Just stumbled across Rainmaker's latest New Business Survey which reports on how U.S. marketing communications agencies should best engage with prospective clients for the purpose of winning new business.
They polled opinion from 150 major US brand spenders, in respect of three areas where accurate insights are critical for effective new business activity. A series of questions were put to marketing decision-makers to confirm: (1) what prompts them to search for a new agency, (2) the most effective ways for agencies to engage with them, and (3) the reasons they choose one agency over another.
Says Rainmaker: "The findings reveal sharp contrasts between what marketing agencies tell us and what marketing decision-makers are telling us. These have enabled us to make some straightforward recommendations for how agencies might alter their approach to become more effective at new business". (And even though this is a US based survey, I think you'd find a similar situation here in the UK):
In the main, clients don’t feel that size matters, but in the main agencies do. Agencies should not sell themselves so vigorously on size, neither should they worry so much about size being an issue.
The majority of clients (83%) don’t feel geographical location is an issue – many agencies think it is. Agencies should not overly worry that their physical location will prevent clients from buying a winning solution from them.
85% of clients don’t feel agencies prepare enough – many agencies don’t invest much in this area or prefer to fire from the hip – which looks cool, but you can often miss. Agencies must invest more in effective intelligence on their prospects.
Most clients (75%) are buying solutions to their business problems - most agencies think the client is looking for advertising, or PR, or design or whatever other silo fits their model. Agencies should present a solution, not a discipline.
Clients want agencies to be far more proactive – most agencies like to sit in the bunker. Agencies should proactively reach out to the brands they want to work with.
A major trend, and one which will undoubtedly impact on all marketing communications agencies depending on how prepared they already are, is the increase in demand from clients for better customer insights. This tallies with our own experience – the improved new business performance of agencies that embrace this point speaks for itself. Agencies should develop keener customer insights and communicate these energetically to their prospect-base.
Download the full Survey results here.