This two part series will provide you with the ideas, tactics that have enabled me to secure billions of dollars in ‘New Business’ for my clients worldwide and give you a competitive edge in the global marketplace! And, having been fortunate enough to work with iconic brands like: IBM, AT&T, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Weight Watchers, Nestle, Air France, BP Oil, Microsoft, IMG, P&G, etc. over the decades – I have learned from some amazing folks and companies over the years too!
I have long believed a company’s ability to learn, and rapidly translate that into action, will give them their single biggest competitive edge or advantage. With Thanksgiving & Christmas and Q4/2019 on the horizon – are you strategically planning and implementing your New Business and Growth to ensure your future success?
If, the answer was YES, Q4/2019 is here already! So you must start planning for a massive push towards your end of year goals. Great Q4 results will also provide you with a planned assault in the coming year. This strategy has enabled me to consistently hit all my targets, budgets and EBITDA (e.g. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) numbers for three plus decades.
When you use my list of my Top 50+ New Business & Growth Tactics you will gain a COMPETITIVE EDGE.
As I have recently wrote, if you want to increase your influence, build business relationships that matter, and importantly know everything about everybody – I can strongly recommend, you need to start using LinkedIn and fully grasp the power of social selling and Boolean String!
As a ‘super connector’ worldwide, thanks to living and working globally in cities such as: New York City, San Francisco, Sydney, London, Taipei, Singapore, etc. I can actively match people with opportunities and, in doing so, leave their connections with a positive opinion of their abilities as well as mine! Importantly, with Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn a couple of years ago – they have become a ‘go-to’ destination for those looking to reach decision-makers, senior leaders and executives with influence.
It’s all about TRUST e.g. being trustworthy and trusting! BUT, I always take plenty of notes, endeavor to win with both hearts and minds PLUS, I always ask people how I can help them!
In a recent article, August 1, 2019, ‘NOW YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR TOTAL MARKETING REACH WITH A BOOLEAN STRING’ (Read here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/now-you-can-improve-your-total-marketing-reach-string-geoff-de-weaver/, I revealed how I was able to build a network of 622, 396, 315 people on LinkedIn. I am now thrilled to update you that I have increased my worldwide network on LinkedIn to over 632,162,147 people. YES, I have added over 10+ million to my network in less than two months! That’s the POWER of LinkedIn today!
Picture: My Boolean String Search as at October 1 2019 – (Geoff De Weaver) OR NOT (Geoff De Weaver) e.g. 632,162,147 results on LinkedIn.
So, I thought I would share some of my ideas if you are looking to generate more new business, increase your sales, accelerate your income and become even more successful with your business, service offering or life.
If you want to ‘grab more low-hanging fruit’ and gain a massive ‘EDGE’ over your competitors this year and next, please keep reading and reviewing the many new business basics I have consistently used to pitch and win billions of dollars in new business for my clients worldwide over the past 30+ years.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY TOP NEW BUSINESS TIPS TO GIVE YOU A COMPETITIVE EDGE:
#1: IDENTIFY YOUR ADVERTISING AGENCY’S POSITIONING & VISION STATEMENT
As, I have always said, focus clearly on positioning, as it is the foundation of an Advertising Agency’s new business program.
Even today, many Advertising Agencies, including some of the biggest Multinational Agencies, have NOT differentiated their positioning from that of their competitors. That’s why new business is so costly, hard and not pushed as an Agency priority. However, I’ve found that social media marketing actually makes it easier to resolve the problem of positioning and if done correctly, creates immense benefits.
In your vision/mission statement, clearly outline what goals your Agency is trying to achieve and what differentiates you from the competition.
#2: IDENTIFY BUSINESS GOALS
I recommend initially, sitting down and determining how you can create a sustainable competitive advantages that will propel your company to long-term success.
