This is My Personal Story In Leading Ad Agency New Business
I wanted to publically thank my good friend, Ken Henley, who is a Nashville artist that created my new caricature. Ken and I have known each other for years. We’ve seen a lot of changes within the advertising industry, but none as great as what has occurred over the past seven years.
I’ve been in business development almost my entire advertising career. I was an account director and was asked by one of the agency owners to give new business a try after three other people had failed. I discovered that I had a natural ability to excel in the position. I was very good at using interruptive type tactics such as cold calling to create new business opportunities.
I went on to lead new business for a number of agencies before one day deciding to start my own consulting firm. This could have easily been one of the worst decisions of my life. My entire advertising career had been spent in only two markets, Birmingham, Alabama or Nashville, Tennessee. I had three kids in college at the time and was about to launch a business at the beginning of one of the longest economic downturns since the Great Depression.
Social media was beginning to evolve as a new communication channel. But, at the time, most agencies weren’t participating. They seemed to think it was only a fad fueled by the recession and that it would dissipate when the economy came back and agency life would return to normal. But as you know, that didn’t happen.
The rise of social media and content marketing began a paradigm shift for business development. My first awareness that new business was about to undergo a major transformation came from a CMO study conducted in 2007. Among the insights from the study was that 80% of the decision makers said they found their vendors, not the other way around. My epiphany was that it’s now more important to be found than to chase new business.
The battle for new business moved online. The interruption tactics of the past quickly became ineffective. Prospects were now in control. They determine what they want and when. This began the dramatic shift to inbound marketing as the marketing method prefered by potential clients.
Social media is what helped me to share my content and grow my blog. It was the primary accelerant for my website traffic and quickly fanned my SEO rankings to grow my audience which has provided me with a perpetual pipeline of leads. Since starting my consultancy, I’ve never made a cold call for business since starting my consultancy. Very early on, I had created an inbound marketing approach, before we were calling it inbound.
My blog, Fuel Lines, has been ranked among the top 100 marketing blogs in the world according to Ad Age’s Power 150. My metrics and the feedback from my online community helped me to learn how to create appeal and find success.
This has been such a rewarding experience for me. I have personally trained over 200 agency CEOs and their senior management teams in all 50 states here in the U.S. and agencies in over 21 foreign countries. Every single client found me and initiated a call.
What’s worked for me will work for you. This approach makes targeting, positioning and differentiation easier and helps agencies to find, attract and engage their best prospects online. It’s why I’ve been such an advocate for social media and content marketing that will provide you with a perpetual pipeline of inbound leads.