Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
mobile-logo
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Top

Managing Marketing: Advertising agency new business successes and failures

Julia-Vargiu
116
Page Views

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Julia Vargiu is the founder of New Business Methodology and the Australian Director of SI Partners Global. Here she chats with Darren as they share the stories on how agencies get new business and pitching right and how they get it horribly wrong.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on Soundcloud or iTunes

Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I’m joined by Julia Vargiu, who is director Australia of SI Partners Global and also the founder of New Business Methodology. Welcome, Julia.

Julia:

Thank you, Darren.

Darren:

Julia, I believe you’ve just had a 20-year anniversary; that’s for New Business Methodology.

Julia:

Exactly, it’s very exciting.

Darren:

So, 20 years of helping agencies with their positioning, reputation, marketing, and new business performance.

Julia:

Yes. I’d say it’s really about having a business plan and then from that leveraging marketing and PR to support it.

Darren:

So, over that time what have you noticed are the big trends and where are we today?

Julia:

That is a big question. I think it’s interesting; very excited to see the management consultants come into this space because that is forcing the clients I work with to think very differently or they won’t be around for very long. Or they’ll be around in very different guises.

So, what I’ve been encouraging my clients to do and agencies I talk to is actually become creative management consultants because I talk a lot about helping agencies to have a more sophisticated business conversation with their clients so that they’re relevant to the C-Suite and can have an interesting conversation with the CEO of their clients where the CEO sees it as value.

So, with the management consultants coming into this space agencies can now start looking at hiring business analysts that are ex- management consultants. They are able to have more rigour to the depth of how they view their clients’ business. And I think that will allow them to get all the business they want from all the clients they have or at least have a very good shot at doing it.

Darren:

I remember the late 80s, 90s being in agencies and even then there were conversations around the management consultants moving in on the agency space way back then. But there was always this smugness; as agencies we own creativity and they’re just number crunchers and data analysts and things like that.

But I guess the technology (digital marketing) means that number crunchers and analysts are just as important or in some cases possibly more important than the creative product.

Julia:

And I think what it allows you to do is show the value that the work is really doing with hard evidence as opposed to anecdotal or soft evidence. It also lets the agencies help the marketers elevate their position within the client–side stakeholders. So, marketers are still seen as the colouring-in department.

I think part of it is because marketers aren’t lifting their own sense of being growth drivers. There are two types of marketers; the ones that really focus on brand but the others that are focused on brand and growth. And the agencies that understand that and help the marketers elevate their own position internally are the ones that are blitzing it.

Darren:

The way we note that is that there are marketers that only own marketing communications and then there are marketers who own more of the portfolio of what marketing is. So, they have influence on product, distribution.

They really do have more control or at least responsibility for what’s now being called the customer journey or experience whereas if you’re just the comms department often that does relegate you further down the decision-making tree for the business.

Julia:

Exactly. And I think there’s an issue of how do agencies work with their clients so that their clients have more clout inside their own company. And one of the ways to be able to tell what kind of marketer you are working with if you’re at an agency is does your client report directly to the CEO or not? And if there is a layer or two in between that it is a pretty clear sign.

Darren:

Especially in really big organisations. When you get these really big companies suddenly there’s this general executive level and marketing is reporting off here to someone. I think the other thing is do they control their own budget?

Julia:

Yes.

Darren:

It’s interesting that you can have a marketing team that actually don’t have say over their budget because the budget is actually held somewhere else within the organisation so that marketing is being turned almost into a service provider of the organisation.

Julia:

Exactly.

Darren:

So as an agency you’re a service provider to a service provider; a very weak position to be in.

Julia:

Sort of like video production to an agency. What happens is that the agencies aren’t looking at how to help the clients track the results. The biggest complaint I get (and I know you’ve talked about this) is that the clients aren’t telling the agencies the results of the work they’re doing so they can’t demonstrate the impact, which means they can’t differentiate themselves.

Now, a lot of times the clients aren’t tracking it; the other times they’re not actually sharing it so it’s a combination.

