The New Rules of Engagement for Ad Agency New Business

new rules of engagement for ad agency new business

Lead generation techniques that include direct mail and cold calls are becoming less effective as new communication channels and technology have greatly altered prospective client behavior.

Prospects are using the Internet and related media to learn about agencies that best meet their needs. Your primary focus now should be on pulling them, through relevant, resourceful content, toward your agency’s services. Why?

Prospective Clients Control Engagement

  • 80 to 90% of business transactions now begin from online search.
  • A recent CMO Council survey revealed that 80% of those surveyed said that they found their vendors, not the other way around.
  • Less than 10% of recent buyers were contacted cold by the solution provider.

New Influencers

A study from Connected Marketer and DemandGen Inside the Mind of the New BtoB Buyer reveals shifts in the behavior of BtoB Buyers:

  • 78% started with informal info gathering
  • 59% engaged with peers who addressed the challenge
  • 48% followed industry conversations on topic
  • 44% conducted anonymous research of a select group of vendors
  • 41% followed discussions to learn more about topic
  • 37% posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions/feedback
  • More than 20% connected directly with potential solution providers via social networking channels

The Need to Connect Through Content

Almost 95% of recent purchasers said the solution provider they chose “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.”   Publishing the right content and making sure it gets found in the right places is a vital component for your new business strategy.

Agencies should use inbound marketing tools such as:

  • Agency blogs
  • Search engine opitmization
  • Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Social bookmarking sites
  • Your agency’s website (online brochure)
  • Forums and peer groups
  • Comments on other blogs and online articles
  • eNewsletters
  • Article marketing
  • Surveys
  • White papers
  • Slideshare: uploaded PowerPoint and Keynote presentations
  • Podcasts and Webinars
  • Videos
  • Analytics

Engagement is Expected

93% of the Internet users active in social media say they expect a company to have a social media presence and to be able to actively engage with that company.

The Forrester Research report Social Media Playtime is Over clearly shows that dabbling or experimenting is not enough. You have to deliver genuinely interesting and valuable content that meets the needs of your audience and actively engages them.

Our recent study of the top 100 companies in the small, medium and large categories revealed that only a very small percentage are actively engaging their audience. The playing field is wide open and this is a strategy that can reap big rewards. Social Media Strategy, Expansion Internet Marketing + PR

A Window of Opportunity

Prospective clients are actively using social media in the agency selection process. Agencies need to implement a social media strategy along with their other new business tactics. Time is of the essence. Because of the fact that few agencies understand this, even less are doing it. Small to midsize agencies in particular, have a window of opportunity to gain market share.

Your niche + social can put your agency at the head of the line for new business.

Additional articles that may be of interest:

photo credit: Chocolate Geek via photopin cc

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 would be interested in subscribing?

  2. Very interesting article and research. Still, my team does over 250 phone meetings per year to yield a good portion of new business proposals. So, something of a pursuit needs to happen. I can’t just wait at the altar forever…

    Sales cycles in new agency business sure have gotten longer as well. We engage with new clients that we had first contact with a year or even 2-3 years ago. Good lead nurturing will do the trick – based on a mix of relevant marketing content, a solid lead database and structured follow-up.

  3. Michael I agree with much of what you say. Working with Websters I used content first through the blog but we added in the calling in order to drive awareness of the blog content.
    One key was the importance of enabling RSS subscriptions by email. Did you know that over 60% of execs don’t know how to use an RSS reader?
    Feedblitz helped loads in getting this set up and enabling the regular updates emailed with the monthly blog post summary.
    Rebecca Caroe

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