On-Site Training

ad agency new business workshop conference seminar

How to fuel agency new business twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

New business has historically been a problem for agencies.

  • Most agencies are in a perpetual state of rebranding. Agency owners can’t bring themselves to make the hard business decisions positioning requires.
  • The Cobbler’s Children with no shoes, agencies are excellent at servicing clients, but terrible at prospecting for new ones.
  • Agencies are their own “worst client.” They do not practice what they preach. For instance, most don’t even have a written plan for marketing their agency.
  • Positioning is the foundation for new business, but most agencies don’t have a clear point of differentiation from their competitors, which makes new business much harder. No,“great creative” isn’t a point of differentiation, it is an expectation.
  • When agencies are busy, new business activity is greatly curtailed or stopped. But that isn’t the time to step on the brakes, it’s time to step on the accelerator. Agencies are in need of a perpetual pipeline of new business opportunities to have the ability to “trade up” accounts that are a better fit and provide a higher premium.
  • Small to midsize agencies look and sound the same. They have no appeal beyond their local market. Most are overly dependent upon their personal networks and referrals to re-fuel new business.
  • Most agencies are viewed as generalists instead of specialists. They’re forced to chase new business. This allows the client to control the client/agency relationship. Agencies are often treated as a vendor.

Given all of these problems that plague agencies, it’s made even worse with the paradigm shift in the way we now acquire new business.

A New Approach is NOW Needed for New Business

My epiphany regarding this shift in new business practices came from a CMO study conducted in 2007, 80% of decision makers said they found their vendors, not the other way around.

Interruptive type tactics such as cold calling and email blasts are ineffective because of the empowered consumer. It’s now more important to be found than to chase new business.

Instead of being the hunter you need to learn how to become the prey.

Practicing What I Preach

I was the first new business consultant for advertising agencies to adopt social media. I have been an active participant and innovator since creating my blog, Fuel Lines, back in 2007. It has ranked among the top 100 global marketing blogs in the world according to Ad Age’s Power 150. My Fuel Lines’ newsletter has over 33,000 subscribers. I’ve also amassed a Twitter following of over 106,000 people.

Even though I was a “cold-caller” from way back, I have never made a single cold call for any new business or speaking engagements. All opportunities have been fuelled by my integrated new business | social media program.

From my home base outside of Birmingham, Alabama, I’ve built an international consultancy using the inbound and content marketing strategies and tactics that I recommend to agencies. I’ve conducted over 170 agency workshops in the U.S. and with agencies in 14 other countries. Working face-to-face with so many individual agencies has allowed me to continue to refine my processes to increase their ability for success.

I’ve also conducted training for agency associations such as the 4A’s, Business Marketing Association (BMA), The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), American Advertising Federation (AAF), Association of Strategic Marketing (ASM), Mirren, TAAN, MCAN, the Magnet Global Network and PRSA.

Michael Gass is one of the country’s foremost authorities on using social media for new business. We’ve hired Michael to run his seminar in various cities and his evaluations from the seminar participants have been extremely high. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on one of his seminars and aside from being knowledgeable, he is a dynamic presenter. He comes highly recommended.

Bob Linden, 4A’s Vice President of Training, Education and Development

What works for me will also work for you.

The benefits of my approach:

  • It solves the problem of positioning and differentiating your agency without the pain and risk.
  • A new business program that is easier and more consistent to maintain.
  • It provides quick steps to jump-start your agency’s online footprint to be found by your best prospects and allows you to be in a position to create leads in as little as 30 days.
  • Easily maintain awareness 24/7 without having to rely on interruptive type tactics such as cold calls and email blasts.
  • How to control the agency/client relationship from the beginning.
  • The ability to be more selective and to work with clients that are a better fit for your agency and those those willing to pay a higher premium for you services.
  • A system for consistently creating appealing content and a positioning of expertise.
  • Provide best practices for engaging your prospective client audience through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest.
  • Increase your agency’s new business opportunities without RFPs or pitching.
  • A system for vetting unqualified prospects that will keep you from wasting valuable time, resources and energy.
  • The capability to dominate search rankings and be found by your best prospects.
  • Specific calls-to-action that will convert into new business opportunities.
  • Your personalized continuing educational program that will maintain a positioning of expertise and leadership.
  • Time management tools and tactics that will provide the best return on your time investment.
  • Measurements to refine and improve your program.