Then, thoughtfully and strategically craft a ‘Customer Needs Assessment’ – expertly uncovering the true needs of your current and potential clients so that your current and future products and services can better attract and serve clients and customers. Then, discuss and probe with the management team the following areas:
- Industry Analysis: identifying the key Market/Industry trends that affect your market to make sure that your business will profit, rather than be harmed, from these trends three to five years from now and beyond.
- Operations Plan: mapping out your internal processes and slicing your long- term mission and goals into smaller, more actionable milestones.
- Management Team: understand the human resources that will be required to achieve your vision and how you can attract this talent.
- Financial Planning: truly understanding the economics of your business and its short and long-term cash flow needs, to ensure that you don’t run out of capital.
#3: SET MARKETING OBJECTIVES & DEVELOP A PLAN
Determine the mix of promotional activities that will most effectively generate leads for your Agency of business, and plot out the ways in which you will convert those leads into initial and lifelong customers. e.g. Trade shows, Trade Publications, Local Press, etc.
All too often, I have found that most Agencies don’t understand the core tools needed to grow revenues and become more successful. SAD BUT TRUE.
Growing your Agencies’ revenue is actually pretty straightforward when you think about it. There are just four things to accomplish:
- Increase your number of leads
- Increase your conversion rate
- Increase the number of times clients/customers who buy from you
- Increase the revenue you generate per sale
Remember, Pareto’s Law, also known as the 80/20 Rule, when creating your customer profile.
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your revenue.
Importantly, by focusing on marketing to and serving your core customer, you’ll get more of the 20% you want and thus much more ‘bang for your marketing buck.’
#4: WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
I think every successful Ad Agency must write and have a Business Plan today. Writing a business plan will ensure that you pay attention to both the broad operational and financial objectives of your new business and the details, such as budgeting and market planning. Here are some specific areas that must be strategized in the plan too:
- Projected Income Statements, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements
- Technology: Technical drawings, patent information, etc.
- Product/Service Details
- Partnership and/or Customer Letters
- Expanded Competitor Reviews
- Customer Lists
#5: IDENTIFY THE ‘LOW HANGING FRUIT’
The most important step in a Agency new business is finding the first client or brand. And then finding the next client or brand. (And the next one after that.)
I recommend if you run an Ad Agency, know the best marketing strategy is often the one that is most likely to produce quick results.
In marketing, ‘low-hanging fruit’ refers to those consumers who are easiest to attract to your business. Focusing your efforts on this group maximizes the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
Here are a couple of my tips to target ‘low hanging fruit’:
- Understand the target customer profile.
- Understand what problem the product or services solves and define the value proposition.
- Identify customer’s ability and willingness to pay.
- Understand the sales cycle and develop a sales funnel.
- Conduct research to gauge various customer segments.
Always remember, often your customer is in front of your nose, but you don’t even notice.
Do a SWOT Analysis – After analyzing your competition and yourself, distill all the information into a SWOT Analysis. This creates a powerful visual aid to use creating your competitive strategy.
SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal, which can be controlled by you. Threats and opportunities are external, controlled by the marketplace.
#6: RESEARCH ALL COMPETITORS
One of the primary brand building activities I have used with much success is researching your competition.
Here are some of exact steps you need to follow to effectively research your competitors and then leverage your brand strategy to beat them and dominate the marketplace:
- Determine your direct competitors
- Determine your indirect competitors
- Determine your future potential competitors
- Rate your competitors and your own brand
- Perform a SWOT analysis
- Create a competitive positioning strategy
Importantly, by doing a ‘deep dive’, understanding and figuring out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your competitors, you will be able to understand the entire competitive landscape and channel your resources and strategy to leverage the opportunities to gain market share instead of playing a catch-up game.
Rate Your Agency Competitors And Your Own Brand
Once you have compiled a final list of your Agencies direct, indirect and future competitors, it is time to rate them along with your own brand on a set of criteria to gain an objective view of the market place.
By rating your competitors and your own brand you can establish benchmarks and understand your brand’s true position in the market.
