Author Archive

Erynn Laflamme

As the Senior Digital Marketing Specialist, Erynn works directly with the Catapult Sales team to execute targeted campaigns that generate qualified leads. With a background in agency new business, she delivers a unique insiders perspective on the challenges agencies face in regard to business development.

4 Ways For Your Agency to Grow Organic Revenue

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining revenue growth for your agency is to build thriving relationships with your current clients. From studying the brand’s industry, maintaining strong communication and having overall excellent business judgment, there is a lot that goes into establishing a secure and trusted client relationship. And in today’s world, these things are no longer “nice to have”; they are necessities.

Like every aspect of the current agency landscape, the way in which we manage our client relationships is in desperate need of innovation. However, this innovation comes with an excellent opportunity for revenue growth.

Here are four methods that your agency can adopt today to grow organic revenue while establishing long and successful partnerships in the future:

Embrace a culture that celebrates client relationships

At the 2018 Mirren CEO Summit, Tatia Torrey, the Chief Client Officer of Havas, discussed how each month the agency holds a “case study share out,” an event where the entire agency gets together and celebrates incredible work they created for their clients. In addition to being a celebration of hard work and creative freedom, it has the potential to grow revenue in numerous ways:

  • Allows junior level employees to practice speaking in front of large crowds/agency executives, preparing them for growth within the agency
  • Educates all employees on client trends, keeping them informed and up-to-date
  • Provides first-hand insights on different products/offerings and how they are performing in the market
  • Develops great content to utilize for agency outreach and advocacy

By giving your client teams a safe place to brag about the incredible work they’ve created for clients, you’re not only inspiring an environment that keeps the creative juices flowing, but you’re also developing a competitive nature that will help push your marketers to keep thinking bigger.

Demand that your account managers act like CEO’s

As the liaison between your agency and the client, it is crucial that your account managers treat their account as their own business. What I mean by this is that you should be holding them accountable for knowing all there is to know about their client’s business. This includes the brand’s history, the ownership structure, the brand’s market, the industry trends, etc. I suggest writing out a list of questions you expect your account managers to know about their clients and request that they take the time to answer each of them.

When your account managers understand everything about their client, they will have a unique opportunity to continually provide the client value, and never have to sell. Selling can be uncomfortable, but if your account managers are solving real problems that the company is facing, your agency will not only become a trusted advisor but also become invaluable.

Prioritize growth accounts

Evaluate the top 5 accounts you see the most growth potential with and prioritize them. This requires as much investment as new business, but you’ve already won their business, so you’ve already won half the battle.

Start by evaluating what your agency needs to do to keep the client’s current scope of work, what you need to do in order to grow other parts of the client’s business, and ensure that you have full visibility into what is happening in your client’s market. Find the problems your client is facing and start explaining how your agency has a solution.

These accounts don’t have to be chosen solely based on the opportunity for revenue growth. If an account has the chance to expand your knowledge, add to your portfolio or even diversify your skill set, it may be worth the investment so that your agency can round-out altogether.

Develop growth drivers

One sure way to organically drive new business is to develop service offerings in up and coming spaces. For example, Havas recently created The Annex, an extension of their services that is essentially market research on the millennial audience. Not only is Havas gathering data their clients will benefit from, but they are also attracting new client’s that want extreme cultural relevance. Additionally, by using this platform to host events that interest the millennial audience, (concerts, fashion shows, influencer networking events, etc.) Havas is also the first to know of upcoming artists, musicians, photographers and other talent that gives them an innovative advantage.

R/GA is driving growth through their newest service offering, Brand AI where they have begun building AI solutions that transform the consumer experience. Having a strong understanding of the impact voice and personalized data will have on the future of, well, everything, the agency is quickly growing this service offering by pitching the idea that “If you’re not thinking about AI, you’re going to get disrupted by someone else.” The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Nike, Uber and more have already jumped onto this service, and R/GA is getting way ahead of the competition as they develop and learn what will and won’t work for the future of AI marketing.

Whether your agency is evaluating where to allocate resources, how to find new clients, or how to retain existing clients, one thing is for sure, being innovative to achieve growth is not optional. From creating innovative services, attracting top talent and winning the best clients, the competitive nature of the industry is on fire. To master it all, you must start from the inside out and focus on growing organically.

