Advertising Can Sell But Not Always Instantly

I follow Derek Walker (owner of Brown and Browner in Columbia, SC) on LinkedIn, primarily because he speaks his mind on the industry and typically posits something thought-provoking.

Or sometimes just shakes things up, either way, he’s a worthwhile read.

In this post, Derek’s talking about the efficacy of an Allstate spot, and as ever, I saw the distinct parallel to agency new business.

Go give it a read, a good group of comments follows, but I’m going to repost most of it, with a few edits for length, below-bold is mine:

“I really like the Allstate spot with the dad driving while his family is on their devices ignoring him, but it it didn’t make me want to switch my insurance,” a person said to me as a group of folks were talking about the advertising they liked.

With as much control as I could muster, I responded, “what could any insurance company say to you to make you switch your insurance instantly?”

The person couldn’t think of anything. None of the people in the group could, including me.

That’s because no advertising, except one offering a nice sum of money will make anyone “instantly” switch insurance or banks; or buy a car or home; or book a trip or buy a piece of expensive jewelry. Human beings don’t work that way. We have to be wined and dined into a purchase.

Anyone claiming their ads in any form, without some type of financial incentive that will garner instant response is lying. When David Ogilvy spoke of advertising selling he understood this, he was talking about the process of selling which requires time and repeated exposure to the message. Remember, he did ads for Rolls Royce. Do you honestly think he expected people to buy a $100,000 car from one ad? Please.

Advertising can sell but not always instantly.

There it is, the kicker.  And here’s my version:

A well-crafted and consistent new business process will get you new clients but not always instantly.

A stretch from Derek’s original point?  Maybe. But it holds true nonetheless.

What’s not a stretch is Ogilvy’s take above-your mindset about new business must be the same: the process of selling which requires time and repeated exposure to the message.

We had a client in that’s been with us for almost two years. We talked about upcoming strategy, and at one point specifically about ongoing prospecting of companies we’ve been talking to for a year or more.

Timing really is everything-sure you should be seeing progress in the form of meetings within a few months and closed business around the 12 month mark (if not sooner, or conversely a bit later, depending on sales cycle, size of prospect, etc.) but instant gratification is a phrase that should never be associated with agency new business.


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.