Darren:

And that really annoys me because we have all these effectiveness awards and there are no results. The last time I judged in an effectiveness award I asked every agency that was presenting ‘what were the results?’ And not one could actually give me the results.

And I asked, ‘so why are you entering effectiveness?’ And they said, ‘the client was really happy with the results so they must have been good.’ And I’m going ‘nay, doesn’t cut it’.

Julia:

Well sometimes the great agencies help their clients get better. There is a series of questions you can ask a client that often challenges them. But if you ask them in the right way with rapport (you can never break rapport) and ask, ‘what’s the commercial context of what was going on in the country or industry that led to a challenge happening to the company?’

So maybe there was a problem it created, an overlooked opportunity that the company said ‘we’ve got to do something about this. We’ll give it to marketing’ and then marketing has said ‘you’ve got to achieve X,Y,Z KPI’. At that point they’ll write a brief and give it to the agency. Usually the agency just takes it and runs with it and says this is how we’ll execute.

What I’m getting them to do is to ask those earlier questions. And a lot of the time their day to day contact in marketing isn’t the CMO, it’s a brand manager or some sort of marketing manager. So those people aren’t asking these bigger questions. And if nobody is aligned to what the KPI is or what will tell the marketer that was a great job by whoever else outside the silo, then nobody knows what the impact is. So, it’s all rather silly.

Darren:

I’ve had personal experience where I’ve put pressure back on a marketer to ask them why are you asking the agency to do this? And the response was ‘I got told to’. Already you’ve positioned yourself as a service provider to whoever asked you to. And I’m talking about a very senior marketer but they had a comms role.

I think this is the danger that when you start losing sight of what is it that I’m trying to achieve in a measurable way because often briefing ‘we want to build awareness’. Well, who with, how much, and where is it now? There are naturally 100 questions to that to make it specific.

Julia:

I’ve got one good question for you. My very good friend, James Sykes ex Head of global innovation for Beam Suntory and he used to ask all of his marketers what line in the PNL are you targeting with the work that you’re doing?

Interestingly a lot of marketers also don’t have the commercial acumen to answer that. And I don’t think it’s a fault of their own because it’s tactical quarterly numbers. Have we met our quarterly numbers? They might be too deep in the silo to actually know what’s going on in other departments with product, sales, or retail so it’s not really their fault.

Darren:

Or is it a failure of a lot of marketing training (universities and the like) that we don’t necessarily teach a working understanding of financial reporting; how to read a balance sheet, a PNL, how to actually understand what those numbers within mean, things like liabilities and assets.

One of the questions I always ask marketers to get a sense of their financial literacy is what’s the organisation’s IRR (internal rate of return) because for a marketer that’s a key thing because that’s the value of money.

If I’m going to use a budget of a certain amount there is an expectation that the organisation will have that I can give a return on that budget. And yet a lot of marketers just end up staring at you like ‘what’s IRR?’

Julia:

Exactly. And that’s where I think the agencies can work with the marketers to go ‘look, if we can produce X impact (sometimes it’s not results, sometimes it’s impact) then can we get double the marketing budget or an increase of 10%? And there are actually hurdle markers that you work to.

Interestingly, the idea of agencies selling their IP. You probably know Kathryn Williams from Kathryn’s Mint—she’s always talking about this great idea that agencies need to sell their IP. Interestingly for the marketers it doesn’t come from the marketing budget; it shows up as an asset on the balance sheet for the company.

So, these types of ideas if a marketer is working with an agency to create assets that probably outlive both of them and are increasing the brand equity of the company this is fantastic stuff.

Darren:

That would have to be a very enlightened CFO that’s willing to put a marketing asset on to the balance sheet because they would have to acknowledge it as an asset and that’s something that a lot of them don’t do. For instance, brand doesn’t exist on the balance sheet very often.

Julia:

I think when you’re talking about brand equity and what the brand evaluation rankings are doing every year there are different elements of IP that are being seen as having value.

Darren:

It’s usually seen as part of good will, which is on the balance sheet. But beyond that the other issue is this concept of trust because there was a time that agencies and their clients’ marketers had a profound sense of trust. They talked about being in partnership with each other. Partnership infers what happens for me is also going to happen for you.

