Ad Agency New Business

In a recent Ad Age post, the CCO of DDB Worldwide, Amir Kassaei, laid out three ways to fix what he called the “flawed agency model.”

The first fix he posits: ‘Recognize we’re not in the ad business.”

Without getting off track as to how this relates to ad agency new business, one vital point Amir makes:

Without an emotional and rational value, consumers won’t care. And if nobody cares, brands won’t see an increase in sales or lead their category’s conversation. So it’s relevance, not ads, that creates value for clients.

One could write several posts arguing the ads in fact create the relevance, but that’s a Möbius strip for later and not for this post.

The cogent point as it relates to new business centers on that relevance.

I’ve read agency positioning from agencies claiming they had it nailed, and often that positioning did in fact encapsulate what they did, or what kind of agency they were.

That’s an important piece, surely-

But is it relevant to your prospects?

Ad Agency New Business

Does it include a particular challenge, inherent to the industry as a whole, that the agency has helped solve- bringing relevance to an antiquated brand, increasing sales within key markets, etc?

Granted, this can be difficult in that you don’t want to be so specific you alienate a prospect who falls outside of that challenge, but that’s where you have to take the extra step and formulate more than one positioning statement, dependent on the sector, for example.

I’m not advocating being a chameleon or being all things to all people, but you have to put some forethought into the process.

And typically it means adjusting certain parts of the positioning, not necessarily creating several completely different positioning statements.

Bottom line-take your current positioning and ask yourself candidly how it’s relevant to your number one prospect in regards to solving a problem or challenge.

If the answer is, “it’s not,” make the time to gather your core team and come up with three main challenges you’ve solved for your clients.

Then experiment with adding one or each of those challenges to the end of your positioning statement, as to how you solved the challenge, in as concise a way as possible.

Remember: your prospects need to know who you are and what you do, but also must know how you can help them, or your agency becomes irrelevant.

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 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.