This is a 2019 UPDATE of 2016’s initial “How to Build A Winning Advertising Agency New Business Program” blog post. Advertising agency business development is now a 24/7 operation. Here is some advice on how to deliver.
By the way, this post currently has over 34,000 views. The post’s popularity is due to three key reasons:
1. It directly addresses a major advertising agency pain point: how to build a winning and efficient new business plan.
2. The post is well optimized for search engines and, therefore…
3. Google loves it. [FYI, my number two trafficked post is, “How To Name Your Advertising Agency – Part One” at 30,000 + views. While always rethinking their website, advertising agencies also obsess about their name. by the way, this post is also a very good cheat sheet on naming that you can steal if a client ever needs a new brand name.
“How To Build…” is all about the most important thing an advertising agency can do (while it is nurturing its current clients)… run a new business program that ensures that the agency will keep growing. Agencies are like sharks. They must keep moving forward to eat or else.
Your potential clients have over 4,000 marketing communications ‘agency’ options (other agencies, new consultancies, freelancers, even your ex-creative director…).
Therefore, any form of business development passivity on your part – sucks. If you think you are doing everything right, you probably are not. How can I say this? I never thought that all was well whilst running business development at Saatchi & Saatchi and when I owned my own agency.
Here’s my “ad”: I suggest that you give me a shout and take me up on my Corleone offer – It’s hard to refuse.
OK, Let’s Go…
When I owned Citrus, my Portland and Bend Oregon advertising agency, I woke up every morning (and even some nights) thinking hard about my agency’s business development program. I lived as if Nike, our largest client, was about to walk out the back door along with its revenues. I bet as an ad agency owner or manager you have rough nights too. One of the things I knew I could and should do was to manage this back-door issue was to have an active, I stress active, new business plan in place.
Here are some (I stress some) of the elements of my new business plan. They helped me grow my agency Citrus (with new clients like Harrah’s, LegalZoom, Nike and the Montana Lottery). I hope my insights help you grow your agency.
When I set out to write this advertising agency new business post I didn’t think that it would be this long – a warning to the ADHD types. But, advertising agency new business planning is complex and is getting more complex every day due to the rapid changes in our industry and technology. That said, the devil in business development, you know what’s coming, is in the detail. Success is all about execution.
For example, running a successful inbound biz dev program that attracts market attention must be based on a sound strategy and smart agency process if you want to run a 24/7 sales program. Staying the course is critical.