Not ‘Agency New Business As Usual’

With a few weeks of activity under our belt since the COVID-19 crisis hit, we wanted to put some findings, thoughts and tips down for new business specialists and agency leaders in these unprecedented and worrying times – we hope they help.

Things are still happening…

This is the first point to make. We’ve secured a number of very large RFP’s and enquires from both global and large national brands last week for a number of our clients. So it seems that if these longer-term review exercises were in motion they are still going ahead. While we’re also finding many marketers in smaller challengers are continuing to push on in many sectors (excluding the obvious ones like travel, retail, hospitality etc.).

While this is really biting for SME’s (like you and me), for many medium-sized and larger businesses with more contingency and budget in place, this is manageable with some actually looking to up investment – you have just got to find them and present yourself in a compelling way.

Change is coming…

The current crisis is changing client’s marketing strategy and plans left, right and centre and will continue to do so for the foreseeable. As well as this, it is creating vast amounts of short term marketing and communications needs and questions. By being in touch and by being helpful in your approaches you can build relationships and pick up these tactical projects. Smaller agencies may be able to benefit by being clever, quick and more cost-effective, targeting spend earmarked for bigger networks.

A more receptive audience…

As well as many clients going back to the drawing board on their annual plans and looking for more help and advice from agencies, nearly all senior client marketers are at home and instead of travelling to and from or stuck in face-to-face meetings, many are looking at catching up with the non-urgent but strategically important tasks and looking for ideas that you could help with. This is reflected in all our key engagement metrics being up from pre-crisis levels.

So, in our humble opinion, if you can carry on (and we appreciate cash flow may be too tight for some) it’s a wise investment. But if you can carry on, you can’t just carry on as normal. We’re helping our clients adjust and change daily. Now is the time to think and do fast, here’s what we’ve been helping with in the last few weeks:

  • We helped one of our clients launch a weekly consumer tracker and get it into the market in just a few days, and is now earning new revenue by getting rapid and constantly fresh consumer insight on new consumer behaviours and attitudes driven by the COVID-19 lockdown, to brands.
  • We’re helping others to come up with and launch affordable audit products. If you have the resource to do these and you can build a relationship with and learn about a prospect’s business in-depth and get paid for it, why wouldn’t you?
  • For some, we are recommending that they switch their focus to sectors that are performing well (home improvement, home fitness, FMCG etc. etc.). And/or focus on parts of their skill set that are in demand and actually buyable in the short term, like focusing on animation instead of live-action video; webcasting instead of live events; or social content production where consumers are looking for brands to and be some light and entertainment to their day.
  • While others are focusing purely on relationships and brand building ahead of the inevitable bounce and putting their best minds to work producing thought leadership that we are promoting with webinar programs.

While you need to innovative and agile, the way you approach clients also needs to change, the language needs to soften and be led by a genuine desire to help, not just profit (in other words don’t be tone-deaf and don’t ambulance chase!).

At incite, we’re lucky to have many loyal clients who see the value in continuing to build pipeline and relationships with client organisations, even in the midst of the current crisis that we all find our self in.

We’re also lucky to be a digitally-led new business agency, having pivoted to this approach many years ago. That means initial interest and relationships are built over email and LinkedIn, not through telesales (good luck dialling a front desk now), while the majority of the client events we hold are online thought leadership webinars and not face to face breakfast or speed dating events. Our calls into prospects are always prequalified and prearranged over email or LinkedIn messenger with mobile numbers secured, so we can still have those all-important conversations too.

With this in mind, we’ve adjusted our approach and are offering new clients ways to get ‘in front’ (well, on a screen…) of prospects quickly and test ideas with reduced risk.

If you’d like to find out more get in touch.