The Three Slide Agency New Business Pitch.


I like talking to agencies and to clients.  Always learn a lot with a little listening.  I was talking to my agency friends at Tag in Philadelphia the other day.  We were having a proper chat. They shared a story about a recent New Business pitch that they made with a three page deck.

Intrigued I said please share more.  The three slides were their logo page, an infographic and their brand wheel. Tag is part of the Brand Establishment network so brand is their mantra.  The infographic was a snapshot of the client’s current situation.  It immediately got their New Business prospect talking.  That is always very good in a New Business pitch.   It provides an opportunity to build chemistry and show your smarts.

I have become very interested in infographics in the last year.  There is an agency in OC called Column Five that has a strong practice in the area.

I like the snapshots of infographics.  They look like a picture of facts to me. I was taught a long time ago that you have to visualize to realize.

As an agency search consultant I have seen many agency New Business decks. Most are too long.  Many are 30 plus slides long or longer.  Talking takes time in a pitch.  If you have a 30 page deck and you take 3 minutes on each slide you have a 90 minute presentation.  Agencies generally like to talk.  During a pitch everybody in the room from the agencies loves to talk.  Everybody wants a role.  Everybody wants to contribute.  Big decks create long times before the clients get to talk and that is the most important part of a pitch.  They often also leave agencies rushing at the end.

I have never heard any client in any review that I have done say Stop Talking About My Business. Never.  All clients love talking about their business.  It’s their baby.

When I talk to clients about New Business presentations they have conducted they often groan about agency’s New Business decks.  Most hate sitting in them because the decks are all similar and they know they are going to be seeing largely the same thing down the street.  Not every time but enough that the current sentiment among a broad swath of clients is that agencies are all the same.  Agencies created that perception I think because they follow a pretty standard template that needs to be blown up.

I think today in the New Normal we are all very much over capacitated. In New Business today less can be truly more.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank


Watch his video on the Why Small and Smart is the New Agency Model.

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Are Your Agency’s New Business Efforts A Waste of Time


It is great to have perspective in business and in life. I have learned a lot about the ways agencies hunt from my hunting experiences and being an agency review consultant.

I often see many new business efforts that are a total waste of time. I could be talking on the phone to somebody who sees opportunity and I think they are wasting their time. But we have all been there.  I have to admit that on occasion I am guilty as charged. Because creative people see opportunity they can often be mislead by too much personal passion. It is a fine line to walk.

I think that agencies need to access where their New Business plans are on the opportunity meter. In New Business there are two P’s. Probability and Possibility. The best metric is probability but many agencies with short runways chase possibility and that is the wrong strategy. Chasing possibility is something you do when the larder is full and things are rosy and toasty and not needy. But needy agencies often lose radar.

I have learned over the years as a  search consultant that clients switch agencies or work with agencies for two P’s. Pain and Promise. When I do an agency review the pain is getting pretty acute. Then there is the Promise component. Most clients love to embrace promise. That is an idea that can move their business ahead and make them an internal hero.

In the Old Normal clients had more time and would take a call with somebody they had a solution for them and possibly take a meeting. In the New Normal nobody answers the phone from a blocked number or a number they don’t know. If you get lucky and get them on the phone by calling at 7.30 AM or 6.00 PM they are less likely to take a meeting based on your sell that want to see how your platform of marketing solutions can align with their marketing needs. You are selling solutions looking for a problem which is akin to going through the Eye of the Needle.

At a recent New Business Conference in LA put on by Think LA and Mirren I had the opportunity to hear a client speaker from a major cool national brand that all small, medium, and major agencies would love to have.  They had also worked on the agency side. Somebody asked him what was the best way to connect with you?  Do you like email?  He turned to the audience and said do you know how many emails I get a day?  I could see that he was overwhelmed by today’s New Normal.

What’s the best way to get to you?

Networking is what he said.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Watch:  Power of Networking.

Read: The Most Powerful Word in Agency New Business is No.

Agencies Need to Focus on the Things that Clients Can’t Do.

When is it time to Fire Your Agency.

Peeling the Onion or New Business.

Winning New Business Is Easy.

The Most Powerful Word in Agency New Business is NO.


The most game changing word in new business is one that advertising, digital and PR agencies rarely use. It is NO.

Yes. NO.  Agencies need to say NO more often in New Business.  I can’t do that you say.  I am a yes person.  It’s time to change.  The industry has changed.  Technology has changed.  Marketing has changed.  But many agencies haven’t changed.

I went to a very interesting New Business Conference recently sponsored by Think LA and Mirren.  I wrote about some observations in an article called To Grow Agencies Need to Focus on Things that Clients Can’t Do.

