I was doing some recruiting the other day. Trying to find some folks. I like to feel the happiness of successful human outcomes. I reached out to some people I was connected with on LinkedIn.
I sent an e mail to one agency that I didn’t know well. I told him that I was looking for a mid-level Account person. I wasn’t looking for anybody to split the atom.
I got back an interesting response. “Are you asking me to recommend a person for a competitive agency?” He seemed incredulous.
I hope my LinkedIn friend never ends up at the beach if he loses his job. He will get a bad sun burn. Not too much karma there.
I have had plenty of calls and e mails during the years of the Old and New Normal. These have been challenging times in the ad game.
It is pretty easy to check out stats on the 4A’s site about how the business has been downsized while selling Supersize. Even today’s innocent puppies can be launched into instant Friday afternoon bewilderment.
I can still hear somebody saying Hank I love this person but I need to reduce my body count. I am getting pressure from New York or somewhere else. Can you help?
I met with the Principal of an Interactive agency in San Diego a few weeks ago. We discussed the competitive set in San Diego where the digital agency presence is surprisingly strong for a market of its size. Yes we all have lunch together he quickly said.
I was doing some work for a Digital Development agency in Buenos Aires this week and was connecting them to some folks in New York.
I did my LinkedIn search. I have a lot of advantages because I have lots of connections on LinkedIn. I have always invested in people while others were watching TV.
I saw a name that set me back. Why am I connected to him? I know his fame. So does Wikipedia.
He said sure we will take the meeting and he copied somebody that was going to set it up.
Just like that I had a great day.
So you can see there is a wide range of ways that people in the agency game react in the New Normal.
I often wonder if it is a business decision. A Monday morning decision after the status meeting? Or the way they were raised or wired? Is it based on how much money they have or how much social currency they have? Or is time their primary currency?
The advertising agency, public relations agency, interactive agency game is very different today. Budgets are smaller and work takes longer and there are fewer people. That is just the start.
Certainly fewer resources. When I was a puppy working in Toronto I would often visit the home office in New York. I met the 6 librarians they had. The human internet of that time but with a better Dewey Decimal system. I looked at the corporate art collection and sat at the cozy company bar. Nobody stayed there too long. They wanted to go out into the city and feel the discovery of people.
So why would you not collaborate?
The best agencies or maybe the best people would always share the New Business leads that they couldn’t pitch with their friends. No harm to that.
They would always call each other when they were looking for talent.
There is a good chance after the call you will have lunch or a drink after work that be longer than they planned.
Real good friends call and get the real scoop about companies and not have to rely on the real scoop that their folks find on Google.
I remember a decade ago I reached to a New Business person at an agency and said let’s get together.
We are competitors he said. I smiled.
Are you going to get 100% market share if you don’t meet me I asked?
I haven’t seen him around for a long time…
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You may also enjoy this article on Why Finding An Agency is Not an Easy Task.