Posts Tagged ‘agency management’

How to Begin Your Agency Positioning Conversation

At the end of my last webinar, one of the overriding requests that I received from everyone was help around their positioning statement. Many times I see positioning statements on websites that are overly general, similar to their competitors, or just plain uninspiring. Our goal with any positioning is to achieve two things:

  • Be unique
  • Be a sales driver

I know, there’s that sales word that I like to throw around. The fact is that when someone first visits your site in their buying process, you want to make sure your positioning statements are always coming from a place that immediately lets them know what you all can do for them, in a very real way. “We produce results” is neither unique nor compelling, and it won’t help you make a sale.

Crafting something unique and compelling is a lot of work, but below are some questions to make your life a bit easier when you are first sitting down with a group (or by yourself) to craft that new positioning statement.

  • Why does your agency exist? (less about what and how)
  • What’s the one thing you do better than anyone else?
  • What are the benefits of working with you?
  • Let’s talk about what you don’t do
    • Consider us when…
    • Don’t consider us when…
  • Why do you win? Why do you lose?
  • Based on business challenges, where do you have the greatest opportunity?
  • Is every piece of content you are producing pushing your unique selling proposition to a specific prospect type?
  • Does your website properly convey exactly what you do better than any other agency?
  • Is it clear to anyone who sees our content exactly who your “Right to Win” clients are?

Once you have an initial framework for that positioning statement, take a few minutes and look at your closest competitors’ websites. How similar are you to them in your positioning? Are you creating space between yourself and them with this positioning statement? Do they do a better or worse job of highlighting their uniqueness? Once you feel confident you have differentiated, test it on some folks who do not know your agency as intimately as you do. Ask people outside your agency bubble what they think about your positioning versus your closest competitors’ and see what emotions get stirred up in them.

This process is not normally a short one, and definitely not something to be taken lightly. Take the time to think, test and retest, because the content you build in the future will all hinge off this positioning

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You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong…So Why Is Your Account Under Review?

The agency review process is like getting a text from your significant other that says, “We have to talk.” It doesn’t necessarily mean something bad is on the horizon, but it’s sure to cause some anxiety for a while.

Agency reviews happen for a lot of different reasons, but hardly any of them have anything to do with the agency screwing up. It’s true that a particularly misguided or unsuccessful campaign may trigger a review sooner rather than later, most of the time there are ordinary boring reasons for agency reviews.

A New Chief Marketing Officer

DailyVista’s Vulnerable Account Index, which ranks the likelihood that a brand is going to put an account under review, uses an algorithm that includes dozens of factors. The strongest indicator that an account may be heading into review is the appointment of a new CMO.

A new CMO may have relationships with other agencies they’ve worked with in the past, and they want to continue that relationship in their new position. Or they may just want to review and reset expectations with the existing agency.

Last year got off to such a brutal start for media agencies going into review that AdWeek called it Mediapalooza, with billions of dollars in ad spending going under review and becoming available for agencies to win. AdWeek includes a quote from a source at BMW, who said, “It is a standard BMW process to put all contracts up for review every few years,” which reinforces the ordinary, cyclical nature of the agency review process.

Average tenure of CMOs decreased for the first time in a decade in 2015, which is an indicator that more CMOs are on the move, and therefore have fewer years of tenure in their current position. If that trend continues it’s likely that more agencies are going to head for review in the near future.

“Procurement often reviews relationships every 3-5 years, and CMO median tenure is about 26 months. So, if an agency incumbent isn’t battling against a new CMO, procurement wll look at the relationship shortly anyway,” said Josh Stone, managing editor and lead new business analyst for DailyVista. “Procurement-led reviews usually go with the incumbent anyway, but it can often be a huge a waste of money and time for both sides.”

Brands Change Direction All The Time

As brands figure out what channels represent better ROI for them, they move budget around. For example, a brand that had an unimpressive return on programmatic last year might look to change its marketing recipe, beginning with a review of the agency providing the programmatic service. This review could be to determine whether the problem was the strategy employed by the agency, whether the brand’s goals were unrealistic, or if the creative (provided by a separate creative agency) didn’t stand out from the crowd.

