The phone calls into us always begin the same way.

agency consulting

Think bigger.

It’s an agency owner online who has a prospect for some agency services, and the prospect’s product or service is new, untried, money is limited, and time is short. You know the drill. The typical agency owner is planning to sell in a focus group or two to get started and wants confirmation that that’s the right thing to do.

Ugh. First off that sounds so simplistic, sort of like your doctor saying take two aspirin and call me in the morning. There’s a better approach.

Advertising Agency Consulting Model

What’s needed is a simple consulting arrangement that maximizes value for the prospect, revenue for the agency owner and a more professional approach for the agency. The strategy is to move the prospect into a consulting arrangement, not a marketing solution.

You sell in a basic short-term consulting arrangement that will allow you to do a deep dive into the product or service that needs to be marketed. You are selling in your time to talk to users, investors, bankers, and other contacts that have insight on the product or service. Figure to sell in 5 days of consulting time, and now show how the 40 hours will be spent by your team, hour by hour. It all adds up to the fee you are proposing. For the client it’s more professional, simpler to understand and easy to see where the time goes.

The key is to make the list of projects you plan to undertake sound long and exhaustive and important to know. Now use your agency team to burn the hours doing a thorough situation analysis but don’t waste any time on preparing a report or passing money on to research houses, focus group facilities, etc at this stage. You keep the full fee as revenue.

At the end of the time, present a charted out SWOT program to the prospect showing how to solve the problem, meaning how to launch the product or service, what to call it, what follow-on research you need, and all the trimmings to do a good job for the client.

Your ideas at this stage are just rough. Don’t waste any creative time on concepts or tactics at this stage.

And don’t spend more than a minute from the end of the first 40 hours of your consulting study until you present your SWOT and you don’t want to mention you will be presenting a SWOT but call it something like a Flashplan or Impact Study or whatever you name it to get it started. SWOT is the format you are following to make it understandable and easy to follow. Nothing more is needed at this stage.

To sell it in focus the prospect on the need for the first phase, not the second phase, so you can be general on what the pay off will look like because you don’t know until you get into it.

This is a much better way to get started with a new client because it lets you learn about them and you learn about the market. And the start up money available comes to you, not to a research facility down the street.

It’s called consulting and any agency with more than four people ought to be doing a half million in consulting revenue every year. This simple consulting approach will get you started toward that goal.

Advertising agency consulting is the lost art that  marketing firms need to rediscover in this new world we are now living in.


Photo by sumarlegur