Ad Agencies Are Finding New Business Harder To Drive in 2022

Ad Agencies Are Finding New Business Harder To Drive in 2022, and you can look into the reasons why in our latest RSW/US report.

Download it now at no cost: RSW/US 2022 Agency New Business Report: Perspective On The Agency New Business Environment.

(And you can read the Adweek feature on it here: Obtaining New Business Is More Difficult for Agencies, Report Finds)

Our first question to ad agencies:

How Difficult Is Obtaining New Business, Compared to Last Year?

After an unprecedented 2021 survey report, where only 28% of agencies reported obtaining new business (compared to the previous year) as harder or a lot harder, this year we see the cyclical nature of the ad industry rear its head again.

In 2022, 43% of agencies report that obtaining new business (compared to the previous year) is harder or a lot harder than it was in 2021.

Ad Agencies Are Finding New Business Harder To Drive in 2022

Looking at the responses from this question dating back to 2008, 2021 was a high point for many agencies, with only 28% saying it was harder to obtain new business that year.

Following the lockdown, budget freezes, and the overall extreme uncertainty of 2020, agencies needed that respite–and thankfully many firms got it.

But as you’ll see in our report, business is inevitably becoming harder to acquire again in 2022.

Looking at the data from another angle, only 17% of agencies said it was easier or a lot easier to obtain new business in 2022, versus 38% in 2021.

And in a follow-up question, “Relative to last year, have you seen the number of opportunities for new business decrease, increase, or remain the same?”, we saw that-

32% of agencies said the number of opportunities for new business increased, versus 51% last year.

As if agencies weren’t already exhausted from managing the pandemic and workforce disruption, the remainder of ‘22 and ‘23, with inflation and recession concerns, reaffirms
the need for agencies to make sure they have an actual new business strategy in place.

We’ll have a series of  posts on our report, covering each major stat, and what it means for new business moving forward.

Marketer’s Edge Interview With Renee McIntyre: Property Management Services

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge we’re talking property management services, multifamily real estate, localized marketing, and multi-location property management with Renee McIntyre, Director of Sales and Marketing at Scully Company.

If your agency pursues clients in real estate, and specifically property management services, you’ll want to watch this episode.

A bit of background: Scully Company specializes in multifamily real estate in both ownership and management capacities, currently managing over 7,000 units consisting of large-scale garden, mid-rise and high-rise apartment communities for institutions, private investors and our own portfolio.

Scully Company manages properties in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Operating in diverse locations with a keen focus on strategies specific to local markets, Scully Company has achieved recognition as a leader in the multifamily industry.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode-Renee talks:

  • The degree to which technology plays a role in the overall management and maintenance of properties or in the overall management of Renee’s marketing activities
  • How Renee differentiates Scully’s offering in the eye of the investor – whether it be an institution or a private investor or the consumer
  • The biggest challenges she faces as the director of marketing and sales for this multi-location property management group.
  • How she addresses the need to localize marketing for each property yet still maintaining efficiencies in her overall spend.
  • Any advice Renee would give to marketers thinking about bringing a new agency on board
  • And lastly, if an agency was trying to knock down Renee’s door and attempting to win business from her, what advice she would give them.

A little bit about Renee:
As Director of Sales and Marketing, Renee McIntyre leads development of all real estate sales and marketing strategies for Scully Company, along with each of the individual brands within our portfolio.

A true team player, Renee lives her life by the motto “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. She strategically aligns every project with the company’s overall mission while overseeing portfolio occupancy and developing supplemental strategies to maximize revenue.

During her 12 minutes of spare time each year, Renee loves unwinding with a fine glass of wine, crushing it at family game night and beating last years’ time at the Broad Street Run.

Renee is a Certified Training Facilitator for the National Apartment Association and has a Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality from Temple University in Philadelphia

Marketer’s Edge Interview With Scott Sanchez: Software Delivery Market

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge we’re talking the software delivery market with Scott Sanchez, Chief Marketing Officer at Harness.

If your agency pursues clients in software delivery, cloud initiatives, or orchestration tools, you’ll want to watch this episode.

A bit of background: Harness is a rapidly growing startup that is disrupting the software delivery market.

