I have always felt that most advertising agencies New Business efforts are a waste of time.  Shooting for the moon, chasing clients in sectors where you have no experience or just sending out mass email blasts hoping something will stick.

I recently was part of a video podcast for the OC Ad Fed interviewing a client that worked on a major National brand.  Part of my interview was asking him about how agencies pitched him.

He had worked on the advertising agency side and knew the game.  He understood why agencies need to have a strong New Business sales effort.  He knew that agencies have robust CRM programs in place because that was their job.

He shared that he never answers listens to the voice messages that are left for him as they are all solicitations.

Other clients have told me the same thing.  Only call me on my cell phone they say.

His voice mail message says send me an e mail if you want to reach out to me.

He shared that he gets over 100 emails a month and scans them quickly when he has time.  He must have some agency blood left in his veins.

Generic outreach created no interest for him.  Hey we are an SEO shop and would love to have 15 minutes for a call.  A generic pitch.  He shared that he knew that the call would go longer and he had no interest when there was no touch point. Delete is what he said.

Geography was also an issue.  He works in Southern CA and immediately discards calls from the East Coast.  When I have conducted reviews agencies tell me that they have clients across the country.  That’s nice for them but that is not what most clients want.

He also shared that most outreach from agencies that were pitching him made no attempt to learn about his business or the channel he was operating in.  No understanding of what has worked in his category.

What caught his attention was analogous experience that might be of value for him. Something that might check off a box of what was important to him.

I know from my agency review experience that relevant experience is the primary foundation point of creating some interest for the client.

I asked him if mailings worked.  Did he keep any?  No is what he said.  He may pass them along but they get trashed in the end.

What would catch his interest was some compelling new technique like short form lead generation videos because his marketing efforts was all about lead gen.  A new approach, a fresh idea, an idea that had relevance to his business.  Something educational.  Some new learning.

Something compelling.


To succeed in New Business your advertising agency needs to focus not on what you do but how you can help your prospects and that is not a blanket approach but a tailored approach.

Fewer and more selective and tailored outreach based on experience and innovation is key to insuring your agency’s New Business efforts aren’t a waste of time.

About Hank Blank

Hank Blank conducts agency reviews for clients and counsels advertising agencies on improving their New Business Efforts.