Julia:

I think probably what has happened is that agencies over the last two or three decades have become less aware of what’s happening in the business. I think they’ve focused on comms strategy, not business strategy.

It’s not uncommon for most of the people in an agency to not be reading the business sections of publications. They don’t know the stock prices of their publicly listed clients. They couldn’t even name all of the publicly listed clients on their roster. They’re just not paying attention to a level they should which is why the management consultants are coming in and eating a bit of their lunch.

Darren:

Well. They certainly understand business. Michael Farmer wrote a couple of articles on this where he said agencies are just holding onto this idea that they own creativity, which I mentioned earlier. It doesn’t acknowledge the fact that marketers now are under a huge amount of pressure to actually contribute to top line growth.

Julia:

Yes.

Darren:

And that’s all about performance. And you can sit there with your fingers crossed and say creativity will help this campaign work. In fact, there is evidence that creativity does drive business growth.

Julia:

I think we’ve got to be fair to the agencies because we can generalise. A lot of agencies are doing amazing growth because of their specialty and they’re able to look at incredible impact within the tight vertical that they work. It’s where you’re looking at the bigger creative agencies where I think it’s less easy to understand what impact they’re having on the growth scale.

I think the other problem too is the marketers aren’t necessarily best friends with sales inside the client-side. So, I always suggest to the agencies, go talk to the head of sales and ask about what marketing is meant to deliver for them. And that way you can see it as supporting the marketer in the work that you’re doing and understanding the bigger drivers of what the company’s ambitions are.

It’s a very different thing when a company is trying to win market share versus profit. And if you know that as a marketer and their agency then you can recommend different things because the levers are different. And this is the type of sophistication I’m not seeing happen.

Most of the time the agencies are focusing on flawless delivery, which is hard enough on its own. And if you don’t have a great relationship with your client and they’ve pigeon-holed you into one sector, you’re just working on trying to broaden out how your existing agencies see you instead of being pigeon-holed so that you can get more organic growth.

Darren:

I think your point about going and talking to sales is particularly important in the B2B space. I can understand agencies are very focused on B2C and helping design and develop communication and advertising strategies where businesses, their clients talk to consumers.

I wonder sometimes (and what are your thoughts on this?) that even though they exist in a B2B category, marketing to other businesses, apart from a few specialist B2B agencies most agencies really struggle with that concept don’t they?

Julia:

They do. And I think what’s interesting is that even within their B2C clients one of the best ways to get new business from a client or a prospect is to actually go through that backdoor of the B2C side.

Say, for example you’re looking at an FMCG; well there’s consumer but then there is usually trade. There are all sorts of different angles in; it could be trade, retail but they’re not always the sexiest doors to walk in but you can often have an easier conversation with those people because they don’t have quite as long a line of people wanting to work with them.

Darren:

Absolutely. Often B2B for an FMCG is the customer, which is the retailer. But B2B exists even in a lot of non-retail there’s often a B2B component for instance banks.

Julia:

Banking exactly.

Darren:

A lot of people forget that banks and insurance companies sell a lot through adviser channels. The Royal Commission’s shown what adviser channels can look like.

Julia:

I think that’s about the fact that’s not necessarily the exciting part of marketing that’s been trained in the universities so the talent you’re getting through, they’re not as thrilled to sit here and say ‘hey we’ve been selling motors to industrial trucks’.

Darren:

That’s the interesting thing about B2B is that the whole industry really focuses and champions B2C even when you look at the awards, the big glossy awards are about B2C aren’t they; the TV ad and the new campaign and that type of thing?

Julia:

Exactly, and you know one of the Trojan horse strategies I often suggest with my agencies is go in through the B2B part even B2C business because it’s the door that’s less knocked on. Say for example you’ve got something like toilet tissue right, that’s going B2C but you also have all the commercial elements of it; that B2B, that trade element of it.

Darren:

To the retailers.

Julia:

Exactly.

Darren:

You’ve got to be able to get distribution and you need to make sure your product is out there.

