Flash Reports

The Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – July 19, 2004

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers.

CONTENTS:

1. The Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth
2. A Capabilities Presentation – When & Where
3. When You Get Polled @ agencyfinder.com
4. The Agency Tour – “A Simple How To”
5. Spam Filters That Work

THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Last week we had occasion to visit an agency’s web site. We do often when an agency registers to see if your data entry agrees with what is posted at your web site. In many cases, after we check out the site, we’re able to make suggestions for additional agency claims – and those additions will increase the agency’s chances of being found and subsequently invited. We’re happy when we can help that way.

On the flip side, it’s not unusual to find an agency claiming memberships that aren’t true. That agency last week claimed AAAA and BMA

membership, but neither was the case. Maybe it’s a “once-upon-a-time” thing, or blame it on the Webmaster. But that’s the kind of claim, particularly when found to be untrue, that sends clients ballistic.

Whatever the case, check and “fix.” Under Construction errors are no more palpable than a lie. As our recent survey revealed, clients (those searching for ad or pr firms) look to us to uncover and present the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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.

WHEN YOU GET POLLED @ AGENCYFINDER.COM

Most client searches are relatively simple. Simple and straight-forward enough that one pass will reveal appropriate agency candidates. But once in awhile, a client is asking for previous experience exceeding that found in your file in our database.

When that’s the case, we conduct a qualifying poll by e-mail of those agencies that make the first cut. That inquiry is generally identified by the subject line – Are You Qualified @ agencyfinder.com. In that message, we’ll give you an anonymous outline of the client search attributes; then we’ll

specify the additional experience requested. These are quick turn-around queries, and generally all we want is a YES or NO.

When you answer YES, your agency is among a smaller group that gets special consideration – and ideally an invitation. But be certain that here too, you tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then be on the lookout for yours!

THE AGENCY TOUR – “A SIMPLE HOW TO”

The agency tour should be intrinsically intertwined with your agency capabilities presentation. Overcome the subliminal temptation to greet your prospect visitors with warm, but potentially phony smiles; don’t fill their faces with sticky breakfast goodies, or cram them unmercifully into your conference room for a boring, unrelenting 3-hour “dog-and-pony” show.

Instead – Yes, greet them warmly and do give them proper food and drink. But then, start with your exciting, choreographed agency tour. Exciting? That’s right. If you have a base- line, a theme, a thread, a “reason” to move from A to B to C to D, then everything will make sense, regardless of the layout of your offices. One floor, two floors, shared spaces don’t matter – if you begin your tour, for example, by explaining that your movement through the agency, and people you’ll meet, will be in accordance with how you produce “a magazine ad” at the agency. And during your tour, you’ll do just that with a previously prepared demo template.

Following that theme, each point on the tour makes sense. Each introduction and conversation has a chance to unfold naturally and connect to the topic at hand, not necessarily (but often appropriately) looking to discover where someone went to school, what hobbies, what family, etc. If it’s still appropriate and needed, the capabilities presentation at the end can be short, concise, and focused on only those things not covered during the tour.

A good tour must be honest, comfortable, revealing, and entertaining. When we’re managing the review, we coach clients to travel to you for the “Tour and Capabilities Presentation.” Since they’ll be doing that for each competing agency, don’t offer to pick up the tab – it’s not necessary. But by not making what would otherwise have been YOUR trip to them, what you save in expenses and out-of-office time more than covers your agencyfinder Certification and Annual Dues.

SPAM FILTERS THAT WORK

In the May Flash Report, I said “As you probably know, we’re dependent almost entirely on the

Internet to bring us our client leads, so we can’t allow spam filters or the like to screen for us. This Monday (5/24), I combed my way through 3,643 e-mails that accumulated over the weekend, starting late Friday until early Monday morning. You can count the legitimate messages on two hands, but each was worth the manual review. On weekdays, the count is typically over 1,000.”

Well, dubious that I’m inclined to be, I was delighted to discover that the medium-level spam filter in my incoming Earthlink e-mail has worked like a trooper! What was 1,400 inbound e-mails per weekday is now about 300. I checked faithfully during the first 2-3 weeks, and not once did I find an important, business or personal e-mail that got intercepted in error.

I would be leery of any inbound e-mail spam filter offer, but I’m thinking that if Earthlink works, so will those from other major brands. If you haven’t, try them.

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward
to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

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

Agencyfinder Survey Indicates Credibility a Driving Issue

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – May 26, 2004

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. Agencyfinder Survey Indicates Credibility a Driving Issue
2. New Business E-Mail Secrets of the Rich & Famous
3. Agencies Decry New Business Investments
4. PSST!!!  Website substantially revised

AGENCYFINDER SURVEY INDICATES CREDIBILITY A DRIVING ISSUE

Richmond, VA – In a poll of over 4,000 marketing directors and business decision makers, Agencyfinder.com, the largest marketing services search engine of its kind in the world, has found that although advertising and PR agencies may say the right thing, clients are still concerned about the firms’ credibility and truthfulness in the claims that are made.

“Issues of honesty and credibility ranked the highest in our survey,” said Charles G. Meyst, Agencyfinder’s Chairman and CEO. “Clients like what they’re hearing, but they want reassurance that the information is current and accurate. Remarkably enough, the agency’s size in terms of either billings or number of employees, ranked near the bottom of the list in importance.”

Findings from the survey will be used to enhance the Agencyfinder service to allow marketing directors and business decision makers to conduct a fair and impartial evaluation of the more than 2,500 headquartered agencies participating in the service’s database.

What can agencies do to enhance their perceived credibility by prospective clients? Agency-finder’s Meyst suggests including third party references in introductory material so prospects can make screening calls in advance. “But if you’re going to do that,” he adds, “avoid setting up a bunch of client-side shills who will only say the good things about your agency. Everyone has warts and if a prospect calls your references and feels they’re not getting the full story, that could actually be worse than not providing any references in the first place.” The Agencyfinder.com survey was sent to over 4,000 of 9,500 previously registered marketing directors and business decision makers who have used the online matchmaking service in the past seven years.

The survey identifies key issues of concern to those contemplating and hiring advertising agencies and public relations firms. Of those participating in the survey, nearly one- third of them reported their intent to hire a new or additional marketing services agency in the next twelve months.

NEW BUSINESS E-MAIL SECRETS OF THE RICH & FAMOUS: Rich and famous is stretching it, but we wanted to address some obvious but repeated errors many agency folks make when sending mission-critical new business and/or prospect e-mails. If you see yourself in any of the mentions below, make changes so you don’t lose business opportunities.

