Blog Posts

Dear Mr. Agency New Business Advisor, I have a Question …

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

A real question from a real agency …

Agency – When I pitch, the response I sometimes get is… …we just want a video or brochure. And what I may see is that their customer service model is FUBAR and needs to be fixed before some kind of creative should be done. Like what we do is a band-aid for their bad business practices.  Maybe I should not care, but I do. I see marketing as the total customer experience.

Advisor – In some ways, new business is like dating (remember?) You need to start slowly a little bit at a time. Having proved yourself, you are then welcome to go further … Same situation here. In any proposal, even if just for a video, make certain you note that the video in itself will only work effectively if all else is in order. Don’t accept (better to deny any responsibility for “performance”) if you have identified roadblocks.

At the same time, give them a proposal for what you believe is also needed and be specific. Make it conditional in that you’ll get the next work if they are satisfied with the first assignment (you need to identify the conditions). The agreement/contract part is all business (no creative hokey-pokey!) Make sense?

Agency Responds – (food for thought) Thanks. Very good input. I was an executive at a TV network and did a lot of entertainment industry marketing for networks and record labels when I left. A pitch there may last 3 minutes. They want to know you are competent and you can get fired if you don’t take the initiative to do it all right. You don’t wait around proving yourself; if you see a chink in the armor you take action. You don’t deny responsibility, you take action. I have found that is not the norm in most businesses, unless you are in a place like LA or NYC.

Most people choose pain over getting well. Statistics tell us people want to stay sick, believe it or not. If I have to change or die, most people choose death. – Same goes in business.

My business coach says, just hunt for those people that are authentically seeking real change or improvement at the level you/we provide; as appropriate for their situation. In other words, pre-qualify them to make sure they are ready for the change.

The flip side is that (in my eyes) the people I see making money at advertising take the work that comes in the door and if the client is screwed up, ignore it. Just take their money. A sucker is born every minute and when that company takes a dive, there is another sucker behind them to bill. Just keep doing really pretty creative and billing. – Silly me, I was on the other side of the table wanting something tangible for my money. I want to give them stellar results.  It is one of the reasons, we mostly pay for results based marketing.

Maybe I am wrong.

 

 

 

What’s Getting you New Business This Summer?

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

When summer rolls around, most agencies used to resort to half-days on Friday and straggle in late on Mondays. That was true in them good olde days. But in this economy, with agencies running at full capacity with overworked staff, that custom isn’t as prevalent today.

But how about your agency? Are you running a lean week? Are you looking for prospects on the beach, at the river, at the cottage, at the lake? Or sitting near you at a Charlotte NASCAR event? Or are you (or someone assigned) plugging away on the phone, sending e-mails or mailing tchotchkes or rubber chickens with a clever letter?

What’s working for you?

In an Emergency (Like a New Client Invitation) how can we best reach you?

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

Let’s talk about media agnostics … We work day and night here in Richmond with a client in Philadelphia, (for example) to help them identify, evaluate and then tell us who to invite as candidates to handle their amazing account. Over the years, we’ve perfected a process that begins with an e-mail alert to each intended agency – to the primary plus alternate new business contacts (as listed in your profile). That alert includes client name, location and URL. Our next step is to send the full RFD (Request for Dialogue) via fax.

Why fax? Because the invitation is a collection of documents originating from different sources and for us, it’s easiest to aggregate them and send via a plain-paper fax machine. Yes, we know some tell us “no one uses fax anymore” yet surprisingly, some in New York who say that have a fax address prominently posted at Contact Us on their own website.

So tell us; what’s the best way and when to contact you? We know you are often out of the office, in meetings or on the phone. We know you carry Smart Phones and check them wherever you are at whatever time you decide. But when new business is on deck, we need to reach you and you need to be reached – if new clients and new business are on your radar!

 

 

Garbage In; Garbage Out – Your profile is your lifeline to new business …

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

July 16th we called your attention to some important changes and additions to our database and your profile. It read:

Important Database Additions: We recently added some new Fields Served, then removed some as well. Same is true for Services Offered. Clients are now selecting from those, so if you haven’t claimed them, you’ll be overlooked. You are urged to check & update your profile. (see below)

Your data must be both current and complete. By example, we added “Cloud service vendors” to Fields Served and OOH (Out of Home) and Shopper marketing to Services Offered. These and others were also added to the client side (where the Client specifies what they want from their new agency). If a client includes any of these in the search criteria and you have the experience or offer the services (but you’ve failed to update your profile) you are automatically and absolutely eliminated as a candidate.

