Why I’m not signing up with DesignRush

There are lots of agency listing websites and directories – I have long been a fan of Chuck Meyst at AgencyFinder.com and Tom Holmes’ Creative Brief in the UK.

DesignRush logo, agency search service,

DesignRush is a nicely designed website for listing agencies allowing filtering by country and skillset.

I found three New Zealand agencies there – none of them competitors for us.  But instead of reaching out for our profile and submitting it, I decided not to go that route.

Why??

The main reason is that the site lists agencies with a price per hour as part of the filtering.  This is WRONG on many levels.

  1. Firstly, buying creativity is not like buying socks – a commodity.
  2. We sell by value, not by the hour (I’m not a solo-preneur or just getting started)
  3. This encourages viewers to buy based on price and that demeans the whole industry of creative agencies

So thanks, but no thanks for us.

Make your own mind up by answering these situational questions

  • A client approaches and asks your price to solve a problem situation.  You know the answer and how to solve it.  Does it matter if you solve the problem in five minutes of 50 hours?  Will the client be happy that the problem was solved or unhappy that you did it in 5 minutes?
  • You are asked to respond to a brief in some detail.  You do it with a written proposal which the prospect takes and uses as a bid document to ask other firms to submit prices.  You don’t get hired as a result.
  • A marketing director asks for your credentials and whether you have experience in a particular industry.  Does this matter to her – is it an exclusion or inclusion filter?  Does it affect your ability to do the work?

Coaching and learning how to navigate the new business development minefield is available.

Best books for Pitching and winning marketing work

I was doing some training with a client this week and they asked me about pitching for new business.
There are three books on my shelf which I have found useful in my 25 year career.
Shaun Varga – Brilliant Pitch – what to know, do and say to make the perfect pitch. Prentice Hall
Jon Steel – Perfect Pitch – the art of selling ideas and winning new business – Wiley
David Kean – How not to come second – the art of winning business pitches – Marshall Cavendish
Here’s a link to another article we wrote in 2012 on the topic – Best books on pitching for new business
David Kean was interviewed and I found this 50 minute audio interview useful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHD4yx2pRx4

How I plan to benefit from a lost pitch

A question from Quora was sent to me to answer. And it demonstrates so neatly why many new business people get discouraged by apparent failures. My answer shows how to play the “advantage” card from a disappointment and position yourself for future success while gaining valuable business experience from the situation.

My business partner’s dad/investors asked for a pitch, to which he said no after a while, but still plans to use some of the ideas. What can I do?

I told her this idea I had for a concept store that she just shared with her Dad who offered to invest/add it to his Group. After talking a few weeks ago, he just sent us a decline letter, but she says he & his partners may still use some of my ideas. I’m lost… and she doesn’t care.. What can I do ?

How to benefit from a failed pitch

Write back to each person, individually, thanking them very much for their time in hearing your pitch. Be sure that they understand how much of the pitch was your concept/idea. Say you’re sorry that they have decided not to progress working with you at this time.

Tell them that if they use your ideas in future you will be keen to

a) work on the project, or
b) receive a commission payment to reflect your intellectual capital investment

Tell them that this is only one of many bright ideas you have to contribute to their businesses and ask for an introduction to two other people who might be keen to work with someone of your talents.

Four days later, follow up with a phone call to each one to check they got your email and to ask for the introductions.

The outcome will be that you will probably not get any money from a) or b). But the introductions you receive will give you entry into a new circle of prospective employers and clients.

Why this works

The psychology of getting them to acknowledge your contribution (which they may use in future without paying) provokes the principle of reciprocity. You gave them something of value and now you are asking for something of value in return (introductions).

The follow-up shows that you are more determined than most (e.g. your business partner) and therefore are “one to watch” for the future who may benefit them again.

Lastly, in future don’t share your ideas with your business partner again without first gaining agreement about how they are to be used and valued.

ModComs pitch pack video

B2B video brochure – cool sales tool

Matt O’Neill is the Managing Director of ModComms – a company that produces The Pitch Pack, he sent us this neat video pack which business to business marketers

ModComs pitch pack video

ModComs pitch pack video

can use to open new leads.

How does PitchPack work?

