vader fail

Is this why your ad agency new business effort isn’t working?

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ad agency new business

RSW/US:View From the Marketer’s Eye

Continuing our View From the Marketer’s Eye series, this week’s marketer’s quote, in answer to the question, “What common ad agency new business mistakes do agencies make during their first meeting?”

They come unprepared and seemingly haven’t bothered to take the time for basic research about our business.

We received countless comments of a similar nature in our most recent survey, all with the same theme: lack of focus, preparedness and prospect research. We’re going to touch on this throughout the Summer in our Webinar series and are privileged to have the blog, Agency Babylon as sponsor of our first Webinar this Tuesday. If you’re not familiar, (and you should be) Agency Babylon is a blog that focuses on agency growth, innovation and culture.

I can’t recall exactly how I originally found the blog or its author, Neal Kielar, but what keeps me reading is the excellent writing coupled with a very insightful and straightforward take on agencies and often on agency new business. Neal’s most recent post, For agency leadership grappling with new business, help is there…if you seek it, dovetails nicely with the marketer quote above.

In it, Neal touches on some big-picture reasons as to why agency new business efforts often fail, leading to results embodied in the marketer quote above:

On one hand new business is essential to the well-being of an agency – quite simply ensuring future revenue. Moreover, good business development outcomes provide opportunities for agency innovation, expertise-building and even prestige.

Yet anyone in an agency also knows that business development gets more back-of-the-hand than open-hand treatment. The reasons are many:

* Lack of focus – strategic or otherwise – for new business efforts, leading to uncertainty and frustration

* Truly poor performance by business development hires, maybe on their own lack of merits and maybe exacerbated by an absence of focus

* Then there’s serious miscasting for the new business role, resulting in a good-person, wrong-direction situation

* Magical thinking that leads agency leaders to believe that successful business development is [a] just a few well-placed calls away – the rainmaker myth, [b] a volume game – smiling and dialing or [c] something the principals themselves will and can do

* Not to mention a certain disdain for the sales aspect of new business vis à vis the “higher calling” of advertising and marketing

Any one of these reasons can ultimately lead to a less than stellar first impression in your prospect’s eyes. Check out the entire post at Agency Babylon here.

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.