Flash Reports

AgencyFinder Launches First Industry Agency Rating Index

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – April 30, 2008

CONTENTS:

1. AgencyFinder Launches First Industry Agency Rating Index
2. AgencyFinder Debuts Service in United Kingdom
3. North American Subscription Plan Update
4. Frank Commentary from a Recent Searcher
5. Jelly Bean Cattle Calls and Other Non-Sequiturs
6. My God! They’re in Our Building!

AGENCYFINDER LAUNCHES FIRST INDUSTRY AGENCY RATING INDEX

Clients conducting an agency search have a new, sophisticated tool to better qualify prospects in the agency search and selection process. Business Partnering International’s agencyfinder.com, the world’s largest on line client/agency matchmaker, has announced its launch of the AgencyFinder Power Index™ (AFPI). The index provides searchers (clients and search consultants) with an objective measure of every registered agency’s “readiness” for new business.

“Ensuring the best possible match between agencies and clients has taken another leap forward,” says Charles G. Meyst, Chairman of BPI. “One of our on-going goals continues to be to reduce the guesswork in the agency search process. We believe the most prepared agencies deserve the opportunity to land the right client. Our AFPI rating will communicate an agency’s responsiveness to information requests, the completeness of its on line profile and interest in working within the structure of the AgencyFinder new business process,” Meyst added.

Mathematical Formula Measures New Business Readiness

“For more than a decade, our objective methodology of pairing up marketers with service firms has allowed clients to compare prospective agencies on nearly 500 different characteristics without relying on brand names or reputations. AgencyFinder provides a valid and fair way to create a short list for a search where every choice is a winner,” Meyst explains. “But now, we’ve created another indicator for clients to consider.” “The AFPI uses a proprietary mathematical formula that measures registered agencies on certain criteria within the AgencyFinder database. Clients have told us they do not have time to hunt down certain information, case studies, or determine fiscal responsibility in the search process,” says Meyst. “The AFPI essentially rates each of our registered agencies on the completeness of their files, among other factors, which results in a rating. The higher the rating (a perfect score is 100), the more we can assure the client that the agency has provided thoroughly prepared and up-to-date information to search against. Since the AFPI is a real-time computation, anything the agency does to improve its record is reflected immediately.” A power rating score also continuously reflects the agency’s historical record on invitation responsiveness, process compliance and fiscal responsibility.

Rankings vs. Ratings

“There are a number of industry rankings that measure agencies’ capitalized billings, work force, or number of offices, but clients are telling us what matters more is whether a prospective agency has actual expertise, reliability and fiscal responsibility relative to their needs. There have been countless

times a client will develop a preliminary list of prospective agencies, only to find that critical information is missing from an agency’s data file. They simply do not have time to launch an investigation to find missing case studies, essays or other pertinent information.

“Now a client with a list of agency prospects can consider the AFPI rating as an indicator that the agency has provided enough information for the client to conduct a fair and comprehensive preliminary evaluation as part of their initial due diligence.”

“We want to make sure all of our agencies have an excellent chance of landing new business and are in good standing,” explains Meyst. “The AFPI algorithm reflects the completeness of the agency data file while not discriminating between large, mid-size and small agencies with regard to capitalized billings, or employee counts.

“It’s a matter of trust,” adds Meyst, an ad industry business development authority but seldom-mentioned degree-holder in mechanical engineering who developed the formula. “The AFPI allows clients and agencies to participate in a search process where each is confident that each party has passed muster with AgencyFinder standards.” AGENCYFINDER DEBUTS SERVICE IN UNITED KINGDOM

The world’s largest on-line client/agency matchmaker, AgencyFinder, has announced the launch of its service in the United Kingdom. “When looking at the global marketing services market, it’s clear that London is a hotbed of creativity and agency growth,” explained Charles G. Meyst, Chairman of Business Partnering International, Ltd., the parent company of AgencyFinder. “That’s why we decided to set up operations in London in order to launch our development and expansion into the UK and the European markets.”

“We’re very pleased to announce the selection of Reardon Smith Whitaker (RSW) as exclusive agent for AgencyFinder. Adam Whitaker, RSW’s CEO, is a well-known and highly-respected expert on business development for marketing service firms and his partner, Sam Reardon Smith has been named Managing Director of AgencyFinder’s operations in London. Our relationship with RSW started last fall and through our combined efforts we were able to open the European version of AgencyFinder (www.agencyfinder.eu) earlier this
month. We’ve already started to see client registrations seeking our assistance in their selection of marketing service companies.”

RSW is a leading provider of outbound business development services for marketing service companies in the UK. The consultancy’s clients range from leading advertising and PR agency brands to niche boutiques. “The approach we take with AgencyFinder is different than our outbound marketing efforts on behalf of client agencies,” explained Ms. Reardon Smith. “The AgencyFinder process enables clients who have an immediate and pressing need to define the precise attributes they’re looking for in a marketing service provider and then employ the AgencyFinder search engine and database to identify the most suitable agencies based on that profile.

“Once that’s done, our consultants step in and help guide the client through the final selection, invitation and review process. It’s a unique mix of on-line and personal consulting that, to our knowledge, isn’t available anywhere else in the UK or Europe.” Ms. Reardon Smith also mentioned that RSW has designated senior staff consultants to handle the clientconsulting work and they are undergoing training by AgencyFinder’s US-based operations staff.

Once AgencyFinder’s UK operation is fully up and running, Mr. Meyst projects a significant increase in search activity on both sides of the Atlantic. “We already handle searches for European companies looking for US agencies, but with a consulting staff based in London, we expect to see that number increase dramatically. The same can be said for US companies looking for agency support in the UK and throughout Europe.”

AgencyFinder’s Soft Opening Starts with a Bang

According to Mr. Meyst, AgencyFinder’s UK site launched earlier this month without much fanfare to give agencies time to register and complete their records. Each agency record contains more than 500 data options plus seven essay and case history narratives. The precision of the AgencyFinder matchmaking process depends on accurate and complete data, so this is a critical task for each agency. As that was happening, some clients discovered the site and registered as well, triggering new account search activity even before the launch of the site was formally made public.

“It wasn’t much of a problem,” smiled Mr. Meyst. “We have quite a few agency offices currently listed
throughout the European Union. But now we’re coordinating everything with our colleagues at RSW to make sure all our searches, even our very first – go through without a hitch.” According to AgencyFinder, the company’s database currently contains information on over 5,000 agency offices located throughout the world. The website indicates more than 8,400 completed client searches.

About Reardon Smith Whitaker – RSW is the UK’s leading business development firm for marketing service companies. RSW works hand in hand with each agency and takes on the responsibility for getting them meetings with prospective clients so they can develop a relationship with a view to securing new business. More information is available at www.rsw.co.uk.

NORTH AMERICAN SUBSCRIPTION PLAN UPDATE
By Doug Sidle

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new AgencyFinder Subscription Plan for North America, please do so. This new plan was introduced February 1, 2008 in conjunction with activities associated with our new UK and European operations. Our basic rates had been unchanged since they were introduced in 1997. This new plan does not reflect an increase, but rather a simplification. The fee structure and incremental payment plan makes AgencyFinder affordable for virtually any agency. And if you’ve been a long-standing registrant, we have a special preferred-rate renewal for you when you inquire. Please check your anniversary date and then give us a call. If you receive an introduction, your invoice will be based on the new plan unless you initiated and completed your renewal prior.

