Why Advertising Agencies must create Powerful Business & Marketing Plans

Why Advertising Agencies must create Powerful Business & Marketing Plans

One of the first things I have always done, for both my own new clients or the Agencies for whom I have worked, was to start creating high impact Business and Marketing Plans for them. Although I have been in the Advertising, Digital, PR and Direct space for over 30 years, I would estimate almost 75% of Advertising Agencies today, still don’t have either a Business or Marketing Plan.

‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’

I firmly believe every Ad Agency, Digital, PR or 1:1 Agency, as well as entrepreneurs and executives must plan, innovate and grow their businesses more effectively. Planning will enable them to create more jobs, offer customers better products and services. It will also stimulate innovation, wealth, and fund programs that make the world a better place. Plus, good planning strategies will enable you to realize greater personal satisfaction and growth.

It appears that most Agencies, both nationally as well as internationally, only focus on the ‘newest’ tactical idea instead of taking the time to develop a strategic and comprehensive new business plan. (Yes, the ‘shiny object’ – not a strategic business plan!) I think not building or having a Business Plan is both costly as well as tragic.

Although Agencies push their clients and brands to market themselves effectively and efficiently, but don’t practice what they preach and don’t do it for themselves! They are their worse ‘clients’. I think many Ad Agencies are like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes. Sad but true, both in US and worldwide.

The greatest benefits in having a strategic Business Plan which is updated annually includes:

  • Achieving your business goals faster
  • Rapid Growth with programs, products, services and revenues
  • Intelligence – strategic guidance, action plans, gain market share, etc.
  • They allow you to raise funding quickly
  • They serve to nail your Agency Positioning which is the foundation of any agency’s new business program.

Who benefits using Business Plans?

Business Plans don’t just benefit Advertising Agencies, they are commonly used in hundreds of different sectors and used in every market around the world. Here are just a few examples of sectors that benefit hugely from having a strategic Business Plans:

  • Startups
  • Mid-Sized to Larger Companies
  • Non-Profit and Governmental Agencies
  • Small Business Owners
  • Fortune 500 Companies
  • Early Stage Entrepreneurs

In short, if you’re in business you need a business plan! Many Advertising Agencies just don’t seem to understand this, all they seemingly want to do is ‘pick the low hanging fruit’  However, it will be a strategic, thoughtful and visionary Business Plan that will open the doors of:

  • Angel Investors
  • Banks
  • Private Equity Firms
  • Strategic and Corporate Investors
  • Hedge Funds
  • Venture Capitalists and more

Over the past 30 years, from San Francisco to Singapore. I have helped to craft and write hundreds of business plans; and, during this time, I have developed proven methodologies, processes and tasks to ensure success when implemented. A good business plan is often the difference between an Advertising Agency that thrives and one that doesn’t.

Here are the critical elements every Ad Agency must incorporate into their Business Plan to maximize success and grow: 

  1. Executive Summary – This must include:
  • Business overview
  • Success Factors
  • Financial Plan
  1. Company Overview – A snapshot of your Agency
  2. Industry Analysis – Explain Characteristics of Industry/Market
  3. Customer Analysis e.g. Target customers, customer needs, etc.
  4. Competitive Analysis e.g. Direct, Indirect, Competitive Advantages
  5. Marketing Plan – Products, Services, Promotions, Prospect List, Distribution, Core Buyers Persona, SWOT, Content Plan, etc.
  6. Operational Plan – Key Operational Processes, Milestones
  7. Management Team – Team, Team Gaps, Board Members
  8. Financial Plan e.g. Revenue Model, Financial Highlights, Funding Requirements, Exit Strategy
  9. Appendix, including Support material for business plan

I have also incorporated these key elements: a slogan/positioning statement, an Elevator Pitch and a short Synopsis. Importantly, everyone in an Agency should also have its Elevator Pitch down pat so they’re on the ‘same page’ as everyone on the New Business team.

An ‘elevator pitch’ is a quick summary of your business plan or an Agency’s capabilities that can be clearly explained in two minutes or less (e.g. the time it takes to ride an elevator, from ground floor to the 10th Floor). It should include your name, your mission, what your business does, who for and why it’s different. It must be straight to the point and position you instantly.

Importantly, the more prospects know or learn about you on their own, and are already aware of your expertise, they are already primed to hire your firm. This means, the less time and money you need to spend on selling your services. Every Agency must think about their 3R’s prior to writing their Business Plan –> Relationships –> Reputation –> Referrals

Remember, the most important part of ANY business plan is to explain why your Ad Agency or business is uniquely qualified to succeed. So, resist the urge to copy someone else’s business plan and develop your own. Don’t forget to update it annually using the latest and best research, statistics and information available.

Be realistic in both tough times and good times. Remember, in good times always set funds and budgets aside to weather the ‘tougher times’. Constantly research your clients and prospects to better understand their changing needs. This will enable you to be proactive and address their needs before your competitors.

The hardest thing for most Agencies to do is to step outside of their ‘comfort zone’ or ‘bubble’. If you are like most agencies, you’ll benefit from a third-party perspective, from an independent experienced Industry expert or Consultant who has digital, branding and a heavy integrated experience.

If you want to rethink, or turbo charge your New Business and Business Plan for maximum impact, please feel free to call me or send me an email today. Always remember, you grow and win new business by design, not by chance!


On a personal note: Be sure to write down your own goals and set the specific times/dates to achieve them. AND, diarize them, because if you don’t write them down, you may never complete them. Review all planning activity weekly, monthly, quarterly and update annually too.

And, while you’re in the planning mode, why not develop your own personal business plan too. Just start with ‘where you are today’ and continue developing, growing and evolving into the future too.


About Geoff De Weaver: 

Super Strategist for the Fortune 500 –  Geoff is a leading international expert on new business development, brand marketing, innovation, and growth. He has also directly assisted hundreds of Fortune 500 brands and clients generate billions in new business revenue from North America to Asia to Europe, South America and Australia/Oceania.

Geoff has successfully built businesses, agencies, opened offices worldwide, saved companies and helped clients generate billions of dollars of revenue and growth with their brands. 

Geoff is passionate about the art of influence, new business and presentation. His techniques can help you communicate and lead more effectively. As a global marketer, coach and workshop leader, Geoff makes mastering these advanced skills an enjoyable and achievable process. His sound business acumen and results driven approach have made him a trusted business advisor to many of the world’s leading organizations and their senior executives.

Geoff works with business leaders to ignite their courage and confidence so they can step up and step out in the way they engage people and communicate their leadership style. He is in high demand with CEO’s, CMO’s, directors, corporate executives and senior managers for his expert counsel and guidance in creating strategies for face-to-face communications and integrated global campaigns that are engaging and delivered with confidence and passion to key stakeholders.

Want to win more new business, grow faster and increase your revenue? Then get chemistry on your side. For more information, contact Geoff De Weaver at geoff@geoffdeweaver.com or DM me on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/geoff_deweaver or call me at: +61 411 224 961

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Hope you enjoy and learn some new tips! 




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