And it’s not just massaging budget numbers. Sometimes a brand might decide it needs to investigate its options before putting money behind a strategy or technology for the first time. Adtech and marketing technology are hot industry buzzwords in 2016. And you probably haven’t seen anything yet. The advent of augmented and virtual reality entertainment (like this incredible VR movie) could cause a major media placement shift over the next few years. And it’s not just movies—augmented reality is on the way, and when Magic Leap’s Mixed Reality engine and MicroSoft’s HoloLens find their way the mainstream, all bets are off. These new technologies have the potential to open an infinite and hyper-targeted market for media sales.

What Will Happen At The Review?

You’re probably accustomed to periodic meetings with your clients, from project kick-offs to QBRs and new direction meetings. A formal agency review isn’t significantly different in terms of preparation. You’re going to have to be prepared to discuss at least a few of these topics:
• the original brief
• how your formulated the strategy
• how it related to the goals that were set
• what unexpected challenges you encountered
• how you overcame them
• your results
• what strategies you would employ in the future
• what other services you can offer to the brand

After the review the brand will take some time to consider its options. They may even talk to other agencies to compare processes, strategies and even individual relationships. Yes, even the individuals on the account and how they engage with the client.

Ultimately the incumbent agency will either continue as the agency of record with some or no changes requested, or the brand will move to an alternate vendor.

How to Respond

Whatever the client chooses to do, it’s nothing personal—it’s just business. If your client decides to go with a different agency, how you respond to disappointment will likely affect whether you’re the client returns to you in the future.

Consider the Rinck agency. For nine years, the Rinck multiple channels for Gorton’s Seafood. In September 2016, Gorton’s consolidated agencies and Rinck lost a long-standing client. How did the agency respond? With this amazing video that reiterated how much Rinck had enjoyed its relationship with Gortons.

If that video gives you the warm-and-fuzzies, imagine the positive impression it left with Gortons.

It’s important to remember that a review is just a review. It’s not a foregone conclusion your agency is on the chopping block, but you can rest assured if your agency is under review, you’re not alone. At the very least, try to see a review as an opportunity to find out what direction your client is moving in. Try to determine for yourself if that shift is representative of the client’s market, and if you might be able to win business from other brands that are shopping around for a new agency.

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Interview Questions You Need to Ask Your Next Agency New Business Director

On average, agency-client relationships last about 36 months, which means that at any given moment one of your competitors is about to lose one of its clients. Or you are.

It’s no surprise that experienced new business professionals capture a bigger slice of that business. If you’re looking to grow your agency through building your client portfolio, you should consider hiring a full time new business director.

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Why Outsource your New Business Efforts? –“Buy vs. Build”

Many agencies and marketing services firms over the years have made the decision to outsource their new business development efforts vs. handling new business outreach in-house. In fact, this has been a very common practice with U.K. agencies– and now more U.S. agencies are following suit. Why? They’re seeing multiple benefits including time-savings, incurred costs and overall performance.

If you’re currently deciding which route your agency should take, consider the following 5 reasons why “Buying” may be more beneficial than “Building:”

#1 Expertise – when outsourcing your new business to a firm that specializes in helping agencies with business development, you are getting a proven, successful, dedicated team working for your company on a consistent basis. Business development firms have “hunters” leading their prospecting efforts; senior professionals with a proven track record of results – and who know how to effectively work a sales pipeline.

#2 Time Saving – having a new business firm handle prospect outreach can be a big time-savings opportunity for agencies – as these firms are 100% focused on prospect outreach vs. relying on in-house teams that typically execute sales in their spare time or in spurts. Working with a team of veteran new business professionals also reduces your ramp up time. For example, our team at Catapult is trained to be in-market within the first 30 days, whereas we find that agencies who train this role in-house can take up to 60-90 days, depending on the new business tools and process they currently have in place.

These firms also typically offer list-building software and technologies like marketing automation and CRM that equip them to execute hyper-targeted outreach – all which offer additional, significant time savings.

#3 Consistent Pipeline of Qualified Leads – many agencies do not have a strong new business “pipeline,” and we often find it’s because they don’t have an effective, repeatable new business process in place. Often times when agencies work on a RFP and do not win the piece of business, they find themselves back at square one, frantically trying to drum up qualified opportunities. Executing new business in this manner can be stressful and unresponsive.

Outsourcing to new business firms provides ease-of-mind knowing you have a proven expert with the tools and network in place to deliver consistent meetings with brands you’re uniquely positioned to win business from.

#4 Cost Savings – when looking at the fully loaded cost of hiring someone in-house to manage your new business, agencies typically find it’s much more economical to buy vs. build. Most business development firms charge a monthly fee for their services that is often less than the salary, bonus and benefits incurred by hiring a new business director.