Different industries could require different kind of criteria but here are a few examples you can use:
- Product/Service Quality
- Full Service/Specialist
- Product/Service Uniqueness
- Product/Service Features
- Product/Service Effectiveness
- Customer Service
- Price /Compensation
- Market Share
- Distribution Channels/Power/Network
- Brand Awareness/Name Recognition
- Sales Ability
#7: SELECT MEDIA CHANNELS AND TACTICS
From my 30+ years of hands-on experience in Growth and New Business, I have always found that the following tactics are the most effective marketing tactics to help you achieve success and increase your revenue streams. The best ‘performance tactics’ are:
- In person events
- Adding value and insights on LinkedIn
- Webinars and webcasts
- Case Studies with results
- White Papers
- Educational Marketing
- High impact videos
- Research Reports
- Online presentations
I am a huge advocate of social media marketing platforms and the most effective platforms from my experience include:
#8: DEVELOP A CONTENT STRATEGY
I think having a content strategy is critical to every Ad Agency – in fact, more than ever. And, I am shocked and appalled most Ad Agencies and Marketers have been so slow to capitalize on their knowledge, skills and offer a competitive advantage over their peers!
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
In fact, over 75% of B2B marketers are saying they are creating more content this year than they ever did in past decades. Importantly, the best Ad Agencies will have a clear and effective content marketing program and will be committed to it.
#9: ALLOCATE BUDGETS AND RESOURCES/STAFF
Over the years, I have clearly learned the best and most successful Agencies in the world all closely scrutinize their budgets and always watch their competitors, benchmark what they are spending, and even now provide head count for social media marketing today too.
- Consumer packaged goods companies allocate by far the largest percent of total company budget to marketing (nearly one quarter), followed by consumer services, tech software/biotech, communications/media, and mining/construction.
- Top performing companies today need to invest an on average spend 8.5 percent of total revenue on marketing – to 15%. Tech companies are the biggest spenders by this measure, allocating at least 13.8 percent of revenue to marketing compared with consumer packaged goods companies spending less.
- Allocations within the marketing budget vary from company to company. For example, less than half (47.9 percent) of companies include expenses for marketing employees in their marketing budgets. Other companies may put marketing employee expenses into general and administrative expenses, sales, or other areas. Most companies (61.3 percent) include direct expenses for marketing—such as advertising, trade promotions, and direct marketing—in their marketing budgets, but this varies by industry
#10: ASSIGN ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The best leaders in Advertising Agencies today always understand and employ staff that scope and check the feasibility of every new client, assignment or campaign. Then they assign, responsibilities for the campaign or account management team to boost efficiency. Having a clear understanding of project roles allows the leader to develop a timeline.
Ad Agency Productivity is enhanced when the responsibilities assigned closely align with the team member’s strengths. Efficiency today is everything in the digital world.
#11: FOCUS ON CHEMISTRY AND RELATIONSHIPS
As I have often written in the past, the single biggest way to ‘knock out’ any competitor is to build ‘chemistry’ and ‘trust’ BEFORE the pitch.
Numerous research reports reveal that ‘chemistry’ can contribute to over 90% plus why Agencies win pitches. The winning agencies deliver greater ‘simpatico’ between the client and agency teams!
- The biggest obstacle for most agencies is poor chemistry with prospects,
- Chemistry is often more important than industry-specific capabilities,
- Discover what type of firm each prospect wants to deal with,
- Emphasize results, process, relationship, or inspiration before you pitch a prospect.
I also recommend a ‘Subscribe Now’ button on every Agency microsite or website too. Capturing names, email addresses, phone numbers is a great way to ‘prospect’ and start new relationships too!
Additionally, to build chemistry, I also recommend email marketing, viewing professional histories, schedule messaging consistently, monitoring social media platforms and utilize tools like: Access Confidential, RFPalooza, B2B Prospecting tools, Winmo/The List, Mintel, Meeting/Web Conferencing tools, LinkedIn and Social Selling Index, Salesforce tools, Pearlfinders, etc.