They are building an intelligent software delivery platform that enables engineers to deliver software faster, with higher quality, and with less effort. The Harness Software Delivery Platform includes Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Feature Flags and Cloud Cost Management. The platform is designed to help companies accelerate their cloud initiatives as well as their adoption of containers and orchestration tools like Kubernetes and Amazon ECS.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode-Scott talks:

  • How AI plays a role in creating a better process for managing development of software.
  • Scott’s thoughts relative to what companies will be looking at 3-5 years out – whether or not companies are doomed for disaster if they don’t take the business of security and reliability seriously
  • The over-riding benefit that Harness brings to companies – a benefit that companies weren’t able to obtain prior to using Harness.
  • What developers are most often doing or using if they aren’t using a product like Harness.
  • Any advice Scott would give to marketers thinking about bringing a new agency on board
    And lastly, if an agency was trying to knock down Scott’s door and attempting to win business from him, what advice he would give them

A little bit about Scott:

Scott is a global marketing executive, growth advisor, and angel investor with a 25-year track record of creating and executing strategies that deliver results for growth-stage, VC-backed startups and Fortune 100s alike.

Prior to joining Harness as Chief Marketing Officer, Scott was Head of Cloud Native and Developer Marketing at Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he was responsible for leading the global marketing and growth efforts in a broad portfolio that spanned services across Containers, Serverless, and Developer Tools. Scott was part of the executive team that helped grow Metacloud to acquisition by Cisco, where he went on to build a global cloud marketing and growth function that helped create what has become a successful $15B+ software and subscription business.

Marketer’s Edge Interview With Michael Rauh: Banking Challenges

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge we’re talking banking challenges with Michael Rauh, President & CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank.

If your agency pursues clients in the financial space, banking, or community banking, you’ll want to watch this episode.

A bit of background: based in Groton, Connecticut, Chelsea Groton Bank is a mutually owned bank with 14 locations throughout New London County and a Loan Production Office in Hartford County. The Bank has over $1 billion in assets and serves businesses, individuals and families throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode-Michael talks:

  • What it means to be a “mutually owned community bank” and how that’s different from just being a bank or a credit union.
  • Technology and its role in banking today.
  • Chelsea University – a concept created to benefit customers and employees benefit from it.
  • Some of the top challenges facing banks today and the challenges anticipated as we look forward into the future.
  • Opportunities that Michael sees for banks the next 3-5 years out.
  • Advice he’d give to marketers looking for a new agency.
  • Advice to agencies he’d give if they were trying to knock down his door and win his business.

A little bit about Michael:

Michael has been the President & CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank for nearly 12 years.

Prior to Chelsea Groton, Michael spent 20 years at the Washington Trust Company and 5 years at Chaffee & Partners.

Michael graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in economics.

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You can also see our video series 3 Takeaways here. It’s our agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

If you’re looking for a more effective business development strategy, email me at lee@rswus.com. I would love to talk.

Or, if you’re not ready for that step, you can read about how our outsourced business development programs work here.

Ghosted After The First Prospect Meeting

Far too often, we see agencies build a solid connection with a productive first prospect meeting, and then… nothing.

For our three takeaways today, we have pointers to make sure you don’t get ghosted on the way to meeting number two.

And we have a bonus, a one-pager you can download with our three takeaways from this episode.

Download that here: Climbing the Prospect Follow-Up Hill

You’ve had that first prospect meeting, and ideally you’ve set the second meeting. 

But that doesn’t always happen, or it’s tentatively set, and maybe you’re getting ghosted. 

To ensure that second meeting happens, let’s get into how you can better your odds.

Your first takeaway:

Remind them why they took the first meeting with you.

If your prospect took 30 minutes of their time to meet with you, they have a need or they saw some sort of value in talking with you.

Your primary goal in that first meeting should be to determine why they decided to take the meeting.

Perhaps their current agency is underperforming.

Maybe they are interested in a strategy that aligns with your specific strengths.

In any case, your follow-up should help to re-establish their motivation for speaking to you in the first place.

OK, your second takeaway:

Provide insight on something discussed in the first meeting. 

After that first meeting, you should have some sense of the prospect’s pain-points and you should have some understanding of their past strategies.

As you prepare to follow-up with the prospect, find ways to offer valuable perspective around something you learned in that first meeting.

Show the prospect that you understand what they told you and demonstrate your resourcefulness.

And your third takeaway:

Share your experience solving problems like theirs.

Hopefully this is not the first time you’ve heard this.

Your follow-up should include examples of work you’ve done for clients in the same (or a similar) industry as the prospect’s.

This helps to alleviate any potential concerns the prospect may have about your ability to understand his/her business.

Your goal is to establish credibility, provide value, and show the prospect that you are eager to help achieve his/her goals.