So here are suggested ways to respond to the New Business inquiries your agency may receive from companies, start ups, etc.

We are looking for an agency that can invest with us.

Say NO.

We would love to meet with you guys and get some new ideas.

Will you pay us for our time?  NO.

Then say NO.

Or you can also send them a ten page agreement with lots of legal terms saying a bunch of mumbo jumbo outlining you will own your creative and their children.  They will go away.  A proportion of clients save their careers by using agencies and have no idea how to conduct an agency search.

You may think that there is a ray of hope.  It is a mirage if people that don’t value your time, your work and your product.

Our budget is small but we are looking for a partner to help grow our business and then we will invest more.

Say NO.

When the calls come ask them if they are doing this review because it is mandated?  If they say YES. Then you say NO.

We are anxious to go to market.  Our timeline is aggressive and our budget is small but we are looking to grow.

Say NO.

All misguided New Business efforts aren’t just stimulated by untrained clients.  Most badly planned efforts at agencies start internally.

Here are some ways to respond to the internal amped up, often politically riddled New Business meetings you may have each Monday morning after the your status meeting.

This could lead to something.

Say NO. It will lead to nothing.  It is a low probability opportunity and New Business isn’t about playing the Quarter slots.

We should just give it a shot.

Say NO.  The person who said that had too many shots on the weekend.

Here are some things you can say YES to in New Business.

Say YES to growing your existing clients.  It is easier to grow your existing clients than winning New Business.

Say YES in taking the time and money that you would invest in fruitless searches and apply it to marketing your own agency.  The majority of you don’t do it very well.  I have seen it countless times as a search consultant and new business development person.

Say YES to NO.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank


Watch his video on the Power of Networking.

You may also enjoy these articles.

When is it time to Fire Your Agency.

Peeling the Onion or New Business.

Winning New Business Is Easy.

Advertising Agencies Need to Focus on Things that Clients Can’t Do.


I went to a very interesting New Business Conference this week sponsored by Think LA and Mirren.

A number of speakers from different agencies focused on the common problems facing the industry.  The move to more project based assignments versus AOR relationships, declining revenues, the shift to clients having multiple agency relationships, etc, etc, etc.  It wasn’t pretty.  A sea of laments.

There was a very interesting presentation by Tim Williams from Ignition Consulting on New Emerging Business Models for Agencies.  He outlined the days when agencies did things that clients couldn’t do.  Setting type, preparing mechanicals, producing TV commercials. Yes agencies did things that seemed like magic potients for clients.  Elixirs of creativity. Then came the computer which changed the playing field.

Certainly agencies very quickly jumped on the benefits of technology and the new creative software that accompanied it.  But clients could also buy computers and do many of the same commodity things in house.  Maybe not originally with the same degree of creativity but how many clients really want creativity?  It is more a platitude than an attitude? Most companies aren’t Nike or Apple.

The next day I had an early morning coffee with the CMO of a pretty significant company in Orange County.  He had started his long and successful marketing career in the advertising industry.  He felt that he could do in house most of the things that agencies could do and do it better.  He could do social media, videos, produce ads, hire photographers for product shoots, and update his web site. The 22 year old AE wasn’t going to take him to the next Marketing Valhalla. He really didn’t need to pay an agency to resize ads. Then he said one thing that stopped me.

He said the one thing that had great value for him was ideas. That sounded good for agencies.  Then he said something else that wasn’t good.  He said that agencies gave their ideas away for free.  Now I don’t know what agencies he had talked to or what his agency experiences were but he was right that agencies often give things away for free.  I wrote about this recently in a blog called Why Agencies Need to Stop Giving it Away.  I have painfully learned in my business that giving away your knowledge for free is not a great way to pay the mortgage.

The conference and my breakfast left me with the conclusion that to grow agencies really need to focus their future services on the things that clients can’t do.  I think that menu may change based on the clients you encounter.  There is a good chance that what many clients can’t do is to live at the forefront of today’s dynamically changing technology.  Many clients don’t have centers of innovation for instance.  I certainly believe that agencies have the creative fire power to develop these services and productize them.  The scale of agency innovation surpasses most client organizations in my opinion.  I still hear plenty of client ahs when I do agency searches.

The problem is that many agencies have commoditized their offerings and can offer little more than their clients can do at less cost and probably with more insight. It’s time to stop billing for low hanging fruit and go to a higher level and get paid for it.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank


You can watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You may also enjoy these articles.

How Many Agencies Are Submitting.

Why Small and Smart is the New Agency Model.

How Agencies Can Get More New Business