Visit: http://www.agencyfinder.com/agencyfinder-subscription-north-america.shtml

This new plan was effective February 1, 2008 and applies to all registered agencies at that time and since.

FRANK COMMENTARY FROM A RECENT SEARCHER

Dear AgencyFinder,

Like many smaller companies, we have grown to
the point that we needed help marketing and advertising our brand. The initial thoughts about how great it would be to have professionals help us were quickly replaced with anxiety about selecting an agency. After a brief search on the internet, I quickly came to the realization that it would be difficult to conduct a thorough search without help.

We operate a residential real estate company in the mountains of North Carolina and we couldn’t afford to have our small marketing budget wasted. We needed a great value for our money! The following questions became apparent immediately: Do we need someone close to our location? Do we need someone who specializes in marketing for our industry? How do we know that the agency will be as good at servicing our account as they were at getting the business?

After a day or two of looking, I came across AgencyFinder. I was intrigued by the idea of an objective intermediary helping us with our search, but I was still skeptical that someone could make such a daunting task manageable. Once I spoke with their consultants in Glen Allen, and saw the results they sent me, I knew that I didn’t have to look any further. From that point, the process was relatively painless. The only bad part about the search was the fact we came up with 4 great agencies from which to choose.

Unfortunately, we could only hire one of them. In our line of our work we accept bids from multiple vendors on almost everything we do, but we had never, until we worked with AgencyFinder, had a situation in which we couldn’t go wrong with any of our choices. Now, almost two months into our agency relationship we are getting great work that I would have never dreamed that we could afford. Thank you so much, AgencyFinder!

Daniel J. Barr, Junior Partner
Barr Family Developers

JELLY BEAN CATTLE CALLS AND OTHER NON-SEQUITURS
By Chuck Meyst

One of our registered agencies was telling us the other day about an RFP they received from a consultant and later learned it went to 30 agencies. They happened to know some of the “30” and found themselves comparing notes. More than a few agencies, having also heard the number, agreed that was “ridiculous” and talked of tossing the RFP and walking away. Imagine the nerve, the gall of that client; of that consultant!

Our agency apparently kept their mouth shut, other than to venture the question – “how many agencies might do the same?” Assuming everybody would learn of the “number”, the others speculated that most would toss it, as they were planning to do. And that’s just what happened. Only five (5) agencies responded. So it went from the “abundant” 30 to an intimate 5. As our agency told the story – when they learned there were 5 finalists, they speculated each agency had a 20% chance and planned accordingly.

At AgencyFinder we know differently because our clients share their behind-the-scenes thinking. The fact is – it’s not like each agency is a black jelly bean (inanimate and indistinguishable from the other four); each agency is a living, breathing, on-the-spot creative powerhouse, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or NOT! Each agency does not sit passively; each agency should and will endeavor to distinguish themselves somehow. Some will prove their candidacy; others will show why they deserve to be eliminated.

For each, the ultimate outcome is a matter of preparation, pro-activity, passion, presentation, proposition and perseverance. (the Six-P’s) He who puts gets. He who whines & winces looses. I cringe when any agency talks about the odds. When they do, it’s generally from a doomsday perspective. To win new business, let me encourage you to see it from a different angle. Rather than duck and run, regardless of the number at Round One, ask and answer two questions. 1. Is our agency truly qualified? and 2. Do we want this business? Only if the answer is “Yes” to both should you put your collective minds to the challenge of a. Arriving at the most compelling or potentially outrageous way to respond so as to be impressive and worthy b. spending the least amount of time (and staff dollars) doing so c. creating a response package that will move you to Round Two, and d. ignoring your competition and eliminating any subsequent anxiety because of their presence or celebrity.

Hey, your momma didn’t raise no jelly bean!

MY GOD! THEY’RE IN OUR BUILDING!
By Kaille Padgett

It’s not really as bad as you might think; matter of fact, it’s happened once before with Foot Locker. On this occasion, back in late February, a snack food company in Rockville Center, NY registered and began their search process. Clients always get a candidates spreadsheet from us in the early
stages, but that report doesn’t yet include the agency names. It does however show agency locations. During a phone conversation with the client she remarked “I see there’s one agency right here in Rockville Centre!” I gave her the agency name and address and she squealed – “My God! They’re in our building!” And they certainly were. With little pause for breath, she did a quick cut & run, and now we’re waiting for confirmation of her hire decision. Talk about great matchmaking …

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

December 2007 Breaks Search Registration Records!

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – January 28, 2008

CONTENTS:

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!

Dear AgencyFinder,
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
Florence, Alabama
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.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Agency New Business Rating System

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – October 31, 2007

CONTENTS:

1. Agency New Business Rating System
2. Best Practices – Agency Search Agreements
3. Top 10 Lies PR Firms Tell Their Clients

AGENCY NEW BUSINESS RATING SYSTEM

What’s your score? What’s your rank? What does this mean to an advertiser? More specifically, what’s your AgencyFinder (AF) Power Index (API)? And what does it mean?

The number itself can be found in multiple locations. It’s on your Authorized Agency Confidential Report #13 at: www.agencyfinder.com/agencies/secure/ It’s on the Authorized Agency Client Version Report #14 at the same link. It’s on the client’s green cell spreadsheet display at the End of Database Search; it’s contained in the pop-up reports adjacent to that green cell display; and finally, it’s on the Authorized Agency Report we provide to clients as they begin final selections (that’s the client version of what you see at #14).

It’s been a long time coming (first announced to agencies in early 2005), but it’s in response to client requests for a tool to make some early, but well-founded cuts to the candidate list. Taking our direction from client survey results and a blue-ribbon panel, we created a real-time algorithm that scores and ranks each agency in the database.

In a nutshell, a Perfect Score = 100. This API algorithm reflects the completeness of the agency data file while not discriminating between large, mid-size and small agencies with regard to capitalized billings, employee counts, number of offices, etc. Missing data, missing or incomplete essays and case histories are subtractive. The algorithm also reflects the agency’s historical record on invitation responsiveness, process compliance and fiscal responsibility. The algorithm makes no representation as to agency creative capabilities or the potential for “great chemistry.”

Read about it at: http://www.agencyfinder.com/power2-index.shtml There’s still time to make positive revisions to improve your score.

BEST PRACTICES – AGENCY SEARCH AGREEMENTS

A recently published AAAA position paper has introduced an interesting concept that agencies are probably rooting for; whether clients are as receptive remains to be seen. The paper contains the language “The AAAA recommends that member agencies execute new business agreements with client prospects at the beginning of every agency search.” The portion that is both interesting, and some say far-reaching, is that portion titled “Reimbursement Covering Agency Participation and Expenses.” The text continues: “In advance of participating in a marketer search, agencies and the marketer should agree on what level of remuneration will be paid to the agency for participating in the review, as well as what costs of participation in the search will be reimbursed. Advertiser payment to agencies should specify that payment is solely intended to offset agency cost of participation in the review and does not alter the agency’s ownership of agency-developed presentation concepts and materials.” The paper is in the New Business Tool Kit at: http://www.aaaagencysearch.com/

Most would agree that no agency should be expected to produce speculative creative unless there is compensation. But the challenge there is to set a level of remuneration to actually compensate for the value of the work. Sample agreement language also stipulates “to reimburse our actual direct out-of-pocket (travel, research, production, etc.) costs associated with these activities …”

How much would an agency declare to be “out-of-pocket?” If one contender were to conduct extensive market research and bill it through, but another already had the data and didn’t, is the first entitled to reimbursement? How about this – since it’s not uncommon for agencies to hire third-party new business consultants to help prepare and assemble the pitch itself, yet that consultant won’t be around later to work the account, is that expense covered? Would a competing agency divulge all their new business weapons and show the extent of their “outsourcing” and then ask to get paid for using them?