It Begins with a New Business Workshop

This one-day workshop is designed to help agencies “jump-start” an inbound new business program. It is key in getting everyone on the “same page” and moving the program forward in a timely manner.

The first portion of the day is spent with an overview of the strategy, tactics and tools to create your inbound new business program. This includes:

  • How to build an online presence for new business quickly.
  • How to fish away from the boat and create an appealing position to a very specific target audience to build awareness and appeal quickly.
  • The 7 Steps to move your new business program from having to rely on interruption type tactics to a more productive inbound marketing strategy.
  • Your own customized system to consistently create appealing content and a positioning of expertise.
  • Best practices for the use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest.
  • How to create a community of prospects online, maintain positive awareness 24/7 and convert followers into clients.
  • Time management resources and best practices to provide for the best return on your time investment.
  • How to measure and make adjustments to your program.
  • How to manage your new business program.

The second portion of the day is focused on your agency’s positioning, your best way to go to market. Answering questions such as:

  • Who is your agency’s best target audience?
  • What are the best search terms/phrases to dominate?
  • What is your agency’s best and most appealing point of differentiation?

90 Days of New Business Consultation 

I will assist in implementing your program. I serve as your coach and trainer to help your agency get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Consulting services include:

  • An assessment of your current new business program and provide recommendations.
  • Creation of an integrated plan for new business with an emphasis on inbound marketing.
  • Personally oversee and manage the 90 day implementation period.
  • Unlimited consultation, training and coaching via Skype and Go-to-Meeting, by phone and email for your entire new business team.
  • Assist in acquiring a targeted new business data base.
  • Training and tutorials for the various tools that will support the new business effort, tools that can also be used for your agency’s clients.
  • Help the team to assimilate the best practices for using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, for new business.
  • Advise on creating benchmarks, metrics and reporting to revise and adjust the new business program in the future.
  • Available to periodically review your program and make recommendations at no extra cost for a period of six months.

To learn more, please email me at michael@michaelgass.com to set-up a time to discuss. 


John McDougall, President of McDougall Interactive, has created a niche blog for new business. John and his team created The Lead ReviewInternet Marketing Counsel for Trial Attorneys. The blog lives offsite from his agency’s website and allows John to have a more defined target audience and niche than he would feel comfortable creating through his agency’s website.

In the following brief video, John talks about his experience Creating a Niche Blog for New Business.

The Barkley Agency Finds A Niche in Marketing to Millennials


The Barkley agency demonstrates how to humanize your agency, build a positioning of expertise and make a personal connection with your best prospects.

Jeff Fromm, is an EVP at Barkley, the largest 100% employee-owned advertising agency in the U.S.. The agency was co-founded by his father, Bill Fromm, back when it was known as Barkley Evergreen & Partners. His primary responsibility is business development for the agency.

Jeff has positioned himself as an expert in marketing to Millennials. For Barkley’s prospective clients, if the millennials are not their current market, it wont be long before they will be. Read More

She-conomy: A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women

Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. That’s an astounding statistic given that 85% of all brand purchases are made by women.

Stephanie has found new business success by creating a position of expertise on marketing to women. Her primary target audience is male advertisers.

She created She-conomy, a marketing blog that teaches male advertisers how to target the biggest consumer group in the country – women. It has created a clear point of differentiation and raised awareness for her agency. Stephanie and She-conomy have been recognized by such respected news sources as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and NPR Radio that has led to new business opportunities with national brands.

“I was very fortunate for the opportunity to participate in creating one of the sales training modules titled, “Demystifying the Female Market,” for the launch of the 2012 911 Carrera S. With more than 200 dealers across the nation on board to better understand the female consumer, Porsche® is most likely going to continue to speed past the competition when connecting with women.” – Stephanie Holland

Of all automakers Porsche®,  has made the largest relative market share gains among women nationwide over the past year. In the video, Stephanie discusses the common marketing mistakes large companies are making when trying to market to women, reinforcing her place as an expert in this particular arena.


