The 7 Mistakes Your New Business Team is Making with Email Marketing

The 7 biggest mistakes your new business team is making with email campaigns

After producing thousands of email campaigns for various agencies, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Today we will explore those bad email campaigns and what mistakes we see most often.

 1. All you talk about is your agency

This is probably the mistake we see most often. Someone writes an email and spends four paragraphs explaining why they are the greatest social media agency ever.

The problem is, never once in those four paragraphs did they talk about prospect or a problem the prospect is looking to solve. So basically, the prospect just immediately tuned them out.

Solution: Open your emails with a startling stat or acknowledgement of a pain point that prospect is struggling with.

2. Your email is too good looking

We get it, you’re a creative shop with amazing design people. You want to create an email that looks amazing and really jumps off the page with fantastic images.

However, the problem is that all those images immediately tell a reader that this a marketing email and they are prone to delete it without ever even opening it up. Or, even worse, those images may not immediately download due to certain email settings and you just sent a blank email that they have to approve.

FACT: No brand has ever chosen to work with an agency because your email really really ridiculously good looking.

Solution: Keep it text only and simple. Your emails will feel more personal and less likely to get immediately deleted.

3. Your target list huge

It’s tough to narrow down and focus your prospect list when there are so many awesome companies out there to work with.

The last thing you want to do is overlook someone that could use your services, so you add everyone to one big list and send to them. The problem with this? It’s way too general, which makes it tough to really speak to any one prospect’s specific pain points.

4. Your target list is tiny

You don’t want to spam random people, so you make a list with one specific target per company, and then the list becomes really, really small. The problem here is that you don’t give yourself much room for error if a person has left the company or if the organization has multiple decision makers.

Solution: Channel your inner Goldilocks. We have our agency clients use a process called hyper targeting. This is basically where we can grab multiple people in similar roles within companies that we want to go after, while keeping lists separated by industry or company size.

For instance, List #1 is your primary target list of companies within Retail and Apparel with a very specific title. And List #2 is a secondary group where you target companies in other industries that you have less experience with and then expand job titles to anyone in marketing.

5. There’s no Call To Action

I’ve seen so many emails that spend so much time talking about how great the agency is, and then finish with something like “We would love to hear from you if you’re interested.” Ugh.

With every email there has to be a purpose to what you are doing; so make sure that every email lives up to that purpose with a CTA that asks them to do something.

Solution: Be aggressive. Not like crazy aggressive, but if you’re going to reach out to these folks, actually ask for something. You can ask for them to click a link to a case study, visit your website, or even just ask for the meeting outright, but be specific and clear. An email with no call to action will almost always ensure that no action is taken.

6. Your subject line is terrible

Subject lines are tricky and can immediately affect the open rates of the emails you send.

A lot of time we see agencies creating subject lines that are long and detailed so the reader knows exactly what is in the email. The trouble with this? The subject line becomes way too long and doesn’t feel natural.

Solution: Short and simple. Be straightforward and concise. You want this to grab a prospect’s attention. Think of it as a headline, and perhaps even throw in a dash of mystery with a word like “Opportunity” or “Idea.”

A/B test your subject lines and see what your particular audience responds to best. This isn’t a perfect science so do not be afraid to try new things.

7. Trying too hard to be witty or cheeky

There is nothing worse than reading an email that includes a mildly politically incorrect comment, and then 30 minutes later receiving an email from a CEO apologizing for their Marketing Director’s “innocent mistake.”

It’s never fun to read these emails – much less write them. Plus, it sends a bad message to your prospects about your organization.

Solution: Leave the social satire to Jon Stewart and John Oliver. You can always show your wit later in more one-to-one communications when you know the person, but for now, let’s attract them the old fashioned way…by talking about them and their problems.

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Keeping Score: Going beyond Clicks & Opens for Email Campaigns

Keeping Score:  Going beyond Clicks and Opens for Email Campaigns

Everyone who has ever done email marketing has found themselves “click watching.”

I define click watching as logging into your email system every five minutes to see how your most recent marketing email is doing in real time.

Watching the open percentage and click through rate (CTR) move up can be both rewarding and incredibly frustrating at the same time. But, at the end of the day, have you ever really thought about just how useful these two metrics are?

When I am evaluating an email program, my goal is to look beyond the individual email performance metrics and actually evaluate the overall effectiveness based on contact scoring.

The agencies we work with use a marketing automation program that allows them to track prospects’ website activity beyond email, which provides more actionable intelligence on who they should contact and when.