#5 Success – the name of the game. New business development firms enjoy a strong success rate of teeing up a consistent number of qualified meetings each month– while also working alongside the agency to help them turn those leads into paying, renewable accounts. When hiring a firm, ask about their success rates, and when possible inquire about other agencies that have found success in using them.


>> Need help deciding if buying vs. building is best for your agency? Learn more by contacting Catapult today.

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Top 5 Marketing & Advertising Associations for Agency Executives

There are many reasons successful agency executives join industry associations, and they boil down to two key goals:

  1. Operational Excellence: You want to learn more about what your peers are doing to achieve success
  2. New Business Growth: You’re simply looking to expand your network, get “face time” and drive a few sales on the side

Regardless of your intentions, participating in different groups within your industry can provide tremendous benefits for your business– especially when coupled with a proactive sales outreach program.

Associations are a great place to acquire knowledge to run your agency optimally, and depending on the organization, to make connections that lead to new business or potential referrals. 

We at Catapult have been in this business long enough to know the who’s-who of the adworld’s associations. To help agency executives, we’ve organized the top 5 marketing and advertising associations we think are worth investing your time. Check it out!

The Benefits for Agencies Joining a Marketing & Advertising Association 

The benefits of joining a marketing and advertising association range from networking opportunities and professional development to industry insights and advocacy. By leveraging the resources, connections, and expertise provided by these associations, you can enhance competitiveness, expand reach, and drive sustainable growth in the dynamic marketing and advertising landscape. 

Embracing association membership is not only a strategic investment in your agency’s future, but it’s also a testament to your commitment to excellence and innovation in serving clients and advancing the industry as a whole. We’ve listed the multiple significant advantages agencies can gain by becoming members of such associations.

1. Networking opportunities 

Networking lies at the heart of every successful agency’s growth strategy. Marketing and advertising associations provide a fertile ground for your agency to connect with like-minded professionals, potential clients, and industry leaders. By participating in association events, conferences, and online forums, you can expand your professional network, forge valuable partnerships, and uncover new business opportunities. These connections not only enhance your client base but also foster collaborations that can lead to innovative solutions and shared success.

2. Professional development 

Continuous learning and skill development are essential for your agency to remain competitive in the dynamic marketing landscape. Marketing and advertising associations offer a wealth of resources, workshops, seminars, and educational programs designed to enhance the professional development of agency professionals. From industry-specific certifications to specialized training sessions on emerging trends and technologies, these associations empower you and your team to hone your skills, stay updated on best practices, and adapt to evolving client needs.

3. Industry insights and trends 

Staying informed about the latest industry trends, consumer behavior shifts, and technological advancements is paramount for agencies striving to deliver cutting-edge solutions to their clients. Marketing and advertising associations serve as invaluable sources of industry insights and market intelligence. Through access to research reports, whitepapers, webinars, and expert panels, as a member, you gain a deeper understanding of market dynamics, emerging trends, and disruptive innovations. This knowledge equips you and your team to anticipate market changes, tailor your strategies accordingly, and maintain a competitive edge in the industry.

4. Advocacy and influence 

Marketing and advertising associations play a vital role in advocating for the interests of their members and shaping industry regulations and policies. By representing the collective voice of agencies, these associations influence government initiatives, industry standards, and ethical guidelines. As a member, you benefit from the advocacy efforts of these associations, which seek to create a conducive business environment, promote fair competition, and uphold the integrity of the profession. Additionally, active participation in association advocacy initiatives enables agencies to contribute to industry-wide conversations, drive positive change, and elevate their influence within the sector.

5. Visibility and credibility 

Membership in a reputable marketing and advertising association enhances your agency’s visibility and credibility within the industry and among potential clients. Being affiliated with a respected association signals to clients that your agency is committed to professional excellence, ethical conduct, and continuous improvement. Association membership also provides agencies with opportunities for recognition and awards, further bolstering their reputation as industry leaders and trusted partners.

6. Resource sharing and collaboration 

Let’s face it, we live in a work-from-home/hybrid, digital industry. Connecting with like minded people isn’t exactly easy. And this trend isn’t going anywhere. Marketing and advertising associations are a great way to break down digital barriers. They allow for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among agency members and brand marketers alike through online platforms, forums, and collaborative projects. Whether it’s sharing best practices, exchanging ideas, or collaborating on industry initiatives, these associations foster a culture of collaboration that benefits agencies of all sizes. 

