Promote Your Ad Agency Through the Recession

Let me preface this post by saying that small to midsize agencies have a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow their agency during the current, turbulent financial crisis. Now is the time to step up your advertising agency’s new business efforts.

Promote your agency through the recession by expanding your agency’s “Online Footprint.”

In 2008, four things have taken place that particularly impacts small and midsize agency new business:

  1. In a 2008 CMO survey, 80% of decision makers say they found the vendor, not the other way around.
  2. CMO Council’s Marketing Outlook study states that Marketing 2.0 is by no means a brand new idea, but this year it becomes mainstream with the general public.
  3. Tim Williams, founder of Ignition Consulting Group , and author of the book, Take a Stand for Your Brand, declares in 2008 that it’s, “The End of Cold Calling.”
  4. The current economic crisis that is impacting advertising budgets and will greatly accelerate Web 2.0. Following this recession, there will not be a return to  business as usual.

How does this impact ad agency new business?

According to current research and trends, traditional media and methods will no longer generate sustainable leads for your agency’s new business. The new business paradigm that we are witnessing is positioning small and midsize advertising agencies online to be found their best target audiences. Agencies should develop an appealing point of differentiation and use Web 2.0 tools to greatly expand their agency’s “online footprint” to be easily found by their best prospective clients.


Below is an overview chart of the various inexpensive, online tools agencies can use to expand their online presence:

As a first step, I would suggest subscribing your agency to the following online services. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use them all immediately, but it is important to get a general understanding of them. Sign up for:

  • Facebook/Myspace
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Feedburner
  • GoogleAnalytics
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Wikipedia entry

Secondly, agency principals and staff subscribe to relevant online professional networks and professional online forums. You and your staff should immediately link to one another, then to clients, friends and prospective clients. Everyone becomes an agency ambassador.

Experience the new media tools for yourself and build your staff’s capabilities and utilize the cost effectiveness of new media to promote your agency. For success, you’ll need to understand that motive matters, these tools need to be used correctly. Also they wont be effective unless they are used consistently.

Thirdly, create an agency blog, specific to a particular target audience. Provide useful information and resources. Build relationships and trust along with being positioned as an expert among your target group.

Fourth, continue expanding your agency’s online footprint using other new media tools such as eNewsletters, online surveys/polls, PR, presentations (SlideShare), downloadable whitepapers, PPC (AdWords), Ebooks and article marketing (EzineArticles).

When other agencies are cutting back, there is no better opportunity to pick up new clients, increase your agency’s profile and market share. You can do more online with a fraction of the cost.

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to email them to me.

Additional articles of interest:


About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. I just received a forwarded email from one of my clients that I wanted to share. It was from a prospect and the prospective client had this to say:

    “Also, I just wanted to tell you that I like what you guys are doing over at Locomotion. You guys are starting to build some buzz. I rarely heard anything about Locomotion until the past year so I thought you guys might want to know that your efforts are making an impact.”

    Locomotion has created a blog, built an email data base, uses email campaigns, AdWords, PRWeb, online surveys, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other new media tools to increase their online “foot print” in a short period of time.

    The buzz has been generated through the execution of a new media plan for the agencies new business. Another agency, Off Madison Ave is generating 5 inbound new business leads per day using new medial.

  2. Some really great points! I think more and more companies are starting to do this and will see results! Thanks for the great info. Very well written and easy to follow!

  3. I noticed that this is not the first time at all that you write about this topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

  4. Thanks for the good info. We are always looking for more ways to create that online ‘buzz’ and I appreciate the points you made in this article. I bookmarked you so I’ll be back!

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