We’ll test the waters going forward to see what clients and agencies are thinking. What’s your input?

P.S. – Where did this concept originate? What other industry contenders get reimbursed?

TOP 10 LIES PR FIRMS TELL THEIR CLIENTS

Our registered business friend Steve Blinn at BlinnPR recently posted the following at his blog. With his permission, and for our other pr agencies, hope you enjoy.

“Doing any sort of business requires the spewing of some polite falsehoods to lubricate the wheels of commerce. But there are fabrications that are particular to the PR business. You see them lurking, again and again, in the latest cut and paste press release announcing a new client win. You read them on agency blogs or hear about them from disillusioned clients.

And now, here they are, neatly organized into a list that will help you and your company spot the most common PR ploys.

1. “This is such a terrific product/service!

Part of public relations is managing clients’ expectations. Not all products and services are newsworthy; some will appeal only to a niche market. Others are entering a market that’s already over-saturated. But many agencies are scared of telling their clients the truth, fearing they’ll lose the business. Instead of functioning as a strategic advisor, they act like an over-eager suitor on a first date.

2. “Your account is in the best possible hands…”

PR firms often bring their best, brightest and most articulate stars to the pitch and imply that this is the talent working on an account that bills $3-5K per month (at most). How many times have you heard that senior staff will be pitching the media on your behalf? Meanwhile, back in the real world, a junior account exec, or one with limited experience, is handling your account and has no idea about your company or technology.

3. “Our agency has deep experience with technology companies like yours.”

Never mind the fact that likely 90%+ of that collective experience no longer works at the agency, having long ago moved on to competing agencies or retired/passed away.

4. “We’re doing all that we are supposed to do.

“Often an agency will tell a client, well after the agreement is signed and months into the

assignment, that something can’t be done because it’s beyond the scope of work. For example, the agency won’t pitch speaking opportunities because it’s “beyond the scope of work.” Nonsense — getting media attention for a client through any possible, valuable venue is the job, period.

5. “We know Web 2.0”

More and more PR firms are offering clients help with podcasts, promoting and writing blogs and writing social media releases carefully optimized to ride high in search engine results. That’s great, assuming the agency has real expertise. There are plenty of blogs that were guaranteed to “ramp up your SEO” that remain languishing, unread in the backwaters of the Internet. And you can podcast until you’re blue in the face without seeing any improvement in your site’s page rank. Run away fast from any agency that suggests Twitter or a social network can magically solve all of your PR problems.

6. We have great relationships with (insert high profile reporters’ names here)”

I’m dumbfounded when prospects want me to drop names of reporters I know—as my list of business connections really means nothing for the client. Reporters know a lot of PR people, and vice-versa. But whether a reporter likes a PR rep or not, they aren’t going to write a story that isn’t interesting to their readers. In any case, it’s far better to find the right reporters to tell an interesting story to the right readers than to keep pitching a small group of elite reporters.

7. “We have affiliate offices all over the world.”

Not a lie, exactly — assuming they aren’t counting their freelancers’ apartments as satellite offices. The falsehood is the implication that this matters to the prospect. In reality, lots of dots on the map that’s proudly displayed on an “About Us” page doesn’t mean squat unless there is a need or purpose. How will a branch office in Barcelona or Budapest serve your business?

8. “We offer highly-targeted strategic public relations.”

When in fact they just routinely blast out press releases via e-mail, with the hope that something will stick, and reporters know to automatically delete the latest gibberish from ABC agency because they never send anything useful or interesting. Here’s a tip. Ask exactly who the agency is pitching. A small, well-selected list of reporters is far better than sending a release or pitch to a huge mailing list comprised of every reporter that anyone in the agency knows, has heard of, or thinks may probably exist.

9. “We do a great job taking advantage of the news cycle.”

Certainly getting your client’s comments out on the topic du jour is a good thing, but it’s far more important to think outside the box and make the news. Coming up with creative pitches is more difficult than riding the news wave, so many agencies convince clients that a quote embedded in a few stories about the crisis of the moment is great PR. In reality, it’s a small part of what an agency should be doing.

10. “It’s not our fault. Your product/service just isn’t all that compelling.”

The biggest falsehood agencies foist upon clients is that poor PR performance is largely the client’s fault. The truth is that there are many minimally talented people in the PR business who send poorly written press releases via unsolicited email blasts and annoy journalists with a steady stream of boring, predictable crap. If the agency didn’t tell you your product was a tough sell at the beginning of your relationship, they shouldn’t tell you that after their campaign fails.”

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Final Presentations from a Client’s Perspective

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – August 14, 2007

CONTENTS:

1. Final Presentations from a Client’s Perspective
2. The 4A’s Burtch Drake had Questions; So Do We
3. Agency New Business Options – The List
4. A Rose By Any Other Name
5. Accept No Substitutes

FINAL PRESENTATIONS FROM A CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE

We’re working on a White Paper to address those infamous “Final Presentations.” I invite your input, so to get your juices flowing, let me share some bits from a recent review.

Last Friday final presentations were held for a great “Casino” account. This was our second assignment for the same management company; it’s a $4 million account in California. This review included a client RFP that described what contenders were meant to send in response; there was also language to describe what was expected during final presentations. To quote: “Original creative work specific to this project does not need to be included in this submission. The submittal must include samples of past creative work, marketing concepts, or execution from other projects that the agency considers creative or unique.” In other words, the client was specifically saying they did NOT want any work or suggestions with respect to the account itself.

For finals, a small handful of agencies (3-4) were selected to present “creative concepts.” The RFP also included the following: “The Property has the right to use any or all ideas presented in any reply to this RFP.” It also stated that “The Property shall not be responsible for any cost or expense which may be incurred by the respondent in preparing and submitting the proposal called for in this RFP, or any cost or expense incurred by the respondent prior to the execution of a contract agreement.”

Some agencies asked about being paid for proposal ownership. The client reiterated that “no spec” was necessary, but each agency was free to do whatever it took to demonstrate their appropriateness and/or uniqueness. There was no agency consensus as to what that fee might be (to pay for ownership), and the client already stipulated no payment would be made. On this and the previous review, the client’s interesting position was that it was possible that more than one agency could present identical or at least very similar “suggestions, themes, concepts, strategies, etc.” The hiring of one and subsequent use of proposal materials might suggest to the other that their work had been “compromised” when in fact it hadn’t. That could lead to time, expense and even potential litigation. That’s why the client and their legals included terms for ownership in the RFP. All finalists accepted those terms. This topic and particularly this issue is open for debate at the moment. Let’s see if we can map a strategy and assemble some acceptable alternatives fair to all. Your input please…

THE 4A’s BURTCH DRAKE HAD QUESTIONS; SO DO WE.

AdAge ran a story July 22nd following O. Burtch Drake’s appearance at the ANA Agency- Client Relations Forum. As President-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, it was reported that Burtch had lots of questions, but few answers. I was impressed however by some of his rather “pithy” comments; one in particular “Why did those damned journalists fail to point out that the same search consultant that had originally organized the ill-fated Wal-Mart review was allowed to preside over the re-run?”

