Can an Ad Agency or team manage Chemistry?

Can an Ad Agency or team manage Chemistry?

New Business and Growth are all about showcasing the key people on your Agency’s team as well as on the client’s team. Make sure you clearly identify the prospect’s hero: the one person who can stand up, carry the day and clearly outline all the prospect’s key issues.

Importantly, you must also pinpoint the right person at your Agency. They must have the right title, right responsibility, and most importantly be great at presenting. (And not the agency CEO or President!) And, here’s a Heads Up, while it might seem great to use the A-Team in a pitch, make sure the A-Team stays close and doesn’t disappear within weeks of winning the pitch. This is one issue that continually haunts most agencies with new clients as they won’t tolerate this move anymore.

Each person on the client’s team should be ranked in decision-making authority. They must also be profiled as they are commonly looking for something different in an advertising agency. Identifying and targeting the correct client profile should determine the presentation tactics you select.

For many years I have used and recommended to my teams, the need to
create a thoughtful and educated customer profile, or persona. This helps identify you acquire a better understanding of your target market. It can also become a guide for reaching your premium prospects.

Personas are critical to understand before pitching and should besemi-fictional’ representations of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

Deloitte created a system called Business Chemistry that identifies four primary work styles and related strategies for accomplishing shared goals. Importantly, they researched some 190,000 people to understand the four primary work styles in generating ideas, making decisions and solving problems.

The four major groups they outlined are:

  1. Pioneers value possibilities, and they spark energy and imagination on their teams. They believe risks are worth taking and that it’s fine to go with your gut. Their focus is big-picture. They’re drawn to bold new ideas and creative approaches.
  2. Guardian’s value stability, and they bring order and rigor. They’re pragmatic, and they hesitate to embrace risk. Data and facts are baseline requirements for them, and details matter. Guardians think it makes sense to learn from the past.
  3. Drivers value challenge and generate momentum. Getting results and winning counts most. Drivers tend to view issues as black-and-white and tackle problems head on, armed with logic and data.
  4. Integrators value connection and draw teams together. Relationships and responsibility to the group are paramount. Integrators tend to believe that most things are relative. They’re diplomatic and focused on gaining consensus.

If you have expertise and have been involved with Business Development or Growth for any period of time, then you will recognize different buying styles and preferences, and learn the skills to facilitate success with each of the personas. Importantly, if you can get the most out of each style on your team – the more successful you will become.

In the age of the customer, one size fits few. Customer segmentation provides the key to delivering relevant customer experiences, but many customer insights (CI) pros haven’t yet mastered segmentation fundamentals.

Segmentation means not treating consumers as one unified market with identical needs, desires, and motives. Instead, segmentation identifies groups of like-minded consumers and ranks them in terms of their attractiveness as targets for a particular product or service.

Effective segmentation analysis leads to improved product strategies by creating resonance in both product designs and in marketing messages. Consumer product strategy professionals shouldn’t blindly outsource segmentation projects to the market research department but should become deeply involved themselves.

I suggest when you and your team start developing a customer profile or persona; you actively discuss and develop the following strategies:

  1. List all Goals and Values of the Key Decision-makers – I always love to start with the goals and values of my ideal customer or brand.
  2. Collect and assemble demographic information
  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their income?
  • What is their marital status?
  • Do they have children?
  • How well educated are they?
  • What is their job and what industry?
  • Is this person a decision maker or influencer?
  • Who are the key influencers in the final decision?
  1. Know their attitudes, behavior, psychographic segmentation and motivations
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What newspapers do they read?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What are their personality traits?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What special events do they attend?
  • What types of entertainment do they enjoy?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What are their values?
  • What lifestyle do they strive for?
  1. Understand their business and marketing challenges, goals and objectives

What are the questions, concerns and challenges that are top-of-mind for your prospects?

  • The explosion of data?
  • The rise of social media and mobile marketing?
  • Channel and device choices?
  • Shifting demographics?
  1. Know where to find your prospects and how they will find you
  • What services do they look for?
  • What search terms do they use?
  • What websites to they frequent?
  • What blogs do they read?
  • What are their industry publications?
  • What industry events do they attend?
  • What associations are they affiliated with?
  • What type of content do they find appealing and helpful?
  • What social media networks do they prefer?
  1. Define and refine your Elevator Pitch before approaching prospects. By this I mean, if we had only a few sentences to explain what we do and get this person’s attention, what would we say?
  2. It’s critical to clearly identify strategically plot and plan as to how to help them best. E.g. what can we offer to help them meet their goals and/or address their challenges?
  3. Always establish and discuss the ‘probable’ or ‘common’ key reasons, they may not want to utilize your service or appoint you for their account. Plan for the common objectives and elevate those from the first meeting.
  4. Ensure you understand their shopping preferences e.g. how do you prefer to interact with vendors? (Email, phone, sms, in person) Do you use the Internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information?

Reasons Most Agencies Miss Out on Winning a Pitch

Having personally participated or lead thousands of pitches over the last three decades and having worked with numerous Search Consultants over the years, I have discovered some of the most common reasons given to Ad Agencies that didn’t win the pitch or the business.

Major reason commonly heard nationally and worldwide:

  • Lack of “chemistry” was the key factor… simpatico between the client and agency teams was missing. Commonly, this is the single biggest reason given.
  • Approximately 60% plus of the time – winning agencies won because they had a confident, articulate team.
  • 40% of executives said passion for the client’s business, demonstrated by a “seamless link between strategy & creative” was critical
  • Some 80%+ of executives preferred ad agencies who differentiated themselves from other agencies

Bottom-line: If you want to improve your odds of winning more often, always find commonalties between the client and your agency, and subtly reinforce these in the meeting. As Sara Lee’s Mission Statement states that they want: “To simply delight you… every day.” Surely your agency could find a very creative way to mirror the idea of “delight” in its pitch and even (very conservatively) use the word “delight” to reinforce rapport.

Don’t make the same mistakes over and over, give me a call and let us show you a better way, +61 411 224 961 or send me an email at: or visit: or connect with me on LinkedIn at:

About Geoff De Weaver: 

Super Strategist for the Fortune 500 – Expert at developing a strategy and creating a vision.

Geoff is a leading international expert on new business development, brand marketing, innovation, 1:1 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.

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. Soliciting advice and guidance, when appropriate, from a Board of Directors.

I help Fortune 500 clients define their strategy, harness their internal innovation, grow their business and drive revenues. I get results!  Visit me at: 




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