#12: BUILD AGENCY REPUTATION – SHOW, DON’T TELL
People do business with people they not only like BUT TRUST. One of my core mantras is:
‘We solve problems.’
I often use the metaphor of a ‘doctor-patient’ relationship, where the patient goes to the doctor for a specific reason and the doctor solves the problem.
Keeping a ‘growth mindset’ on solving problems also helps you to focus on what is most important: serving the (prospective) brand/client. In this way, you’ll win more business because of aligned interests.
To begin establishing trust (and the credibility that underlies it), I find that offering an initial consultation and/or assessment at no charge works well!
The key is to then provide a substantial 30 to 45 minute consulting session that delivers high value – with no selling. This is a great way to build trust, demonstrate your skills without any pressure.
I also highly recommend having an Agency Blog that produces fresh, new and useful content weekly as well as monthly too. By producing great content and featuring case studies and impactful research you will continue to build trust as well as getting on their radar.
Agency promotions using multiple channels with great content highlights your expertise in specific industries too!
#13: UTILIZE CLIENT/BRAND REFERRALS
Over the decades I have always found, relationships, reputation, and referrals can be an unrivaled source of new business. I also believe relationships, reputation and referrals should exist as a pillar within your marketing funnel alongside inbound marketing and outbound sales, chances are it’s already driving the bulk of your sales.
#14: NURTURE EXISTING CLIENTS
When agencies hit a dry spell of sales, we often lose track of our existing client relationships in favor of finding new ones. And you know that it costs five times (to up to 25 times) more to gain a new account than it does to retain an existing one. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
If you’re already speaking and writing to generate new business, be sure your client base receives your thought leadership, too.
‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.’~ Henry Ford
#15: SPEAK, WRITE AND ATTEND CONFERENCES
One of the best ways to gain recognition and grow your thought leadership is speak at leading Industry Events and Conferences. National Events are a must. So consider speaking at workshops, events, expos or Chamber of Commerce events too. Speaking will demonstrate your expertise to new potential followers and fans too. It will also demonstrate your expertise to the local market as well.
Importantly, if you handle it right, events are a great way to get free publicity from your local newspapers and TV stations, too. Make sure you give them advance notice of the event and send them a media kit and Press Release.
#16: UTILIZE BOARD MEMBERS & INFLUENCE
My definition is: ‘Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.’
Influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something. If someone influences someone else, they are changing a person or thing in an indirect but important way. Influencers also understand the best connections between their audience and the brand.
#17: CAPITALIZE ON AWARDS
Some firms live and die by the awards they win — we’ve all seen the agency lobby with a trophy case full of ADDYs, Cannes Lions, Clio Awards or Webby Awards for example.
But small firms that traditionally don’t bother submitting often miss the real benefit of winning awards: free press and exposure to a brand new audience.
Instead of focusing on ‘insular’ global competitions about the work itself, think about awards like your local business journal’s Best Places to Work list, which have broader exposure than the local advertising newsletter. The focus is always about growing your business, increasing revenue and growing your Agency. NOT winning more awards!
#18: WORK THE PITCH CONSULTANTS
This is a growing and more important aspect to winning and getting shortlisted on major accounts today. Many clients and brands are approaching Advertising Consultants even before ‘short-listing’ agencies today.
There is a small handful of advertising agency consultants out there and each of us serves our clients a little differently. Many clients and brands today find it very helpful to see various ad agency structures and how to define their roles in our work before hiring or appointing an Ad Agency.
An Ad Agency consultant is best described as a highly experienced, seasoned pro in the business of successfully running an agency to help give them counsel BEFORE short-listing agencies that might be a perfect fit for their brand and culture.
Generally the best Consultants act as a sounding board, superb networker and have a great BS meter.
In fact, a recent Forrester survey found 73% of marketers are open to using consultancies for digital marketing work, including 14% who said they were “very open.” Agencies are fighting back by bolstering their strategic consulting and data integration offerings in an attempt to offer one-stop solutions. Leo Burnett’s response is a new offering called The Core, which brings together the agency’s data, analytics, research, CRM and search technology capabilities with the goal of creating more personalized content for clients.