“It was a pleasure working with Michael. I found him to not only be highly personable, but extremely professional and results-focused. His expertise in the advertising/agency new business space is exceptional and his willingness to go above and beyond expectations is the norm and common practice for Michael.” Jeff Adelson-Yan, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Levelwing, New York, NY

“Michael is an entrepreneur in the world of agency business development. He saw an opportunity to use social media, something he is passionate about, to help agencies better promote what they believe in and are best at. Putting yourself “out there” can be challenging for an agency owner, but it’s a key piece of the agency growth puzzle. Michael’s simple, consistent approach works. It takes some practice to get it right, but with Michael’s years of experience as your guide, anyone can make social media an effective part of their marketing strategy.” Todd Knutson, CEO, The List, Atlanta, GA

“Michael is an expert at connecting your business strategy to your blogging and online engagement efforts. Michael knows how to listen and create actionable ideas to impact your lead generation efforts as well as position you as an expert.” Jeff Fromme, Ex VP, Barkley, Kansas City, MO

“The material Michael presented was a game changer for our organization. He helped us realize goals we had been working on for some time. Not only did he help move our business forward, but he is also a pleasure to work with.” John Luginbill, CEO, The Heavyweights, Indianapolis, IN

“Although I’ve known Michael and witnessed his success for several years, I’ve only recently had the pleasure of working directly with him. And, I couldn’t be more impressed. Michael has proven himself to be the consummate professional and a pioneer in the use of social media to drive ad agency new business development. He has a strong track record with his clients and knows how to help you take your team in a fresh, new direction.  His leadership style is equally anecdotal and authoritative. He builds trust (and consensus) surprisingly fast – especially when working exclusively within an industry comprised of strong individuals whose opinions are not easily swayed. And, I’ve been impressed with the genuine interest he has shown in my company’s success. I am proud to call Michael a friend and can recommend him without hesitation.” Scott Kuhn, CEO, Sheehy + Associates, Louisville, KY

“Michael has been an important asset in getting MAX Advertising up to speed with all our social media initiatives. He has a clear understanding of advertising agencies and understands the nuances in working in this industry. I would recommend Michael to anyone who wants results sooner rather than later. Hiring Michael last year was one of the best decisions we made as an agency.” Tom Matte, President, MAX Advertising, Atlanta, GA

“Michael has been instrumental in helping our agency define its focus in sustainable green marketing, while offering tremendous practical insight on leveraging online social media to build our business. He offers the knowledge of an ad industry veteran, is incredibly responsive, and is an absolute pleasure to have as a valuable member of our team. I’m proud to not only rely on Michael as a trusted adviser, but as a new friend.” Park Howell, President of Park & Co, Phoenix, AZ

“Michael is one America’s foremost experts on using social media to build your ad agency new business practice. He came highly recommended by all 5 CEO and agency presidents I contacted, and over-delivered on his promises. If you follow his advice, Michael will have you writing blog, Twitter and Facebook posts like an expert in 60 days. And soon your clients and competitors will be looking at you as the expert.” Tom Leydon, CEO, CCT Advertising, Denver, CO

“Michael Gass has been a tremendous help to our agency. He has a deep understanding of the business development process, as well as the critical role social media can and must play in order for an agency to communicate its own uniqueness to potential clients. Michael is an invaluable friend and business ally, deeply committed to the ongoing success of the companies with whom he works.”  John Sharpe, CMO & Partner, BOHAN Advertising, Nashville, TN

“Michael is the social media guru. He opened our agency’s eyes to all the possibilities in social media. In one intense 5-hour seminar we gleamed more knowledge about generating buzz and information, than if we’d read 20 books. In short, Michael was a Gass to work with.” Scott Nelson, President, Nelson Creative, Atlanta, GA

