In 2002 I was running the domestic operation of a research consultancy. At the start of every year, we would come to the table with great plans to market (and find leads for) our business. We would start our effort, and then inevitably find that our client business got in the way. Consistency was not our strength.
This is great news. Coming off of the last two years, where many agencies struggled, it is now more critical than ever to develop a well organized plan for aggressively going after new business…and importantly, sticking with it.
As we peel back the survey results a bit further about how agency principals plan on getting more aggressive, we start to get a little concerned.
"Networking" and "Social Media" are the top two ways agency principals state that they are going to "get aggressive." Both of these not only take time to manage effectively, but both suffer from a common issue: the number of marketers on the other end of these efforts isn't that robust.
On the networking front, there are fewer marketers moving from job to job to connect with, and fewer marketers attending conferences—so finding prospects via networking is getting tougher to do.
And on the social front, our survey reveals that marketers aren't highly active (personally, or companies) in the social space, so placing too much emphasis on social is clearly going to have its limits.
So the million dollar question is: what to do? Getting back to my opening story…our answer was to hire the firm that I now own (RSW/US), to help us manage our outreach. While this isn't (or doesn't have to be) the answer for every agency, you need to do something to lessen the agency new business load on any one single person (especially you) in your shop.
Our suggestion if you don’t want to go outside for help: Build the Village.
In our September 2010 post
we stated that agency principals need to establish a well-organized plan that includes different members of the agency, managing different parts of the plan (e.g. lists, research, outreach, mailing, outreach) in order to be effective.
Giving responsibilities to many and stressing the importance of the effort to all is a great way to get the entire agency focused on growth. Assign a leader (can be you, if you can stick with it) to keep all the parts and pieces on track, and we believe that if you do build this village then you’re certain to improve upon the success of what you’re doing today.
Remember, you being aggressive is fine, but your agency being consistent is better.