New Business Starts With Old Clients

At the recent Mirren New Business Conference in New York, Laurie Coots, CMO at TBWA\Chiat\Day, shared a new-business truism that our agency lives by: “There is no such thing as a small project from a big brand.”
 
As agencies are all too eager to point out to clients, the investment required to create awareness, generate a prospect and, ultimately, convert a customer is huge. Therefore, it is paramount that we maximize the value of each customer relationship in terms of opportunities, referrals and, yes, billings.
 
That said, it’s funny how few agencies actually practice what they preach. In the spirit of looking at new business with a fresh set of eyes, here are three reminders for how your agency can “get back to basics” to maximize the potential of every client engagement.
 
First, there is no such thing as “business-to-business.” Let’s face facts; we’re a business-to-business industry, but as human beings, there really is no such thing as “b-to-b.” No matter the category or client we’re pursuing, we’re marketing to people who talk about last night’s reality TV show, struggle with buying the cool new gadget while managing their personal budget, and wonder if they’re doing a good job raising their children.
 
As such, it is vital that agencies dig deep and create emotional connections. Identify each client’s real needs and wants. Bring the right people to the engagement and right solutions to the table. Bottom line, build meaningful relationships that solve the deepest problems for clients and their brands.
 
Like it or not, the business world is an arena in which logic seldom prevails (recall the old aphorism: “The right agency seldom wins the pitch”). Even when we believe we’re making decisions for rational reasons (clients and agencies alike), there’s plenty of emotion at play. Recognize this. Build strategies from this.