In a similar fashion, we have a few pithy QUESTIONS for Burtch – (our thoughts are posted below)

1. What’s the 4A’s definition of a Agency Search Consultant?
2. Have you read your own materials? (as in – the AAAA/ANA Rules of the Road for Agency Search Consultants) http://www.aaaagencysearch.com/info/rulesroad.asp

3. Have you examined the business models of all your listed and presumably compliant Agency Search Consultants?

4. Why is it that every listed Agency Search Consultant (save one) is marked with an asterisk * as if “compliant” when that’s not so? http://www.aaaagencysearch.com/info/selection.asp

5. Is there any compensation or “offset” for a member-agency that chooses to decline to “participate” because a review is not being run according to 4A rules?
Suggested ANSWERS:

1. It’s time the 4A’s clarify and amend their Rules of the Road to state that an Agency Search Consultant is an independent third-party hired and COMPENSATED by the CLIENT to conduct a search for the CLIENT. Any consultant business model that derives revenue (under any circumstance, not just at the same time) from both Clients and Agencies is ethically compromised and in violation of your 4A rules.

2. If Burtch has read them, maybe not quite carefully enough. Take a look at their “approved” list of Agency Search Consultants. Every listed Agency Search Consultant is compensated by the client, but more than one (count them yourself) assertively invite agencies to register, charge a fee to be in their database, charge a fee to embellish their listing, and that clearly applies to the above-mentioned Wal-Mart consultant.

3. I’d say “No.”

4. Because they elect to turn a blind eye?

5. Some of our best agency associates are members of the AAAA. If they get compensated, no one has yet confessed!

Looks like our industry needs something along the lines of Sarbanes-Oxley to keep things straight!

AGENCY NEW BUSINESS OPTIONS

Once upon a time, there were a few leaders-of-the-pack in teaching agency new business development. Through natural ebb and flow, those of the 90’s have been displaced. In our next Flash Report we’d like to list the current batch of “experts.” As things evolved, new business also includes those who provide third-party agency “outreach” and appoint- ment setting. Again, on this topic as well, your input please. Tell us who you know or know about. We’ll also post some well-known, well-worn, seldom-practiced agency programs that have persevered over the years.

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

We like to share outstanding “essays”, and nothings changed. From The Karma Group in Green Bay, WI.

CULTURE
The trenches are a happy place. That’s where all the action is, so that’s where we are, too. We’re committed to a blue collar, roll-up-your-sleeves, get-a-little-dirt-under-your-fingernails culture.

We build things. We build brands. We build market share. And we build relationships. It’s just who we are. It also happens to be who most of your customers and prospects are as well. They’re real people living real lives with real dreams and real pains. We can relate to them as long as we keep it real. So don’t be expecting a lot of crystal and ivory from us. We’re more the sawdust and beer fridge type.

RELATIONS

From consumer goods to heavy industrial equipment, from transportation companies to health care systems, and from publicly traded companies to non-profits, the organizations that we work with share the same desire to perform, while building lasting relationships. What we expect from people who work in our shop:

Pour yourself into your work. Don’t hold back. Get upset when your greatest idea dies on the table. Then get over it. Then get over it. Fast. Brush your teeth before coming to work. Care about something bigger than yourself. Fall in love with people, but never with your own ideas. Put your tools away when you’re done with them. Worship deadlines. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Treat details like you’re cutting diamonds.

What we expect from our clients:

Laugh once in awhile. Life’s short, be human. Expect us to be excellent, but not perfect. Be open and upfront. If you don’t feel you can trust us, please don’t hire us. Love your customers and appreciate their intelligence. Please tell us if we smell badly, but be polite about it. Respect our integrity. Please do not ask us to do anything unethical. Let us do what you hire us to do.

What we expect from our work:

Work its little tail off. On target. On time. On brand. On budget. Irresistible freshness. Every once in awhile, make someone’s palms sweat. Give our clients’ competitors an itchy rash. Be brilliant.

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES

I’m flattered when someone praises us, our business model, or the fairness by which agencies and clients are treated. I’m not flattered nor am I impressed when someone with no apparent credentials, no name, no face, no facts and a slimy way of “doing” approaches agencies and purports to have pioneered what we’ve been advocating and practicing since 1997. I’m also annoyed when someone even plagiarizes my parodies that serve to illustrate the strength and virtues of what we do. What we introduced in 1997 was tested and developed during our consultive teaching days dating back to 1990 and is the fruit of our daily labors.

If someone tries to sell you a bill of goods, write them a rubber check!

P.S. – That reminds me. For the life of me (you should hear what clients say), what excuse is there for not having names, even photos of agency personnel on your website? Imagine the client’s reaction when they click on “Partners” and read, “We’re not like the BIG agencies. Here at WATAJKE, you won’t work with Juniors; you’ll work directly with principals. Industry veterans who’ve worked in the trenches, know the ropes, but would rather not identify themselves.” Please, what is the excuse… P.P.S. – Another new business tip. On your agency’s voicemail system, before you trot callers through the laborious directory option, how about starting with, “If you’re interested in speaking with us about your account, please press # 1!”

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

This Search Was Faster Than a Speeding German Bullet

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – June 27, 2007

CONTENTS:

1. This Search Was Faster Than a Speeding German Bullet
2. Just What “WERE” They Thinking?
3. Some Essays Are Powerful – Check This One
4. Time to Tidy Up for New Business

THIS SEARCH WAS FASTER THAN A SPEEDING GERMAN BULLET

March 29th – we received an e-mail, then a telephone call from the Head of Corporate Communication with Schüco International KG, in Bielefeld, Nordrhein Westfalia (Germany), Europe’s leader for windows, curtain walls and solar products. With a small a branch in Newington, CT, they wanted to expand U.S. operations. Their request? Please help us select a handful of qualified agency candidates to meet with during our next US visit April 10th – 13th (only 7 business days later).

The client ultimately specified Boston and surrounding area for candidate agencies and framed up their search requirements on-line. They selected eight (8) for invitations; after telephone interviews, they identified six (6) they planned to meet.

Logistics were a bit wild (the agencies will attest to that) and some connections didn’t come to pass. Following agency site visits, three agencies were selected as finalists and were given small test-evaluation assignments.

Shortly thereafter, about May 31st, Schüco awarded their business to Kelly Habib John in Boston. We’d love to say we did that for KHJ, but they were the only agency Schüco considered that wasn’t presented from the AgencyFinder camp. Turns out (as a tip for all the new business pros), KHJ had placed their agency brochure in a local hotel the client visited on a previous trip and that lead to their inclusion. How’s that for “business development?” And how about 44 business-days from invite to award for an expedited process! Member-agencies Connelly Partners and Underdog Partners put up a close and valiant fight.

JUST WHAT “WERE” THEY THINKING?

As this is written, we’re in the final stages of a review for a client that manufactures and distributes an “energy drink.” They’re in the nation’s Top 5 and spend about $20 million a year on advertising. They came to AgencyFinder to find and hire a public relations firm based on an estimated budget of $500,000. Their desires were rather simple – they wanted media relations ultimately to reach a series of specific consumer vertical markets. Nothing fancy or cutting edge; more meat and potatoes if you please. The client website is quite nice and touts the fact that the product is available in Wal- Mart, K-Mart, CVS, Walgreens to name just a few. The website also carries product photography. At the onset, we were tempted to “buy it & try it” but it wasn’t a pressing matter for our role in the process.

