FunDUH!mentals in Agency New Business – Have the basics become part of the landscape?

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So many things in agency new business are elementary.

They should be obvious, but they are SO fundamental, they’ve just become part of the landscape.    hidden_pictures_Wallpaper__yvt2 (1)

Basics that unfortunately could be a decisive factor in winning new business.

In our work this week we observed several oversights and slip-ups (made by OTHER companies!) that can make things go awry.

These made us stop and think, “What if our clients did this as they were pursuing a new prospect?”

Here are the situations we observed:

  • An extended out-of-office voicemail greeting informing callers that the individual would be back in the office on October 31, when the call was being made on June 9.
  • A webinar presenter whose computer was set to automatically power down after a set time. It happened to be during the webinar – and happened repeatedly at soon-to-be-predictable intervals.
  • A reply-all email that in often-manic Reply-All-fashion, inadvertently went to a prospective customer who had written the original email, delivering some disappointing news.  The reply-all email stated some unkind things about that potential customer.


At a level that is perhaps less harmless – perhaps – is a presenter with food stuck in his or her teeth, a button open, a zipper down.

Some things just HAPPEN.  It’s up to each of us as professionals to make sure they don’t. 

It’s up to each of us, whether we are the presenter, the one “on-stage”, or part of the team.

Individually, we each need to check and double check at each step that all the basics – things that tend to become part of the landscape – are as they should be.

That’s a tall order, perhaps.

Things that appear normal can be so easily overlooked, when they actually are carrying little new business destruction timebombs.

So the easier role may be as the team member…

….The colleague who can hear the long-outdated away message or spots the open button.

Spare the greater embarrassment that can come later; embrace the awkward moment and point it out.

…..  The co-worker who INSISTS on rehearsing the webinar – with the supporting technology – before it goes live.

What sports team takes the field without practice?  What actors go on stage without rehearsal?

….The company leader who sets reasonable standards and expectations for all organizational email activity.

Define acceptable/unacceptable messages, as well as reply-all behavior, not to mention address autofill hazards!

It’s important to be responsible for the fundamentals individually, but a lot of times we need a “mirror” – to see the spinach, the button, the zipper.

As teammates, we are those mirrors. 

Most wins come from team effort.

Play with the team.  Don’t let FunDUH!mentals cost the win.


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.