3 Takeaways Ep 34 – All I want For Christmas Is A Reasonable New Client

This is 3 Takeaways Ep 34 – All I Want For Christmas Is A Reasonable New Client, the RSW agency new business video series where we give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

Welcome to our Christmas episode-we’re talking all things new client today, and the ongoing quest to find, not only profitable clients but reasonable clients-a new client that becomes a partner and truly appreciate all you have to offer.

Every January, we release our New Year Outlook Survey, essentially a roadmap for agency new business in the coming year- and we survey marketers and agencies.

For the last question of the survey, we ask Marketers what they think will be the Biggest Challenges Facing Agencies in the coming year, and get their open-ended comments in response.

We’re breaking out three different client categories for your Takeaways and providing comments that fit, and will make you either cringe, chuckle, or ideally, gain some insight, moving into the new year, all based on these marketer’s actual quotes.

The first takeaway category is:

Advice from a reasonable new client.

What is reasonable, you may ask? I see these as a wish list from marketers looking for more, and therefore a potential opportunity for your firm.

So here are several direct quotes from marketers in response to the biggest challenge facing agencies from this past year:

“Consistency in reporting. None of our current agencies measure things quite the same way.”

An opportunity for current clients certainly, and worth a look to see what your reporting structure looks like if you haven’t in a while.

Okay next:

“Large infrastructures driving high costs at bigger shops making it hard to compete with leaner firms.”

Bullseye. The majority of you watching are small to mid-sized agencies, and you continue to have a leaner infrastructure that is very attractive.

Alright the third one:

“Finding the right mix of traditional and digital media for clients.”

Sure, it’s simple, but they’re obviously not getting this now, another opportunity if you provide that mix, but you have to make sure and capitalize on that in your messaging.

OK, next one: “They need to optimize to be able to take on many small projects and studio work instead of only the big AORs.”

Yeah, this is a big one-another ongoing trend, and we’ve talked this before-you don’t want to get on the project hamster wheel with tons of projects that are too small, but optimizing staff to take on multiple projects that satisfy your bottom line?-that’s key.

OK, next one, and a bit longer, but important:

”Retention of talent in the industry. Rarely do more senior/experienced Account Managers/Supervisors stay due to the work environments prevalent in the industry, so it is hard to find an agency that will have good talent in the mid-seniority levels to support the business.”

And lastly:

“Slow response times. It takes dramatically longer for an agency to respond to things than it does a freelance role or an internal role.”

Ouch. Yeah, you don’t want to hear that, but some of you need to.

That’s a fix that can be made internally, and obviously a pain point for clients.

OK, some of those may not have seemed reasonable, but in my mind, they really are-all opportunities for you with current clients, or as you try to find new ones.

Our second takeaway category is:

Advice from a jaded client.

These are Marketers who have been burned, they actually may still be good clients, but maybe not for you-some red flags, in other words.

Here’s your first quote, again in answer to the biggest challenges Marketers think you’ll face in the New Year:

“Self-service tools continue to get easier to use.”

There’s another ouch.

Not something you need to be reminded of, as it is generally true, but this marketer is probably going to hang that over your head.

Next one:

“Providing highly specific content/strategy with –get ready for it, limited budget.”

Ah yes, the limited budget.

I know this doesn’t make them jaded necessarily, and it may seem like every budget is limited these days, but if you hear that right out of the gate, something to consider.

Alright, third one:

“Not focusing on the “shiny apple”, or award-winning creative but focusing on what drives the bottom line. It doesn’t need to be “sexy” it just needs to work.

Well, some of you may say, bring these folks on, right, depending on what type of firm you are, but if you’re a creative shop, I don’t think they’re loving you.

Or you them.

But you’ll love this next one:

“They’re not the real deal. They talk about data but they don’t understand it. They’re trying to be everything to everyone and they’re not strong in any one capability. And they’re expensive. Not strong ROI.”

There’s some truth in here, and several points any firm should look at objectively to see if there’s improvement, but this seems to be the definition of a jaded client-you’re going to be on the defensive from day one with these folks.

And the final quote:

“Effectively executing on multiple communication channels simultaneously with-yell it out, limited total budget.”

And here come the chuckles, your third takeaway category, we’re calling:

This is the client you want to prank call.

(Showing my age here.) Or just not work with.

Here are several obnoxious or odd answers from marketers in answer to the question, what’s the biggest challenge they see for agencies in the coming year.

These will go quickly-Your first one, one word:


Thanks, I mean, it’s not wrong.


“Engaging the customer at the right time.”

No kidding, thanks.

Alright, moving on:

“Cost cutting”

Next, and I quote:

“Being about to show ROI”.

And the last-drumroll please:

“Being creative.”

Don’t you love to hear marketers tell you that?

OK, ideally this was helpful, or frustrating-but in all seriousness, think objectively about some of these as you go into the New Year, and Happy Hunting-reasonable clients are out there!

Thanks for watching 3 Takeaways Ep 34 – All I Want For Christmas Is A Reasonable New Client.






I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.