The good news for agencies is that Forrester also found that 76% of marketers see budgets for content marketing increasing. Creating and delivering campaigns “still remains the domain of lead agencies,” Forrester stated.
#19: ENSURE YOUR AGENCY POSITIONING IS DIFFERENTIATED
Defining your differentiating factors and using this to build a public-facing positioning statement for your Ad Agency helps brands and clients immediately understand if your agency is the right fit.
You limit your pool of competition in the new business process, and you have more negotiating power because the client perceives that you have a higher value.
I suggest you initially consider and focus on these four areas:
What do we do?What services or channels do we know best?
Who do we do it for?What consumer groups do we understand?
How do we do it?How do our values and beliefs change the way we work?
Why do we do it?What is our shared purpose?
I personally believe, for many agencies, marketing their expertise to a specific industry is the most logical step. E.g. Tech, Telco, FMCG, Hotels, Financial Services, Retail, etc.
Clients want to work with agencies that understand the unique challenges in their industry — and with category expertise, agencies can get to work faster as they don’t have to start from scratch with each new account.
#20: LAUNCH A BOOK, SPEAK, USE DIRECT MAIL AND TARGET INFLUENCERS
Whether you are the agency owner or partner, key folks from the Agency should be speaking at conferences, penning white papers and articles, and generally demonstrating consistent thought leadership via as many channels as possible.
But this high-priority tactic shouldn’t stop at the top – all experts within the Agency should have a mandate to get your message out there.
Everybody should write. BUT, I believe on the best speakers should be out their promoting your Agency and Brand. Importantly, the key is to always have a smart, developed a point of view, attract opportunities, and move up the value chain.
Picture: My last book entitled ‘How To Win New Business: Proven Trends, Tips & Tactics’ Visit: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007DAEKFG
#21: ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE IS COMPELLING & A MAGNET
The shift to analytics-driven marketing and technology-enabled business growth has changed the nature of advertising agencies. So, having an optimized, website is critical today.
The era of ‘Mad Men’ where advertisers primarily focused on TV, radio, and print advertising is gone, dead and buried. In its place are specialists who focus on social media, digital media, and traditional media. BUT, having a great Agency website is a MUST today.
With new formats evolving every day and the popularity of video, content marketing is no longer about writing blog posts!
#22: INBOUND AND OUTBOUND CHANNELS ARE OPTIMIZED
Implementing the right strategies helps Ad Agencies grow their customer base and optimize budgets.
The two primary types of marketing, inbound and outbound, achieve these goals in different ways. To select the right approach for your business, you need to understand both concepts.
Outbound Marketing is considered a traditional form of marketing for many Advertising Agencies. Outbound models push messages out through various channels to large audiences, such as TV commercials, print ads, billboards, cold calls, email blasts and direct mail.
However, this model can be expensive and produce lower quality leads.
Inbound Marketing is inverse of Outbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing excels at: using relevant, helpful content that generates leads. New Business leads and prospects find you through channels such as search engines, blogs, social media, inbound email, content marketing and paid advertising.
Importantly, Inbound marketing is great for targeting companies whose decision makers are researching solutions online. It allows you to harness that demand and fill your sales pipeline. It leverages content marketing, search, mobile, social and local marketing to match your offerings up with buyers who are looking for what you do.
#23: BUILD A COMPELLING CULTURE & MINDSET
Always create a culture of success.
The best Agency leaders today, all model, communicate, inspire, teach, reward, and enforce the expectations and standards for how their program and company operates – including how their staff will train, practice, compete, win, lose, lead, and conduct themselves on and off the playing field or office.
Importantly, the best Agency leaders today all set the core values, principles, and ideals.
