Thursday, February 9, 2012

Agencies: How to land new business.

As a marketing manager, I am the gate keeper. The person that holds the keys to the budget and the person who decides what campaigns we run. As the gate keeper, everyone wants to talk to me. I'm a popular guy. (But only because I have money).

So here's a little bit of advice when you pitch me a campaign. Help me grow my business. Don't help me grow yours.

They don't say it out loud, but when a person is pitching me, in the back of their mind I can hear them thinking:

"He's got money. If we could just get him to sign this one year contract, it will help grow our business."

Before they pitch me, they have an agency meeting(A how can we get him to spend money meeting) that goes like this:
Top Exec:"What services could we provide for him?"
Brainstormer #1 "We have that giant hot air balloon shaped like Darth Vader's head and he likes Star Wars."
Brainstormer #2 "We've got an idea, but it will cost him 10 times more to generate a customer than his other marketing channels. We can file it under 'Testing'."
Brainstormer #3 "We've got that bear that juggles live rattle snakes. It's really cool."
Brainstormer #4 "We've got a random magazine that none of his customers read. But we can get him prime placement, and we get a nice commission for placing it."

These are all ideas for services that grow their business. There is no mention of growing mine. And that's where they fail.

My job is to grow my company's business, not hand out money so other people's businesses can prosper. My business is new customers. If you can help me get new customers, then I absolutely want to talk to you. But know that when you pitch me a marketing/campaign idea, I will ask you, "How does this get me new customers?". And after the campaign has run, I will measure it against how many customers that campaign generated and at what cost compared with other campaigns. Yes, I actually compare it against other marketing channels and spend the money on the more affective channels.

To be fair, I have been on the other side of this coin and have sat in meetings and suggested ideas that favored growing the agency's business. And not surprisingly, the customer didn't buy any of them.

So the bottom line is, if you want me to buy what you are selling, then sell me something that helps me grow my business. Not something that grows yours.

If you can grow my business, then you will have a customer for life.

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