As you probably know, we’re dependent almost entirely on the Internet to bring us our client leads, so we can’t allow spam filters or the like to screen for us. This Monday (5/24), I combed my way through 3,643 e-mails that accumulated over the weekend, starting late Friday until early Monday morning. You can count the legitimate messages on two hands, but each was worth the manual

review. On weekdays, the count is typically over 1,000.

That brings me to the “rules:” (e-mail to prospects or others that aren’t familiar with you)

1. NEVER leave the subject blank
2. ALWAYS include your agency name as part of the subject line
3. ALWAYS include some portion of your name and agency in the sender address
4. DON’T use an AOL address if you also have an agency address
5. Study your junk e-mail to learn what to avoid and what NOT to do!
6. Use “Return Receipt” and “Priority” features in your e-mail program
7. Carbon others using the BCC option – not CC.

AGENCIES DECRY NEW BUSINESS INVESTMENTS:

Ad agencies and PR firms are constantly investment-spending for the sake of new business development. Even when an agency is the benefactor of one of those cherished “referrals”, it still entails expense. That includes the cost of the first and subsequent calls (at someone’s billable hourly rate), agency materials, relevant samples and the time to gather them, the micro-proposal (if one is prepared), and the often-taken cross-country trip to tout the portfolio and test “chemistry.” Maybe the New Business Director works on commission; paid on appointment or when the work comes in. Many agencies also hire consultants (pitch or analysis experts) to help land an account, and those guys and gals can be downright pricey.

On a recent Chicago-area food review, more than one invited agency chose to explain those expenses to the client (apparently meant as an educational experience). In one case, those expenses for a west coast agency were proposed to exceed $10,000. In the context of that same conversation, the agency explained they were not yet “fee-paid” with agencyfinder, so that would have to be added as well.

That degree of “openness” can be a double-edged sword. Clients know but are always told that our certified agencies sponsor or pay-for our services. They know that’s why they and consultants always search for free. Our rates are a matter of open record and posted on our web site. And they also know that agencyfinder alone was responsible for giving them the tools to identify and then subsequently invite the candidate agencies.

Our clients (regardless of budget) are universally puzzled and turned off when they hear the expense story, particularly if it begins with our fee. They clearly recognize that each invited agency wants their business and wouldn’t otherwise, if it weren’t for the fact that they (the client) is going to pay – not only for all THEIR new business development (motivated and made actionable as paid advertising or publicity) but in agency fees and commissions.

If they have to pay for new business, they assume you should too. Consequently, compete or don’t compete for their business, but don’t engage them in discussions about the costs of doing so.

For a complete new business costs primer and an interesting anecdotal look at your new business options, check out page 5 of “Fishing for New Business”

Even to the trained eye, you may miss the changes. But our Web site is fresh and new in a myriad of ways! Many of the changes were for Search Engine Optimization, but if you spend some time, you’ll see we’ve added new “good stuff” and removed some old baggage. In particular, if you’ve wondered what we look like, check us out at “Meet The Team”:

https://www.agencyfinder.com/advertising-team.shtml

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

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

Getting on a Consultant’s Radar Screen

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – March 19, 2004

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. Getting on a Consultant’s Radar Screen
2. Are Advertising Agencies All Alike?
3. A Good Example of a Bad Example
4. New Business – A Literal Frenzy
5. Turn On E-Mail Return Receipt
6. An Auto Racing Opportunity
7. Note: Clients DO NOT PAY

GETTING ON A CONSULTANT’S RADAR SCREEN

On a regular basis, we get calls from agencies asking how to get “noticed” by other agency search consultants. They’re asking because they haven’t been found so far. Invariably, they’re ready and anxious to launch a nationwide Show & Tell or Lunch & Dinner tour. Their excitement is contagious, so we hate to dampen that enthusiasm, but let me share some sage advice given by our sister-company, Sales Marketing Institute. It still applies and we’re a believer.

First question – how big is your agency? (as in capitalized billings) $2, $5, $10, $20, $30 million? When a search consultant (as in someone who gets PAID by the client to manage their review) is running things, they try to keep it simple. Imagine a client with a $25 million budget. How big must the agency be? Try $75 million or more. It’s the “factor” thing. The client budget has to “fit” – can’t be smallest or largest. Ain’t no way your out-of-the-box, creative, growing, $30 million agency is going to get a crack at that $25 million budget (except in the most unusual of circumstances – as in current “media darling”).

Do the math – it’s a size thing. And sure, they could follow our December 8th Flash Report advice (Smaller Agencies Tackle Giant Accounts) by splitting the media from the rest, but don’t count on that happening.

Our suggestion? Break your back doing everything you can now to grow your agency without them. Employ professionally executed outreach efforts or reel them in on your agencyfinder magnet. Grow your firm to $75 million or more – THAT will put you on their radar and then they’ll call! Over simplification? Certainly, but the truth. In the meantime, plan to visit us in Historic Richmond, Virginia. Like those that have, you may find our process and how we do things fascinating and informative. ARE ADVERTISING AGENCIES (EVEN PR FIRMS) ALL ALIKE?

Clients tell us agencies work too hard to be different when in fact they’re not and shouldn’t be. Our agency essay section will attest to that. Many agencies introduce themselves to explain that they’re NOT like all the others, and then proceed to use the same (almost identical) language to describe themselves.

In general, most agencies are different only by their physical locations; their personalities (chemistry); and their creative “style.” In New York, some (say clients) even occupy the same address.

Consider dentists. If you’re looking for one, you expect them all to:

1. Be educated and properly trained
2. Be licensed and accredited
3. Do great painless work
4. Offer competitive rates & take insurance
5. Enroll in continuing education programs

If you heard anything much to the contrary (like “we don’t think a license is necessary”), that wouldn’t be welcome news. Beyond the “givens”, how would you select one?

1. Location, location, location
2. Personality
3. Pleasant breath

For most clients (except those with rather significant budgets), location (as in reasonably close and/or convenient) IS an issue. Once equally qualified agencies are selected and invited, it is ultimately creative (style/strategy) and personality (chemistry) that makes the difference and wins the account.

Be certain prospects know your agency has ALL the proper and necessary underpinnings. Emphasize that, then seek to differentiate yourself by proximity, creative and chemistry.