Following our advocacy, the client traveled to New York from their mid-west headquarters and met with candidates there. In one such meeting, the client (party of four) sat with a major pr firm (party of four). As the meeting began, the client opened an attaché and took out some product. One wag with the agency remarked – “Oh, that’s what it looks like!” You could have heard a pin drop…

We hear stories like this all too often. Is there ANY excuse for any agency candidate to demonstrate either how little they care & prepare; or how little they need new clients? I won’t repeat what the client had to say.

P.S. – Don’t forget – registration at AgencyFinder also includes no-cost new business counsel and critique. We cut our teeth on agency business

development; we taught it for years at our sister company Sales Marketing Institute, Ltd, and before that with Sanders Consulting Group. We’re “match-makers” AND new business pros. Ask if you need help…

SOME AGENCY ESSAYS ARE POWERFUL – CHECK THIS ONE

We review and approve all agency essays (new or revisions) so we get some pretty interesting submissions. Here’s one that hit a home run, so we asked for permission to share it. Thanks to Mason, Inc. in Bethany, CT. Charlie Mason, CEO. This is the agency’s submission for the essay “Culture.”

Here are our Guiding Principles as communicated to employees:

Creativity is everybody’s job.
We’re in the business of generating fresh thinking. That’s not a one department responsibility. Be an idea geyser, no matter what your title or department.

Bias for action.
Get things done. Be proactive. No one should have to hold your hand or tell you what to do. It’s your responsibility to make something good happen. No white lies!
Nothing good ever comes from even the smallest form of misrepresentation. Tell the truth.always.

Respect.
Treat everyone with respect. Being nice to clients, demonstrates intelligence. Being nice to subordinates and suppliers, shows who you really are.

Run to trouble.
Problems seldom disappear on their own. The sooner you face them, the sooner you can find a solution.

Surprising level of service.
Every decent agency provides good service. Constantly look for ways to go beyond good to demonstrate that extra level of commitment.

It’s not Monopoly money.
It’s the real thing. So use some of that creativity to do the job better, and save money at the same time.

Communicate.
We are not just in the communications business. We are also in the business of communicating. To clients. To suppliers. To each other.

For the love of it.
That’s why you’re in this crazy business. And it’s why you thrive on long hours and insane pressures. Because you can use your brain. And you’re never bored. And it’s fun.

Amen and Hooray! (The Editor)

TIME TO TIDY UP FOR NEW BUSINESS

In case nobody has mentioned that the “lazy days of summer” are a great time to catch up on fixing, building or revising your agency new business materials, let me be the one to do so. A relaxed moment this summer is also conducive atmosphere to spend daydreaming, and/or thinking out-of-the-box. Friday afternoon at most agencies can be a lonely place, but clients and the staff here seem to keep busy. I suggest you put your feet up and get “spatial” about what new business you can do for new business.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Agency Professionals Reveal Rare New Business Secrets at Private NYC Meeting

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – April 23, 2007

CONTENTS:

1. Agency Professionals Reveal Rare New Business Secrets at Private NYC Meeting
2. Do Not Let Your Clients Implement Off-Shore Tech or Customer Support!
3. What Exactly Do Clients Want & Expect From a Search Consultant?
4. Conventional Agency Search Consultants Get on-Stage Grilling 5. CMO Tenure @ 23 months? Do You Believe That Crap?
6. GSD&M Reveals New Business Secret Weapon
7. Looking for New Business Talent

AGENCY PROFESSIONALS REVEAL RARE NEW BUSINESS SECRETS AT PRIVATE NYC MEETING

Some 400 of the industry’s finest new business pros (ad agencies, pr firms, etc.) gathered March 27-28th in NYC to share and compare effective new business secrets. And they did just that. The Mirren/Adweek New Business Conference was well attended by those who heard entertaining and educational stories, case histories and a rather amazing willingness to share what otherwise has been kept close to the vest, in the way of pitch and

presentation errors, in-depth self analysis, and corrective actions. We’re talking industry “Big Boys & Girls” including Saatchi & Saatchi, The Martin Agency, Kaplan Thaler and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Not one described internal machinations or fights over “what to call ourselves”, but rather how to identify a prospect’s needs and then articulate that and the ability to deliver accordingly.

The overriding advice was to chose your battles carefully. Whether the prospect is one you identified yourself, or one that singled you out (via a consultant invitation, an AgencyFinder invitation, a referral or as a “blue bird,”) don’t move forward to invest time, talent, effort or cash unless or until you establish there’s a fit and reasonable chance for successful conversion. Interestingly, that was what Donny Deutsch and Andy Berlin proclaimed from the podium at the 4A’s New Business Summit a few years ago. Nothing’s changed, but agencies need to be reminded.

DO NOT LET YOUR CLIENTS IMPLEMENT OFF-SHORE TECH OR CUSTOMER SUPPORT!

There is NO ROI in off-shore tech support or customer support! Sure it’s initially cheap. But don’t put your stamp on any such recommendation for a client of yours to go “off-shore.” Not unless you can be assured they won’t be guilty of those idiosyncrasies that drive folks mad. Want to trigger an emotional eruption? Talk to almost anyone about the infamous off- shore (typically Indian dialect) customer support; the phony cover names, the fact they sound virtually identical. Add the fact that when we call from the US, we’re talking with people that ought to be sleeping and who have the uncanny talent to ignore most of what we say, and instead encourage us to follow a step-by-step process from their one- size-fits-all support manuals.

How many times have we heard that it’s cheaper and more effective to cultivate more business from current clients than to create new ones. So when off-shore support drives your client’s customers away, that’s not cost-effective!

WHAT EXACTLY DO CLIENTS WANT & EXPECT FROM A SEARCH CONSULTANT?

The current Porsche review raises that question. Plans for the review had been in the works since early November 2006. When the story broke in the press on March 8th, it stated the client was “currently considering consultants to handle the review process.” On March 23rd, they announced they had made that appointment. Most agencies assume the consultant plays a pivotal role in the identification of candidates, yet this “pre- consultant” announcement and the 15 days hence gave more than adequate time for every agency in the country

with an appetite for a car account to pounce. Time to prepare and dispatch another FedEx bouquet. I know for a fact that many of our agencies did just that.

In a client search, I know what we do. Our virtually fool-proof process identifies agencies that have precisely what the client (or consultant) says they want. Meaning previous category experience, services, target markets, size, age, location, even type of firm. We facilitate all that up-front imperative, but in most cases, we fall back in the shadows after we issue the invitations. Historically, AgencyFinder clients prefer to manage what happens next. We’re there to help, but we don’t “run” the process. From the agency perspective, most love it, since you always get to speak directly with the horse.

Agencies are always hungry to understand who does what, what happens next, how did we do, can we do better, where did we fall short? It would be helpful for conventional consultants (those hired and compensated by the client to do their bidding) to share, to explain, even to publish a bit more detail of what they do and when, how they affect the ultimate decision, and even how (but not necessarily how much) they get paid. CONVENTIONAL AGENCY SEARCH CONSULTANTS GET ON-STAGE GRILLING

Brave that they were; hosts Brent Hodgins (Mirren’s Main Man), Catherine Bension, Judy Neer; Moderator Alison Fahey (Adweek), and consultants Linda Fidelman, Dick Roth, Brian Goodall and Lorraine Rojek. It was less a grilling than a polite toasting as the audience asked – what influence do you have on the outcome; can you or do you try to help an agency that appears to be committing suicide; what can we do to get on your radar; would it help for us to come and visit; and how important is previous experience in category?

