As I am pretty easy to find on the Internet, I get calls from agencies all the time asking me how they can get on my list. I say, “Consider yourself on it because it doesn’t exist.” They all seem a little perplexed after my response and a little disappointed like I have burst their bubble.
I really have no list and always start with a clean slate every time I do an agency search for an advertising or PR firm because all reviews are different. During the recent Raley’ Supermarkets agency search that I conducted one of the criteria was that the agency had to be located in the Bay area. If I came back with a list of agencies in Southern California they would look at me like I was crazy and not a good listener. I enjoy doing reviews so I do not want to get fired.
Agencies should also keep in mind that 80% of all clients do their own reviews. They shouldn’t because marketers aren’t equipped with enough time or the skill set to do it right.
I think that agencies reach out to search consultants because it is easier for them. Hey I will make a few calls and then I will be involved in a bunch of reviews. Consultants will be recommending my agency. I doubt it.
Agencies often want to take the easy route because developing an effective New Business plan is hard work and is heavy lifting.
But agencies want it easy. It is a little like the calls I get all the time saying, “Hey Hank, if you get us a piece of business we will take care of you. We will give you a referral fee.” I tell them to check out my site called http://www.givingawayaccounts.com
Finding and winning accounts is hard work these days. Nobody is going to give them away. It is the old model and not a viable New Business strategy.
Agencies should stop implementing low probability activities as the focus of their New Business practice. Instead they should focus on marketing their agencies and making themselves more visible by implementing a strong social media presence, developing and distributing thought leadership articles and reinventing themselves. Do you offer iPad Applications? No? Too bad. That capability would be a great door opener. It takes much more effort but in the long run provides many more benefits.
Besides conducing agency searches, Hank also helps agencies build effective New Business programs. He frequently speaks to AAF Chapters on Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business and Networking Your Way to New Business. You can contact Hank at firstname.lastname@example.org