There is an old fable out of Africa that goes something like this:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

The same is true in new business. No matter what type of firm, what your background is, or how successful you’ve been over the years, when the sun comes up you’d better be running when it comes to finding new leads.

agency new business systems

Sun’s up… better start running!

New business is one of those topics everyone is in total agreement: it is vital to any marketing firm but never gets the attention it needs. While we believe strongly in the Spark system, and have many examples of it working, we do recognize there are some other systems that can work. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s the right medium for the right place, at the right time. Here are a few of the other outreach systems we’ve seen work.


Other Ad Agency New Business Systems

  1. Increase Awareness by Advertising for Leads: Simple to control, easy to accomplish, and little agency effort required. It can be quite expensive. The focus is on awareness only, not building relationships with prospects.
  2. Increase Agency Awareness by Hiring a Public Relations Firm: Easy enough to find a PR firm that can help, and it will get the agency’s name in the news. Expensive, slow to build and the PR firm may not understand the mission or have relationships with key editors. Limited effectiveness because editors want news, not agency flash. But the real problem is clients don’t read AdWeek, the easiest place to create agency news.
  3. Increase Agency Awareness by Hiring a Full-Time Publicist: Simple to control and has been proven successful at getting the agency’s name in the news. Requires a concentrated effort on a few key target publications. Great at building awareness, not very good at building relationships with prospects.
  4. Increase Agency Awareness with Flat Mail, Newsletters, and Brochure Distribution: Builds awareness, not prospect relationships. Easily targeted and requires few agency resources. Difficult to sustain and most of the time ends up in prospect’s round file. Face it, all this effort just doesn’t stand out. Not effective without a call behind the effort. And calling behind this type of mail is very frustrating.
  5. Build Agency Awareness with Listing Services, Search Firms and Search Consultants: This is often a good source of leads, and is growing in popularity. Often leads to many introductions to prospects you don’t know. Of course there is now a lot competition. Search consultants are swamped with agencies interested in them, and many programs often have different levels, meaning you pay to play.
  6. Increase Agency Awareness with Content Marketing: The latest trend is all about inbound marketing. It is simple to control and it makes it easy for your agency to be found. With a concentrated effort it can generate many prospects with real needs. The bad news is your agency must have a focus if you really want to stand out, something many agencies loath to do. And you need to generate lots and lots of content. But the real problem is the focus is on awareness only, not relationships with prospects. You still need to close, and without a relationship, this makes it difficult.


Most agencies need a new business system that generates a steady stream of leads into the agency.

New business is too complicated, too important and too competitive to overload a New Business Director with the responsibility of creating leads for the agency, which is a full-time job. This may mean you need a Spark.


Every Morning photo by adapanich