The “How do we get on your radar?” issue bantered back and forth, but the nail went in at about 50 employees. If you don’t have that or more, there’s not much you can do (except get press coverage for something exceptional – then size is less important). Yes Virginia, it IS necessary for almost every agency to have a functional, well-oiled, targeted and assertive new business program and someone at the helm! (Sorry)

The consultants all did a good job demonstrating that each is different, each has a different approach to the subject, each appeared compassionate and caring, and for a client who needs guidance, direction and support, they’ll get it from these folks! And Alison was clearly on top of everything.

CMO TENURE @ 23 MONTHS – DO YOU BELIEVE THAT CRAP?
The media is full of CMO/Death stories, warnings and speculations as to what’s going on. We heard it from the podium as well. What I meant to do but didn’t was get a question directed to the attending audience of 400 representing 4,000 or so client CMO’s (400 agencies x 10 clients per agency) and ask – is that your perception or experience with the CMO’s at your clients? If CMO’s are as gun-shy as the press reports, we all need to hold their hands more; listen with more intent and passion; seek to assure them that we will speak nothing but the truth (and do so); and we will (not me – you agency guys) take all the arrows for any marketing shortcomings.

Seriously, I’d appreciate some feedback on this (as in CMO behavior and attitudes) because we all need to pay particular attention to that, even to consider what I suggested from the floor – how about a “How To Be Great Client” Seminar?

GSD&M REVEALS NEW BUSINESS SECRET WEAPON
Roy Spence is a hoot! He also demonstrated that it doesn’t hurt to captivate an audience as one powerful new business skill. Fortunately for those of you who haven’t mastered stage presence like Roy, birds of a feather flock together in business. You’ll win your share of those that don’t enjoy laughing as much.

On a serious note, Roy did have his list of “10.” Some but not all included:

1. Be Different before better
2. Don’t be ignored
3. Know everybody in the room
4. Rehearse 3 times or not at all
5. Be a better you!

And finally, for anyone who thinks new business or business development comes free, Roy told the audience they spent $1 million to compete for the Wal-Mart business.

LOOKING FOR NEW BUSINESS TALENT

Brent Hodgins asked the audience how many agencies have a person working full-time at new business. Speculation was 5 – 10%. I expand that question – how many working at new business (full or some portion of their day) have formal new business training? Similarly, how many follow a process that could be replicated by their successor? Looking at it from the employee’s perspective, how many agencies have and own a process they can introduce to a business development candidate? In most hiring situations, the agency thinks the candidate will bring a

“process” when they come; the candidate thinks the agency has one they will use. The first day is generally a big surprise to both.

On that topic, I know of a great mid-sized agency in sunny Arizona that needs to hire an experienced new business pro (with a process). If you can help, give me a call and I’ll vector you in.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Do You Realize How Long We’ve Known Each Other?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – February 28, 2007

CONTENTS:

1. Do You Realize How Long We’ve Known Each Other?
2. AgencyFinder Selects PrimeNewswire as News Distribution Partner
3. A Capabilities Presentation – When & Where
3. Guest Authors @ agencyfinder.com
4. New Business Awards
5. Recent RefNet Assignments

DO YOU REALIZE HOW LONG WE’VE KNOWN EACH OTHER?

Think back to February 18, 1997. I can barely do that, and only can because that’s when I made the commitment to open and operate an Internet and off-line client and agency match-making service. Then it was the world’s first and only, and it remains so today. Back then, I barely understood e-mail, but came to the rather immediate realization that distributing CD-ROMS via USPS with agency data to prospective advertisers every quarter (i.e. – searchers) was not the way to do this.

I also recall the agency world was barely “wired” for what we wanted to do. So we began with a USPS mailed invitation to thousands of agencies (I call

them close friends). We’d come to know them over the previous six years as we discussed agency new business development. That’s what our expertise was then. As consultants, we knew and taught the “ins and outs” of agency new business.

In getting to know agencies and how they managed business development, it became clear that most who worked at it weren’t too fond of doing so. They were quick to pronounce – “Get us in front of a good prospect, and we’ll close that business!” Pitching was like show business, and that they loved. But it was the “getting-in-front-of” part that few cared to tackle.

It was on a return consulting trip from Campbell-Ewald in Detroit that it hit me. Let’s develop a process that will eliminate and relieve the agencies of the outreach (Dialing- for-dollars, rubber chicken mailers, blind dates). And that’s how AgencyFinder was born.

Who cares you say? Probably not that small contingent who have yet to strike new client gold, either as business or as opportunity. But certainly those, who over the years, have come to know that our service delivers interesting, sometime large, sometimes small, some lovely and some feisty new business opportunities. I hope you’re in that latter group. On to the next ten! AGENCYFINDER SELECTS PRIMENEWSWIRE AS NEWS DISTRIBUTION PARTNER

In a move designed to broaden awareness of newly formed advertiser, agency and pr firm partnerships by using targeted reach and frequency, AgencyFinder announced a strategic alliance with Los Angeles-based PrimeNewswire.

“We’re pleased to partner with this fine company. With AgencyFinder now celebrating our tenth year in business, we’re always open to new ways to introduce our no-cost, ad industry match-making process to the B2B community,” remarked Charles Meyst, Chairman and CEO. “With more than 7,600 completed pairings under our belt, our advertisers and marketing agencies deserve timely and far-reaching announcements, and those same users should find PrimeNewswire’s news distribution services useful for their own businesses.” In addition to the advertising market, visitors to AgencyFinder.com will find breaking news for 82 more verticals posted at the PrimeNewswire page – from “Acquisitions” to “Webcast.” www.agencyfinder.com/frame-primenewswire-2.shtml

About PrimeNewswire – PrimeNewswire, Inc. (formerly known as PrimeZone) is a press release newswire and multimedia service with one of the world’s most extensive distribution networks.

Since inception, PrimeNewswire has helped fuel competition by offering superior service at the lowest price in the industry. PrimeNewswire has been an industry trendsetter with many firsts in the industry. These firsts include a free online clip report; delivery of news via html e-mails; a newsline and Web site for Homeland Security releases; an online customer service center; the first to eliminate a 15-minute delay in disclosing financial releases to all media; and the initial wire service to offer IR Web site management.

A CAPABILITIES PRESENTATION – WHEN & WHERE

When a client talks, don’t listen, at least if they invite you to come to “them” for your agency capabilities presentation. Going to them is an old concept and it’s hard for them to change. There’s the tendency for the client to think that it’s a great idea for you and a few other “suits” to fill a traveling case with agency goodies, the latest high-intensity video projector, some samples and case histories, and fly, drive or walk to their wood-laden client conference room. The “few of you” presenting to the “many of them” far away from home and familiar surroundings is always awkward and never tells the entire story. Next time you’re invited to do that, (excluding an agencyfinder.com invitation) turn the tables. Invite the prospect to come to you and agree to pick up the tab. Expenses are essentially a trade-off, since two or three of you traveling will run about the same as two or three of “them.” At that, you can stay seated, even working on their presentation while “they” do the traveling. At your place, you’ve got everything at hand when and as you need it – and beyond that, they’ll get to meet and greet the full variety in your organization. Since chemistry is such a vital component in the ultimate selection, you have the advantage of being able to introduce and test until you identify the best combination.

