Having a written marketing plan makes new business easier and much more consistent.
Most agencies have no plan for new business. They can’t express what they are selling or who they are selling it to.
For you to state that you want to “take your agency to the next level” is not a strategy, it’s a goal. A strategy is not your agency’s mission statement. Your marketing strategy is a plan of execution.
Goals, objectives and mission statements are all fine. But, you must have an executable plan for achieving them.
When developing a marketing strategy, consider these 3 steps:
1. Decide WHO
For your strategy and tactics to work, they must appeal to a specific target audience. It is impossible to appeal to everyone. So, the first thing to decide is WHO.
If you try to be EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY you won’t appeal to ANYBODY.
Develop your agency’s marketing strategy around a well defined target audience. It’s often best to choose a specific client category. It’s a much easier way to build your prospective client community.
Once you choose your focus, developing your marketing plan also becomes simpler.
2. Create Your POSITIONING
Positioning is the foundation of new business. It is also the area where agencies struggle the most. Solve your problem with positioning and new business becomes painless and more effective.
A positioning for your agency isn’t:
- “We have great creative.” Great creative is not a point of differentiation, it is an expectation.
- “We’re strategic. Our creative concepts are based upon research that leads to a solid marketing strategy.” That’s what 99.9% of all agencies are saying.
- “We have a proprietary process.” Most agencies make the same claim. But to a prospect, it’s just the same proprietary process under a different name.
- “We have great chemistry. We’re fun to work with.” That isn’t a point of differentiation that will create new business beyond your local market.
A well defined target audience allows you to develop a positioning of expertise. That’s what prospects are looking for.
This allows you to differentiate your agency and create a greater appeal when you have a niche. You’ll also lessen your agency’s competitors and not be reliant on your location and/or pricing.
With this focus, you become experienced knowing your prospects industry. You better understand their challenges and can provide innovative solutions.
3. Now WRITE the Plan
The final step is to create an executable plan to market your agency. Detail the strategies and tactics that will help you reach your goals and objectives.
Here are some quick tips for creating a game plan for your agency’s new business:
- It might be a helpful exercise to create a SWOT analysis of your agency: it’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Set realistic new business goals. As I mentioned earlier, I often hear “our goal is to take the agency to the next level,” but they have no clue what that level is or what it looks like. In my opinion, new business goals should be obtainable.
- Identify your top category and audience you are going to target. You must have an identifiable target.
- Know your primary competition and create a strong point of differentiation from them.
- Follow the KISS method. Keep everything as simple as possible including the plan. A one page plan can easily suffice.
- Outline the new business plan through specific strategies: Public Relations, Social Media, Direct Mail, Digital, etc.
- Establish benchmarks for the things you can measure. Have a review, update, make changes and refocus your efforts meeting once a month.
When I started my consultancy in 2007, it was on the verge of The Great Recession. I had three children in college at the time. Almost my entire advertising career was in only two markets. I had zero awareness outside of Birmingham and Nashville. I had to put into practice what I had been telling agencies what they needed to do for new business prosperity.
I followed the same steps that I’m recommending to you. My narrow focus is business development for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. I specialized in solving their issues with positioning to make new business easier.
In a short period of time, I acquired a positioning of expertise. I was able to develop awareness and appeal well beyond my initial market. I’ve achieved new business opportunities in all fifty states here in the U.S. and across Canada and Europe. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not had a plan.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a copy of my guide, Seven Steps for Fueling New Business or let me know if you’d like to schedule a time to discuss your new business challenges.
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