We know marketing departments are under enormous pressure to deliver better sales results with tighter resources. This often results in short-term price based promotional activity, or certainly activity where ROI can be truly measured (this has typically taken a digital route). However, the pressure that they are under inevitably feeds down to the marketing agencies they employ and feedback from our clients suggests that they have needed to compromise their pre-recession pricing or working practices in order to retain business and feel that a good pricing “offer” could be beneficial in attracting new business. These often revolve around payment on results, taking on initial projects at a loss on the basis of future potential or offering free audits as a way to get a foot in the door, but how much of a hook is it for prospective new clients?
No doubt, agencies need to adapt to their clients’ changing circumstances. Agencies that put the client first may experience more short-term pain but could potentially reap the rewards during and post this recession. With brands demanding more for their money, a well thought through and executed price or results based proposition may well help attract new business, but if positioned in the wrong way, could devalue the quality of your offer, people and brand. Stick to what you are good at. Many agencies see themselves as multi-faceted, but most still tend to have core strengths, be it in sector or discipline. There will always be a temptation to say “yes” to a client interested in a discipline outside of your agency’s core expertise. Whether you are trying to get a foot in the door through new business calling or at the point of working with a client, learning or developing a new skill at the expense of the client will almost certainly backfire and potentially damage your brand.
On both these points, your new business agency is key and needs to be properly briefed, with absolute clarity. The key is to work with your new business agency to identify your core proposition. Sounds obvious, but we want to be sending you in to meet people, where you can demonstrate knowledge, experience and discipline expertise, which is more likely to lead to business conversions.
Work with your agency to identify the prospects you would be prepared to make a price/working practice/free audit based offer to. You may find it is only a proportion of your target audience. This is something your new business agency should be able to help you with. If, during a conversation, it is a clear a prospect would not provide substantial, ongoing potential, why compromise for a one off project? Finally, and most importantly, agree how any offer will be conveyed. A good offer, put in the right way will come across as powerful and value added and can be dynamite for generating interest over the phone versus other agency approaches, but in the wrong way, there will be a danger of it devaluing your company and people. On all of this, your new business agency should be delivering meaningful feedback on any offer or proposition in order to hone your business development strategy and drive your company through the recession.
To agency owners, how are you responding to marketing departments putting pressure on you to deliver results?
To marketing decision makers, how are your agencies responding to your requests for measurable ROI?