Julia:

Even the movie theatres right?

Darren:

Exactly. So, one of the issues we’ve seen is this downward pressure on pricing. There was a time under the commission system that an agency being creative in media was getting seventeen and a half percent but it was actually compounded to around nineteen percent.

Then around the mid 90s, they changed around the time when you started your business, and what we’ve seen is this pressure on marketing budgets especially in the last ten years but a pressure on agency fees.

What component of this advice and consulting that you do with agencies helps them understand the value and how to position themselves with value?

Julia:

I think there are a couple of things. In terms of the pricing, just in terms of their operational element, a lot of times they are over-servicing clients by up to 30-50%. So, they’re just not operationally fit which means there’s a lot of waste of time. If you are thinking about what you are paying staff, you might find a situation where a third of the day your staff is not generating any revenue for your business anyway.

They do that because they are so desperate to keep the clients happy. They don’t want to rock the boat. I think on the other side they’re not finding out what the clients are actually spending on the services that the agencies can sell. So, they are working with the clients that don’t have budgets that make them any profit.

I think in terms of actual pricing the agencies need to be able to get better at showing the impact they’re having so that they can demonstrate the value that their service offers and therefore that the price is worth it.

Darren:

It’s really interesting that you raise that because one of the big issues when we talk about performance-based, is getting paid for results.

Julia:

Exactly.

Darren:

Or payment by results is the other way, a lot of agencies are really nervous because they feel yes, we make a contribution but we can’t control this. I think it’s because they are looking for an empirical solution. They’re looking for that solid link between results or the value that they create and the value of their contribution when in actual fact it comes down to framing.

Julia:

Yes exactly.

Darren:

It’s as simple as, if you were talking about media for instance and the client’s got a $20 million budget and you want $2 million it’s a simple framing exercise to say as a percentage and the value that we will create out of that $20 million will be let’s say $40 million. Or you could just pay us $1 million and we just give you $20 million worth of value. Which one do you want?

Julia:

Exactly.

Darren:

You see that’s a framing exercise, it’s just creating a frame as a point of reference. Agencies seem to really struggle with that concept.

Julia:

And I think it’s because they set themselves up to not be paid a bonus for what they can control. That’s because they are not understanding what’s happening internally at their client’s organisation; to go why has this brief even come down in the first place?

What is the organisation trying to achieve? How is marketing being seen as actually doing a great job or not? What’s the KPI of the CMO? How much of their bonus that goes into their pockets is tied up into this?

I think with a little more investigation from the agencies of what the impact levers are they can see and measure and get creative. It doesn’t always have to be revenue, profit, market share. It can be other impacts that are of value. It’s just that nobody has ever discussed them or explored getting compensated for them.

Darren:

It’s also a little bit to do with the fact that it’s all cost-based. Agencies really feel uncomfortable with talking about moving beyond ‘well here are the resources and they have a value because this is what we pay them and then there’s an overhead factor’. It’s very incremental, it’s very practical but it’s not very inspiring.

Julia:

No, and I think two things are happening. One, it doesn’t allow them to demonstrate their strategic thinking has a value, not just the execution. And I think on the other side when they are looking at execution, they’re often being done as projects not retainers so they’ve got to get smarter and quicker at quoting where they can make a profit.

It’s the over-servicing I think that is a big problem.

Darren:

Which is a service mentality isn’t it?

Julia:

Yeah.

Darren:

Giving some one extra service even though they are not paying for it.

Julia:

Half of it is, are they working at one hundred percent optimal efficiency and not wasting time. The other is if a client is wasting their time, which can happen. It can simply be an opportunity for an agency to show clients how other clients are working more efficiently and effectively.

So rather than criticise your client go ‘hey, we work with like fifteen other companies and we’re finding that we could share some best practice of techniques from our other clients that you could utilise and it could make your job easier.’

It’s framing it psychologically so that you are not at war but you’re seen as offering really valuable advice from your expertise as opposed to being critical about how they work.

Darren:

Yeah it’s true, it’s certainly better to offer a solution than to highlight the problem.