“Without Michael I wouldn’t be as far as I am currently with my blog and social media in general. He knows what he’s doing and if you listen to him you’ll see great results.” John Sonnhalter, CEO, SONNHALTER, Cleveland, OH

“Michael dispels the notion that business consultants are all talk and no action. His approach is very tactically oriented, providing hands-on instruction in addition to high-level strategic insight. He is a deliberate listener, answers questions thoroughly and is just a nice guy to boot. A pleasure to work with.” Drew Mehl, Partner/Creative Director, Binary Pulse, Costa Mesa, CA

“Michael is without doubt one of the leading, if not the leading social media expert as it relates to the world of advertising and marketing agencies. He has been doing it himself for over two years and is very experienced. He will help you set up your social media plan and execute it in the shortest time possible. Michael is great to work with, reliable, great value and extremely encouraging. He is always there to support you and is a pleasure to work with. In my opinion he is by far the best social media new business expert for agencies of all types and disciplines. Hire him. You will not regret it!” Clive Maclean, CMO, Engauge, Chicago, IL

“Michael helped us set goals, configure our social media strategy, and coached us through the critical first three months. He was always accessible, always helpful, and a joy to work with. He still contacts me with ideas for our effort. Unlike many consultants, Michael lets you know—through his actions, not words—that he really gives a damn.” Thomas Brzezina, President, Michael Flora & Associates, Troy, MI

“I have worked with Michael as a colleague and as a consultant. Michael is among a small group of people who understand the ramifications and possibilities of Social Media as a salable tool for ad agencies today. He is also keenly involved in helping ad agencies use Social Media to benefit their own business model. A true professional.” Art Johnson, Partner, Locomotion Creative, Nashville, TN

“As a general rule ad, agencies try to be all things to all clients for fear of losing potential business. We were no different. But, Michael’s tactics and strategies forced on to focus on what we know best and the result has been more opportunities than we could have imagined.” Stephanie Holland , President, Holland + Holland, Birmingham, AL

“I was extremely pleased with the consulting we received from Michael. It was exactly what I hoped it would be. He gave us a road map that works. We began executing within days. We have 3 programs running to date for our agency and related companies. We have also transferred it to our clients and have grown a new revenue stream. To be quite candid we owe a lot to Michael. Much more than we have paid him.”  Ron Wheeler, President, Wheeler Advertising, Arlington, TX

“Michael Gass knows how to fuel agency new business. His social media strategies force small to mid-size agencies to define the sweet spot that then becomes the agency differentiator. When ad agencies provide valuable counsel that answers a company need or problem, that agency begins a relationship with that company. People do business with people they know, like and trust–so follow Michael’s plan and you will see new clients will be seeking you out!”  Leslie Heizman, SR VP, Sales and Marketing, Cranford Johnson Robenson Woods (CJRW), Little Rock, AR

“When I first heard Michael speak at the TAAN summer meeting in 2010, I was struck with how different his approach to social media was. We brought Michael to our Agency and have followed his strategy ever since. He is a thoughtful, engaging teacher who helped us understand how use social media to leverage our expertise and create new business opportunities. In a world filled with social media “experts, Michael Gass stands out as one who truly deserves that description. One more thing. If you do hire Michael, you’ll have an opportunity to get to know one of the truly great “Good Guys”. He’s a gem!” Sam Stern, CEO, CAP Brand Marketing, Sarasota, FL

“Michael is a consummate professional. He helped us increase our online presence and showed us many ‘tricks’ to online business development. He delivered exactly what he said he would on time … and on budget. We have recommended Michael to over 20 of our clients because we know he can help them as he helped us. Hire Michael … if you want to grow your online business.” Ro Breehl, Partner, The Brand Establishment, Albuquerque, NM

“Michael Gass IS The Social Media Master for Agency New Business. Michael is a brilliant man that is truly passionate in his quest to help Ad Agencies with their new business programs. His workshops and talks are thought provoking, inspiring and of course educational. If you are an agency owner, you need to take heed and then take action based on Michaels direction.” Norman Wright, Jr., President, Dimension X Advertising, Jeanette, PA