Emma Marsland of WCRS and Anna Stone of 23Red report back on the most recent roundtable events hosted by the IPA New Business Group.
Jon White and Dominic Grounsell’s roundtable
“Jon White, marketing consultant and Dominic Grounsell, marketing director, RSA, led an excellent roundtable discussion at the IPA looking at the client perspective of pitching.
They talked about how clients want long term solutions; how they just want to have an agency that understands them; always being relevant to your prospective clients brands, needs and challenges; the importance of including junior agency employees in pitches and the information agencies never tell them (like that you have a great CPD record). In terms of agency introductions, in amongst a few horror stories, we discussed asking existing clients for references and looking at who your clients know and could introduce you to.
There was also a great reminder to keep it simple – take your prospect for a coffee and ask them to explain their job – you’ll get more about their real responsibilities, aims and fears than from any other source!”
Anna Stone, 23Red
Claire Beale’s roundtable
"Our next guest of the roundtable series was Claire Beale, a few months into her editorship of Marketing. Claire gave us a candid insight into her world and many helpful pointers into how agencies could strengthen their relationship with Marketing and therefore reach clients more effectively.
Her points revolved around three areas principally; how agencies could internally pull together more efficiently when marketing themselves, how little clients know about agencies in general and the role for PR agencies.
To start Claire reminded us that new business opportunities and wins are big news for the marketing press community and afford agencies great currency. She suggested that the most fruitful relationships employed a mutual back scratching arrangement, allowing the media an inside track to the best stories in return for early heads up on pitches and so encouraged us to think more laterally about sharing our information.
Another observation that was New Business and Marketing often seem to be different disciplines with little overlap, an example being how many New Business Directors get involved in ‘Agency of the Year’ submissions. Instead NBDs are more interested in Campaign when few clients read it and thus not reaching the most relevant audience.
She suggested that agency heads could feed in stories once a week or so, along with suggested articles and forums. The New Business/Marketing function should be building relationships with Marketing around key areas of expertise so when it comes to future articles, they know exactly who to call.
By featuring regularly in marketing titles, offering opinions and appearing in their world, Claire pointed out that clients would start to take more notice of agencies and the difference between them. She felt that, increasingly agencies are seen as commodity suppliers and that we need to excite clients more, to champion good advertising and take the clients with us. This is particularly important in a world where procurement has increasing prominence and CEOs are apparently feeling that CMOs are “too obsessed with the pictures”. As a result there is less engagement with agencies. In order to re-build these relationships agencies need to demonstrate the power of thought leadership and creativity.
We discussed the role PR agencies could play in marketing other discipline agencies to a wider community. On the whole, it was felt that they were very good at the packaging but had a lesser understanding of the agencies than their own marketing departments. They were however useful specifically if an agency was beefing up for sale or if a small agency was starting up."
Emma Marsland, WCRS
Last updated 24/07/2013