GUEST AUTHORS @ AGENCYFINDER.COM

Yes, I ran this last issue. But many of you were caught up in the holiday spirit and failed to respond. So let me repeat. For those prepaid Directors Club or Referral Network agencies, you’re invited to become a “Guest Author.” An opportunity to blog a bit at agencyfinder.com. Your topics should be around and about new business. We aren’t setting a specific length just yet; send an outline of your topic and give us a feeling for length. You’ll hear from us either way. That work will find its way into the Flash Reports and if there’s enough content and interest, we might add a page at the site. I’m all ears…

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

All I Want for Christmas (or Hanukkah) is…

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – December 18, 2006

CONTENTS:

1. All I Want for Christmas (or Hanukkah) is…
2. Whassup with that Wal-Mart?
3. New Fields Served; New Services
4. Guest Authors @ agencyfinder.com

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (OR HANUKKAH) IS…

Looking forward to new business and new clients in 2007, we’d thought you’d appreciate some last-minute gift ideas for those challenged with new business assignments; either as their exclusive job description, their part-time job description, or as the manager or supervisor of one or the other. Select your favorite(s) and ask Santa.

a. A pre-qualified, pre-tested prospect list of 750 warm, friendly, honest and receptive company presidents or marketing vice presidents, each with a declared budget (none of the “You need to tell us” declarations) and needing a new or additional agency (pr firm, etc.) and needing one right now!

b. A highly automated and “loaded” computer (PC or MAC) including contact manage- ment software that will schedule all my initial and subsequent prospect calls, dial the phone, encourage me to make useful notes of my conversations, reschedule rude or in- sensitive prospects to “later” or “never”; then replace those with new, fresh receptive prospects (relatively close-by or in warm tropical climates).

c. Prospects (as above) that are willing to travel to tour our agency and meet my people; don’t ask for spec creative; demonstrate they know how to discern one agency from another; and identify the best agency for their business – based on a combination of creative capabilities, on-target strategy and execution, and personal chemistry all while encouraging competitive but profitable pricing for our agency services.

d. That little “Bird” to sit on my shoulder and remind me that “one call is never enough!” Unless you’ve been summarily rejected, keep calling, and when you do connect, practice active listening and then gently make your new business points.

e. A “killer” agency brochure, fresh with all our latest work, written by our best creatives and “in-stock” at all times. f. Agency new business team players that actually work as a team; no head-butting egos and no last-minute presentation quarterbacking by otherwise uninvolved agency management.

g. Agency management that not only makes me responsible for “new business development” but gives me the authority to allocate and spend funds.

h. A complete, up-to-date, tantalizing and magnetic AgencyFinder record – and kept that way by our best agency talent!

i. A great on-going relationship with the AgencyFinder folks and ALL agency selector consultants. Love ’em or not, they’re often the front door to profitable new clients.

WHASSUP WITH THAT WAL-MART?

Talk about the new business story of the century! It’s intriguing at the least. I have mixed empathy for Julie and Howard – what a bummer for both and for everyone affected by the fallout. And talk about disconnections in the agency search process.

Maybe you think we’ve heard enough already. But for the sake of thousands of small- to-medium

agencies that will never get a chance to even be near a project of this magnitude, we still need answers. Like why didn’t or did SRI brief every agency on the strict and almost impossible rules by which Wal-Mart wanted to play? For a consultant that is normally quite involved, where were they when folks were rocking and booze was flowing?

Why does the press quote people who have nothing to do with this review, and would never be involved in something of this magnitude? More importantly, why aren’t we hearing from those in the know – like Catherine at SRI, or any of the first, second and third-round agency candidates? Imagine their pain when they didn’t make the first cut; then when they learned who did; and later when they read what we all read.

How about checking and reporting what Russ Wohlwerth might have to offer, and while they’re at it, get some idea what SRI charged to manage this newsmaker. Explain why the press reported SRI was again hired to manage its upcoming mulligan… “mulligan”, as in a golf shot not tallied against the score, or more specifically – a free second shot or pass. In this case, a second free assignment. So why does the press say they were “hired” when SRI probably felt they owed Wal-Mart another round at no-cost? There’s a lesson in all this; I’m adamant we learn all there is to learn – for next time.

P.S. – Hooray to Roy Spence for moving on.

NEW FIELDS SERVED; NEW SERVICES; NEW ORGANIZATIONS

After the first of the year, we’re going to be adding to the database. Adding new client categories, new agency services, industry organizations, and whatever else you might suggest. By example, in agency services we’re looking at: Virtual marketing; Virtual world development; Blog production; Podcast production; Video podcast production; RSS communication strategy; Social intermediary marketing; Web applications development; Mashup development; Web 2.0 development.

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions (like we NEED them!)

GUEST AUTHORS @ AGENCYFINDER.COM

For those prepaid Directors Club or Referral Network agencies, you’re invited to become a “Guest Author.” An opportunity to blog a bit at

agencyfinder.com. Your topics should be around and about new business. We aren’t setting a specific length just yet; send an outline of your topic and give us a feeling for length. You’ll hear from us either way. That work will find its way into the Flash Reports and if there’s enough content and interest, we might add a page at the site. I’m all ears…

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Have it Your Way @ AgencyFinder.com

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Agency Newsletters
Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – October 25, 2006

CONTENTS:

1. Have it Your Way @ AgencyFinder.com
2. Client Testimony & an Enlightening Agency Essay
3. When is a Lead Not a Lead?

HAVE IT YOUR WAY @ AGENCYFINDER.COM

This year’s InfoCommerce theme was “Becoming One with Your Market.” It’s the concept that speaks to an increased level of engagement, connection and understanding with your marketplace. That resonated with me, at least from the “agency new business development” perspective. Here’s what I mean.

Prior to founding agencyfinder.com, my colleagues and I taught new business process, technique and best-practices to ad agencies, direct marketing, public relations and marketing firms of all types throughout North American and even in Europe. I’m talking first about all forms of pro-active outreach (mailing, calling, mailing & calling again, publicity, public speaking, seminars, special events &

parties) to touch and invite prospects so you could ask “would it make sense to get together and meet?” Then I’m talking about what to do when they say “Yes!” Things like the agency tour, benefits testing, focus groups, custom pitch presentations and/or whatever it took to invite, to entice and to close that account and make it yours.

All that experience, that wealth of knowledge resides within the AgencyFinder model and our staff. But in retrospect, maybe we’ve been pushing a bit, maybe we’ve taken too much for granted, assumed you knew all that about us, and maybe we falsely assumed you already possessed the new business basics yourself – when we should have asked first.

Everyone here has the sincere desire to be “one with our market” (you – our old and our recently registered friends), so I’m asking you to tell us what you’d like from us. Fundamentally, we’re a match-maker; eHarmony of the ad industry and all that. Our objective is to pair up great clients with great agencies. We’d like every agency in the database to have at least one substantial new client each year. But in our passion to do that, maybe we’ve missed the obvious. That’s why I ask. Tell me what you want, and I promise your suggestions will be welcome and carefully considered. CLIENT TESTIMONY & AN ENLIGHTENING AGENCY ESSAY

Testimonials are the bane of many ad campaigns. We don’t solicit them, and I personally feel that one after another is boring and suspect. This one though seems to cover what tends to concern most clients. Enjoy.

“I can tell you that using agencyfinder.com turned out to be much more than finding an ad agency. It streamlined the process, for sure, and by placing our needs only in front of candidates with the best overall fit for our company it eliminated the hours and headaches involved in false starts. Beyond that, though, the process you laid out was the genesis for discussions that clearly defined our direction and made the choices far easier, because it established tangible benchmarks to gauge the capabilities of each agency against our objectives. Without that, it would be difficult, as every agency in your database was very competent and knowledgeable. I can’t thank you enough.”