Top Advertising Associations for Agency Executives 

Top 5 Marketing & Advertising Associations 



Value for Agency Executives 

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) The ANA, founded in 1910, leads the marketing industry with over 680 companies and 10,000 brands, collectively spending $250 billion, embodying a century-long legacy of excellence.
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals  
Mirren Direct  Founded in 2006, Mirren supports agency growth with consulting, training, and a resource center including Daily Leads, On-Demand Learning, and Advanced Webinars, empowering executives to optimize new business strategies.
  • Networking with other agency executives
  • Staying up to date with client demands and industry trends 
4A’s  Established in 1917, the 4A’s is the foremost U.S. trade association for advertising agencies, representing over 80% of total agency advertising volume with a membership of primarily small to mid-sized firms, of which over 60% bill less than $10 million annually.
  • Agency education
  • Networking with other agency executives 
Insights Association Formerly the Marketing Research Association, Insights was founded in 1957 and is the largest U.S. association in the opinion and marketing research sector, setting industry standards.
  • Continued industry education
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals   
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)  Founded in 1996, the IAB is the digital media’s primary hub, uniting over 650 leading companies, setting standards, conducting research, and educating on digital marketing’s significance.
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals  


1. Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. Founded in 1910, the ANA’s membership includes more than 680 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA also includes the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and the Brand Activation Association (BAA) which operate as divisions of the ANA, and the Advertising Educational Foundation which is an ANA subsidiary. With a rich history spanning over a century, the ANA has evolved into a powerhouse of marketing expertise and collaboration. 

Why Agency Executives Should Join ANA 

ANA is the premiere association for brand marketers, making it one of the most ideal forums to get in front of potential new business opportunities for agency executives. With numerous conferences tailored to advertisers held throughout the year, the chance to collaborate and network with top global brands, predominantly composed of corporate marketing executives, is unparalleled. From staying ahead of emerging trends to getting in front of potential clients, ANA is an ideal membership for any agency leader trying to build relationships with like minded industry pros and potential prospects. 

ANA Membership Fee 

While the ANA does not exclusively list its membership fees on its website, interested parties can easily inquire about pricing by contacting the association here.

ANA Events 

The ANA has an impressive list of industry events– hosting nearly 700 events every year. Several of these events are specifically designed to support agency growth initiatives. For a comprehensive look at the ANA’s event calendar, check out their website here

2. Mirren Direct 

Working closely with agency CEOs and their management teams, Mirren supports agencies with consulting and training regarding best practices in new business development. Through their membership you get access to their resource center which includes their Daily Leads, On-Demand Learning and Advanced Webinars. They provide invaluable insights and tools for agency executives seeking to optimize their new business development strategies.

Why Agency Executives Should Join Mirren 

Although Mirren isn’t technically an ‘association’, we wanted to include them on this list because Mirren is a household name for agencies, specifically those responsible for new business. Across events, on demand training and their new Mirren Talent platform agency professionals leverage Mirren to crank up their growth by staying on top of the cutting-edge best practices. By leveraging Mirren’s expertise and resources, agencies can enhance their competitive edge, drive growth, and expand their industry presence. 

Mirren Membership Fee 

Mirren membership pricing varies by the agency plan. The monthly fee for the Starter membership is $285, while the Premium membership is priced at $465 per month. Opting for the All Access membership entails a monthly fee of $885. Explore the details and membership benefits of each plan here

Mirren Events 

One of the go-to annual events for those responsible in driving agency new business, Mirren Live consistently brings together an impressive group of leading agencies and search consultants each year to learn about hot topics and growth drivers for successful agencies. Besides Mirren Live, Mirren also offers specialized workshops, training sessions, and webinars tailored to agency executives and professionals seeking to optimize their new business strategies and drive agency growth. These events may focus on specific topics such as prospecting techniques, pitch strategy, client retention, agency operations, and leadership development. Find their events here

3. 4A’s 

Founded in 1917, the 4A’s is the national trade association representing the advertising agency business in the United States. As a management-oriented association, the 4A’s offers its members the broadest possible services, expertise and information regarding the advertising agency business. Its membership produces approximately 80 percent of the total advertising volume placed by agencies nationwide. Although virtually all of the large, multinational agencies are members of the 4A’s, more than 60 percent of our membership bills less than $10 million per year.