Julia:

I had an agency and I didn’t know what to do with them. They were pitching for a government piece of business and I saw the credentials that they sent as part of the RFP, it’s a big document – RFP and I went, oh my god; there were one hundred and ninety seven typos through the whole thing. I went this is the worse piece of thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

How do I get them to stop this? And that’s what I did. Rather than criticise them I said I notice that you are not living up to best practice from the other agencies I’m working with. Could we have a meeting with whose put this together so I could share with you the difference. They filled the board room so it was a very nice way of being able to critique it.

Darren:

That was a very nice way. We actually got a credentials proposal that actually had another client’s name all the way through it. We weren’t that nice; we just phoned up and said we are extending the deadline by one hour, we’d recommend you do search and replace.

Julia:

You were nice. I learnt that the very hard way, way back in New York when I worked for the very first new business consultancy in all of America, way back when we had General Mills and General Foods and it was the era of DM.

So, we were sending out a direct mail piece for an agency. We swapped the names and I picked up the phone and they were both Johns so I said, ‘Hi John.’ ‘We’ll never work with you again ever.’ ‘Why?’ ‘You sent me the General Mills letter’ and I went ‘oh god, I’m so sorry.’ So, you learn once, you never do it again.

Darren:

There’s nothing like a good proof-reader in every studio.

Julia:

Well this is the thing, I cannot tell you how much an agency is letting stupid, sloppy mistakes slip through for a business that’s worth tens of millions of dollars. It really is about lifting the rigour with which agencies operate.

I mean we can have a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong but do the basics well or don’t bother.

Darren:

One of the things that the holding companies saw was that agencies were terrific creative, strategic places but they were poorly run businesses in that they were paid very well but they wasted a lot of money because they weren’t particularly well run.

Along comes the holding company, snaps up a whole lot of agencies, pulls the back in, makes that more efficient, blah, blah, blah really turning them into good well run businesses. But there is still a part of the agency world or the agency business that needs to increase their professional focus, acumen especially in the face of the consulting companies.

Julia:

And it’s interesting I have a number of clients who are getting to the age where they are finding it hard to get another agency CEO role so they’re actually moving over client-side, which is another conversation about age diversity.

But they’re saying the business training they’re getting is—one said if I knew 10 years ago what I know now I would have been a much better agency MD. And the one recommendation I would give to every agency CEO is go to the Institute of Company Directors and do the course because you are then able to have a conversation on an equal level, speaking the language of the boardroom.

So often the language spoken in an agency conference room is like a different country when you go to the client’s boardroom and the agency executive leadership team needs to know how to translate. And they don’t even find it exciting.

So, if they want to make life great and easy for themselves and have lots of great clients spending a lot of money, and never leaving, and giving them more work to be more creative and employ their strategic thinking they’ve got to get excited about high level business conversations and the PNLs.

Darren:

I was just thinking about the type of people who end up as CEOs or Managing Directors of agencies. They’re usually the ones that are very good with clients.

Julia:

The relationship builders.

Darren:

And very good account management people end up as the CEO. In actual fact you need someone who is a good business person and gets the business of advertising.

Julia:

I find some of the best CEOs come from strategy who have discipline. Not a lot of strategy people are disciplined in their wonderful idea generation but the ones that do are brilliant because they can see the future, the big picture, what’s going on. So, they’re quite exciting.

The other agency CEO is the creative writer and they’re able to see from a different perspective.

Darren:

That’s an interesting perspective.

Julia:

The other thing I find with the suits that become CEOs is that, sadly, it’s tenure, where they’ve been there the longest and they’re technicians. If you’ve read the E-Myth, Michael Gerber—technicians that have become managers and they’ve not been trained in any of this and they’re not managers.

Darren:

I call that capillary action; as the drips at the top dry out the ones underneath get sucked up. It’s a derogatory metaphor. You touched on it before; advertising churns through people and the pyramid of the structure means that there are fewer senior roles at the top and unless you’re one of those that can get that top job there are a lot of other people who were your peers that just drop out of the industry don’t they?

