Acquiring and retaining new business for an agency is unlike any job I’ve ever had. At least once a day, I receive an email or a voicemail from someone wanting to work with RED (which is an incredibly humbling position to be in). The range of projects that pass by my desk (not to mention, our CEO’s) run the gambit from crazy to highly profitable and anywhere in between. But one piece common to each request is that there is a problem that the potential client needs to solve.
Our clients are experts in their business. They live in it 24/7 and are clearly successful at it (because they can afford us!). Because of this, when they identify a problem that they think we can solve, they will often put forward a potential solution to fill that void:
“Hi RED. I need you guys to develop a 4 page brochure to help me sell X.”
“Hi RED. My website is shit and I need a new one. Can you pitch me something?”
“Hi RED. I need to recruit some workers from down south (US) and need a media plan ASAP. Thx.”
I’ve had any and all of these thrown my way so far this year. And it’s easy to say, yes, we’ll take this on and brief a team to fill that need. In all likelihood, the client will be happy, sales will go up and we’ll get repeat business. Yay, beers for everyone.
But while our clients are experts in their business, we are experts in their audiences. It could be B2B, B2C or an internal audience that needs to be communicated with. We know their audience better than they do. And because of this, it’s important that we always take a step back at the beginning of each project to think about what’s truly driving that business problem. Yes, you may need a brochure, but that’s because you’ve identified that people don’t know anything about who you are and what you do as an organization.
What I’m getting at is that the solution isn’t always the one put in front of you by your clients. A brochure could also be an iPad app. A website could also be just some original photography. A media campaign could be a guerrilla stunt or viral cat video. Our job is to develop the right solution, not the one the client wants.
So the next time you get a brief, regardless of the size, think outside the confines of what’s on the page and over deliver to the ask. Pitch the iPad app. Pitch a completely new brand if it’s warranted. Be confident in your skills and believe in your clients. The easiest way to impress a client is to make them look good to their boss with out of the box and highly successful solutions.
Their boss is just another audience that we’re experts in engaging.