I just fielded a survey among over 150 marketers representing companies small to large to ask them about their preferences for unsolicited contact by advertising agencies. Brands in this survey include Hallmark, Disney, Lenovo, Macy’s, Brinker, Hilton, Sony, and more. There is a lot of research on new business development practices. This research is a little different. I wanted to hear it directly from active marketers. I wanted to ask them to tell me how they want and don’t want agencies to engage with them. I want the business development practices of my agencies to align better with the preferences of their future clients.
There is no doubt when a marketer accepts the job, they also accept a barrage of unsolicited agency contact. I asked marketers to estimate how many NEW agencies attempt to contact them in a week. 7% report 11+ and 3% of those claim 20 or more. Yikes! 56% get outreach from 3 - 10 agencies and a lucky 37% get as few as 1 or 2. Cutting through the clutter and standing out have never been so important for an agency doing outbound prospecting. If you are targeting the 63% who get 3 or more contacts every week, you better make sure yours is different and persuasive. Otherwise, you are wasting your time. Learn how agencies do it.
A few marketer comments:
- But as far as blind fishing, we probably have 6-10 per week that are either direct solicitation or are simply sharing a case study to prompt recall of a future point when we are looking to change agencies.
- Every time we get a PR mention, the floodgates open. When we hired our CMO, I fended off hundreds of ad agency sharks.
- I try to respond to every inquiry because I used to work at an agency. It's gotten to be virtually impossible. Sorry.
- Stop! Please stop.
There is no shortage of opinions from marketers about advertising agency new business development practices. And their opinions are not very flattering. In our zeal to find that next great client, agencies so often forget the rules, cut corners, ignore experience or go after everything. Which may be one reason agency new business success rates are so low.
I welcome your thoughts or disagreement. I’ll be posting more insights from the research so stay tuned. The more we share and collaborate, the smarter and more successful we will all be. We all have to work together to improve the practices of our profession. After all, new business is the future of your agency.
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