When I worked for large agencies that had been around for a long time, I often heard that we didn’t need to prospect because ‘everybody already knows who we are’ or ‘we’re already included in all the major pitches’ or ‘our problem isn’t awareness, it’s conversion.’ While these statements were all true, they were still short-sited for a few reasons. First, while a marketer may be vaguely familiar with your agency (maybe they know you’re big, you’ve been around forever, and you have a good reputation), he still won’t know what problems you’re solving for clients today (and how it’s relevant to him), which is the most important thing for him to know as we’ve discussed. Secondly, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, statistics show that marketers have an agency in mind before the RFP is released (and they choose that agency 85% of the time), so the fact that you are included in a pitch is not a success factor in and of itself. Often agencies lose pitches for the simple reason that they weren’t going to be hired to begin with. And finally, in my experience, most agencies are not doing today what they want to be doing tomorrow. In other words, they get RFPs for the stuff they’re known for but not what they really want to be doing. Perhaps they’re a creative agency that wants to be doing more digital work, or they’re a web development shop that wants to be considered for the entire digital ecosystem. Or maybe they’re known for direct marketing but would rather be considered for brand assignments. Repositioning yourself in the hearts and minds of your top prospects and getting into ‘column A’ for a pitch takes a well-balanced diet of thought leadership, PR and social media along with good, old-fashioned one-to-one selling.

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