An intelligent scoring system gives points to a contact when they:

  • Open an email
  • Click a call-to-action (CTA)
  • Fill out a form
  • Visit the website
  • Go to a landing page tied to larger goal measurements
  • Have certain characteristics (ie, CMO)

Your system should also include a lead decay mechanism so that everything leads do is time sensitive. If someone visits your site 10 times in January, they should not still have that same score in June if they haven’t come back again. High scores mean they are high-activity users right now!

When evaluating a campaign, rather than simply looking at what the total open and click rates were for emails, take the time to evaluate how many prospects have increased their scores over a predetermined number.

We work with agencies to define a number (in this example 50), and then we set a specific goal – for instance, to have over 25 prospects scored over 50 points in a given month. This allows us to focus on driving web activity and increasing users’ exposure to our different content areas.

Obviously clicks and opens play a big part in a prospect’s score, but they just don’t tell the whole story. Using an intelligent scoring system allows you to prioritize which prospects truly deserve your attention.

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5 Reasons Your Agency Fails to Generate New Business

Generally speaking, agencies fall woefully short when it comes to prospecting for new business.

And although there are always certain case-by-case factors at work, in our experience, agencies’ inadequacies with new business largely come down to two things: limited resources and ad hoc sales strategies.

Sound familiar? If so, we highly recommend reassessing your entire business development strategy. Also, if you are not already doing this, start supplementing reactive prospecting with proactive business development as soon as possible. Of course, this is always easier said than done, especially if you don’t have expert guidance on where to start.

We know firsthand how overwhelming this process can be for agencies. For that reason, we’ve provided a list of strategic elements our own business development advisors and agency clients have used with great success.

Make sure your agency has clearly defined and compelling positioning

Many prospects and clients operate under the perception that all agencies are alike; the only real difference being the people they will work with.

Because of this, it’s important for you to communicate differentiated value in order to position your agency as the stand out candidate in the minds of prospective customers. Also, make sure that your “elevator speech” clearly speaks to the agency’s core competencies in a few simple sentences.

Develop a consistent, ongoing prospect outreach program and stick to it

If you do this right the first time, this strategy will be a sustainable and scalable framework for proactive business development in the long-term. Many agencies don’t have anything like this, choosing instead to be reactive and wait for new business opportunities to come knocking on their door.

An effective prospect outreach program should be consistent and involve multiple strategies and a variety of touch points – i.e. e-mail marketing, event marketing, telemarketing, attending conferences and events, etc.

Only present relevant case studies to prospects

Want to know the quickest way to undermine or discount your agency’s results? Send a random case study that is completely irrelevant to a prospective client’s industry or business objectives.

Be sure that every case study presented in a sales pitch or RFP response showcases results that are relevant to that prospect’s industry, pain points and marketing goals. This will enhance your ability to engage the prospect.

Use the sales funnel as a road map for your prospecting strategy

In order to build an effective new business pipeline you have to reach out to enough prospects on the front end to give you the best chance to “win” on the back end. That way, as you nurture leads down the funnel you have a solid base of prospects to pull from at all times.

Your outreach strategy should be targeted to top prospects in priority vertical categories. Remember, only a small percentage of the prospects you reach out to will turn into meetings and clients.

Befriend the Admin!

Administrative assistants can be your best friends. If you cannot reach the top decision maker in your outreach efforts, make it a priority to reach out to the admin to develop a relationship and ask for their help in scheduling a call or meeting. Befriending the admin can lead to enhanced new business success!

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How to Find Your Agency’s Unique Selling Proposition

As the CEO or co-founder of an agency, finding your unique selling proposition (USP) is an important step to long-term success. Your value proposition can go a long way in positioning your agency well in an already saturated market.

You could almost go as far as saying that your USP is what is going to make or break your business. However, it is also hard to define and showcase a USP for prospects when you are still laying the groundwork for your entire business model.

In an effort to help you and your agency, we’ve compiled five simple steps for creating a USP that not only positions your agency well, but also generates new business opportunities as you grow.

1. Hold a company brainstorming session

Come together as a group and throw all of your ideas on the table. Hold discussions on the company vision and the values your company culture is built on. Get feedback on what employees thinks the agency’s strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to client work or overall strategy.

2. Put together a SWOT analysis

Get with your leadership team to go through all of the feedback and ideas from the company brainstorm. While you and the team are sifting through all of these notes, SWOT Analysiscategorize each point as a strength, weakness, opportunity or threat. 

Once you’ve gone through all of the initial feedback, talk with the team on a higher-level about your strengths, weaknesses and the kind of talent you can leverage within the company.

3. Take a walk down memory lane

We’re not talking about taking out old company photos. Think about what you have done for clients up to this point. What is it that clients consistently say that you do well? This can be anything from sales and marketing to operations and account management.