Thanks for watching 3 Takeaways-lots of new business content our site to help you at rswus.com, just hit the resources drop down. 

Marketer’s Edge Interview With Adam Weinroth: Bioscience, Startups & Tech Firms

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge we’re talking with Adam Weinroth, Head of Software Marketing at Colossal Biosciences.

If your agency pursues clients in bioscience, biotech, tech firms, or startups, you’ll want to watch this episode.

A bit of background: Colossal is a breakthrough bioscience and genetic engineering company that builds radical new technologies to advance the field of genomics. Colossal creates disruptive technologies for extinct species restoration, critically endangered species protection and the repopulation of critical ecosystems that support the continuation of life on Earth.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode-Adam talks:

  • His experience defining positioning for new start-up businesses and how that can differ from working for a more established brand.
  • Building up his own internal demand generation team and the advantages he sees in doing that.
  • Working with SEO/SEM agencies (and provides some counsel to marketers on how to best optimize that experience.)
  • Working with start-ups and technology firms.
  • His perspective on what is required on both sides of the fence when working to establish a strong agency-client relationship.

A little bit about Adam:

Experienced, entrepreneurial, full stack marketer specializing in new category creation.

Powered by a passion for developing new products, bringing them to market, and driving business growth.

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You can also see our video series 3 Takeaways here. It’s our agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

If you’re looking for a more effective business development strategy, email me at lee@rswus.com. I would love to talk.

Or, if you’re not ready for that step, you can read about how our outsourced business development programs work here.

Marketers-Edge Interview With Matt Romkey The State of Healthcare Education

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge we’re talking with Matt Romkey, VP of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Mercy College of Health Science, and the discussion focuses on the state of healthcare education, and marketing within higher education .

If your agency pursues clients in higher education, enrollment management, or healthcare education you’ll want to watch this episode.

A bit of background: Mercy College of Health Sciences specializes in healthcare education.

The 16 degree and certificate programs offered at Mercy College provides the information, skills, and tools needed to become a successful healthcare professional.

The College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode-Matt talks:

  • His predictions relative to the state of education within the context of the healthcare space.
  • How his healthcare background has provided him with a unique perspective in managing the marketing for Mercy College.
  • The work that Matt is doing in the area of transformation and technology and how that’s impacting the college.
  • How he uses in-house teams and outside agencies.
  • And his is advice to agencies looking to knock down his door and work with him.

A little bit about Matt:

Matt has been with Mercy College of Health Sciences for almost 5 years.

Prior to Mercy College Matt was the Director of Development for Beaumont Health.

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You can also see our video series 3 Takeaways here. It’s our agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

If you’re looking for a more effective business development strategy, email me at lee@rswus.com. I would love to talk.

Or, if you’re not ready for that step, you can read about how our outsourced business development programs work here.

The The New Business Team Is All Here-Not Always A Good Thing

The New Business Team Is All Here-Not Always A Good Thing 

 I had a question from an agency principal recently about first meetings with prospects. 

This principal typically went into first meetings via referral, so more of a comfort feel walking in versus a meeting resulting from pure prospecting. 

Similarly, in terms of pitching, the same principal who can crush a pitch presentation often finds a first meeting with an unknown prospect daunting. 

One aspect we discussed was a phone versus face-to-face meeting, or in today’s world, Teams, Zoom, or similar platforms. 

This principal recounted what we’ve heard before from agencies, that a phone meeting is okay but face-to-face is imminently better. 

said generally agreed, as that face-to-face communication is powerful, but also replied that it can be a mistake not to take that first phone meeting if the prospect asks for it that way. 

Especially with some prospects not really partial to video calls- 

Always ask what they prefer

As we continued the conversation, this principal went on to describe the main reason he preferred face-to-face. 

It wasn’t because he didn’t believe in first meetings via phone, quite the contrary, but he said they really never had any luck with them. 

I went on to find out the reason why: he was a big believer in the team approach to agency new business, and that apparently included those first meetings. 

At any given first-meeting, face-to-face, conference or video call, 

He might have as many as 5 people in that initial meeting.  Piece of advice-don’t do this.  

What makes sense in the pitch with your team doesn’t necessarily work in a first meeting. 

This may seem like common sense, as we’ve all been on conference or video calls where you’re tripping over each other. 

With too many people on an initial call, things can go south quickly. 

So before you take that first call, video or otherwise, remember, it’s not a rumble-bring no more than 2 key people along unless there is a specific reason you need more. 

