agencies are forced to reduce headcount, there’s “tremendous opportunity” to reshape their talent pool, Pattisall said. Agencies that embrace automation and hire talent with multidisciplinary expertise, as opposed to channel-specific knowledge, are better positioned.

“Ultimately, it will be less specialization and more of a multiskilled workforce that includes new systems and tools,” he said.

Agencies must also accept technology and automation as a fundamental part of their workflow. While digital and media agencies have been adopting automation, machine learning and AI for years, advertising agencies need to catch up.

Creative agencies, traditionally resistant to technology, have an opportunity to use automation to surface insights that inspire ideas, help teams collaborate and scale production. And media agencies can lean even further into AI and machine learning to inform audience segmentation, channel selection, budget allocation and measurement.

“I see all agency capabilities being assisted by automaton to one degree or another, from finance to HR, all the way through to strategy, creative and production,” Pattisall said.

Cuts to the agency workforce could inspire CMOs to bring more work in house, either to cut costs in the short term or as a result of agency talent drain. There will be more opportunities for brands to hire in-house talent or freelancers who have been laid off from agencies.

But eventually, companies will have to decide whether a long-term investment in an in-house team is worthwhile. And if it’s not, marketers have to play a role in reshaping agency structures and compensation models so they can survive in a new reality.

“CMOs that cut these corners may find themselves continuing to suffer from the impact of the shortening tenure inside the C-suite,” Pattisall said.

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