A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A BAD EXAMPLE

Fortunately we’re seeing fewer and fewer clients wanting to conduct an old-fashioned review or asking for spec creative. We do everything we can to kill a request for spec creative, but we did hear about a certain liquor review late last year with an award in February that took the cake. And it didn’t happen here!

The review started with an RFP to 80 (count them) 80 agencies. Outlandish in itself. Then they cut to 16. That’s still no short list. For those, they were asked to answer more than 20 elaborate questions and to volunteer strategy, concepts and tactics (we have the papers). We understand they cut again at 4 and then made their award. Golly Miss Molly, and shades of Donny Deutsch’s comments at last summer’s 4A’s New Business Summit – choose the new business opportunities you respond to carefully. We feel for any agency that ran that gauntlet (thank God this was NOT a consultant’s review).

NEW BUSINESS – A LITERAL FRENZY

In all the years since we began back in 1997, I have never seen such volume and quality of search activity! We had a bout of temporary insanity and contemplated “turning off” the incoming spigot to stay ahead of assignments, but we adjusted with longer work days instead. For us, for our registered agencies, and for clients as well, the signs of a strong recovery are certainly evident. We did a “data pull” and found that we’ve processed over 4,000 client searches. Actual searches, not “hits”, not “visits”. That puts things in perspective. So please, for your sake – be certain your agency record with us is both current and complete.

AN AUTO RACING OPPORTUNITY Last fall we had the pleasure of working a PR assignment with
Braun Racing – a team in NASCAR’s Busch Series. Their driver was Casey Mears and they had partial sponsorship from Target. Sponsor for 2004 is Trim-Spa and their driver now is David Streme. Last week we were approached by a major supplier with an innovative co-op and/or subsidy proposal. This one is tied to the Grand American Road Racing Association events headed by Jim France – the Rolex Series and the Grand Am Cup. Cars are Daytona prototypes and GT’s. If you have a client already involved or interested in an “auto racing” connection, with this connection, you can show them how to STRETCH their sports-marketing budget. It’s CONFIDENTIAL, so call me (Chuck Meyst) for details.

TURN ON E-MAIL RETURN RECEIPT

Each time your agency is invited to participate in one of our client reviews, your invitation is sent as a fax; generally 4 – 7 pages. We confirm by e-mail (enabling the Return Receipt feature) and then we also telephone. We assume you want new business, so we persist one way or other until we know you’ve seen it. It really helps if you make certain your Read Receipt feature is ON. GoTo: Tools/Options/Receipts and we suggest you choose “Notify me for each read receipt request” so you can see but always choose not to acknowledge. Thanks! NOTE: CLIENTS DO NOT PAY – EVER

agencyfinder’s search service is always FREE to clients and consultants because registered agencies pay to make it so. That’s our business model and has been since day one. Clients never pay anything, not even a minimal access fee – it’s Free, No-Cost, NADA! We do give you the option to defer your primary fee payments (that’s the Iridium Level), and only when you decide to become a contender following a client telephone interview must you become fee-paid. If we went any deeper with you we’d become your business partner!

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

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

What if Your Agency Really Practiced Branding?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – January 27, 2004

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. What if Your Agency Really Practiced Branding?
2. In the World of Lists, How Does Your Firm Rank?

WHAT IF YOUR AGENCY REALLY PRACTICED BRANDING?

Real branding (let me repeat – Real Branding) may be a partial answer to what ails some agencies. Specifically, the downfall and demise of agencies like D’Arcy, Bates, Earle Palmer Brown, Hample/ Stefanides, HDC, BaylessCronin and some other twenty-two more recent U.S. ad agencies begs the question – how can agencies with great client rosters simply slip away, or be disassembled and distributed as piece-parts? How can their peers or an admiring public let that happen?

But what even suggests that peers or the public have any idea who does what and when? If the public did know, might it be less likely that a great Brand (agency) could simply be put to rest without cries of complaint and alarm? We kicked this topic around before – see our Special Edition Flash Report 10-24-2002 at: https://www.agencyfinder.com/agencynews10242002.shtml

Based on feedback since, we’ve had conversations with agencies AND clients – to ask what might happen if agencies really did brand themselves.

Imagine if your agency were to “sign & brand” every ad you produced. Translated – a small but visible agency mark, logo and credit line (or voiceover), similar to a photographer’s or illustrator’s credit line that states “Proudly produced by X Agency, Chicago, IL”. As best we’ve come to know, it’s not being done by anyone.

Agencies generally remark – “clients wouldn’t allow it”, or “clients wouldn’t pick up the tab”. Yet photographers and illustrators have been doing it for years, and not because they work without payment. Publishers pay and allow it; why can’t clients? Is it just a question of asking permission? On the pay-for-it issue, if there’s value, an agency should be happy to pay for their pro-rata portion, or reduce production costs accordingly. After all, that’s positive exposure and an investment in new business development.

When we discussed this with clients, they weren’t put off as agencies thought they might be. Some were quick to see the merits. This could be a quid-pro-quo thing. Many consumers (and industry peers) are passionate about who does what work (for example, stay behind in the theatre to witness those who remain to study credits).

Consider an extreme analogy – imagine if an agency of some renown (a you-know-who) that wouldn’t normally, did work for a regional men’s fashion chain and marked or branded that work. What might “those in the know” think about the connection or the implied endorsement?

If the consumer didn’t recognize the agency brand (regardless of size), a quick Internet search would be educational. And that grand agency brand might have complimented the client. Likewise, a great client brand could compliment an agency.

When chatting this around, the topic of copyright also comes up. But we’ve touched on enough for now – it’s time to move on. However, your thoughts are welcome, AND, if you already do this, are you willing to tell us (and others) about it?

IN THE WORLD OF LISTS, HOW DOES YOUR FIRM RANK?

Ratings, rankings, score cards, etc; how does your firm rank? Julia Hood writes in her Jan 19th PRWeek editorial: “This year PRWeek will collect revenue data and publish rankings tables to include every US PR firm that supplies numbers.”

This isn’t the first time for PRWeek, and AdAge and ADWEEK have been doing something similar for years. But the question is, what’s the real value here? If it’s rankings for rankings sake, and everyone recognizes it’s a scorecard that serves little purpose for clients, then OK. Agency and PR execs joke and comment with wry smiles about their competitors’ claims for the previous year. Since revenue or capitalized billings (an interesting calculation unto itself) provide little if any insight into the appropriateness of a firm from a client’s perspective, and since acquisitions can change numbers and rankings immediately, numbers alone constitute little more than bragging rights. However, if we took the cost per pound shelf postings in grocery stores as an example, then how about revenue/employee, or billings/employee adjusted for regionalization? That might offer something of value. With chemistry so often mentioned as a pivotal selection factor, how about a litmus test (base or acidic), and post those scores?