Why Agency Executives Should Join 4A’s

In our opinion, the 4A’s is the ‘mother organization’ of agencies, and is a great fit for agencies of all types and sizes. They offer valuable training, conferences, and best practices in how to drive agency sales, profits and develop new business. For agencies seeking unparalleled industry insights and networking opportunities, the 4A’s is the go-to resource. Members gain access to exclusive tools and events designed to elevate your agency’s success in the dynamic advertising landscape. With their extensive network and comprehensive services, the 4A’s is committed to empowering agencies to thrive in the ever-evolving world of advertising.

4A’s Membership Fee 

Joining the 4A’s involves a straightforward application process upon meeting eligibility criteria and endorsing the code of conduct. Upon submission, applications undergo thorough review of agency and financial documentation, followed by a voting process that typically takes 2-4 weeks. Membership dues are determined by the annual gross income of the agency for the preceding calendar year, aligned with the 4A’s fiscal year running from April 1 to March 31. Dues are pro-rated according to the commencement date of membership, ensuring fair and transparent financial arrangements for all members.

4A’s Events 

From dynamic conferences to insightful workshops, 4A’s events gather industry leaders, creative minds, and innovative thinkers to explore the latest trends, strategies, and technologies shaping the advertising landscape. These events have unparalleled networking opportunities, expert panels, and inspiring keynotes designed to empower agencies of all sizes to thrive in today’s competitive market. For an overview of 4A’s events, check out the full calendar here.

4. Insights Association 

Previously known as the Marketing Research Association, Insights Association was founded in 1957 and based in Washington. The Insights Association is the leading and largest U.S. association of the opinion and marketing research profession, which delivers insights and strategies to help guide the decisions of companies providing products and services to consumers and businesses. Insights continues to shape the industry landscape, setting standards for excellence and ethical conduct. 

Why Agency Executives Should Join Insights

The Insights Association has a bit more wide-reaching content designed for easy consumption. You’ll find videos and case studies on particular trends, as well as frequent editorials on the latest marketing news. But underneath this sort of aggregation is a solid foundation of research and marketing communities available to those who take the next step. Membership is divided in multiple levels, but again the focus is primarily around the core principles of research and data-driven decision-making as opposed to more social aspects of marketing. 

Insights Membership Fee 

Membership dues are $375 USD annually and will be prorated if joining between April 1 and November 30. If selected, Optional Additional Chapters will be billed at $40/each. Learn more about the application process here

Insights Events 

Discover the latest trends and innovations in marketing research at Insights events. Insights has engaging conferences, interactive workshops, and expert-led sessions designed to deepen your understanding of consumer behavior and market dynamics. Connect with industry leaders and expand your network while gaining valuable insights to drive your business forward. Here is a listing of all of their upcoming events

5. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) serves as digital media’s biggest tent, comprising more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Working with its member companies, IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing.

Why Agency Executives Should Join IAB 

The IAB gives the best of all worlds for agency executives… much like the ANA, many of its members consist of brand marketers– making it an ideal place for prospecting opportunities.  And like the MRA, the IAB is a great place to stay ahead of industry trends. The association provides many tools and classes for free without requiring membership or certification which is always a plus. This includes fee calculators, ad viewability guides, and much more. Certification is divided into several different specialties and levels of expertise, allowing you to customize your training based on your position and goals. 

IAB Membership Fee 

Depending on the type of business you are in there are 3 rate cards that may apply.

The Media Buying agency Rate Card ranges from $10,000 to $200,000 annually. The Creative Agency Rate Card ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. The All Other Rate Card ranges from $10,000 to $294,933+. You can find more information on the IAB membership categories and rate cards here

IAB Events 

Discover unparalleled insights and networking opportunities at IAB events, where industry leaders meet to shape the future of digital advertising and marketing. From dynamic conferences to interactive workshops, IAB events offer a platform for professionals to remain at the forefront of innovation in the digital space. Gain invaluable knowledge from expert-led sessions and panel discussions, covering the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in digital advertising. IAB events provide a unique opportunity to expand your network, elevate your skills, and stay informed on the latest industry developments. You can find all of their upcoming events here

Conclusion: Couple Networking with a Proactive Business Development Program for Optimal New Business Success

Joining leading marketing and advertising associations such as the ANA, Mirren, 4A’s, Insights, and the IAB opens doors to a wealth of opportunities and resources for agency executives. By becoming a member of these esteemed associations, you can stay informed on the latest trends, gain access to valuable resources, expand your network, and elevate you and your team’s skills.

