The diversion of thought between Marketers and Agencies in what Marketers want from an agency new business first meeting and what they actually get is a topic we look at ongoing here at RSW/US.

Our owner, Mark, conducted a webinar “Counsel on Closing” and he tackled the subject.

An Agency may feel they have an excellent grasp on the situation going into that first meeting.

And then you get that meeting that’s not at all what’s expected or were even explicitly told to expect in some cases.  (We’ve heard many, many stories to this effect.)

But, too many agency new business first meetings are entered into with little to no forethought.

Agency New Business First Meeting

What That Marketer Gets

So with that, here’s what Marketers have told us, from past and current surveys, they typically get from agencies in a first meeting.

    • The agency’s opinion
    • Creative highlights before strategy
    • Portfolio of past work
    • Often just a sales pitch on how great they are
    • Not enough about what they can do for me
    • Some effective examples that aren’t tied to our real world
    • Sales pitch
    • Marketing speak



Agency New Business First Meeting

What That Marketer Wants

If any of the above remind you of a recent new business meeting, it may be time to take a step back.

You may be given explicit instructions or needs from the Marketer, but those notwithstanding, the following list is always an excellent big-picture guide for Agencies to consider prior to going into any first meeting.

    • How you’re different from other agencies
    • Asking questions
    • Demonstrating strategic understanding before creative
    • Curiosity about the Marketer’s  business
    • Thought leadership
    • Being open to Marketer ideas as well as presenting your own ideas
    • Proven capabilities/case studies
    • Thinking, passion and real people
    • Honesty


Some things you obviously can’t control in an agency new business first meeting. Like the story I heard this week from an Agency Principal considering using our services.

She and the team went into a first meeting with a major brand and walked away feeling great, being  told next steps were imminent.

And then the next day, literally, the CMO was fired and the rest of the marketing team (or at least the majority of them) left shortly after.

The agency was back to square one, and still haven’t gotten back in the door to this day.

These things you can’t control, but the nine takeaways above you can: focus on those.

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.