How Does Your Ad Agency Get In Bed with a Client Like Ford?

By Jason Swenk on September 16, 2014

In this episode I talk with Scott Monty, former Global Head of Social Media for the Ford Motor Company. He walks us through landing big agency clients like Ford as well as other new clients.

How does your ad agency generate new business with big clients like Ford?

It’s all about the research. According to Scott, about 90-95% of the people who contacted him didn’t do their research before approaching him. As a fairly public figure at Ford you can imagine that he got a lot of inquiries. But most of them were either form emails or total shots in the dark.

So, how do you get in the door at Ford? Well, the company works almost exclusively with WPP companies. The are big, well established agencies with whom Ford has had a long relationship. It’s hard to break into that establishment.

However, if you want to approach them, be sure to do your research beforehand. You need to really understand where a company like that has been, what they’ve done, and what it is that they want to do.

In the case of a company like Ford, you’ll probably need to subcontract for one of their traditional agencies. The WPP companies will farm out work to smaller agencies and that’s where you can get in the door.

Recommendations on how to get your agency to the next level.

  1. Show that you have a keen understanding of the client’s business and an understanding of your own capabilities.
  2. Don’t assume you can improve on something without knowing what the baseline is (in other words – reread #1).
  3. Understand where the industry is going, where the challenges are, and where there might be an opportunity that isn’t currently being met.

Should I be a specialist?

Being a specialist can take you a long way. However, there is a danger. As soon as the industry realizes how vital your specialty is, they’ll start to bring it in house. Make sure you have your next specialty on the horizon.

Regardless of down the road, having a specialty and providing value will get your foot in the door. It will also allow you to command a premium over your competitors.

The Do Not’s For Big New Clients

Want to make a big client mad? Lag behind on the trends in technology.

It’s your job as the agency to stay on the cutting edge. Don’t let your client be the one that’s pushing you or telling you about the newest trends. They’re paying you to be awesome, so be awesome!

Most of the time, agency owners are being reactive, not proactive. Start by creating good content. Have an angle, produce regularly, and help people.

Remember: it’s not about what sells, it’s about what people need.

Advice For Your Agency

I hope you found this helpful in how your agency can bring in new clients as well as big clients such as Ford but this might not be the only struggle you are facing within your business.  I cover all topics from how to leverage Youtube in your agency’s favour to creating the best agency proposals and more. I hope you found this helpful and can put it into action.

Have other topics you want advice on? You can check out all my tips, tricks and insights in my blog covering a wide variety of topics as well as answering your questions in more from my Ask Swenk series.

Are videos more your thing?  You can check out my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel for advice from myself and other agency experts.

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