But we’re gonna take it a step further. We won’t deny the value of networking– relationships are key. But, referrals aren’t consistent, no matter how many associations you join. That’s where having a proactive outbound business development program is critical to ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table. 

At Catapult, we not only provide outsourced business development services dedicated to driving new revenue for your firm– but we also have strong, established relationships with these associations. Our mission is to create a sustainable pathway to agency growth by getting you ‘in the conversation’ and ‘in the room’ with brands that can benefit from your solutions. With our expertise across all facets of the marketing communications industry, we help convert relationships into new business wins—all without a competitive RFP. Agencies partner with us when they’ve made the commitment to grow and need a proven, viable, and scalable way to do so, with a resource solely focused on proactive new business prospecting. Join us at Catapult where we have generated qualified leads and created pipelines with over $1 billion in defined new business opportunities to date. 

Check out a few recent wins for our agencies!


Updated March 5, 2024

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Why Advertising Agencies Lose Clients [And How that Impacts New Client Acquisition]

One of the most dangerous traps your agency can fall into is thinking that once you’ve signed a client, your job is done. This mentality is even more dangerous if you or your business development team overpromised and oversold to get the client in the first place.

In fact, signing the client is just the beginning of the work. Maintaining a high level of client satisfaction is critical — and not just for client retention. Just as employers check references and look at a candidate’s tenure with previous companies, new prospects share the same concerns when hiring an agency.

If a potential new client hears negative feedback through word-of-mouth referrals or online reviews, it immediately undermines whatever relationship you have built up to that point and discounts your agency’s credibility. To be fair, every agency is going to have at least a couple of disgruntled former clients, but if your agency is known for over promising and under delivering, or for its struggles with client retention then acquiring new business is going to be an uphill battle.

Although you can’t prevent every client from leaving, you could be chasing clients away without even realizing it. Here are three of the most common reasons why agency relationships fall apart, causing clients to walk out the door.

Allowing the Quality of Service To Slip:

Allowing your customer service to decline once you’ve secured their business is one of the top ways to ensure that you lose that client.  Your level of service and excitement should stay the same during your working relationship as it did when you were pursuing the client.  Letting the amount of attention, care, and creativity decline will lead clients to believe that they aren’t as important as they were before, which will lead to discontent with the product they are paying for, and eventually they will move to another agency.

Not Meeting Their Needs/Evolving With Them:

Don’t let them get bored with you! If a client feels that you are out of new and exciting ideas for them, what reason do they have to stay with you?  Just because a campaign has been successful, doesn’t mean that you get to stop innovating.  Successful agency/client relationships are built on an ever changing and improving flow of ideas and communications, when you stop listening to your client and anticipating their needs, the odds that you will lose their business skyrockets.  Become an expert at anticipating your clients needs, read between the lines if you have to and learn to pick up any clues that might indicate they are dissatisfied.  If they appear to be losing excitement over a campaign, chances are it’s time to come up with a new plan.

Toot Your Agency’s Horn:

If your client forgets how successful your agency is and how much quality work you crank out, what is going to keep them with you?  Remind them how successful you’ve been with their account, highlight major wins, and always keep a tight handle on their budget.  When you stop meeting their needs and either go way over budget, or way under budget, they will start to wonder what they are paying you for.

Clues Your Client Is About to Stray:

If you notice a dramatic change in these three clues, you’re client relationship is likely in big trouble.

Lack of communication – has the client stopped taking your calls or contacting you?

New and Unusual Requests – is the client asking for different or more specific methods of measurement for your service?

Sudden Micro Management – is your hands off client suddenly on top of everything you do?

Stay tuned into your client, keep the lines of communication open, and ASK them if they are satisfied with your service, or if there is something more you can do to meet their needs, doing so might save you from losing their business!

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5 Trends Every Marketing Agency Needs to Pay Attention to in 2016

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Is your agency ready for what’s ahead in 2016? The marketing world continues to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2016, it’s truer than ever. Agencies that fail to adapt to the “new normal” run the risk of being left in the dust by their competitors. While many of these changes involve technology, many others involve cultural and social shifts within our society. Familiarize yourself with the five most notable trends to watch out for in 2016 to remain as competitive as possible.