Think about the challenges you’ve overcome with previous campaign tactics and strategies. What lessons or useful tricks came out of those situations? If you can take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly, it will give you a clear sense of where your agency wins the most.

4. Study the competitive landscape within your market segment and industry

Once you have this information, do your research to identify the pain points of your target markets as well as gaps in coverage between competitors. Ideally, you want to find a market segment that the agency has the best opportunity to own and scale with. 

5. Define your comfort zone and where your best work as been done

It’s important to look at the work you have done and establish which projects you felt the most comfortable doing, and which ones were a little shaky. Analyze current challenges and establish how you can fill those in the future. Make sure you measure your performance; where have you done your best work?

Take note of who you were working with, what type of industry it was, and why you think you fit well with that particular job.

6. Thought leadership

Think about it as good karma – and a great way to get your USP in front of target audiences. Put content out that will help people solve problems, and in return, your agency will be at the forefront of conversations in your industry.

This is a great way for your agency to stand out against competitors while also building your brand. It is critical when it comes to generating new business opportunities. By showcasing your knowledge through syndicated content you build authority and trust while creating top of mind awareness with target audiences. 

7. Proof Points

This is where you use actual results (case studies, testimonials) to establish your value proposition in the marketplace. When it comes to nurturing a lead or pitching a new client, no amount of charm or smooth talking will ever go as far as proven results.How can you prove that the skills you have claimed are, in fact, your actual expertise? Take a look at all of your previous successes, and use them as case studies with current and future prospects.

Looking for advice tailored to your unique situation? We’re happy to provide tips and tricks that have been successful for our clients. Feel free to contact us anytime, or tweet  your question to @CatapultNewBiz 

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How to Win New Business for Your Agency

Winning new business boils down to the chemistry and trust between the agency and the prospect.

According to agency search consultants surveyed on agency new business, chemistry is very important, and for many of them, it’s a top priority.

Differentiate your agency by finding your niche

Many agencies think that being everything to everyone will allow them to bring in all sorts of new business, but more often than not the opposite is true.

The truth is that the more you tailor your service offerings, the more valuable you are to prospects. The more specific you are about how and why your agency is the best solution, the stronger your value proposition will be. When creating a differentiated agency brand, make sure it is relevant and compelling to companies in your target markets.

Do your research

This might seem obvious to some, but the best way to show a client that you are serious about their business is by knowing just as much about that client as they know about themselves.

Know their competitors, use examples from their company and know their team. This way, you and your client can see eye-to-eye when discussing potential business ideas.

Be outcome focused

This is important because it allows your client to see the bigger picture and to focus on the end result, which is ultimately what they want. Do your research and pitch clients on the results you will drive and how you plan to grow their business.

Be honest about the challenges ahead, and have solutions for those challenges already prepared. This gives prospects a clear picture of what to expect when they work with your agency. 

Of course, there are many more ways to win new business for your agency and a great deal goes into growing a pipeline of prospects.

At Catapult, our mission is to help you identify and win more new business for your agency. Click here to learn more about the services we can offer your agency. 

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Key Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Report

Now in its 20th year, Mary Meeker’s Internet Report continues to be a virtual gold mine of actionable intelligence for digital marketers.

As a VC and former Wall Street analyst, Meeker has become a leading authority on consumer research and global economic patterns. Her yearly report offers the kind of insight that makes global campaigns successful, and puts ad agencies in the position to generate new business opportunities with multi-national corporations.

With that, here are the key takeaways for digital marketers from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Report.

There are currently 2.8B internet users around the world, accounting for 39% of the population. 

Untitled Infographic (5)Takeaway: If you work with any globally relevant companies, especially those with key demographics in Asia, be sure that you are reaching high-usage audiences with digital marketing efforts. It’s an added bonus if you build an effective campaign that drives results and use it as sales collateral to bring in leads from other global brands. 

Internet users have more control over content – and content discovery channels – than ever before. 

Capture

Takeaway: To really move the needle with content marketing, your content promotion and social media strategies have to be on point if you are going to attract and engage different audience segments. Also, don’t be afraid to continuously showcase high performing evergreen content.

Advertising dollars are being used to create interactive experiences on social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp, LINE and Snapchat.  

 messaging apps -1

Takeaway: Marketers who capitalize on this now will have an advantage in the U.S. market. This kind of forward-thinking strategy is beneficial for client retention, pitching new clients and attracting new business. We recommend focusing on messaging apps since six of the top 10 most used apps fell in this category. 