Creating, communicating, implementing, and sustaining the right team culture is the key catalyst to lasting success. Even outstanding ex 49ers Coach Walsh once said, “The culture precedes positive results. It doesn’t get tacked on as an afterthought on your way to the victory stand. Champions behave like champions before they’re champions: they have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.”
Importantly, all the highest performing and most innovative Agencies today, all have exceptional leaders that create “Championship Cultures” value such as:
- Total commitment
- High character
- Immense competitive natures
- Strong relationships
- Fierce competitors
- Positive energy
- Best lived in helping family, co-workers + friends
#24: FOCUS ON EXISTING CATEGORY EXPERIENCE
I believe today, more than anytime before, Clients are demanding specialists and experts in their ‘specific or key’ category.
Therefore, I am convinced the most successful Ad Agencies in the business today – must identify their strength(s) and focus on what they do best to stand out.
Here are some tips:
- Focus on an industry.
- Be the best at a service or capability.
- Staff your agency in a different way.
- Approach client problems with a unique point of view.
- Make a statement with pricing.
- Have an attitude.
- Access to information.
- Organize an industry conference or Event.
- Write a Book
#25: NAIL EVERY RFI & RFP
An RFI is primarily used to gather information to help make a decision on what steps to take next. RFIs are therefore seldom the final stage and are instead often used in combination with the following:
- Request for Proposal (RFP),
- Request for Tender (RFT), and
- Request for Quotation (RFQ).
More importantly, though, RFIs are opportunities for the responders to make a great first impression on the requesting organization and show exactly what their business can do.
The outline of an RFP generally consists of the following outline:
- Brief Project Overview. Introduce your organization and the purpose of the RFP.
- Your Organization’s Background. Describe your organization, what it does, and what you do.
- Project Goals & Target Audience.
- Scope of Work & Deliverables.
- Technical Requirements.
- Principal Point of Contact.
#26: ALWAYS STAY HUNGRY AND ALWAYS CELEBRATE WINS
#27: ENSURE HR & PR ARE HIGHLY INTEGRATED
SUMMARY (PART I):
NEW BUSINESS STARTS AT THE TOP! END OF STORY…
Over decades of experience and working within the US and worldwide, I know the staff and senior management is looking to agency leaders for direction, inspiration, and growth. With this in mind we recommend that every agency should execute a ‘Kick off Planning Session” to craft, define and understand the secrets and tactics of agency growth and develop a strong plan moving forward.
The believe after decades of massive successes with Fortune 100 brands, the overall objective of investing some strategic time and effort into the agency is to create a new business strategy that everyone can buy into. And fix new business once and for all.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 1 of this series and stay tuned here for Part 2 – where I will present more actionable items, and help you develop the plan, tools and tactics to have a MASSIVE EDGE over your peers and competitors.
Look forward to sharing more with you shortly and hope you got some tips to help give you an EDGE!
MORE ABOUT GEOFF DE WEAVER:
Super strategist who directs Fortune 500 clients to define their vision, create a strategy, and harness their internal innovation to grow their business or reinvent their products. My key skills are decades of data-powered tools including: CRM, Mobile, Social Media, PR and Digital.
Expert at building and transforming brands, businesses, and digital and physical customer experiences at scale. Adept at telling a cohesive and integrated global story across multiple audiences.
Geoff is currently ranked the Top 1% in the Advertising & Marketing Industries with his network on LinkedIn and Social Selling Index worldwide. He has a remarkable reach of over 632,162,147+ 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections alone on LinkedIn worldwide. (and a US focus)
History of success developing and executing cross-channel global marketing campaigns to drive brand positioning, equity, and awareness while increasing engagement and sales and loyalty. Over three decades of worldwide experience gained in markets like: New York City, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Taipei, etc.
Innovative entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advertising executive with vast expertise driving business growth, reinventing brands, and implementing global marketing campaigns. Always proud and motivated to act as a trusted advisor to many CEO’s, CMO’s and iconic brands worldwide.
Connect with me here:
Amazon Authors: https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-De-Weaver/e/B007DAEKFG
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