Pitch Specialisation, Show Integration for Agency New Business

I was running an advertising pitch for a large University a year or so back and the brief was very specific – they wanted an advertising agency to run an advertising campaign. The pitches were taking place at RSW’s office over one day. At the end of the day I had a de-briefing with the marketing director who was the client making the decision.

She said that although one of the agencies had really grabbed her attention, she would find it very difficult to use them because they had pitched themselves as an integrated agency and had provided an integrated solution; I said, “Well, what’s wrong with that! Surely that’s a good solution!” She went on to explain …

She had been tasked with finding an ADVERTISING agency. There were other people within the organisation who were responsible for the other disciplines; there was an online marketing manager, a DM manager and a PR manager. All these people had their own agencies and were very protective. If she chose the integrated agency, it would cause just too many political problems for her. So she discounted them. Shame really.

So, what COULD that agency have done? Here’s my view.

When asked to answer an advertising brief, pitch an advertising solution that would take up the budget you have been told to work to. Then, show them examples of how that big idea could work across other disciplines “if you decided to get your other agencies to follow our suggestions, or indeed, were to ask us to take the idea further”.

This way you are not encroaching onto any areas you have not been asked to explore but are showing your integrated thinking.

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MD Of Healthcare Technology Company

You are a true star! Thank you.

You got a big shout out at our team meeting today for the incredible work you are doing. Your ears should have been burning!

You are more than an honorary member of the team.

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New Business Director of PR Firm

“Great meeting with XXXXXXX – thank you both. The prospect said they rarely take new business calls and meetings but XXXXX was such a pleasure to deal with and so intelligent in her approach.

Well done and thank you XXXXX ! “

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Ockham’s Razor for Agency New Business

ockhams-razorWhen you have two competing systems that make the same predictions, Ockham’s Razor (also the Principle of Parsimony or the Law of Succinctness) tells us that the system that contains all of what is required to deliver the objective and none of what is not required will be the better solution.

In code writing this means the software engineer who solves the problem with the fewest lines of code has produced the best software.

In agency new business we at RSW believe it means doing everything that is necessary to achieve the objective set and agreed whilst leaving out those things that are NOT necessary.

And most importantly, achieving the objective in the best possible way.

The agency’s objective is usually to win a new client. In order to achieve this they probably need to submit three proposals or partake in three pitches (if they pitch!). In order to achieve THIS, they will need to meet with “X” number of prospects. THAT is our objective.

In order to achieve this objective whist making sure that the agency’s objective is also met means keeping a very keen eye on quality.

And the best way to make sure the quality of the meetings is up to scratch is to know when to approach prospects so that you are not a) strong arming prospects into meeting for the sake of hitting target or b) looking for a needle in a haystack.

That is why the algorithm we have developed that pinpoints companies who are 80% likely to be reviewing their agency within the next 100 days gives our clients the best possible chance of achieving their objective. Without fuss.

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Don’t Work Hard. Work Intelligent (sic)?


I totally agree!

The key thing to working more intelligently is to make sure that you understand the whole picture and are not simply making your own life easier. Although this individual may think he has been clever, he may well have ruined the entire project by not doing as he was asked.

From a management POV it is also interesting as it conveys the importance of making sure each member of the team understands the importance of the role they have been assigned within the greater context of the organisation.

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Welcome! We are a creative agency specializing in all your branding needs. To give you a sense of what it’s like to work with us, this is WHAT WE DO: Discovery, Development, and Direction.


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RSW New Business Report 2014 highlights

50% of marketing directors review their agency annually.

The average pitch list is three agencies long.

The best outreach methods are LinkedIn, PR and the good old telephone.

More than 50% of marketing directors have a Twitter account they use for business …

… and 31% follow agencies.

Almost 85% of marketing directors have an up to date LinekdIn profile …

… and only 15% never accept invites from agency personnel.

Almost 40% of marketing directors review their agency immediately upon taking up a new position with another 40% doing the same within the first 100 days.

More than 90% of those surveyed quoted creative stagnation as a reason they review.

Over 80% of clients said that incumbent agencies either often or quite often retain their business.

Download the REPORT HERE.

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LinkedIn, PR and the good old Telephone reign for agency new business




The latest RSW New Business Report (our eleventh) tells us that clients rate LinkedIn as being the most effective outreach method employed by agencies, with PR coming in second and the good old telephone third. Click HERE to download of view the whole report.

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Too Busy to Talk?


This was brought to my attention the other day and it made me smile.

How often have you, as an agency new business person, felt like this poor chap. There you are, with a really great offering and yet no-one will even give you the time of day. Why is that?

Well, the usual reason is one of the following:

  1. Your timing sucks
  2. Your proposition isn’t different enough
  3. You are simply employing the wrong outreach techniques for that particular person

So let’s look at these three key reason why prospects refuse to engage.

  1. If your timing is wrong why is that and what can you do to improve it? Well, the main reason people start looking around for a new agency is because they have just taken on a new role. In fact 70% of marketing directors say that reviewing the incumbent agency is the first thing they do in a new position. And it’s not JUST marketing directors either. Every decision maker does the same thing. So you can either keep your eye on the press or do as RSW has done and develop a way to get this information before anyone else does.
  2. If your proposition isn’t up to scratch then get some help with it. Too many agencies just don’t put enough effort into it or concentrate on the chemical factors rather than the hygiene factors, which is an easy mistake to make.
  3. Every person responds to a different outreach tool and there are many at your disposal. Telephone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook even. The key thing is to not have a “method”, but to have an “armoury” and to assess each individual as just that and choose your weapon carefully. Choose the wrong one and you may well blow the opportunity.

Good hunting!

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The Agency Football Team

My agency is like a football team.

The new business team are the strikers.

Account management are the midfielders.

Client services are the defence and keeper.

Every month is a new game against the opposition.

A new client won is a goal for us.

A client lost is a goal for the opposition.

The objective is to win each game.

But I’d rather we won 1-0 or 2-1 than 4-3 or 3-2.

Keeping a clean sheet is the most important aspect of our tactics, so let’s park the bus and counter-attack.

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