We’ll do our part, but please do yours and update!

 

Are they out of their minds!!! They’ve dropped their prices …

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

That’s what some said. But it’s true and we think it’s just good marketing. In a recent agency newsletter, we wrote: We’ve got some important news to share. We’re instituting our first substantial reductions and changes to our pricing model in years. Based on pre-testing, I think you’ll find what we’ve done quite appealing. Check it out …

Plans & Prices: A simple presentation of four (4) Plan options. Starting with the “Free” Iridium, then moving to Manager, Director and EVP Business. See which one makes sense for your firm.

Getting started on the Iridium Plan: Regardless of size or experience, everyone starts at Iridium. In our original pricing scheme of Gold, Silver and Platinum, Iridium (a white metal) was where everyone began. Iridium is important; for starters it’s Free! And it’s the building block of your profile and how you move up to the next plans.

Special Offer: Enroll at the Manager Plan and receive a Free Audit. Evaluate your chances in real terms. Our search engine takes your agency profile and exposes your data to all registered client searches that occurred in the last 12-months. That process produces a report that’s yours to keep. For every client search where you surface, you’re able to see each client category, budget and their location and its not guessing. Its a powerful tool and only AgencyFinder has it!

Plan ComparisonsEVP Business Plan is your best bet if you’ve got a new business budget. Let’s say you get a client invitation where their budget is $5MM. The Contender Fee plus the $500 Registration puts you at $5,500 for the year. Compare that to your EVP Business investment at $2,995 EVP saves you $2,505.

If however your firm is new, with only a few employees and little set aside for business development, select the Manager Plan – so you can walk before you run. You can get involved with what’s going on, but you only contend when it’s a perfect fit!

Little secret … If you’re invited at Iridium or Manager and want to contend, skip the Contender fees by paying the EVP Business $2,995

 

 

Detroit-area Federal Lawsuit Begs for Professional Publicity – Payment Offered or Pro-Bono

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

We just posted this in our PitchCast section, but for those of you looking for what might be a “Hot-Potato” assignment, we thought it deserved this special attention. Is this for you?

Retired land developer and builder wants to hire a public relations firm or individual that has contacts with local Detroit, Michigan Metropolitan Area media outlets such as television, newspapers, etc.

I want to have a professional person that can help me in a major Federal lawsuit get information published concerning corrupt city personnel in a small suburban city north of Detroit, MI that have confiscated the home of a WWII veteran who fought in the Pacific Theatre and yet the government, through corruption and retaliation has taken over this person’s property and given it to one of the richest golf clubs in the country to use as a retension pond for all of its storm water.

For contact information, write or call 804-346-1812 Please do so now …

Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing Marketing today?

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

I suspect you’ve seen this posting on LinkedIn; it’s been up now for more than a month. In the beginning it was fun as well as interesting to see what industry leaders had to say. But then it started getting old …

The respondents made it obvious why marketers were having problems. If our industry’s “finest” couldn’t even READ (as in – it says can you use ONE WORD (not two or a sentence you fools!), then what hope is there to reach the general public … And the postings go on and on; when will the pain ever end? Moderator – please hit the Kill Switch!  This suggests all our messages (even in the B2B environment) need to be directed to the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR.

Any comments?

Tell it like it is Dorothy – as in “8 things you should never say to PR agency pros”

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

Every public relations agency executive delights in hearing from prospective clients. One great thing about the business is that you never know which award-winning campaign, career-changing relationship, or high-profile engagement might be just around the corner.

A typical part of the chase is a series of calls or meetings with client prospects who can have widely varying degrees of familiarity with the agency process, or who may not be clear (or agree) on what they want or need. They can say odd, confusing, and even exasperating things; in fact, certain comments are red flags that an experienced public relations agency exec will detect in an instant.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites.

“We’re looking for someone to grow with us.” This is my No. 1 peeve from a prospective client.  It’s understandable if the budget isn’t large; in fact, it might be a smart move to conserve funds for later (and we are happy to steer you to an excellent freelancer or boutique agency if that’s the case.) But the invitation translates to, “We can’t afford to pay fair value for your work, and even if we hire you, you’ll never be able to make money with us.” Not so appealing.

“Here’s a proposal from another agency that wasn’t right for us because it was too big/expensive/outside of our category.” This hasn’t happened often, but it’s ethically dubious, to say the least, and confusing at best. (What do you really want?)