If growth drivers for your agency include scaling outside your existing network, evaluating new assignment/comp structures or diversifying your client portfolio, check out how Catapult can help you grow sustainable and consistent revenue.

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What Brands Will Be Expecting From Their Future Agency Partners

It’s Q4, and many agencies are strategically trying to plan out their new business efforts for 2019 while brands are thinking about their marketing plans. This year, like every year before, we have seen massive changes across the entire marcom industry. From rapid technology advancements shaping the digital landscape to consumers taking more and more control over user experience, we all stuck asking “what’s next?”

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Want to Drive Revenue Growth? Start By Transforming Your Agency’s Culture

Did you know that almost 50% of all new business efforts fail within the first six months of the year?  That is a pretty terrifying statistic, and the truth is, the agencies who make up this number have typically never dedicated the time to create a new business development strategy.

As a marketing agency, you understand how marketing and sales work, but why don’t you apply the same techniques you are using for your clients to fuel your own agency’s growth? Until recently, business development has never received much attention from the agency world. Without a dedicated focus comes a lack of investment in the time and resources needed to build a scalable new business process. Today, we find that many agencies are relying on referrals and are unable to predict revenue growth accurately.

So, if you are like most agencies and have found yourself here, how can you start moving forward and avoid falling back into the statistic above? Having a successful business development strategy starts with having a strong culture that makes new business, everyone’s business.

Here are 5 factors that are crucial for building a culture that promotes new business growth on all fronts.

  1. Find the right new business person– While every agency requires a specific personality type to mesh with their culture, there are several qualifications you must search for when filling this role. First, they must be a high energy person who can sustain a high outreach plan. Second, they have to be a strong communicator that can adjust their messaging in a moments notice depending on their prospects needs. Finally, this person needs to be process-driven to ensure your new business machine is scalable, repeatable and will never stop running.

  2. Start from the top– Designate your C-suite with the responsibility of encouraging each team member, at every level, to contribute ideas about what will bring the agency new opportunities. It has to feel like a team sport in the sense that your new business cannot be an individual pursuit. In addition, encourage your C-suite to build a strong network. If they aren’t actively attending events, meeting other industry professionals and referring trusted partners in an effort to pursue new business, your agency is missing out on opportunities.

  3. Rally the troops– Whether you host a weekly meeting or have a YouTube channel, make sure your entire agency is up-to-speed with what’s happening on the new business front. When your business development rep or pitch team goes off to pursue a new opportunity, wave them out the door with words of affirmation and encouragement. When they return, greet them with excitement and applaud them for their efforts. If they win a new opportunity, make sure the whole agency feels involved and celebrated. If you don’t, you risk losing the opportunity for cultural growth and leave your new business stuck inside its current box.

  4. React appropriately to wins and losses– For your new business lead, winning is the best feeling in the world. On the flip side, losing is the absolute worst. In the case of a loss, most agency executives focus on picking out what’s wrong with the individuals on the new business team. I challenge you to change this behavior and instead focus on building a culture that says “winning or losing, we are all in this together.”

  5. Leave a legacy– As an executive, how are you leaving a legacy for your agency? I guarantee that there are people at your agency right now who don’t like sales and want nothing to do with it. They also don’t feel that new business falls on their shoulders. Your culture allows them to think that this is attitude is okay and even assures them that the task isn’t on them. Start building a legacy that puts the weight of new business on every team members shoulders. Whether we are talking about the C-suite, account managers or the pitch team, everyone can be playing an active part in using their network to expand the growth of the agency.

Embedding new business into the culture and DNA of your agency is crucial to your success, and it can only happen if you hire a dedicated person who can make it their sole focus. But as mentioned, you cannot allow this enormous task to fall on this one person’s shoulders alone. As an agency executive, you must hold your entire agency accountable for generating new business, starting with yourself.

From hiring a New Business Director who fits your culture to actually sitting down and thrashing out your business development strategy, there is a lot of work to be done. At Catapult, we understand the incredible impact an agency’s culture can have on the organization as a whole. That’s why when you partner with us, our first step is to explore your exact requirements and provide you with a Sales Director who replicates your ideal characteristics. From there, we build a new business plan for your agency and are in market within just a few weeks.