User-generated content and content aggregation platforms continue to grow in popularity. 

quoteTakeaway: Strategies that consistently focus on user-generated content through reviews and social media channels will increase the effectiveness of brand awareness efforts and build authority/trust with target audiences.

Visual content is the most effective way to reach millennials, especially when it is optimized for mobile usage.    

visual content

Takeaway: As millennials continue to shape new advertising trends, effective marketing strategies will be defined by their adaptability and agility.   

If your agency can successfully integrate even just one of the strategies mentioned above, it will serve you well. Your clients will see dramatic results. And better yet, you will have a guaranteed value proposition with supporting material to use for pitching, prospecting and lead generation.

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Ultimate List of Business Development Blogs for Agencies

The field of marketing is always changing and for agencies of all sizes, it’s important to stay connected to – and in conversations about – emerging technologies and new topics in the marketplace.

A great way to stay up-to-date on industry news is to take advantage of social media tools like LinkedIn Pulse and lists on Twitter. These resources allow you categorize posts, people and organizations into buckets, which makes it easier to sort through all of the information you care about most.  

While Twitter lists can be a valuable resource, it takes time to build them and we understand the ambitious goals and time limitations that business development teams face at agencies. In an effort to help you quickly and easily find resources that interest you, we have put together a comprehensive list of top-rated blogs for agencies.

Business Development Strategy

  1. Inc.
  2. The Sales Lion
  3. Seth Godin’s Blog
  4. Entrepreneur
  5. HubSpot Sales Blog
  6. SalesHQ
  7. Salesforce Blog
  8. Business Growth Zone
  9. General Assembly
  10. Open Forum

Lead Generation

  1. B2B Lead Roundtable
  2. Hubspot Lead Generation Blog
  3. Kissmetrics
  4. WordStream
  5. Marketo
  6. ReachForce
  7. ViewPoint
  8. LeadGenius
  9. Influence & Co.
  10. Entrepreneurial Insights

Agency New Business Insights

  1. Advertising Age
  2. Fuel Lines | Michael Gass
  3. DDB Blog
  4. 4A’s
  5. EyesOnSales
  6. PinPoint
  7. WARC
  8. AgencySpy
  9. AdFreak
  10. NewsCred

Social Selling

  1. Social Media B2B
  2. The Social Selling Blog
  3. Social Selling University
  4. Business 2 Community
  5. SocialtoSales
  6. CIO
  7. VentureBeat
  8. SocialTimes
  9. Small Business Trends
  10. CMS Wire

Tell us about the blogs you follow by tweeting @CatapultNewBiz!

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The Call That Changed It All

One misnomer in the marketing services world is that some agencies are bullet proof. They are immune from ever really needing a new business plan because they are never going to lose clients. They revel in how much their clients love them, their work and their relationship.

They will never get “the call that can change it all.”

It’s been said before every agency is one phone call away from losing a client – perhaps losing their biggest or most long-standing client.

One agency that recently reached out to us actually got that fateful phone call. In one, 30-second period two thirds of the agency billing was gone.  A new wave of leadership was bringing in their beloved set of agency teams.

phone

Luckily for the agency’s staff, their leaders never bought into the “we’ll never get the call” philosophy. The leadership team didn’t panic so there was no reason for the staff to panic.

It’s not to say that call didn’t have impact on the agency. Without question, it did. In examining the situation from a practical side, the agency leaders felt it was an opportunity to shore up their operations and get stronger.

What this agency chose to focus on was their steadfast approach to agency new business.  They were in control and not forced to be reactive.  For them acknowledging “that call” could come long before it did proved to be a “call that did change it all.”

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The new business alarm is buzzing. Are you hitting snooze and ignoring the disruption?

As 2014 comes to a close, a number of agencies are telling the Catapult New Business team they are experiencing a disruption in their day-to-day business operations because they lack a new business development plan. Some started out 2014 charging a small internal team with the task of lead nurturing. For some, they left it to agency leadership or someone dedicated to new business. Others simply didn’t make any effort to secure new clients, or most importantly, build a legitimate pipeline.

Taking your eyes off the ball for a minute, a day or even a week can lead to major agency disruption. It’s likely that type of disruption will impact the agency for 12 months or more. Worse yet, it has potential for immediate impact in the form of staff layoffs and operational reductions because there isn’t enough CNB 4client work to support expenses.

For many agency leaders the year coming to a close sounds the “disruption” alarm igniting their own realization of not hitting their growth goal in 2014.  Many agency leaders will panic. Some agencies will heed the alarm and diligently formulate a plan for 2015. Others will not and they will find themselves in the exact same spot at this time next year. 