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060 USA
804-346-1812

The Hidden Value of Sponsorships

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – December 08, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. The Hidden Value of Sponsorships
2. Smaller Agencies Tackle Giant Accounts
3. New Spam Legislation – Mutual Compliance
4. Your Alternate New Business Contact
5. Client Search Criteria – A Definition
6. Recent RefNet Assignments
7. Other New Business Activity

THE HIDDEN VALUE OF SPONSORSHIPS

Can sponsorships be evaluated on the same basis as more traditional advertising expenditures like media? The short (and probably obvious) answer is “no.” But there are ways to evaluate the potential R.O.I. on a sponsorship that goes beyond simple reach and frequency. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Make sure the sponsorship is “on strategy” with your message against your target audience(s). Will
the event, team, exhibition, etc. make sense or look like an exercise in corporate vanity?

2) Is the sponsorship worth noting by the public or does it just make your client feel good? Some sponsorships are philanthropic while others are inventive ways to extend the marketing message. If you’re trying to get more bang for the marketing buck, you have to make sure your sponsorship partner is newsworthy.

3) Make sure you know how the sponsorship will play “inside” your client’s organization. Nothing ruins the value of a sponsorship faster than employees complaining about how their company wastes money. Customers pick up on that in a hurry.

4) Carefully evaluate opportunities to leverage the sponsorship against existing client relationships. Many sponsorship opportunities can be extended to include a more “intimate” setting with a select handful of clients, guests and employees. This is relationship building on a very high level.

5) Look at every sponsorship opportunity with an eye toward expanding the “business opportunities” surrounding the sponsorship. Failing to plan in this area will lead to ultimate failure of the sponsorship. A PERFECT EXAMPLE of leveraging a sponsorship opportunity is a little project we’ve been working on with Brand Central Station and The Hamilton Group (both out of New York City). Agencyfinder presented both firms with the chance to work with Anne Abernathy, a recently-fifty female Olympian known as “Grandma Luge.” Anne has a great story: Olympic competitor, highly-visible, positive role model, cancer survivor, recovered from a life-threatening head injury (story featured recently and repeatedly on The Discovery Channel) then to her return as a world-class athlete. Anne is internationally recognized as the oldest woman to ever compete in any Winter Olympic Sport (but olde she ain’t!).

For a company targeting 40+ women who could benefit from a story of perseverance and character, Anne is right “on strategy.” As the oldest competing female Winter Olympian in history, she’s already demonstrated her ability to gather national and international press like crazy (we’ve got all the evidence). She’s an inspiration to those around her and a “natural” when it comes to telling her story.

But here’s the best part …

Anne competes for the US Virgin Islands Women’s Luge Team – meaning sponsorship costs are a mere fraction of what they would be for an athlete on
the US Olympic Team. For a modest investment, a company can enjoy the same “backstage” privileges of the larger sponsors for other US athletes or visit the team’s training facilities, or hold corporate events in the US Virgin Islands in conjunction with their participation.

If you’re interested in learning more, let us know here at Agencyfinder (Toll-Free 1-877-XFINDER) and we’ll put you in touch.

SMALLER AGENCIES TACKLE GIANT ACCOUNTS

For years it’s been thought that an advertiser spending, for example $30 million, needs an ad agency with something like four (4) times that in annual client volume or greater than $100 million in “billings.” That meant these bigger accounts always went to bigger agencies.

However, with the advent of media buying agencies, clients began to see that when the media portion was split out (sometimes representing 80 – 85% of the total “spend”), that left a creative portion in this example of $4.5 million. Using the 4-time analogy, that leads to an agency of $15 – $20 million in billings, and there are many of those sprinkled around the country, and possibly in many client’s back yards. It looks like that’s exactly what happened when it was announced on Nov 12th that Delta Air Lines had named Atlanta-based Brighthouse as the lead agency for its $30 million account.

The lesson? There are MANY worthy agencies if the client is willing to look creatively at how their money can be spent. We help clients find those agencies.

NEW SPAM LEGISLATION – MUTUAL COMPLIANCE

We haven’t seen the specifics of the national legislation apparently ready for passage, but it’s a welcome alternative to the California rush-to-judgment. Admittedly, spam is a major annoyance and business interruption, but most of us in the business-to-business sector DEPEND on e-mail to get things done – quickly and efficiently. For business purposes, filters are still an inefficient and dangerous way to avoid spam. In our case, and in fact, when we send you that important new business invitation you patiently wait for – if that gets intercepted and deleted, you could lose substantial agency income.

If you’re getting this newsletter, it’s because your agency is registered here and you or someone else at your agency asked that you be included. I hope you found time to read this latest message.

YOUR ALTERNATE NEW BUSINESS CONTACT

Our database allows for a Primary new business contact and an ALTERNATE new business contact. Please check to see that you have both. Don’t list yourself twice – in case you are not available, we can at least connect with your agency’s alternate or CEO. That alternate contact is your “insurance” policy.

CLIENT SEARCH CRITERIA – A DEFINITION

When your agency is invited and receives our Formal Agency New Business Invitation, you get a fax package (generally 6-8 pages) that includes a detailed description of the client’s requirements under the heading “Client Search Criteria.” One sub-section is entitled SEARCH QUERY and it’s marked as “desired agency attributes.”

It’s those “attributes” that got your agency selected in the preliminary round, and the combination of your essays, a look at your web site and those attributes that gets you invited. BUT, it isn’t necessarily true that the client expects ALL those attributes (Fields served; Services Desired; Media Experience; Market Specialization; Acceptable Billing Arrangements; Numbers of Employees; Minimum Capitalized Billings; Minimum Years in Business; Geographic Location) and more for the budget indicated. This is their “Wish List” describing the ideal agency and meant more for your guidance. Your mandatory due-diligence telephone interview is where you shake out any questions and clarify precisely what they expect for the spend.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

New Business Opportunity – Request for Proposal –

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – October 22, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

New Business Opportunity – Request for Proposal –
No 04-08 St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches
(Florida) Visitors & Convention Bureau

We’ve been asked by the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners to invite all interested and qualified parties to submit formal sealed bids/proposals for RFP -08-0-2004/JB.