If you are ready to embed new business into the fundamental core of your agency, give us a call today to see how we can help get you on the right track.

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Agency Owners: You Can’t Put Your Creatives Into a Business Development Box

“We’ve recruited agency new business people for years with limited degrees of success.”

Here at Catapult, we hear this statement more times than not. As the agency owner, naturally you are determined to ensure your business reaches revenue goals and brings in new clients consistently but do you have the right person overseeing your new business efforts? We often find that this critical role is passed to whoever has the extra bandwidth at the time, often your creatives.

Personally, I speak from experience. Straight out of college and having just landed my first job at a full-service marketing firm, I was deemed with the enormous responsibility of handling the marketing for the agency, assisting with the marketing for clients, and managing all of the agency’s new business. Can you see where a problem or two may have occurred with this model?

What I realized first-hand, and what many agency principals are starting to recognize more, is that you can’t put the job of three different roles on one person. If you want to grow your agency’s revenue and enable a successful new business process, don’t let your creatives get overwhelmed with trying to be someone they’re not- a salesperson.

Here are 3 key reasons why you shouldn’t make a creative responsible for new business:

  1. Business Development requires a particular type of person:
    The function of agency new business has been called the “most dangerous job in an agency,” due to the stress and pressure appointed to this critical role. Like any sales role, the job is mentally and emotionally draining, and finding someone who can handle the ups and downs is challenging.  When looking for someone to successfully fill this position, search for a hunter- someone who is self-motivated, resilient and quota driven.Creatives, however, don’t develop as much joy from extrinsic motivators such as money, recognition or other rewards. Creatives are driven by intrinsic motivators, meaning they work out of sheer passion regardless of the prize. Placing your creatives in a business development role not only takes away their excitement but keeps them from producing their best possible work for your agency. It’s truly a lose-lose situation for everyone.
  2. Marketing and business development go hand-in-hand, but they are different.
    The most successful agencies are able to understand the difference between sales and marketing, and most importantly, the significant results created when they are combined. In fact, organizations with proper alignment between sales and marketing teams achieve 20% revenue growth on average annually.Your agency’s creatives can play a significant role in the business development process. Creatives can create targeted lead generation campaigns that produce qualified inquiries for your agency. Leveraging channels like PPC, social media, email marketing and direct mail can deliver leads that can then be passed to your new business team to pitch and close.
  3. There are only so many hours in a day
    To my example above, if you have one person managing the marketing for the agency, assisting with the marketing for clients, and managing all of the agency’s new business efforts, there isn’t enough time in a day for these areas to each be executed well.  In addition, switching between complex tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time.Time is money, and if you’re looking to build a successful new business program, you need to have someone 100% dedicated to business development, not someone who can only give it ⅓ of their focus.


While creatives shouldn’t be running your new business program, they can absolutely contribute in their own way. Creatives are on the front lines of your agency work every day; let them help explain the value. Pull them in on prospect calls occasionally to help win over prospects farther in the funnel. Aside from the occasional tag-team, understand that creative work is what they know and love. Keep them in their lane – creating phenomenal campaigns for your clients.

Are you throwing new business work on the shoulders of your creatives? Learn more about how you can put your creatives back to doing what they do best while Catapult New Business builds and maintain a consistent new business program for your agency.

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On-Demand Webinar: What Drives Value in the New World of Marcoms M&A

As an agency executive, you need to know what is happening in the industry from an M&A perspective and how it can affect your agency. Luckily, Catapult has an amazing partner in Charles Fallon from SI Partners who provides first-hand industry insights throughout this on-demand webinar.

Regardless of whether you are looking to sell your agency now, 10 years from now, or simply attract a growth partner, Charles will walk you through this complex world step by step.

We will cover specific topics like:
  • Understanding the new buyers in our market
  • Looking at the acquirer landscape as a whole and how it’s changed since last year
  • Attracting a growth partner
  • Becoming a more attractive agency before selling
  • Getting the most value out of your agency


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