Ad Agencies Should KISS for New Business

keep ad agency new business simple

Photo Credit Walt Stoneburner

The K.I.S.S. principle, “keep it simple stupid” is a great maxim to remember when developing a new business program for small to mid-size ad agencies, digital shops and PR firms.

This principle has been a key to success in my years working with new business within an agency environment.

When it comes to new business, consistency trumps perfection. Ad Agencies, the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, are very inconsistent, primarily because they tend to over-think and over-create anything associated with the agency’s brand.

Ad agencies often make things harder than normal. Certainly harder than performing some of the same tasks for clients. They are their own worse client.

That’s why most are so inconsistent with their new business efforts. It’s makes for an unnecessarily painful experience with new business tasks such as updating or redesigning the website; creating a newsletter or eNewsletter; creating direct mail or collateral pieces and even creating and implementing platforms for social media. One agency took over 3 months just to design their blog header.

The person charged with new business for the agency should be on point to simplify anything that relates to new business. Be proactive in keeping all of the processes as simple as possible.

RFPs and agency pitches can also be needlessly taxing upon the time, energy and talent of the agency making new business harder.

For instance, with regards to RFPs. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time a response is created. Covers for RFPs could be designed by well in advance, when there is a lull period and designed for particular industries.

One agency that I previously worked for, we created RFP covers that were specific to Academic Medical Centers. The creative team came up with a great design that was used for every medical center RFP we participated in.

Our creative department was able to put lots of thought into the design because it was not a busy time for the agency. The covers could easily be resized and printed to each RFP, each usually had some variations in their specification, such as size. These covers added a lot to our RFP response and looked custom for each particular academic hospital.

Something as simple as a “leave-behind” collateral piece, following an initial prospective client presentation, can be created and placed on the shelf ready for the next presentation, months in advance.

I know of one agency that had over 50 initial prospective client presentations within 1 year (these weren’t formal pitches) and created  a single leave behind piece that worked for each opportunity.

If your new business responsibilities require you to serve as the agency’s pitch team leader create a simple, repeatable pitch process to save time and energy. Evaluate and sharpen your process after every pitch and find ways to simplify it.

Here are just a few of the benefit for using K.I.S.S. for new business:

  • Much easier to stay consistent and consistency is one of the main keys to success for new business
  • Solve problems faster and meetings can be kept to a minimum
  • Expend less energy from your staff, especially the creative department
  • A huge benefit for your personal time management allowing you to keep your focus on the most important tasks at hand
  • Staff participation in RFPs, pitch opportunities, agency newsletters, collateral, etc will be a much more positive experience that will provide you with their best work and effort
  • You’ll garner lots of appreciation from your time-strapped staff as you constantly look for and implement ways to save time for new business tasks

If you have any examples or ideas for invoking the K.I.S.S. principal for agency new business, please share them in the comment section below.

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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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