Not preparing for a year of agency new business development can be a major disruption in the agency far longer than those 12 months. A lack of consistency is the single biggest killer of failed new business programs and it’s a universal problem faced by global agencies and independent agencies.

The best agency new business development advice comes down to a few key sentences: Seek advice from a trusted new business expert. Map out a detailed and accountable strategy that will engage prospects into opportunity defining conversations. Then, put your best agency face forward and close them! You will appreciate not having the “disruption” throughout 2015.

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What happens in your agency after the new business call ends? For too many agencies, it goes...

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Agency Execs: Ad Age’s Best Places to Work 2019 Is A Wake-Up Call

Agency Execs: Ad Age’s Best Places to Work 2019 Is A Wake-Up Call

The employment rate is currently sitting at 3.7%, the lowest it has been since the ’60s. At...

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The Pre-Call Strategy That Will Always Push the Sale Forward

The Pre-Call Strategy That Will Always Push the Sale Forward

Are you dissatisfied with how your last sales discovery call went? Do you often find yourself...

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10 New Business Tips From An Agency Search Consultant

10 New Business Tips From An Agency Search Consultant

New Business Directors have an ever-growing list of responsibilities and time continually serves...

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The CMO Sweet Spot for Agency New Business
agency new business prospecting

The CMO Sweet Spot for Agency New Business

As the business development lead at your agency, you may already have a solid understanding...

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How To Identify & Close Your Agency’s Right-To-Win Clients

How To Identify & Close Your Agency’s Right-To-Win Clients

With the rise of in-house agencies and management consultancies, your prospects have more options...

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6 Can’t-Miss Events for Agency Executives in 2019
2019 events Agency Executives Events marketing conference

6 Can’t-Miss Events for Agency Executives in 2019

Ah yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I don’t mean the holidays. Now is the...

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The 3 R’s of Sales Email Personalization at Scale for Agency New Business

The 3 R’s of Sales Email Personalization at Scale for Agency New Business

Are your business development reps spending the right amount of time on the right targets for...

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8 Qualities That Are Shaping The Modern Marketing Agency

8 Qualities That Are Shaping The Modern Marketing Agency

2018 has kept marketers at every level on their toes. We’ve created timely, culturally relevant...

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4 Ways For Your Agency to Grow Organic Revenue

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...

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4 Tactics That Ensure A Long, Successful Career In New Business

4 Tactics That Ensure A Long, Successful Career In New Business

As a new business professional, success lies in taking action, doing more than presiding, and...

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What Brands Will Be Expecting From Their Future Agency Partners
podcasts

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...

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How Fishing Can Help Win Agency New Business

How Fishing Can Help Win Agency New Business

Are you finding lead generation to be a frustrating part of your work as an agency principal?...

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

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...

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Don’t Hire Someone Else’s Network For Your New Business, Utilize Your Own

Don’t Hire Someone Else’s Network For Your New Business, Utilize Your Own

Any agency owner that has gone through the task of hiring a New Business Director has surely...

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The Trick to Making Cold Calls Work For Your Agency

The Trick to Making Cold Calls Work For Your Agency

When it comes to cold calling, the most significant aspect is to be unique. Decision makers...

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

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...

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Your Agency Needs to Adopt This New Business Tool Immediately

Your Agency Needs to Adopt This New Business Tool Immediately

Your agency’s new business program needs a repeatable, scalable, and importantly, personalized,...

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Why Your Group Account Director Is Not Your Agency New Business Director

Why Your Group Account Director Is Not Your Agency New Business Director

Just because your Group Account Director excelled in helping win the pitch, doesn’t mean they...

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How Much Does New Business Cost?
podcasts

How Much Does New Business Cost?

I get asked every day by agency principals, “If I begin proactive outreach for the first time,...

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

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...

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5 Brutally Honest Reasons That Your Agency’s Outbound Prospecting Isn’t Working

5 Brutally Honest Reasons That Your Agency’s Outbound Prospecting Isn’t Working

I would love to start off this blog on a positive note, but the fact is every day I speak with...

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3 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Ad Age Small Agency Conference

3 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Ad Age Small Agency Conference

This year was my 5th consecutive year attending the Ad Age Small Agency Awards. Since my first...

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Does Your Agency’s Thought Leadership Pass this Test?
agency agency content agency new business

Does Your Agency’s Thought Leadership Pass this Test?

            Content marketing and thought leadership continue...

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“Catapult came to the rescue and saved me from what otherwise would have been a long and stressful situation. To have been provided with a business development professional with that level of experience and understanding of my business, well, I just couldn’t have received that anywhere else.”

Co-founder, Full Service Marketing Agency

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