The Great Recession, the rise of social media, the rapid advance of technology and digital, plus the maturing of Millennials, has significantly impacted those with the responsibility of business development.
There are not a whole lot of people who have done this job in the past who know how to do it well now, Avi Dan, a former new business executive at Euro RSCG, Berlin Cameron United and Saatchi who’s now president of Darling in New York.
An agency’s new business directors’ position is about as short lived as a typical CMO. It’s be described as the most dangerous job in advertising.
Andrew McMains, a Senior Editor (Agencies) for Adweek, describes the complexities of the position and how hard it is to fill this postion in his article, “Changing Role of Rainmakers.” Here are some of the highlights from along with my personal insights:
Agency leaders say that the job has become more complex and therefore more difficult to cast. As a result, searches for new business talent takes longer.
“It’s just such a hard position to fill,“ said Michael Zuna, New York managing director at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, whose new CMO, Benjamin Bittman, started last week. “The Mad Men-rainmaker days — that doesn’t happen anymore. It’s a tough job.”
Why? These are some of the reasons given:
- Because client reviews in recent years have generally become more complicated, given the expanding marketing needs of clients
- The more common presence of search consultants
- RFP-driven processes
- Participation of procurement executives
- Agencies generally are reinventing themselves for the digital age and how they market that to prospective clients and consultants has changed
The examples given tend to be major shops, such as JWT, WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis Groupe, but new business has changed dramatically for the small to midsize agencies as well.
Do you have the right talent leading your agency’s new business?
“With over 50% of client relationships lasting less than two years and the average CMO tenure 27 months, the role of new business at our agencies is more important and a bigger focus than ever,” Noelle Weaver, Advertising Age’s Small Agency Diary.
Having a working knowledge of social media isn’t even an option any longer for an agency’s new business director. Social media is having a big impact on how agency’s promote themselves and how they are found online by their prospective client audiences.
Here are 5 ways social media impacts ad agency new business:
- A paradigm shift for how new business is acquired. According to a recent CMO survey, 80% of decision makers say they found the vendor, not the other way around. Instead of chasing new business, it’s now more important to be found.
- SEO is now a critical part of new business strategy. According to Marketing Sherpa, 80-90% of business to business transactions begin with a search on the web.
- A niche blog for new business is a necessary component for marketing your agency. As necessary as it was for an agency to have a Website, it is now as relevant for them to have a blog. It becomes the gateway to the agency and puts a face to it. People want to work with other people, that they know, trust and like.
- The growth of new media mandates agencies participation. The battle for new business has moved online.
- Social media is now mainstream, your agency’s credibility is suspect if it’s just talking the talk without walking the walk.
So before hiring someone responsible for your agency’s new business efforts, in addition to the questions regarding their new business expertise, think about asking some additional questions like these. How they answer will tell you what they really know about social media.
- Are you active in social media? How many people are you connected with?
- How long have you been engaged in social media channels?
- Which social media networks do you personally use and which of them do you specialize in?
- How can social media marketing help create new business opportunities for my agency?
- What social media marketing tools do you use and recommend?
- How well do you understand SEO? What SEO strategies and tactics have you used?
- What are some of the best practices for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest?
- How do you measure social media to gauge your ROI?
- Who are your social media influencers?
What you are looking for is participation, experience and credibility in social media.
Take the time to read Andrew McMains’ article, “Changing Role of Rainmakers”.
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- 12 Initial Steps for Ad Agency New Business Directors
- Three Things a New Business Director Needs for Success
- Why are ad agency new business executives performing so badly?
- The Anatomy of Content Marketing for Ad Agency New Business
- The New Business Metrics Behind Successful Ad Agencies