Marketer’s Edge Interview With Joe Wood: Operating In An Ultra-Competitive Market

In this episode of Marketer’s Edge, brought to you by our sister company, RSW/AgencySearch, the discussion focuses on the consumer shopping experience and what it’s like operating in an ultra-competitive market.

If your agency pursues retail, grocery, or specialty food, this is worth a watch.

It’s rare as an agency that you get to hear perspective from marketers other than your clients, and so we bring you this series in an effort to help you build your agency’s business development strategy and get a front row seat into the marketer’s mind.

You can also see our video series 3 Takeaways here. It’s our agency new business video series where we focus on one new business category and give you three takeaways to help improve your new business program.

Why Advertising Agencies Should Watch This Episode:

  • Joe gives advice to any agency trying to knock down his door and win his business.
  • He talks what it’s like operating in an ultra-competitive market. against major national grocery retail brands.
  • Joe compares the consumer shopping experience now – to the marketplace pre-pandemic.
  • Joe talks what he looks for when shopping for new marketing service help.

Sendik’s is a specialty food market that has been serving the greater Milwaukee community since 1926.

Sendik’s combines quality food products with exceptional customer service. Their goal is to provide the best grocery shopping experience, period. Currently, Sendik’s operates 17 stores throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Joe Wood, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sendik’s Food Market in Wisconsin.

A little bit about Joe:

Joe is an innovative Marketing professional with demonstrated success in driving profitable sales in the retail channel.

Success milestones for Joe include increasing market share in competitive trade areas, orchestrating new retail pricing concepts, designing a CRM loyalty platform, and developing revenue-generating advertising and promotional programs.

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If you’re looking for a more effective business development strategy, email Lee McKnight Jr., VP of Sales at RSW/US at lee@rswus.com.

Learn more about our outsourced business development programs here.

Learn more about our process here.

Agency New Business Director Tenure Surprisingly Declines, Even As Success Grows

The new business director position at an agency: tough to hire for and tough to do-it is sales after all, and we know it as well as anyone after 17 years of helping agencies drive new business. 

From our 2021 Agency New Business Report: hiring for the new business director position at agencies is down, and tenure remains unchanged for roughly the last decade, yet agencies report their last new business hire as relatively successful.

I’ll start with an initial stat:

Only 32% of agencies hired a new business director in the past 3 years. 

That’s the lowest level since we started this survey in 2010.

COVID invariably plays a part in this result.

Over the past year and a half, agencies were either scrapping to stay afloat or slammed with work – both not conducive to hiring for the new business position.

And it’s been harder to hire across the board in this market as well. 

Let’s keep going, and throw out our next stat:

The average tenure of an agency new business director: 22% said less than a year, and 52% said 1-2 years. 

As COVID hit, we quickly, and unfortunately, saw many new business directors at agencies lose their positions. 

These were individuals who found success through in-person networking, conferences, and local/regional outside selling.

When everything shut down and these individuals could no longer rely on their network, or inperson selling, it became evident that inside sales was not their strong suit. 

But let’s throw a wrinkle into this with a third stat:

60% of agencies report their last new business hire was very to somewhat successful. 

It’s strange that a fair number of agencies report success with their new business director, yet only see them stick around for a year or two, or less. 

We’ve found that new business director hires that are successful tend to jump around, unfortunately, which partly accounts for the 18-month decadelong tenure average. 

What else accounts for it? 

Agencies tend to hire for the wrong reasons, for a network that gets tapped out, they hire cheap, they’ll “figure it out”, or “we can train them” (which is rare, or at best, haphazard).  

Through the last couple of years, we’ve spoken with agencies who came through the pandemic with the understanding that a new business hire had to have a more balanced skill set, which included strong inside selling skills.

With new business apparently being easier to come by in 2021 (per our report) via existing clients, agencies are not pressed to hire for the new business director role.

But, as we mention in our report, one thing that can always be counted on in our industry is change and the cyclical nature of the industry as a whole.

Agencies should be prepared, as they head into 2022, for organic growth to settle, and for hiring to normalize, and make plans for pursuing new business, however it’s done, whether through hiring internally or outsourcing it to a firm like RSW or others out there.

Update:

Darren Magarro, President and Founder of DSM, was kind enough to comment on my LinkedIn post of this blog, and I wanted to share our initial back and forth-solid points:

Agency New Business Director Tenure Surprisingly Declines, Even As Success Grows