Michael Zepponi, Agri-Com Capital, Red Bluff, CA

Our agencies write essays to share their thoughts in seven topic areas (we could publish a book!) but I selected to share this one that offers great advice for everyone.

The Essay Topic – Culture (from our friends at BuderEngel & Friends, San Francisco, CA)

INSPIRE.
Be accountable.
Share ideas.
Accept ideas.
Build on each other’s ideas.
Help each other.
Particularly when you’re not asked to.
Embrace change.
INSPIRE.
Demand more of yourself first;
then of others.
Listen.
Try something different.
Converse more.
E-mail less.
Listen some more.
Challenge everything.
Enjoy each other.
Respect each other.
Listen some more.
INSPIRE.
Respect those for
whom we create
our work.
Enjoy your craft.
Be open.
Listen some more.
Commit.
Make something
better than it was.
Make yourself better
than you were.
Have fun.
INSPIRE.
WHEN IS A LEAD NOT A LEAD?

In our last agency newsletter we posted this: “Agencies that get our invitations frequently thank us for the “lead.” But we’re looking for a better word. Leads come in various forms, but in the sales sense, a lead is the suggestion (based on some degree of fact) that a prospect may be interested or looking for a particular good or service. But the typical lead is not pre-qualified, tested, perfected, validated or consulted in depth. Our invitations are far more than leads. When the agencies were invited to pitch Wal-Mart, did they thank the consultant for the “lead?” I don’t think so. The industry needs a new word – any thoughts?” (breaking news – unconfirmed, but the press reports Wal-Mart went to DraftFCB)

We received some interesting suggestions, a few among them included “qualop” (a qualified or quality business opportunity) from Mike Scott with Vox Medica, Inc.; “Certified Pre-Owned Clients” from Gerard Miron with Miron Communications; but in our opinion, the winner for now is “Introductions.” Thanks to Walter Ohlman of Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman, Inc. in Columbus, OH. Walter points out the obvious. Nobody introduces someone unless they are willing to endorse, to refer, to affirm. Our’s are NOT leads; they are

Introductions. Referrals, recommendations, acknowledgements, affirmations. In the introductions we make, we speak “for you, on your behalf,” and we love it when you make us proud, and so it is…

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

Bitching About Pitching & Agency Compensation

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report @ AgencyFinder – September 19, 2006

CONTENTS:

1. Bitching About Pitching & Agency Compensation
2. Client Search Trends (Business is Popping)
3. The Whole Truth About Search Consultants
4. Licensing – What Can You Share?
5. A Dictionary challenge

BITCHING ABOUT PITCHING & AGENCY COMPENSATION

Monday’s (9/18) AdAge carried an interesting story from the ANA Conference that revealed “simmering levels of anger” about the pitch process. Three prominent agency creative officers spoke quite candidly about the fact that pitch dollars might be better spent on clients that were capable of making an agency selection without employing spec creative.

We oppose spec creative and have since we began in 1997. Many clients, even those with vast experience, have the mistaken opinion that

somehow “they” are capable of recognizing “great creative” – particularly that which will

produce positive results. I suggest that even some of the best agency CD’s couldn’t make that determination with the information clients have at hand. By example, a client might have a particular fondness for the color “yellow.” Congratulations and an unfair victory to the agency whose spec work happens to be predominantly “yellow.” (It’s happened!)

What’s really going on (in case the obvious is not as clear as it should be) is that each client wants to discover which agency really “gets it!” Which agency has a creative style they’re comfortable with, which agency (during an agency tour) has “good people”, which agency has shown the logic and process by which their work-products are produced, and which agency has listened, identified the strengths and weaknesses of the client, and has a plan to communicate that to the market. The client wants as much hard evidence as you can give them that YOUR AGENCY GETS IT! If you were their only candidate, you might say “trust us”, but in the competitive pitch environment, you’ve got to prove some- thing through demonstration. (Doctor, would you mind terribly doing a small free surgery before I become your paying brain tumor patient?) After more than ten years and 7,000 agency reviews, we must sound like a broken record when we advise clients. But we tell them to visit their 6 – 7 semi-finalists. Other than a general overview, don’t start briefing agencies on your assignment; save that for the finalists. Tour the agency (first), meet as many staffers as you can (evaluate chemistry), study the place and study their styles. Learn how they work from start (client challenge) to execution. Learn how media alternatives are chosen. Come to understand their process – if there is one. If they haven’t covered everything, the agency may want to do a capabilities presentation. Let that happen.

Select 3 finalists and invite them to your headquarters for a final presentation. Send each finalist a marketing brief (share as much experiential data as you have and can afford to – an NDA might be in order) and give all contenders the same fixed budget to use for the pitch. The assignment asks each for a strategic presentation – with as much detail as each wishes to provide, to identify media alternatives, theme(s), concepts, the works. Measurement by the client is to determine which agency “gets it”, which agency seems to understand the proper communication channels, and is capable of delivering the essential message.

For more insight, we suggest the client ask each agency (in advance) to prepare and present a

“mock” invoice for the presentation. In other words, had the agency been the AOR, show us what your talent at their rates would have us paying for what we just saw. And those rates should apply for the first fiscal year.

The challenge is to be as creative in the pitch process as you are in your work-product. For example, without using finished spec creative, I’d bet on our team. We’d carefully, slowly present our strategy, giving each client representative solid, sincere eye contact. We’d outline our media alternatives and we’d show tons of reach and frequency. We might even risk boring them a bit with detail. But just before it’s too much, we’d draw back the curtain to reveal a statuesque gentleman, lit with a pencil beam of light, standing in shadows at a podium. “Ladies and gentlemen, to introduce our campaign using only the human voice as our instrument, may I present Mr. James Earle Jones.”

CLIENT SEARCH TRENDS (BUSINESS IS POPPING)

I burned up more copy space than I intended above, so let me be brief. There’s been a mild explosion in client search activity on the West Coast. That’s great news, since that part of the country suffered much too long until recently. Beyond that great news, the slight downside is that clients are taking quite a bit longer to come to their decisions. But by and large, they do conclude.

THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT SEARCH CONSULTANTS

Would you be interested in an article or white paper that tells the “whole truth and nothing but” about search consultants? Adweek and AdAge do bits and pieces, but the one area they never address is – who is paying what, to whom, when, under what circumstances, and just what do search consultants get paid, and just what do they really do? (to earn those fees). And finally, who runs a clean ship, and who is conflicted? Would you vote for such an expose’? Let me know.

LICENSING – WHAT CAN YOU SHARE?

I’m participating in a panel at the coming InfoCommerce Group annual meeting in Philadelphia. Our topic is Licensing. Primarily, licensing being the concept of granting the right to use for a fee a process, data, etc. Do you have any specific experience? Do you have any Do’s or Don’ts? I’d be grateful for your input. The event is October 10th.

A DICTIONARY CHALLENGE

One more quick one. Agencies that get our invitations frequently thank us for the “lead.” We’re looking for a better word – and I think it will have to be invented. Leads come in various forms, but in the sales sense, a lead is the suggestion (based on some degree of fact) that a prospect may be interested or looking for a particular good or service. But the typical lead is not prequalified, tested, perfected, validated or consulted in depth. Our invitations are far more than leads. They might better be called “pre-clients.” When the agencies were invited to pitch Wal-Mart, did they thank SRI for the “lead?” I don’t think so. The industry needs a new word – any thoughts?

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Voice: 804.346.1812

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