Julia:

Well you either launch your own business or you go somewhere else. The problem is the middle has been stripped out of a lot of the agencies. So, you’ve got juniors and seniors, therefore the seniors are doing the work the middle used to do so that’s just creating all sorts of chaos.

Darren:

Or they’re promoting the juniors way too quickly to do the jobs they’re really not experienced enough to do.

Julia:

Exactly. And then I think that just breeds this whole inner game of entitlement that is toxic.

Darren:

We pulled up an agency because within four years the account manager (because the account executives don’t exist anymore) had become a senior account director and we’re going ‘whoa’. A very smart person but probably not really a senior account director in four years.

Julia:

I remember probably 20 years ago when I first got to the country that we had a direct competitor and they had promoted all their account executives to account managers so that the client they were pitching for thought they had more senior people on the business.

Darren:

We call it a title promotion—no salary increase but you’ve got a new business card. Going back a step; you said they either leave the industry or they set up their own.

Now that’s really interesting to me because there are lots and lots of small businesses, small agencies out there that are not agency of the year, are not winning creative awards but are making a good living filling a whole lot of little niches in the industry or landscape aren’t they?

Julia:

And often there aren’t even awards they could enter to win in terms of the work they’re doing and the niche they’ve carved for themselves. I’m always for the entrepreneur that’s taken the initiative to go at it. I work with a lot of them.

There is many a kitchen table I sit around and plan how can they occupy a space in the market where they can exist, be distinctive, make a living, pay their mortgage and have a future.

Darren:

Mark Buckman (I’m not sure if it was at Telstra or CBA) came out and said ‘the problem is there are way too many agencies’. Do we have too many agencies? Is one of the problems with the whole pricing structure, value structure, the highly competitive nature of pitching, is the problem that we’ve got too many that are largely not distinctive enough to fill a position in the marketplace and so become commoditised?

Julia:

I’m going to be a little bit harsh. I don’t think we have too many agencies. I think we have too many mediocre agencies. I think the quality of the work is average for a fair few of the agencies that are out there.

That’s having an impact both within the agency and community and for the marketers because if you’re working with mediocrity all the time you start to disparage the agencies as a whole.

So how do you find the excellence that’s out there, the super smart ones? Social media didn’t exist 10 years ago so who were the amazing agencies that came up with this influence?

I speak a lot on how do you diversify as an agency into a new service offering that you have no experience in and no case studies in and get business? The way you do it is because there is a need of what’s coming in the future as a new issue that nobody has dealt with before.

Darren:

Identify the trend that will lead to the opportunity and be positioned there…

Julia:

To lead to that direction. So, it can be a very exciting space.

Darren:

I agree with you; there is a lot of mediocrity, mediocre market suppliers and vendors because when we look at a roster most marketers will go I’ve only got three or four agencies.

And we go ‘no, when you look at your finances, your ledger, your spend profile you’re actually spending with about 300 or 400 different companies’. And it’s like this shock—they’re completely blown away.

And it’s because there are so many people out there that are just nipping away and going ‘oh I can do that for you’ and suddenly they’ve got 8 design companies and 16 PR companies and 27 event companies.

Julia:

A great example would be; I was at Lyndhurst when Peter Hoskins went out and created 360 for the CBA. The savings that that agency created for the CBA were astronomical in terms of solving that dilemma you were just describing.

The printing of brochures saved them something like a million dollars a year—it was just ridiculous—don’t quote me but something huge.

Darren:

That’s right, there is an opportunity for marketers to get this back under control but it’s like a constant battle because the market is flooded with people who really don’t have anything unique, different or distinctive to offer except that they’re there. They’re constantly there hoping to pick up something.

Julia:

I think there a lot of clever ones out there doing unique sectors, expertise or they see a new need coming. The other side of it is that the agencies and the marketers are collaborating so that the agencies are blending together and actually working side by side so there is a deeper understanding about the process an agency goes through to actually deliver the work.

And then the agencies can actually be onsite with the client to see what’s really going on operationally, politically, understanding how the silos are sectored. I think that blended agency/client relationship can be exciting.

