Ad agency search consultant Brian Goodall, of Jones Lundin Beals, keeps it simple when he talks about how to get your agency noticed by corporate marketers. In fact, he boils it down to a couple of bullet points.
- Marketers have to fall in love with you. Cause this to happen and you’re more than 50% of the way to a win. Most call this “chemistry”. You influence it by how you act, the people you bring to meetings, how each person interacts with the marketing team, as well as all the little things that take place from the marketer’s first contact with your agency right up until they award you their business.
- New business = Show business. You have to present well and dazzle your audience. It’s really simple, he says: “leave your boring presenters at home.”
- The Big Idea trumps everything. It’s a requirement to get far in a review. But, it’s not sufficient: a big idea and lousy chemistry doesn’t equal a win.
The question that so many small and mid-size agencies (i.e. those with less than 100 employees) have is this: We’re a regional agency trying be national. How do we do it?
There’s no substitute for doing work that gets noticed…and…if they don’t come to you, go to them.
He mentioned three regional agencies that do a great job of getting noticed in a crowded market:
- The Via Group (Portland, ME). In 2008 they held a “salon series” in NYC, to which they attracted Fortune 100 CMOs, and the media.
- Lindsay, Stone & Briggs (Madison, WI). For the last 20 years they’ve held a “Brandworks University”, most recently last month.
- Erwin-Penland Advertising (Greenville, SC). They hold a conference for movers and shakers. [Note: I wasn’t able to confirm if this is an ongoing event, or something that EP held in the past.]
These three agencies are very successful at these initiatives, he feels, in large part because they make it all about the clients and not about themselves.
If you’re a regional agency it may take extra effort to put yourself on the map, but as we all know, some pretty well-known shops have done it from such places as Miami, Austin, Richmond, and Portland (OR).