They are seeking publicity and promotions support surrounding Super Bowl XXXIX to be held in Jacksonville, Florida Feb 6, 2005

The budget available for this project is approximately $130,000. The full RFP can be downloaded from DemandStar by Onvia at http://www.demandstar.com or by calling
800-711-1712.

Once at www.demandstar.com:

1. Click on “View Bid Opportunities”
2. Create a Profile (no charge)
3. At Search Criteria, select “Active”, then “St. Johns County Purchasing”
4. Select “RFP-08-0-2004/JB”

If interested, please respond directly to St. Johns County Purchasing.

“Any and all” registered agencyfinder.com agencies may respond to this invitation. We offer this as an agency public service! Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

Procurement: Brad Johnson Says “Get Used To It”

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – October 15, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. Procurement: Brad Johnson Says “Get Used To It”
2. Does Anyone Notice When They Leave?
3. Clients Still Sit in Judgment
4. New Business Awards
5. RefNet Assignments

PROCUREMENT: BRAD JOHNSON SAYS “GET USED TO IT.”

In case you missed it, make a point to read Bradley Johnson’s piece entitled “Procurement: Get used to it” starting on C1 in the Sept. 29th edition of AdAge Magazine. Brad attended the AAAA New Business Summit back in June and heard some early stirrings suggesting client-side Procurement (aka purchasing, sourcing, etc.) was looking hard and strong at client/agency relationships.

Brad does a nice job arguing the positives and compliments what we introduced in our Special Executive Report of July 7th. You may want to review that as well at: www.agencyfinder.com/Special-Executive-Report.pdf

When there’s money on the table, Procurement will be there!

DOES ANYONE NOTICE WHEN THEY LEAVE?

The other day a client asked if anyone keeps track or attempts to count the number of agencies that go out of business. If our experience is any benchmark, other than the bigger shops that get industry press, I’d say no. Most communication is instant and via the Internet these days, so when someone leaves or a shop shuts down, many e-mails simply go off into space. I’m surprised how many web sites are still “up and running”, yet phone and fax are disconnected, and “411 information” has no listing whatsoever. Best attempt at measurement might be to run “pre” and “post” counts using ADWEEK or Redbook directories.

This year (2003), when so much has been said about a recovering economy, we’ve seen mergers and closings at a rate we’ve not seen since we began. Specialists who make it their business to gauge the “mood” of businesses also speculate that prevailing attitudes, behaviors and account payable delinquencies suggest many agencies hung in there as long as they could, but couldn’t do so long enough while waiting for this much touted but “not-yet-here” recovery.

Are we heading towards days of a precious few?

CLIENTS STILL SIT IN JUDGMENT

One of our search clients is a highly technical, engineering-managed organization. Their equirements called for no-nonsense, to-the-point creative and identifiable ROI. When they finished their on-line search, they printed full reports on 11 candidates. They selected some but not all for invitation, and asked us for our opinion and/or confirmation.

One agency they hadn’t selected had a compelling client list, and a string of credentials that should have made them “top-choice.” We thought this agency deserved a second look, but then I found these essays (that the client had already reviewed), and saw how they did themselves in.

Profile: Relations – “Our ideal client relationship is full engagement–that is, the client employs us as a
marketing partner, sharing strategy and strategic development, and allowing us to immerse into their business. Budget is less immportant than allowing for the strategic aspect of the relationship. Allowing us to take some chances or creative risks is important.”

Profile: Media – “We employ two staff to manage primarily trade print contracts. Account personnel are actively invloved in clients media planning and strategy.”

Please – don’t kill your own goose! Go in now and check ALL your essays for appearance, content and accuracy. We don’t offer spellchecker in that section, so if you need to, copy and paste what you’ve written out to Word or somesuch and check; then FIX as needed. We can’t explain away something like this.

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

You Want Your Agency on What Floor?

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – September 15, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. You Want Your Agency on What Floor?
2. Clients Sign an Agreement; Have You Seen It?
3. Chemistry Actually Does Win New Clients
4. We Engage in Agency Intercourse
5. Those Unethical Consultants
6. New Business Awards
7. RefNet Assignments

YOU WANT YOUR AGENCY ON WHAT FLOOR? An association that deals in human resource issues chose agencyfinder.com for their agency review. They wanted the agencies “close” (many clients still find location an issue) and we always try to accommodate. Most invited agencies were within a radius of few miles; but one was in the same building, just two floors down! A pleasant surprise for client and agency. That happened to us once before on a search in New York City for Foot Locker.

OUR CLIENTS SIGN AN AGREEMENT; HAVE YOU SEEN IT?

Clients that search at agencyfinder.com have to pass muster at our front door. We do about as much as we can to confirm their search particulars (including budget), but unfortunately can’t warrant them any more than we can warrant your agency data. However, before we provide our no-cost (to the searcher) service, we do get a signed Search Consent Agreement. That and our Review Process at agencyfinder.com are required readings. You’re invited to study them both. https://www.agencyfinder.com/Search%20Consent%20Agreement.doc

CHEMISTRY ACTUALLY DOES WIN NEW CLIENTS

Clients repeatedly tell us when they “like” and “don’t like” an agency. That assessment begins when they read your essays, continues during your initial telephone interview and due-diligence, is even more evident during their visit to your agency, and finally rings the bell or gongs the gong at final presentations.

But it begins with your essays, and was designed to work that way. Clients and consultants remark “many agencies say the same things.” If you try our Demonstration Search, you may come to the same conclusion. But from time to time, we delight in reading and then approving (essentially making them “live”) some refreshing essays. With no more delay, we present some Certified Agency “fresh air.” (three different agencies)

Essay – LAST WORD:
We create exceptional communications. Messages that resonate. That stick in people’s heads like gum to the underside of a desk. These messages are the result of greatly inspired, mildly obsessed minds coming together. Giving them life. Giving your brand a sound, a taste, a smell, a soul. And you the unfair advantage.

Essay – LAST WORD:
And now a view from the belly of the beast. a few words from a recently hired senior copywriter.

Perhaps as part of some cruel initiation ritual, or simply because I was out of the room at the time, I have been asked to give an insider’s view of the agency’s culture. This I will try to do as honestly as I can.

I had never heard of this agency before I arrived for my interview. To tell the truth I wasn’t expecting much. I walked in mentally organizing the other
agency interviews I had in larger cities. They never had a chance after that morning.