The only problem with that model (because we’ve seen it come and go and come and go) is that the agency staff get bored working on one piece of business. Unless that business is diversified themselves in their products then it’s kind of hard to stay fresh.

Darren:

You’ve started a new role. You’re still running your business but you’re now the Australian director for SI Partners.

Julia:

Yes.

Darren:

Now this is mergers and acquisitions?

Julia:

It is. The way it happened is I met Alistair Angus. We were both speaking at Pria. I was talking about how do you diversify into new services when you don’t have experience or case studies? And he was talking about how to get fit for sale. And I had a client at the time looking to sell.

We got to talking and he realised that I could help with the growth mandate that he and the global business is always instructing agencies you need to grow to get to a certain value in order to achieve your future. It’s not always a sale mandate; it’s sometimes just hitting growth targets and ambitions.

And then when I shared what I did in New Business Mastery he realised that he hadn’t seen a programme like that that took agencies step by step on how to do it really effectively and efficiently.

Darren:

Because it really is not just about building a marketing strategy but a sales strategy and one that is accountable to results.

Julia:

Absolutely. New Business Mastery is all about how do you win business, in three meanings; from a cold prospect without having to pitch? That’s the core of it. Then there’s the before, the foundation, the vision that you need to have—marketing and PR is a very small part of it. But what New Business Mastery does is move you from thinking that new business equals pitching, because it doesn’t.

The better you get at new business mastery then you can never pitch again if you want to and only pitch for the stuff you can win. So, your win rate goes up to 80% or higher and your pipeline fills with ideal clients that are spending what you want where you want.

The SI Partnership relationship is that as a director of Australia I’m helping to grow the Australian market not only on the consultancy side, which is where we help agencies grow, but also when they want to get to a place where they’re ready to exit.

It’s also helping them on their own out phase because SI is different in the way that they stay for the length of the own out phase. They can be a bit more genuine in what they’re recommending. The selling agency realises that they’re in with them so they’ve got skin in the game.

It’s quite an exciting opportunity and they’re extraordinarily talented because they’re specialists only in agencies in tech, usually that have a marketing face insight to the techs. They’re in London, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and they’re doing more in Australia.

Darren:

So, you’ll be driving the mergers and acquisitions for SI Partners here.

Julia:

I will be working closely with them to do so. I think what’s also exciting about it is it puts agency new business growth into a very different place. Often what I talk to my clients about naturally so the fit with the assignment is predestined, I will talk to a CEO of an agency and say, ‘How old do you want to be when you don’t have to work for a living but you choose to work for a living’?

And they haven’t really thought of that. And everybody thinks about exit strategy but doesn’t really in terms of the time. O.k. let’s say you need to get to a certain EBIT to be ready to sell, to be big enough to sell or to get the return that you want—that might take a couple of years.

And the sell itself—plan for a year. Then the earn up might be three, four, two, who knows. Say it’s five, that’s eight years from today.

Darren:

Especially, going back to what you said before, if the reason they’ve gone out to start their own business is because there is no longer a place inside the organisation they could be doing this in their 40s. So, they need to be thinking about what are their short, medium and long-term objectives?

Which is weird isn’t it because I wonder how many people start businesses without having that in mind.

Julia:

Most. It’s not unique but our industry is incredibly reactive. We are designed as agencies to solve problems so we react to the problems the clients give us. We are not wired for proactively leading and that’s the shift that I train in Mastery; is how do you lead, move forward in the way that you want not to be the effect of someone else’s cause but to be the cause?

Darren:

Julia, this has been great to catch up; thank you for your time.

Julia:

My pleasure.

Darren:

One last question and this is a bit controversial but who’s your favourite agency?

TrinityP3’s comprehensive Search & Selection process provides extensive market knowledge, tightly defined process and detailed evaluation and assessment. Learn more here

Want more articles like this? Subscribe to our newsletter:

Fill out my online form.

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

We're Listening

Have something to say about this article?
Share it with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

Tweet26
Share11
+1
Share
37 Shares