By now, many of you have read the original and probably seen articles referencing AdWeek’s recent survey of marketer’s plans in 2021. The headline takeaway is that “40% of brands MIGHT seek new agencies”. It’s an exciting prospect that near half of brands are going to be looking for new partners in the new year, which definitely means opportunities for agencies to go out there and strike up conversations with brands that they want to work with.
Take Advantage of Nearly Half of Brands Looking for New Partners
In my opinion, your opportunity to grab a new brand is much higher than the 40% they refer to. Here’s another chart in the article I found much more interesting and telling for where brands sit regarding the evaluation of their agency partners:
The chart above asks “How would you rate the performance of your agency since the start of the Pandemic?” 20% of agencies performed below expectations, while 48% performed at a level defined as “What was expected”.
Exceeding Expectations is Key to Finding New Business Opportunities in 2021
To me, as a new business person, I read the words “what was expected” and see so much opportunity. People don’t fall in love with meeting expectations. When was the last time you heard your boss say “you meet expectations, we are giving you a huge promotion!” Probably never. People fall in love with agencies (or any service/product/person) when it blows away their expectations, redefines their expectations, or it solves a problem they didn’t even realize exists.
While those brands that had their expectations met may not be actively searching for a new agency at the beginning of the year, it’s more important than ever that we are speaking to those brands about how our agency is, in fact, exceeding the expectations of our brand partners. Business Development doesn’t only happen when someone has an RFP ready and is in search mode. It never stops. In a market like this, that is constantly changing, we need to consistently be talking with our prospects about their industries, their needs, and where we see opportunities. You never know when budgets will change or a new decision-maker will step up at a brand that you are pursuing and change everything about their current agency relationships.
How to Approach Brands in the New Year
When we are approaching brands in 2021, we need to focus on our expertise in solving their problems more than ever. While past expertise in the pre-covid market may not perfectly translate to this new world, leaning heavily on your expertise within their specific industry and a specific pain point facing your current clients will lend immediate credibility to your outreach efforts.
With only 1/3rd of the brands out there in love with their agency results, you can absolutely bet on the fact that there will be more agency movement next year than the predictions say. It’s time to be proactive with your prospect conversations and make those prospects fall in love with you.