The pack is a bit like a card brochure – you open it that triggers a magnetic switch which opens the power – a logo displays for a second while it warms up and then the first video plays

A typical pack has 4 videos – they come with volume controls and the larger packs have more videos on them.  Al the components are built in – from batteries, speakers to CPU.

They are encoded to Xvid format – the reason to use a specific codec is that it is lower file size with max picture quality.  A standard has 256 mg memory of which 170 is usable the rest is operating system.  so it gives about 17 minutes of video playback.

Finish watching, close it like a book and that switches it off.

In the spine there’s a little USB port you can charge the battery and uploading the videos.

If a client wants to use it the production process is firstly to design the outer pack – card wrap – using a standard Adobe Illustrator template.  The videos have to be produced and then you have all the assets.  These are sent digitally to China.  The factory sends back a prototype in digital print (not litho).  Sometimes there are small amends, it is signed off for manufacture and production.

One thing is critical is quality assurance with Chinese factories -we include two rounds of this – locally it’s checked in Shenzen and then it’s sent out and we check a few samples too.  Then we dispatch – sometimes it’s a bulk delivery, other times we do the fulfilment individually.

As part of the marketing it’s important that the telesales follow up to fix the meetings.

What types of Business use PitchPack?

It’s any B2B organisation providing a higher value product or service.  Tech companies like it, hotels, consultancies, engineering groups and some internal comms – high level changes across global senior teams.

Integration wit the sales funnel – the clients using account based marketing principles.  Some use it for the ‘door opener’ – grab attention of a senior decision maker.  It’s critical to have a structured follow up process.  Or use it as a leave-behind or a send-after to answer questions.  Salesman can film themselves on a mobile phone giving the answers and then include other videos too.  Those companies that are a bit more sophisticated and using lead scoring, for example, the score triggers sending a pack.

Personalisation – we are used to it with paper mail, but when you show the recipient that there’s an introduction just addressed to them – it’s flattering.  Anecdotally we hear it is very powerful.

Results – using a campaign with a global software company – we did a small run of 250 packs of which 240 were distributed.  They got 23 meetings with decision makers and they’ve got 4 deals with an average value of GBP250k each.  That campaign cost 5k on the packs themselves, 7k producing one video and re-used another couple of videos.  Total campaign cost 16k.

Why should our readers try the service?

Video is growing – mobile traffic about 50-70% of mobile traffic is video now.  Cisco predicts that 1/5 of the world’s population will access video online by 2016.

As a medium, video creates feelings of trust and so when brands use real people or show people doing real things curiosity is triggered.  When making video for marketing purposes don’t put everything in.  Leave them wanting more.

Confidence in the brand is built and sometimes amusement.  If you can make video for business funny you will have next to no competition because there’s so little out there.

With that popularity it’s a blessing and a curse – the competition will only get more furious.

Marshall Mcluan said the medium is the message in 60s and these packs are both – it allows people to explore video in their own time in their own way wherever they happen to be.

This is an easy differentiation tool – stand out from the crowd.  I remember in 2005 there were personalised USB sticks but now these are ubiquitous.  This type of marketing tactic is now at its 2005 moment but in 3-5 years it’ll be old hat.

If you are producing video for the pack, the content can be re-used across other media – home page, landing pages, powerpoint, email-able files.  The results are pretty tangible – looking at it in pure numbers.

2 Marketing Communications icon4 Profile raising icon6 Create Opportunities icon

New business development copywriting: Stalled prospects

September is the time business gets down to work after the summer break.  Blair Enns at the Win Without Pitching team say this is the perfect time to clean out your list of prospects and new business opportunities.

Find out which ones are going to buy and which aren’t worth your time chasing further.  Blair writes

Below is a simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead. It works throughout the year but this week, more than any other period in the calendar, is when it works best.

THE EMAIL

It was taught to me as The Takeaway but I refer to it by the subject line that I prefer: Closing The Loop. Draft it, modify it if you dare, but send it to all those prospects you were talking to over the summer about real projects only for them to disappear on you. That’s the intended purpose of this email – to raise deals from the dead and solicit a response from someone who has been avoiding you over the summer.

