Agencies who want an edge in 2017 should consider new ways to stand out, differentiate and delight their prospects and future clients. In a previous post, Hold onto your clients. Unleash your new business hounds; I covered the historic competition expected next year. As you plot your strategies to take advantage of the change ahead you know that the best way to engage marketers searching for new solutions is through the things that are of utmost importance to them as they take on the new year. If you read the post, you know the issues that are driving marketers to seek new agency resources. You also know what the latest trends are that shape the marketing landscape. Given these issues, what can your organization do to get the attention of these restless marketers? How can you get a conversation started and change the game in your favor? Come on agencies. Let’s get creative!
Video – the hottest piece of content today
Why not use it show off your agency? Not in the way some search consultants sometimes ask for a chemistry video as a part of the process. Agencies hate those exercises because they seem so contrived, unnatural, and just plain silly. Silly or not, a video, properly done, is the next best thing to being there. And if your agency believes that the human element is what differentiates you yet find it is so hard to represent that in a printed RFP, a video may be the answer. Create the kind of video you think will best illustrate what it’s like to work with your agency. Capture the interaction of real clients. Forget your ping pong table or office dog. Instead, show what it’s like to be a client at your agency. Show how you are different in the day-to-day activities a client experiences, that specialness that wins the loyalty of your clients. Make it about them and their experience in your environs; real, genuine and raw. This kind of video would also make a great landing page feature for those clandestine marketers searching for you that you aren’t even aware of.
VR – finding new solutions is a top priority
Give your prospect a seat at the table – a brainstorming session, creative concepting, or a research presentation. Some say that experience is the new currency and the VR experience is surging in popularity as the technology and devices go mainstream. Send your top prospects a Google Cardboard and your VR app. Let them be a fly on the wall in your process. Imagine the uniqueness of their experience with you as they put on the goggles and look to the left at your strategist talking insights, look to the right at your creative director reveals the big aha, and look behind them at your account director pushing for better. Dispel the mystery of what it would be like if they hired you. Help them overcome the hesitation of a new agency. Let them see beyond the statistics of your employee count or client roster. After all, they are hiring you and your people. Give them a test drive. I think a VR experience could be a great way to get those stubborn prospects to take your call?
Gamification – better engagement is a universal challenge
Gaming may be passé but not as a new business tool. Introduce them to Age of Empires, Marketing Mayhem, or whatever title you come up with. As more millennials ascend to decision-making roles, their love of gaming may be the perfect hook. Think Candy Crush, smashing the bad customer profiles to end up with the best customer list. Or shooting the price discounting gargoyles to gain the highest profit mix. Let them challenge their skills and expertise in the marketing game with an experience they won’t soon forget. But keep it simple. Make it quick. Too many past attempts at this by agencies were overdone. Set up some common scenarios and let your prospect engage your strategic thinking and creativity through a series of decision making moves that lead to greater success and a big bonus. Have some fun but don’t over complicate it or you’ll lose. Customize it for a prospect’s market and marketing challenges and make a generic version to send to your list or put on your site.
Data – making sense of data is a top priority
Data has been top of mind to marketers for many years. It has also been a big frustration. Demonstrate the power and practical application of data in a way that is relevant and tangible to your prospect. Create an interactive infographic that animates data sets that are personalized for each prospect and lead to interesting insights in their category. Use your creative skills to show how you pick the needle out of the data haystack. Combine your creativity with your data capabilities to show the unique way your prospect’s data looks to you, not just as 1s and 0s but through people, events, transactions. Visually show off the power of data to find new insights, new opportunities, and new customers. Many agencies talk about the importance of data. It’s a much different experience to demonstrate it visually, an experience could set you apart. Think about a clever way of using it as a website feature that prospects can interact with?
Results – every marketer is seeking better results
A historic number of agencies will see their accounts put into review because of the pressure their clients face for better results. Every agency talks about great results and has the case studies to prove it. Very few bring those results off the page in a meaningful and tangible way to reinforce their credibility and creativity. Try showing your results through people. Create a narrative about Jane. She clicked on the email link and ordered. Tell a story about her customer journey, true to your client case study narrating a day in her life that ends in a sale and then multiply that by thousands of new customers you generated for that client. Simply touting a 25% increase has little meaning and is easy to forget. Telling a story about actual people, diverse, unique, colorful and memorable will live on in the prospect’s mind. Research proves it. And, you can turn that story into a fun YouTube video to share far and wide.
Come on agencies. Let’s get creative! Try incorporating one of these into your plan and see your prospects respond. Better yet, look at what is important to your prospect and come up with your own surprise and delight. To win a new client you first must get through the checklist of category experience, capabilities, leadership and case studies. I’ve shared research that shows what marketers want to know first. Once you get past that, you’ve got to demonstrate the uniqueness of your agency, your thinking, the experience of working with your team, and the power of your creativity. I’ve mentioned just a few ways to leverage what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s important to your prospect. It’s your turn to change the game in favor of your agency.
If you want help, email me or spend some time on my website jheenan.com to get more tips on ad agency growth. If you liked this post and want more new business advice delivered to your inbox sign up for my monthly newsletter. Lets Grow!