There is a fevered commitment to outstanding work. The belief that original thinking can shake up a marketplace, topple competitors, instill new feelings about a brand, even create a market where there was none before.

There is an almost fanatical devotion to the possibilities of an assignment and the unrivaled execution of the ideas. Even if it’s a quick turnaround time, even if it’s a small budget. My colleagues are from all over the country – from major agencies, major markets, major brands. Among us, there is a mutual respect and admiration and of course a healthy rivalry to push the thinking and each other.

This agency is a group of irreverent, hilarious, lovable lunatics who are serious about creating fresh, outstanding, strategically sound, daringly original work for our clients. They’re great people who are doing great work. That’s why I chose them. And why you should too.

Essay – MEDIA:
Putting your logo or message somewhere people will see it isn’t the goal. Often, it isn’t even a good idea for the human race.

There are far too many messages and logos all over the world as it is.

Help us make this planet more beautiful, compassionate and serene, not uglier and junkie. Help us by creating, approving and running better, more beautiful work and put an end to the ordinary.

Now, to answer your question: We do creative media planning in-house. Buying is through a partner firm. But please, no more logos in our kids’ schools.

WE ENGAGE IN AGENCY INTERCOURSE

We’re special (we say that and mean it). We want to maintain an ongoing Internet AND verbal relationship with all our Certified agencies. We want ongoing intercourse, we want to exchange new business tips and ideas, to help see that your agency data is “client-magnetic.” As one step in our selection process, agencies are “triple-filtered,” not foisted on clients just because… or because we say so. Your attributes get you found, and your essays add the sizzle.

So – if we haven’t talked in some time, take our calls (Kaille Padgett is doing that on a regular basis) or lift the phone and call us. TOLL-FREE. 1-877-XFINDER (1-877-934-6337)

THOSE UNETHICAL CONSULTANTS

In AdAge’s Viewpoint, September 8th, O. Burtch Drake, President-CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies, wrote a solid piece entitled “Beware Numbers Game” with the subhead

“Some consultants abuse compensation review process.”

Burtch reports that “over the past months, a growing number of 4A members have alerted 4A management to questionable and unethical tactics employed by a handful of compensation consultants.” He continued, “A few dishonorable consultants are exploiting these circumstances and promising advertisers huge savings on agency compensation agreements.”

Burtch continues with what reads to be some pretty serious allegations and abuse. But rather than blowing the whistle on the few (by naming names), he suggests that clients planning to hire a compensation consultant ask a series of qualifying questions, in an attempt to determine if the consultant is both qualified and legitimate.

If those agency reports and complaints are true, his evidence suggests clients aren’t able to discern the truth. So why not NAME NAMES? If agencies are reporting the truth, then those agencies and the clients they duped should be happy to serve witness.

There’s already enough rumbling and grumbling about “consultants”; let’s clear the decks!

P.S. – Why would any agency let a client even BEGIN to suggest what the agency’s profit margins should be? Are we to believe that same client dictates the margin of profit for their legal counsel? I suspect not.

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

Why Purchasing Stalks Marketing for Agency Control

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – July 23, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. Why Purchasing Stalks Marketing for Agency Control
2. Better Us Than You – An Author’s Tale
3. An Agency Secret Weapon – Read All About It
4. South Africa (Far South Africa) Calling
5. An Olympic Athlete Update

WHY PURCHASING STALKS MARKETING FOR AGENCY CONTROL

You might recall; if not you can check, but back in our February 4th Flash Report we ran a piece entitled “Procurement Departments and Ad Agencies.” Our interest had been piqued, first by the increasing volume of searches by or involving purchasing (procurement) folk, and then at the January 23rd ANA Agency Relationship Forum at the New York Plaza. We saw what no one else was reporting – the real threat to those holding the
marketing reins on the client-side. Our Press Release follows. We commissioned a Special Executive Report to examine those issues at: https://www.agencyfinder.com/Special-Executive-Report.pdf and posted it at our URL as well.

“Reasons for Purchasing’s Rise in Agency Reviews Cited in Agencyfinder Report.”

Agencyfinder releases executive report defining issues surrounding the increase of procurement department activity in ad agency and PR account reviews.

July 7, 2003 – Richmond, VA – Agencyfinder, the most comprehensive advertising & pr agency search/selection system on the Internet, released its first Special Executive Report today entitled “Why Purchasing Stalks Marketing for Agency Control.” The report identifies several key issues surrounding the growing influence of purchasing departments on the agency selection process and provides some insights as to how agencies and clients can adapt.

Agencyfinder’s founder, Chuck Meyst, explains why the company went to the effort of researching and publishing on this topic: “Late last Fall, we started to see a fundamental change in who was using our service from the client side. Since that time (over the last 9 months), we’ve seen a ten-fold increase in searches from purchasing and procurement managers on behalf of their employers and brands. We started to wonder why, did our homework and now present the findings in this report.”

The report cites financial pressures and a greater desire for accountability in the marketing spend as two inter-related issues behind the growing influence of purchasing in reviews and ompensation negotiations. “But there are other factors, too,” Meyst continues. “Those of us in the advertising, PR and related fields haven’t done a very good job of building trust in how we do business or how we charge for the value we bring.”

In conversations with Al Ries, author of The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR, Ries underscores the point that chemistry alone can’t win accounts anymore and that advertising agencies in particular have done a pretty miserable job of understanding that fact. “You have to have the mindset of the purchasing agent,” Mr. Ries says in the report. “Purchasing people deal in hard values; data, especially prices, terms, guarantees, etc. Advertising people deal in soft values such as creativity which can’t be measured.”

But what are the implications of this trend? The Agencyfinder report sheds light on the impact purchasing and procurement managers have had on the agency search process to-date. In the past year, clients have stepped over the unspoken boundaries of employee compensation and bottom line profitability with their agencies. One client identified in the report even asked pitching agencies for information on how they conducted criminal background checks on their employees.

One marketing consultant given an advance copy of the report raised a concern not directly addressed in the publication. “My greatest concern about a greater role for corporate purchasing departments has to do with their instinctive reaction to consolidate accounts and try to create economies of scale,” says Mike Bawden, president and CEO of Brand Central Station. “The problem with that idea is that in many cases, the economies of scale don’t exist – at least not to the degree expected by a purchasing manager who is used to buying more commoditized products.”

