Survey: Key Insights into Agency New Business Trends

Many ad agencies are desperate for new business but desperation can often turn an agency into its own “worst client.” New business activity will not necessarily equate to new business. Agencies must have a discipline and focus to generate new business in this economy. It’s not that hard. Just practice what you preach!

mirren new business conference

The Mirren New Business Conference back in April of this year, 158 advertising agencies participated in a survey about the current economic downturn along with their new business development practices.

Here are some of the key insights into agency new business trends that came from this survey:

  • Organic growth, additional business from existing clients, was the best source of new business in 2008
  • Strategy now plays a greater role than creative for prospective clients
  • The number one reason for losing a pitch or RFP is lack of category experience
  • Presentations are boring and are not appealing enough
  • Agencies are placing a priority on proactive prospecting
  • Despite the size of agencies, most struggle with the same core new business issues: pitching effectiveness, prospective effectiveness and lack of discipline

The top 5 roadblocks to new business effectiveness:

  1. Lack of resources
  2. Lack of focus and discipline
  3. Lacking the best approach to prospecting
  4. Pitching, not being selective enough
  5. Positioning, not truly differentiate

The top 5 reasons agencies say they lose pitches:

  1. Lack of relevant experience
  2. Perceived to be to small
  3. Creative/Programs not as strong as competitors
  4. Presentations not engaging or dynamic
  5. Presentation’s logic rationale not tight enough

Top 8 things agencies need to improve upon:

  1. More proactive prospecting
  2. Be more differentiated
  3. Be more selective about pitches
  4. Develop better strategy and insights
  5. Strengthen overall strategy and creative
  6. Be more focused and disciplined
  7. Hire more dedicated new business staff
  8. Create/refine our new business plan

Read Andrew McMains ADWEEK article, Survey: Shops Plan More Pitches in ’09

To download a copy of  The Mirren New Business Conference: 2009 Trending Report

Survey: Ad Agency Survey Finds Traditional New Business Methods Aren’t Working

Additional article of interest: Should Ad Agency Pitches and RFPs Be a Thing of the Past?


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.

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