Yesterday we launched into a new interview with Paul Roetzer about his book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
In the book you use the phrase “Hybrid agency” – is this commonly used?
It’s not yet common. There’s another PR book coming out describing us as hybrid professionals which I have read a preview. But I do believe that the agency of the future will be more blended or mixed than today’s specialists.
How do you keep PR 20/20′s sales funnel full?
Athletes make great salespeople – I look at everything in that way [a sports metaphor]. Many people have an interest in sport and the motivation, passion, drive commitment works in business and sport. Hence athletes make great salespeople.
What is the most under-learnt part of biz dev?
I think it is to listen instead of talk – too many people think they have to have all the answers. The best [new business people] keep asking questions until they can recommend a fit.
Our process is based on keeping digging until we understand the situation. We find the answers are unique to every business. Learn to be patient and ask questions.
How do you handle working with other agencies?
If a customer comes to us and wants to work with us and we know there’s another agency on their roster we are very transparent. We are willing to work and it must be collaborative and we have to be on the same page. Not fighting on strategy and direction. We perfer to control the strategy if we can.
But sometimes it’s we just don’t get into bad situations like when an existing client brings in a new agency – we would walk away if it doesn’t make sense for us.
Does the client have to sit everyone down round a table and initiate the discussion?
It depends – if it’s the CEO of a small business then it probably is more the agencies initiating the sharing discussion. They may not be so marketing savvy as a larger brand – one agency may need to take the lead to start talking.
But in a larger enterprise – a sophisticated CMO will have a plan why they have multiple agencies and will lead.
Do you ever subcontract?
Yes – more now than in the past. It was part of the throught behind the Blueprint book – I believe agencies will have to do it more in future. It makes sense now – we are very cautious. We bring on people who have core competencies e.g. graphic design and web that we don’t have.
What advice do you have for people who are doing biz dev for agencies?
The best biz dev people are also the consultants – if it’s a straight sales person is for them to gain a deep understanding of how client relationships work and how services are evolving. When we’re on a phone doing a discovery process the people draw on their campaign experience to know what’s best.
I see it being difficult to not have agency or client experience and be able to sell our agency services properly.
My advice would be to a biz dev person
“Learn the client services side very well.”
If you are a client services person – don’t assume you can natrally be a sales person – there are tricks of the trade and so take the hybrid mentality to see both sides.
What will the agency of the future be like?
Not what we see today….I think the big agencies will still be around – some will have figured out how to evolve but most won’t have.
New names will be driving the innovation and direction of the industry – the big professional organisations are very relevant now e.g PRCA, and ad agency organisations rely on traditional firms for revenue $$ and membership revenue. so their views are slanted towards what these agencies are thinking….I think it’s going to be smaller to mid sized firms will drive the future of the industry. Rather than the massive conglomerates who will struggle to manoeuver to where they need to be.
In the meantime, why not buy the book [affiliate link] it’s in hardback or Kindle editions.
- The Marketing Agency Blueprint (twistimage.com)
- PR Agencies That Survive Will Be Inbound Marketing Agencies (hubspot.com)