Are Agencies Isolated?


I am always amazed when I reach out to agencies by email and even phone calls when I am doing an agency review that some agencies don’t respond. I get nada.

Imagine the fact that you have to chase an agency when you could be a conduit to New Business.

This has been consistent over the years for all the agency searches I have conducted for brands from Jacuzzi to Toyo Tires.

I often wonder why? Do they think I am trying to sell them something?

Maybe agencies are skeptics. After all when your business is basically selling new ideas then you may get tired of being sold.

Maybe people have changed. Certainly the business has. Continue reading


Want More New Business? Turn It Down.


Chasing New Business is an interesting game. I know because I have played it a lot. From both the agency side and the agency review side.

I learn a lot from walking down both sides of the street.

Some agencies chase every shadow. “We’d be perfect for (name the client)“, they always say.

Some agencies say they don’t respond to RFP’s and only work with clients who seek them out or through referrals. Nice place to be.

Some agencies never respond to my outreach when I am looking for agencies as a search consultant. Surprising but very true on the majority of reviews I have completed. Continue reading

How Long Does It Take For Agencies to Land New Business?


How Long Does it Take for Agencies to get New Business?  Longer than you want it to. Yes, New Business can take a very long time but most agencies don’t want to hear that.

The last thing that agencies have in New Business is patience.  Patience is what they tell clients when they are disappointed with the results of a campaign. These things take time agencies counsel. Be patient they plead.

I got an e mail from an agency New Business leader the other day. He was trying to do a little research on the typical sales cycle for advertising agencies to close New Business. He was encountering some internal resistance to his belief that New Business isn’t transactional selling and takes time to develop. Continue reading

Are Agencies Arrogant?


I had lunch the other day with a new client friend. Somebody who worked for a company whose logo would appear in every agency’s New Business deck or lobby wall if they had their business.

Look who we work for it would imply. We must be smart because successful companies work with us.

But sometimes agencies miss the chance to add those logos and show their smarts.

I was giving my client friend some advice on an agency search that she was conducting internally.

I would have loved to help her but that is how it goes some time.

She shared that she found some agencies very arrogant during her outreach to them. Continue reading

Why Finding An Advertising Agency is Not an Easy Task


This is a blog I recently wrote for Marketing Executives Networking Group.

Now I imagine that if you were an agency owner reading this you could be a touch frustrated. You might respond, “Look I am right here. I am easy to find.” But that is not always the case.

I look for agencies all the time when I am conducting an agency search and it’s not an easy undertaking in the New Normal. Sure you can find the usual suspects but I want to go deeper than that and find emerging talent. Then again many established agencies are invisible. Continue reading

It’s Time for Agencies to Stop Giving it Away.


The Advertising Industry is a very interesting game. If you love ideas and innovation and change and craziness and stimulating people then it is a great field for you.

But, it is also a crazy business that often gives away their creativity for free.

Yet, in any city across the country you could call your local advertising agencies and say you are a client with a budget and would love to have a meeting with them so you can get some ideas from them and they will drop their drawers for free. The budget may be real, unapproved, in a planning document, or on the moon. Doesn’t matter. The client shows up and the agency performs just like the monkeys that dance for Monkey Grinders.  Remember those?

This doesn’t occur in many industries. Oh yes, I can get a free financial audit from anybody in that industry anytime, but who wants one of those? It is, however, difficult to get an insightful and introspective analysis of a company for free outside of the advertising business. And, as a bonus offer ad agencies will throw in some business building ideas for you. On top of that they will follow up by asking you how the meeting went. They will also bring in the best breakfast from the best place in town.

The last time I talked to a lawyer about an issue it cost me $400 for 30 minutes of generic advice I could have found on the internet.

Why are agencies so easy?

Well like monkeys, agencies love the elixir of possible revenue which often turns out to be peanuts. Sure, some clients are sincere in their search for a new agency partner. I have done many agency searches for clients who were very sincere and successful relationships were developed.

But 80% of clients do their own reviews and many aren’t really qualified to do that. Why? Because they are overworked, overstressed, short of people and  resources and they just don’t know how to do more than talk to a few friends they know. Clearly not the best way to find a business partner who can make or break your career or your company’s fortunes.

Some clients, just like people in life are disingenuous. They often feel pressure to achieve results that aren’t possible with the many economic and social challenges that have surfaced in the New Normal. So what is the answer for many clients?

Hey I have a great idea. Let’s do an agency review. We will be able to get great new ideas from lots of agencies to move our business forward. That sounds like a great idea Fred. How much is that going to cost us?  Nothing. We can get them to do it for free. That’s the ticket.

You don’t have to look too far to find out how great ideas can change the world and how many agencies were involved with that ideation. Great thinking is worth more than peanuts. It is time for agencies to stop dancing for free and for clients to stop asking them to dance.

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Watch:  Why It’s Time to Change the RFP Process.