Your natural inclination is probably to do the opposite of what I’m about to suggest. Resist. Do not send an overly polite email. Do not make excuses for your prospect’s behaviour over the last few weeks. Do not email in pursuit of a yes or even an answer. No, your mission is to strip away all emotions and matter-of-factly just let your prospect go. Below is how to do this and then what to expect afterwards.

Ready?

Read the detailed email Blair recommends

Enhanced by Zemanta

Xero Marketing: a pitch & a critique

Xero is a hugely popular cloud accounts package that has taken much of the Intuit QuickBooks and MYOB business from SMEs worldwide.

Image representing Xero as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Prompted by an article in Forbes about in-house marketing teams versus external agency use, I remembered a pitch we sent off to Xero.
As a customer of Xero and as a marketer, the things I think are lacking or could be enhanced primarily relate to the ease of re-using content and proactively driving it out to the right audience.
B2B comms for existing customers, in a nutshell.
Since Xero is growing internationally, they increasingly have separate user groups who should be communicated to differently – because they need different things from Xero.

Marketing suggestions – I have lots more….

  1. After signing up, there’s nothing to drive me deeper into using the higher features of your products, unless I search.
  2. Apart from support issues and feature requests, what are the useful things you could be communicating with my business [clues – finding support, accountancy advice, higher level feature uses, plug ins, apps developers, tax questions, work-rounds for bug fixes]
  3. How could Xero be leveraging existing customers to drive improved new business and new trial accounts using member-get-member referrals and other incentives?
  4. Autoresponders – for new users within the trial period and for first few months of use  – Xero could have a ‘guide’ much like Kiwibank‘s “Becky” who is there for the user, who acts as a signpost to helpful information inside your knowledge base, who helps check they’ve got the system set up properly.
  5. Why are you using FeedBurner to distribute your RSS feed from the blog?  It’s unsupported and you could be leveraging the channel for marketing messages to your active users in order to drive deeper brand engagement and possibly sales (see 2,3,4 above).
  6. Split out your blog into separate streams so that articles automatically send to different groups (e.g. developers and accountants, US versus NZ) Each would get articles designed for that audiences.  Create separate news feeds for different audiences, and further use them to drive marcoms to support your business growth goals
  7. The more you blog, the bigger your archive.  Readers rarely dive very deep and yet there’s probably heaps of helpful content which is being ignored.  Could they be created into “tip sheets”, e-books, training manuals and other support material? These content solutions can be supporting 1, 2 and 4 above.

As Forbes says, it’s great to be an in-house agency – but lifting your head above the parapet and seeking input and inspiration from an external agency team can be very beneficial.

Enhanced by Zemanta

New business development copywriting – writing a chasing email

Message in a bottle.

Message in a bottle. (Photo credit: elvis_payne)

We’ve all been there – sent a message and  you’re not sure if they have read it, ignored it or whether it’s not arrived.  How do you politely write a follow up message that provokes action?

One of my cardinal rules in new business development is to remember this one thing

The prospect does not owe you their business – but they do owe you an answer.

So with that in mind, let’s set the scene.

You have invested time and effort in sending a crafted message or proposal over to a prospect – how do you follow up so that you don’t annoy them, what timeframes are appropriate, how can you ensure you are remembered – but not as a nagging irritant?

Why do prospects not answer?

There are many reasons but the main ones are

  1. your offer is not of interest, and not compelling enough to warrant a reply
  2. they are too busy doing other things

The first tends to relate to SEO companies sending spammy offers by email; the second is the one we need to laser in on – because it does not mean your offer is not of interest, it’s just not as pressing as other things at this time.

The aim of your follow up email is to filter out which one applies to you.

Writing Follow-up emails to prospects

Rule number 1 – keep it short.

Whatever you say, enable the reader to glance at two or three sentences and get your full message.

This is not an opportunity  to add to your earlier email content so don’t be tempted to re-iterate your pitch.

Rule number 2 – communicate the bare minimum

Remember we are trying to find out whether they are interested or not.

If they are interested – it could just be the timing is wrong… so your ultimate answer is ‘possibly’, in this case.

The message needs to say who you are; why you are chasing and a reminder of the services.

I always start with a summary of the situation in the email subject line.  So even if they don’t open it, they can see the context.

Following up on our meeting to discuss …………….