1. The Digital Transformation is Upon Us 

For a long time, agencies have kept digital technology separate from other aspects of marketing. That’s changing rapidly. In 2016, things won’t be so siloed. Creatives and others within agencies will increasingly work in a collaborative fashion. The digital revolution is done, and the post-digital world requires agencies to seamlessly incorporate digital technology into all aspects of their work.

2. Personalized Conversations 

Retailers have been tracking consumers online for some time, but now the technology exists to actually do something useful with the information. More importantly, the information is no longer only useful in the online world. Indeed, retailers will increasingly have the ability to connect directly with consumers wherever they are, whether it’s online or off. Access to free Wi-Fi and mobile is largely responsible for this particular shift. Agencies should encourage retailers to embrace omnichannel marketing to create a seamless experience.

3. Generation Y 

By 2020, more than 50% of the workforce will be made up of workers who belong to generation Y. Born between 1981 and 1999, they are known for their desire to control their own destinies. They don’t crave the stability of long-term job commitments but are driven by their passion for what they do. Entrepreneurs and freelancers, they thrive on creativity and will rapidly change the face of marketing in the years to come.

4. Advertising and Media Merge Again 

Thanks to developments like big data and the rise of social media, marketing and media are getting cozy again. Successful marketing agencies understand this and will embrace it. Already, many brands are hiring younger, hipper agencies that understand how to effectively market to online users, as it’s a whole different ballgame than it is with other forms of media.

5. Diversity 

More than ever, gender equality and diversity in general are top concerns for both retailers and marketing agencies. Retailers understand that inclusivity is key, and agencies are taking note. The best and most successful agencies will make a concerted effort to hire more young women and to elevate women and minorities to higher positions. They will also strive to help employees achieve an optimal work-life balance, so you can expect a lot more telecommuting to happen in the months and years to come.

With any luck, you’re already at least somewhat aware of the trends to watch in 2016. Whether you are or not, make a point to embrace them however you can. In doing so, you will be well ahead of the competition.

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Top 3 Things Limiting the Growth of Your Agency

One of the greatest challenges in the agency world is entering a growth phase…when you aren’t seeing much growth. In a perfect world, business growth would happen naturally in easy-to-predict stages, but that isn’t this world – chances are good that instead you need to grow, but aren’t seeing it happen. Here are the three top reasons it happens to agencies like yours, and what you need to make real growth happen.

1. Financial Management Issues

This sounds like a broad topic, because it really is – financial management stretches from day-to-day profits all the way to major capital and investment decisions. However, financial planning and consistent new business growth play integral roles when it comes to company growth.

This can take many forms. Perhaps poor cash flow management is holding your company back – you may struggle with accounting for where your cash comes from and where it goes at the proper time, a problem many new businesses encounter. As a result, agencies like yours quickly find themselves without cash on hand to cover supplies and overhead, and emergencies quickly dig into valuable reserves so there really isn’t much time to think about expansion at all.

Another common financial management deals with revenue and credit. If your credit policies and accounts receivable turnover are poor, you will probably never have enough capital to expand. Creating purchase strategies that get revenue into your hands in a timely manner can be a challenge for many companies. You want customers to have the ability to purchase your goods, but you can’t give them too much credit leeway or too many discounts, which will dig into your profits.

What do these problems add up to? A business without cash reserves that simply does not look very impressive on paper. And this is where we reach the investor problem: Business growth requires money, typically via business loans or perhaps a capital group. Banks and investors alike pay a lot of attention to financial statements, which means poor financial management – even in the small things – can keep you from getting the capital that you need.

2. Adaptation to Market Changes

This point is a bit more intangible, but still just as important when looking for reasons why your business isn’t seeing the growth you want: You aren’t watching the market closely enough, and you aren’t responding to it properly.

Part of this is an entrepreneurial issue: New business leaders tend to have a lot of energy and willpower focused in one direction, which means it can be difficult for these leaders to see related issues – and to change. Stubbornness has kept many a business from expanding properly.

Part of this problem is also simple business evolution: If your target demographic, preferred purchasing method, or the communication tools in your industry have changed, you absolutely have to change with them to find new growth.

3. Client Creep and Time Management

This is a subtler problem related to agencies that interact a lot with their customers and typically take on large client projects. Clients are your lifeblood…but they can also choke your own vision for your business. If you and your employees are spending too much time attending to client needs and tackling their complex projects, you may not have any time left to think about your own business and growth strategies. Pay attention to time management, and be sure to make time for nurturing and developing new business opportunities outside of your referral network.

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The Role of Email Marketing in New Business Acquisition

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Email marketing certainly still has a place in the world, especially for growing agencies looking to acquire new clients and increase client retention. Take a look at several ways email should be used in any marketing strategy.

Creating Customer Databases that Work

One of the most important steps for driving new business is to create and maintain a healthy database of prospects. Yes, there are quick and dirty ways to create prospect databases using lead lists and other things of that nature, but the reality is that those tactics don’t work. However, what does work is building your database off of real email addresses that real prospects provide.

It’s very cost-effective, easy to utilize, and provides some welcome hard data for businesses that may not know much about their customers yet.

Platform for Campaigns and Brand-Building

When it comes to campaigns and brand awareness, many businesses immediately start thinking about social media and blogging. But email is a speedy way to help increase customer participation and purchases in both areas. Always include email notifications or newsletters when launching a new campaign or announcing a new deal – many customers won’t notice otherwise, but a bold email subject line announcing the deal will draw attention. Likewise, more complex email content can also be used increase awareness and brand loyalty (try using or summarizing your more popular blog posts for this).

Building Buyer Personas

To take audience targeting to the next level, you need to know who needs your product or service and the best ways to reach those people. Using emails as login information is a great way to track potential clients, as well as consistently generate valuable data for marketing initiatives. Specifically, use customer habits gleaned from your email databases to create buyer personas, based on the ideal client you want to attract. Of course, this also requires that you tie email addresses to a CRM and marketing automation system.

Rewarding Loyalty

You can absolutely email coupons and discount codes to your customers to increase business and responses…but this should be done carefully. Email can be a useful platform for customer loyalty rewards, where such coupons and other benefits are sent to long-term or high-purchase customers as a thank you for their business…and an incentive to return.

Future Target Marketing

Finally, your agency should begin customized, personal email marketing as soon as possible. This is a great way to retain customers and use email in a way that few other channels can be used – to craft in-depth and personalized responses. After creating customer databases and building personas, this is absolutely the direction that companies should move to utilize email and win more conversions.

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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Agencies Make When Pitching New Clients [And How to Avoid Them]

Your success or failure in closing a deal with a new client hinges on whether your sales pitch is a homerun or a flop. There are a number of common mistakes that agency folks just like you make everyday and should be avoided at all costs when pitching new business deals.

1. Beginning with an Apology

“I’m sorry I’m late.”
“Apologies that this presentation is a bit lengthy,”
“I’m sorry I didn’t have time to update some of the slides.”  

Opening with an apology of any kind sets a negative tone for the rest of your presentation before you’ve even finished the opening slide.  Not only that, you have also undermined your expertise and planted seeds of doubt with your audience.

2. Avoiding Eye Contact

Not making eye contact with your audience or reading directly off of your presentation will not only bore the audience, but also make you look unprepared. The audience wants to see that you have the confidence and knowledge to speak directly to their concerns and needs without constant reassurance from the slides in your sales deck.  If you avoid making eye contact with your audience — intentionally or unintentionally —  they may think you are being standoffish or that you don’t have the confidence in yourself or your product to effectively close the deal.

3. Dancing Around Tough Questions

If you can’t provide honest and accurate answers about your product, you probably don’t have sufficient information to be making the pitch on your own. Furthermore, how can you expect anyone else to trust you enough to buy what you’re selling if you don’t seem to believe in it? Believing in your product or service is integral to a successful pitch and new client acquisition.

4. Lack of Transparency on Cost & Pricing

This is one of those “tough questions” referenced above. Potential clients will grow suspicious if you dance around the question of cost or pricing. Although it is important to lead with the value of your solution, especially when it comes to that client’s specific needs, you should always be straightforward on the price tag.

Be honest and up front about how much your services are, and back it up with all of the reasons why you and your agency can offer the best solution for their company. Doing so will show them that you aren’t hiding anything when it comes to their investment.

5. Making Excuses

Your clients or potential clients aren’t concerned with why you look disheveled or why you can’t properly organize your thoughts. They also aren’t sitting in your presentation eager to hear all about you, they are there to hear what you can do for them.  Keep to the matter at hand, make your case and confidently answer any questions that your clients have for you.

Key Takeaways

The next time you pitch a prospective client, keep these tips in mind.  Also, don’t be afraid to get advice from other sales professionals who have built a successful new business machine. Do these things and you will be in a much better position to increase new business and drive revenue growth for your agency!

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