“We need our story to be in The New York Times/TechCrunch/’Ellen’ by the time we launch.” Well, as my former client used to say to her CEO when he started down this road: “There’s one way to guarantee that. It’s called advertising.”

“For this assignment, we’re not sure if we need a PR firm or a digital marketing agency.” Hmm, well, then, neither are we. They are very different disciplines with distinct goals, and they often work in tandem, but perhaps you should review your objectives and conduct some research into each. I’d rather spend my time developing the best possible PR recommendations based on solid information than explaining what PR is or does.

“We’re not looking for formal proposals. Just give us an idea of how you’d approach our business.” I’ve heard this quite a few times but have never really understood what it means.

“How much for a press release?” Argh.

“We need a viral video!” This one needs no explanation; most PR people I know have deleted the word “viral” from their vocabularies.

“We’re looking at 30 agencies and hope you’ll want to participate.” Um, maybe not.

This article was contributed by Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications in New York. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week.

The Disappearing “Agency of Record” & Why …

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

This arrived today by e-mail from my friend Tim Williams who leads Ignition Consulting Group, an oft invited and well-respected presenter of “agency truths.”  I promptly called Tim to talk about the fact that he and I have come to the same conclusion about the same time.  His story is here; ours will unfold in the next two months.  Stay tuned …

Tim Williams writes:

Are you “Agency of Record” for most of your clients?  Some of your clients?  Any of your clients?  You might have answered this question differently a few years ago, but today the vast majority of agencies today provide just a few types of service for their clients.  They may have a “full service” offering but they don’t have the “full service” clients to match.
 
To prove this, prepare a simple spreadsheet with your main service offerings listed across the top. Now list your major clients down the left-hand side of the sheet.  For each client, indicate which of your services they use.  If you’re like most agencies, you’ll quickly see that not a single client retains you for true full service.  Instead, they hire you for a select group of capabilities, and work with other agencies for other services.

Time to match our business model with reality

This current state of affairs presents a real problem that most agencies aren’t willing to address; that they are structured and staffed for a business model (full-service agency of record) that began disappearing several decades ago. The only marketers looking for an AOR are small companies who have neither the budget nor the sophistication to assign and allocate marketing duties to multiple agencies. 
 
Among the larger marketers – the brands that most agencies covet – the predominant approach for working with agencies is the “Best of Breed Model” with the marketer acting integrator, surrounded by a federation of agencies who specialize in various components of the marketing mix: advertising creative, media, digital, social, experiential, CRM, etc.
 
So when your website and new business materials describe your agency as a “full-service, integrated marketing communications firm with a wide variety of services” you’re actually trying to sell something that the best and brightest target prospects aren’t really buying.  Again, this comes down to the type of client you want.  If you desire to work for your local bank, hospital, or car dealership, these types of organizations might in fact want “full service.”  But if you aspire to work with national brands, a full-service strategy won’t get you there.

Wanted: best in class

Time and again, the stellar marketers in North America indicate that their top criterion when selecting an agency partner is “the desire to focus on best-in-class specialists.”  They don’t expect any agency to be excellent in everything, and they find it curious if not a infuriating that agencies are not willing to name what they stand for.  Agency websites use such nebulous language that prospective clients are genuinely confused about what they agency actually does.  Or more importantly, what they don’t do. 
 
“Wide range of expertise” is a mutually-exclusive term that deserves to join the ranks of “airline food” or “military intelligence.”  By definition, you can’t have expertise in a wide variety of areas.  And while you’re busy selling “wide,” what clients want to hire is “deep.”  Isn’t time to start selling what your clients and prospects are really buying?

It Ain’t Always Pretty or End at a Pot of Gold …

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

We want you to know we do all we can to dissuade a client from using our service to “test” a relationship. When we hear there is an incumbent, we ask “Whassup?” Why are you doing a review? An often general and reasonable reply is “franky we are both tired of each other.” But there are times when, even at that, the client elects to include that incumbent in their review. That’s something we can’t prevent and we’re not going to deny you the opportunity to win that business just because …

So here you go: March 5, 2014 (with credit to Advertising Age)
 
Mercedes sticks with PHD after review. Omnicom’s PHD is keeping its Mercedes business after a review. Mercedes owner Daimler spends a large portion of its measured media budget on Mercedes, which was the top luxury auto brand in the U.S. in 2013. “Every couple of years, you want to check outside your universe to make sure you have the best partner for your business. That’s the case with PHD,” said a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz USA.  
 
Shit happens …

 

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