Creative Agency Secrets marketing proposal submission………

So, now to the body – here are three possible sentences for you to copy
Thank you very much for your time meeting yesterday.  The actions agreed were…..
 
We discussed your objective of  ………….The topics worthy of more investigation are………..
As agreed we sent you a proposal and could you confirm that you’ve received it?

Rule number 3 – write with grace and if you can, humour

Nagging may work with your spouse or children, but I think it’s bad behaviour in business.  You want to set the tone for your future relationship here and so getting off on the right foot is key.

Use phrases like “My recollection was….” or “I think we agreed that you would do….” So that you are reminding them without sounding hectoring.

Rule number 4 – give the recipient an easy get-out

Even if they don’t give you business today, you don’t want the prospect to write off your company as inappropriate for future projects.  And so thinking about how you can enable them to quit with grace is a good tactic.
Try this one where we were passed from the CEO to the Marketing Director
I waited on X and then emailed him directly.  Is it possible he doesn’t know what we discussed and that you, suggested we meet?
 
Don’t want to push if this is inappropriate, so could you give me some advice?
 See that last line?   Asking for advice is a great way for you to put the boot onto the other foot – get them to advise you on how to pitch their colleague.  I love this and use it quite a lot.  They know their firm and the characters better than you do.
Rule number 5 plan one, last, follow up after this one
The final, final thing to do is to then write a last message telling them that you won’t bother them again if they don’t reply but you would like them to confirm that they aren’t interested at this time.
This then allows them to write back saying ‘no’.  And for you to thank them and say that you’ll stay in touch.  This way the conversation ends and closes off the dialogue and you’ve got an answer rather than just a nothing void.
5 Relationship Development icon7 Make New Biz Happen icon

Hire the right digital marketing agency – a guide

Here’s a great guide to how to find the best digital agency for your business brand needs.
Getting an organisation who matches your needs and is able to deliver to your brief takes time and careful analysis. Get yourself all the information you need in order to find the best agency and then you have to brief them well.

Writing an awesome creative brief is a challenge and one we can help you out with – even if we’re not doing the work for you. Getting the language and the articulation of your requirements correct will shortcut the selection process of finding the best digital marketing team for your needs.

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

 

Get the report from Search Engine Land – a Buyers guide to Digital Marketing Agencies 2013

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Agency uses a ‘reverse RFP’ to showcase services

How’s this for a neat idea? You pitch us in order to win our attention and get your marketing services free by reversing the traditional RFP process.  The Brand pitches the Agency.

Well, I’m not offering it just now but Hart is inviting prospects to submit their ideas by 30th November, 2012.  could be the best new marketing move you make in 2013.

English: (left), Indian academic and a social ...

English: (left), Indian academic and a social entrepreneur, speaking to a group of children (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More innovation and promotion from Indian agency, Law and Kenneth who are celebrating their tenth birthday by organising to mentor social entrepreneurs.  Now that’s a great way of paying back or paying forward (not sure which is which).  Submit your ideas at the Create Project site and read what Founder Anil Nair says about the project

Over the last one year, we have been thinking hard about what we’re doing. We’ve seen ups and downs in the last 10 years of Law & Kenneth, and if at all we’ve created something (besides brands), we’ve created an organisation, of which 300 people and their families are a part. We wondered if this was all we could do.

Ten years ago, when we started off, we were at a certain point. There are many, many people with ideas today that can lead to viable business, and can be ideas around doing business for social good. They also need to be ideas that are innovative in nature. We wanted to build something that would outlive us.

We met Hayden Raw from The Common Room recently and they are also looking at ways to innovate.  Hayden told us, he looks to invest a portion of their client fees into kick starting young entrepreneurs.

Is a reverse RFP a gimmick?

Yes, it almost certainly is a promotion, a publicity stunt or a gimmick.  But it’s a very valuable one for the winning brand team.  Many agencies take on pro bono clients for whom they work for low or no fee – what’s different is using this as part of their own promotion.

We have all whined about a client who was too conservative to buy our ‘great concept’ and so it’s possible by delivering your services under non-traditional fee arrangements, then you have greater leverage to encourage the brand to choose the most risky / creative / far-out communications campaign proposal that you present.

Is that necessarily a bad thing?

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta