Thursday, September 28, 2006

GTAF Luncheon

Yesterday Jessica, Ashley and I attended the GTAF business development panel/luncheon. It was at the University Center, which is always nice. There were three panelist; Dale Brill, the head honcho from VisitFlorida, whom we've all heard speak about 500 times (but he's super entertaining and always has good stuff to say), Rob Cherof, the Executive VP of BBDO Atlanta, and Mark Raciappa, a business coach from Action International. Dale and Rob had some great tips to offer up about selecting new business, making pitches, and how to not get new business. Didn't think Mark's comments were as applicable, but he was a good speaker as well. Some highlights from the lunch:

1. On how to get new business -
"Find out what their pain is and show how you can alleviate it," Dale Brill
I thought this was the best piece of advice. A lot of new business pitches can get carried away with showing cool creative and trying to dazzle the client. All they need is reassurance that you know where it hurts and you have a pack of Band-Aids.

2. On how much to spend on new business -
"Spend as much as it takes to win. But don't spend stupid money," Rob Cherof
He explained that each pitch needs to be evaluated and if it's a good fit for the business, spend whatever you need to in order to get the client. Coming in second gets you nothing. Of course, he also stressed that spending more than the actual contract would be worth is a bad idea (obviously, but again, it's easy to get carried away).
On that same note, Rob also discussed that winning new business is a major morale booster. Every agency goes through a period of time when they don't win much new business - or - they keep losing it, which really sucks and is depressing. This is when it becomes tempting to go after anything. Don't do that! There is not only a financial cost for pursuing new business, but also an energy cost. Continuing to lose will bring the agency down even more.

3. On what to bring to the pitch -
Bringing full creative/plans is bad! We all know this, but lots of government clients expect to see their problem solved. I know that when you submit media plans for government clients, they expect a fully negotiated plan (which is the worst situation ever! It's very difficult to negotiate with stations for lower rates when you don't have the client!). Rob said that "insights need to be brought to the table." I really liked this because I've been taking an account planning course that is all about consumer insights. I also spoke with an account planner and he was all about insights. Everyone loves insights!

4. Lastly, my favorite quote of the day was from Rob Cherof and is relevant due to recent ad industry complaining - "I hate RFPs. Everyone can dress up once. It's easy to rent a tux." haha we all hate RFPs - they are definitely no fun (especially media buying ones!).

Oh, and the lunch next month will feature our city's big agency; The Zimmerman Agency. They will talk about how to become a national agency.


Anonymous Jeremy Spinks said...

Posted just in time, before my new business meeting of the week! I would be interested to hear what Zimmerman has to say too - I have come across more than one person in the last 6 months who has said "we're not a big enough client to get their attention anymore".

September 28, 2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Eric said...

I haven't looked at your blog since the first post. It's great!

September 28, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger Michelle Marts said...

Thanks for posting you two! I thought Tom would be the only one interested ;) I think we should all check out Zimmerman's presentation - I bet it will be interesting!

September 28, 2006 9:29 AM  

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