It’s February, which means 2012 is now in full swing and the predictions made by agency executives and marketing commentators are now being rigorously tested. The certainty amongst these forecasts is that new business will continue to be crucial to survival in 2012. As the cocktail of political unrest, shifts in global wealth and the economic downturn take hold, agencies with an international outlook will inevitably be in a stronger position to grow and stay relevant.
As a U.K.-based consultancy for both agencies and brands, we are in a unique and fortunate position to witness the excitement of the greatest show on earth, apart from the Super Bowl, of course (well done, Giants). I make reference to London’s 2012 Olympics and the opportunities agencies will have to showcase their global proposition. Marketers will be attentive to suggestions on how agencies can help their brands capitalize on the euphoria of the event, and it is a fantastic opportunity for U.S. agencies to collaborate with their U.K. counterparts on joint multidisciplinary campaigns.
Several agencies in the U.K. (and worldwide) adopt a glocal strategy, but its success is not always guaranteed. “Glocal” is a term derived from a Japanese business practice that means to “think global and act local.” The concept in itself is not a novel one, but very few independent agencies have managed to make a cultural shift to embrace it.
I discussed this approach to client acquisition and retention with Elisa Harca, the Client Services Director of Red Ant, a U.K.-based digital agency that has a presence in London, Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro with plans to expand in 2012. She provided some practical steps that should help independent agencies take control of new business in 2012.
Skill up: You can’t sell new ideas and the technologies behind them to clients without knowing all the pros and cons first.
Be prepared to share: Spreading the word about best practices, experience and expertise will make the industry a better place for agencies and clients alike.
Keep a global perspective: Growing economies outside Europe and the U.S. are hungry for digital engagement, and agencies with the right experience in the right disciplines are ideally placed to take advantage of this.
Take a lesson from the social networks and open up a dialogue whenever you can: Communication is the key to good work, and it’s best if it’s a two-way street.
Don’t do anything without a strategy: Build your foundations for action on rock instead of sand to ensure that you’re here in 2013 and beyond.
Good luck with your quest to win new accounts in 2012, but it is worth remembering that 80 percent of your billings will more than likely be generated from 20 percent of your core clients. If these clients are local, then perhaps it’s time to think global.