The pursuit and acquisition of new clients in advertising and marketing agencies is a minefield of contradictions.

On one hand new business is essential to the well-being of an agency – quite simply ensuring future revenue. Moreover, good business development outcomes provide opportunities for agency innovation, expertise-building and even prestige.

Yet anyone in an agency also knows that business development gets more back-of-the-hand than open-hand treatment. The reasons are many:

  • Lack of focus – strategic or otherwise – for new business efforts, leading to uncertainty and frustration
  • Truly poor performance by business development hires, maybe on their own lack of merits and maybe exacerbated by an absence of focus
  • Then there’s serious miscasting for the new business role, resulting in a good-person, wrong-direction situation
  • Magical thinking that leads agency leaders to believe that successful business development is [a] just a few well-placed calls away – the rainmaker myth, [b] a volume game – smiling and dialing or [c] something the principals themselves will and can do
  • Not to mention a certain disdain for the sales aspect of new business vis à vis the “higher calling” of advertising and marketing

Many agencies are adrift, yet there are numerous resources at hand to help, resources I use as touch points in my own professional life.

RSW/US is one of those resources, and when they shared their plan with me to produce a series of webinars about good business development practices I was interested. When they further explained that agency principals are the target audience I promptly signed on as a sponsor.

That heightened enthusiasm comes from our shared belief that agency business development wisdom often misses its neediest audience: the agency principals at the core of decision-making about the future of their businesses.

RSW/US webinars are free, they are reasonably brief and they address topics that principals need to hear. The first webinar, sponsored by Agency Babylon, is June 29. So hurry and register.

RSW/US Agency Business Development 2010 Webinar Series

  • June 29: First Meeting and Closing Effectiveness – 78% of Agencies Don’t Know Enough. Explore the deep divides that exist between what marketers want and what agencies present during first meetings and as the closing process. Click here to register.
  • July 20: Check the Box – Counsel on Closing. Mark Sneider, RSW/US owner/president, offers insights and recommendations on preparing for pitch meetings, follow-up how to craft responses to RFPs and RFIs. Click here to register.
  • August 10: Social/Digital Media – Marketer and Agency Perspective. How to be successful long-term in the social/digital universe. What marketers want and what you’re giving them might be two very different things. Click here to register.
  • September 7: Agency New Business. What it takes to create a successful new business development program within the four walls of your agency. Get marketer perspectives on their needs. Click here to register.


Full disclosure: Agency Babylon and RSW/US have a nominal business alliance around endorsement of the webinars. However, I can assure you that I’d recommend them even if we didn’t.