Mr. Meyst estimates that approximately 7 to 10% of the USA’s more accomplished ad agencies and PR firms are registered with Agencyfinder. “With over 4,000 top-ranked agency offices in the database, we’re able to match just about any sized client with the right kind of agency.” The service has been put to the test over the years, conducting over 3,300 searches since March 1998. “Most of our volume in client searches is in the small-to-medium range,” explains Meyst, “although we’ve seen more than our fair share of larger searches over $25 million. Our largest to date was over $100 million.”

According to Mr. Meyst, “It’s accounts like those – some that are too small to immediately attract the attention of a mega-agency and some too large to be awarded based on a personal friendship – that are the most difficult to satisfy. The Internet and off-line process we provide via Agencyfinder opens the door to new agencies and levels the playing field at the same time.”

Brand Central Station’s Mr. Bawden agrees, “One of the reasons my partners and I have seen the success we have with our Agencyfinder registrations is that clients understand the power and efficiency of finding the right-sized agency for the right-sized problem. Agencyfinder does that in a way that we wind up talking to and pitching work that’s a good fit – and that is how clients save money in the long run.”

The Agencyfinder Special Executive Report: “Why Purchasing Stalks Marketing for Agency Control” is available as a PDF attachment, or by visiting the Agencyfinder website: www.agencyfinder.com.

Agencyfinder.com, a service of Business Partnering International, Ltd, was founded in February 1997, and is the most comprehensive database of advertising and public relations agencies on the Internet today. Intended for use by companies seeking agency support for projects, campaigns or long-term relationships, the company has executed over 3,300 searches in the past five years. Searching is free to marketers and supported with complimentary search consulting advice (telephone consultations) provided by the executive staff. Advertising agencies and public relations firms pay an annual fee to be part of the online database and to participate in searches.

BETTER US THAN YOU – AN AUTHOR’S TALE

Clients – we love ’em. But some can be challenging, and frankly, we think you want us to screen them so you never have to deal with certain “kinds.” I’ve excerpted some e-mail exchanges from a recent search by a “famous fictional romance author” looking for a publicist to help her sell books. AF: “We’ve got some agency choices for you in the Denver area, some are large, others a bit smaller. What they can do for a client depends in part on budget. What have you allocated for an annual (or project) promotional budget?”

Author: “The deal is – I am hoping to grow ‘with’ an agency. The more revenue they help me generate, the more revenue their firm gets, know what I mean?”

AF: “We can appreciate that. However, most agencies are not willing to work on a contingent basis. That’s what an ‘agent’ does. What might you be willing to pay as a retainer to someone to start working for you? As in – $3,000, 6,000, 10,000? Pick a number and then we can make some contacts. And regarding your mention of payment for success, what would you be prepared to pay a publicist as a percent of book sales?”

Author: “I am not opposed to paying a retainer. However, I’m looking for an aggressive ‘partner. The more books they sell, the better the commission. Per book and cost down to the penny is confidential and can be negotiated between myself and the company. If none of your agencies want that kind of deal, I will shop locally myself.

AF: “We’d love to help, but when a client won’t share preliminary information with us, we have withdraw our offer of service.”

Agencies – is this what you expect of us? Or would you want to meet a client like this?

AN AGENCY SECRET WEAPON – READ ALL ABOUT IT

Glenn Sagon, President at SPG/Sagon-Phior in Studio City, CA is a long-standing agencyfinder agency and friend, and called back in April to tell us about Vision Mixer Films in Pacific Palisades, CA. Glenn and others out California way have used George Bloom and his firm often, particularly when time is tight, budgets are close, and the work has to be first class. You and your clients might appreciate what they can do. I was particularly impressed, and offered to introduce him to you as soon as he had a rockn’ site. It’s ready – check it out at: www.Visionmixerfilms.com.

SOUTH AFRICA (FAR SOUTH AFRICA) CALLING

Miles and hours away, about as far south as one wants to go in South Africa (little land exists beyond) lies an idyllic vacation area. That’s where abstract artist Tay Dall, known for emotionally charged oil paintings on unusual surfaces like old doors and shutters performs her craft. “Culture presents us with icons of idealised states of being,” she says. “These are, however, extremely transitory. I therefore physically alter the surface of everything I paint, allowing my voice to come through. “My works express many feelings through line and colour. I hope the resulting visual atmosphere will touch viewers emotionally.”

Tay, a 1.8 metre live-wire, returned to South Africa in 1995, after living in Los Angeles, California for eleven years, where she studied, worked and exhibited her work in numerous galleries. She is married to American entrepreneur Ben Chowney and has two children Zoë and Tal. Her home and studio are located along a nature reserve near the beautiful seaside village of Hermanus, Western Cape.

Tay’s work is fresh and quite different. She also happens to be my daughter-in-law. Her site, and comments by my wife’s son Benjamin are entertaining. You or your clients might find an opportunity to incorporate her work. Enjoy. http://www.taydall.com

AN OLYMPIC UPDATE

In last month’s Flash Report, we mentioned a famous female Olympian and her mission to

package herself for the 2006 Italian winter Olympics. I’m pleased to report that we and she landed two most enthusiastic and assertive “publicists” that are bound and determined to secure sponsors for her Gold, Silver and Bronze options – and we hope to have full details within the next month or so. Her identity and the agencies remain top secret until we have breaking news. But they are to be commended for coming forward!

In the meantime, and to supplement what those publicists are already doing, IF your firm might be interested in getting an inside track (at a significantly reduced fee) and participating in the Italian Winter Olympics with a female athlete that: 1. Has already received outstanding publicity for her skill, daring, accomplishments and miracles, 2. Is an outstanding spokesperson and would be for any company with products and services for the female consumer, 3. Will provide an ongoing and compelling publicity angle for her sponsors each season and year-long leading to those games – then give me a call and I’ll put you in touch with her “people.”

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road

Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

New Business Options – 4A’s New Business Summit

Written by ChuckMeyst2015 on . Posted in Flash Reports

Flash Report – June 18, 2003

This BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT information is for agencyfinder.com Certified Agencies, Agency New Business Executives and agency subscribers. We communicate with registered member-agencies using e-mail.

CONTENTS:

1. New Business Options – 4A’s New Business Summit
2. New Business Options – The New Business Institute
3. New Business Options – The Marketing Forum
4. New Business Survey – Ballester US
5. A Olympic Marketing Opportunity
6. A Child Prodigy

NEW BUSINESS OPTIONS – 4A’S NEW BUSINESS SUMMIT

New York’s Hudson Theatre served last week as venue for 4A’s first-ever New Business Summit, by their description the most successful event they’ve ever produced. That was easy to accept, as we looked around to see more than 450 of the countries biggest, best and most vocal new business players. Reading from their published materials, more specifically: 459 registrants, 48
speakers and presenters and 26 staff. 201 of the 459 were from New York. Hats off to all who made this a worthwhile event.

ADWEEK and AdAge carried stories on what Donny, Andy and Lee had to say, but just as important was what was said by the less renowned. Consultants talked about do’s and don’ts; clients did the same. Ballester Inc. shared what clients really think (more on that below). Most discussion centered around how to win the account after the agency made the invitation list. Questions were presented in written form to the podium. Some were edited out, but the big mystery (never really answered or addressed) was how an agency got on that invitational list to begin with.

For years, agency management has announced “Just get us on the short list, and we’ll do what we do so well. That’s when we shine!” Well, except for the rather significant budget reviews at $75 million and more, (where the consultants tend to congregate), it seems as if there’s a no-man’s land below that where the less-than-gigantic agencies struggle and puzzle to get connected. (hint – we selfishly know for certain that agencyfinder is one significant solution. Before heading to New York, I checked with our MIS Director for some stats – since 3/98, we’ve recorded more than 3,300 client searches!). Speakers admonished the agencies to politely but promptly decline invitations where “fit” or “form” was bad. Great idea. In particular, agencies need to review and acknowledge all forms of invitations and queries. Clients don’t forget or forgive. When rebuffed or treated rudely (most often by agency gate-keepers or executive assistants, but the boss never finds out) they tell their friends and colleagues. Oh, but for a dollar for every time we’ve been told that story! Donny and Andy also made the point to remind us all that each agency spends a small fortune to try to win. If your gut tells you it is not going to happen, save that money for something else in new business.

Speaking of money – agencies made a serious commitment and spent well to attend. At $1,000 for members and $1,495 for consultants and suppliers, the 4As should have seen something close to $400,000 in receipts. Add travel, accommodations, and then allocate talent-at-hourly-rates, you might call this a $2 – $3 million event. For agencies that expect new business costs to be borne in part by client billings, this should come as a real eye-opener.

New business is also about networking, and it’s gratifying to realize that a few moments of sincere handshaking between long-time telephone friends was worth the time and travel. I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

NEW BUSINESS OPTIONS – THE NEW BUSINESS INSTITUTE

Who teaches agencies new business process? Not the Universities and colleges. Not the graduate schools, and seldom member associations. Peer-to-peer experience sharing is constructive, but it’s not the same as a more formal education. One consistent resource that dates back to the early 90’s is Stuart Sanders and his folks at Sanders Consulting Group. Sanders paired up with ADWEEK in the mid-to-late 90’s to produce a series of new business and “re-engineering” events that crossed the country and the pond, and they’re doing so again. That no-man’s land of agency outreach and pursuit is addressed and taught by Sanders this year during The New Business Institute. Eight events; eight cities near you.

We believe in what Stuart advocates, and we’d like to spread that message. For more info, visit www.newbusinessinstitute.com or call 800/899-1538.

NEW BUSINESS OPTIONS – THE MARKETING FORUM

Speaking of new business investments, The Marketing Forum has been floating about for six years. Agencies pay so clients can cruise and schmooze for free, but it’s not the cruise that’s the draw, it’s presumably the opportunity to sit (agency and client) for 25 un-interrupted minutes in a public area to get acquainted and talk business. You can do dinner and seminars too, but they say it’s that face-to-face and salt-water spray that invigorates, titillates, stimulates and motivates.

Some agency executives declare they “don’t pay for leads.” These agencies apparently don’t feel that way, and paid about $18,000 per head to float offshore for three days. The figures vary, but from the low estimate (90 agency/suppliers) to what is certainly the total float (200), the producers saw in excess of $1.5 million in revenue. How’s that for a significant new business investment?

Agencies that believe in new business development are not shy about spending what they see as necessary to succeed. And don’t deceive yourself – any attempt at finding and landing new clients requires an investment and expenditure. For those not yet convinced, you may want to chat with your more successful colleagues.

NEW BUSINESS SURVEY – BALLESTER INC. USA

Surprise, surprise! Ballester reported that integrated agencies or full-service agencies (or at

least proclaiming that is what you offer) are far less important to clients than agencies think. Most advertisers (81%) accept that their agency is able to offer integrated services, but prefer to unbundle their business to “best-of-breed” specialists while retaining client control over overall coordination.

Ballester’s report advises that advertisers describe their top marketing challenges as: “Breaking through the clutter”, building awareness for their brands in a crowded and evolving media and consumer landscape and being effective in terms of sales increase.

Primary reasons for calling a review are: they feel they have outgrown their present agency (28%), they are generally dissatisfied (26%) or simply, because “the thrill is gone” from their relationship with the agency (12%). Looking at these stats, should we encourage the incumbent when the client calls a review?

AN OLYMPIC MARKETING OPPORTUNITY

We were surprised and delighted when a “famous” female Olympic athlete registered a few weeks ago. Her search was a bit unusual, in that she’s looking to hire a public relations firm or a publicist to work with her prior to and then during the Italian Winter Olympics of 2006. The hitch (not something we encourage) is she has not yet landed her new sponsors. Her past sponsors are clients to die for, and depending on who-you-know, it might not take much for a well-connected agency person to close something big.

Her identity must remain a secret for now, but if you have sports marketing experience and could balance publicity with landing a sponsor (s) (there are quite a few perks in the package including a possible deal with her “country”), give me a call. We might be able to get her that sponsor outright, and then she’d be just another client with a budget!

A CHILD PRODIGY

Imagine a 10-year-old female inventor, athlete, author and motivational speaker. “Dad” for just such a young lady registered about the same time our Olympian did so. He was looking for a public relations person, maybe even an agent to intercept for and help manage this remarkable young lady. We couldn’t act fast enough, as a very famous and influential International jet setter got wind and took this young lady under wing. Watch the pressfor more.

Remember you heard it here first – Ms. Kelly Reinhart!

Thanks for taking time to read this; we look forward to getting you face-to-face with a great prospect.

Sincerely,

Charles G. Meyst, Chairman/CEO

Business Partnering International, Ltd.
Vantage Place, 4327 Cox Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060 USA

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