Agencies can spend so much time, effort and money creating what they think is a new business campaign worthy of an Award, for it to then fall flat on its face with zero results. And by results we mean new clients in the door.
We’ve been really fortunate to have worked with a huge variety of agencies over the years from start-ups with very little money to spend through to big global agencies with big marketing teams and budgets. In this time, we’ve learnt a lot from what does work and also what doesn’t work so we thought it would be useful to share my thoughts on why some new business campaigns fail…
1. The audience hasn’t been researched
Using a list that you have bought from a data source usually won’t be good enough. It can be a great starting point to save you time on things like email address formats and postal addresses but you really do need to spend time on refining that list, especially if your new business campaign has a high print cost. Bought in lists won’t necessarily have all the right kind of companies on the list, you might be missing some really interesting companies. Spend some time on Google, learn what is going on in the sector you are targeting, are there any interesting companies from other countries that are launching in the UK for example. Try to eliminate companies that have just gone through a pitch process or who have little appetite to spend. And finally, use LinkedIn to make sure you have the right job titles on there.
2. The content isn’t relevant
Your message and content needs to be relevant to your audience. What are their issues and challenges, what keeps them awake at night and how could you help them? If you are sharing case studies and work, make it all about the problem and how you solved it and less about your beautiful work. Think about outcome versus output. Marketing and Brand teams are interested in research, insight and relevant content. Make sure that your message resonates with your audience.
3. It’s all about the agency
Obviously, the point of your new business campaigns is to raise awareness of your agency, to make your agency stand out from others and to build a relationship with your prospects. If it’s the first time you have approached the prospects on your list, then you will, of course, need talk about your agency, what you do and what makes you different but make sure it relates to them, how you could help them and not all about you.
4. Not followed up properly
If you are sending a highly targeted campaign to a select number of carefully researched prospects, you need to follow up with them. My process is to usually call each one twice and send a follow up email. If your campaign is sent to a wider list by email, then use a software to track opens and click throughs and focus on following up on those.
5. Not allowing enough time
When reviewing the success of your new business campaigns, it’s best to monitor results each month and then also again at the end of the year. We often find that prospects keep your details until they are in the market to buy and will then get back in touch. New business can come through months and months after the first point of contact.
6. It’s not supported by other activities
To really get the most of your new business activity, try to bring in different outreach points into one campaign. For example you could create an insight piece relevant to a particular sector, send a teaser of this to your prospects, then invite them to an event where the more juicy content will be shared, you can PR this across social media and in the industry press and then send a follow-up campaign after the event to get one-to-one meetings.
7. The timing isn’t right
Different sectors and different disciplines have different buying periods. Make sure you do your research to understand more about the market and how they buy. There’s little point in sending something out to prospects who aren’t in planning or buying mode or who are super busy on implementation.
Have a look at last years Oystercatchers Award Winners and look at the reasons why those agencies won and see what you could do better when planning your next new business campaign.