While compulsively checking Twitter this morning, I came across this tweet from @fuellines with a link to this release from ad agency new business consultant Michael Gass. The headline: “Ad Agency Survey Finds Traditional New Business Methods Aren’t Working.” The post (and report) actually are a couple of years old, and I think most ad agencies are (finally) aboard the new media train. But it was this statement from the release that really struck me:
“What seems to be revealing is the significant majority of these agencies are still relying heavily upon referrals and networking for new business and these traditional methods are not working.”
Nope. They’re sure not.
There are two things to consider, here. One, because we can no longer rely solely on referrals and networking as a conduit for business, we are now in the position of having to actually (brace yourself) sell. Which is to say, mount a consistent and compelling campaign to get people past their fear of spending money on our services, which they already want and probably also really need.
Two, because people are so skittish about spending, they want to do business with people they can “prove” (to their boss, board, peers) are the best. Experts who have been recognized by their peers and the media as having unique insights and who have successfully solved (business, marketing technology) problems just like theirs.
Consistent and appropriate social media presence will raise your profile somewhat. But for maximum impact, social media needs to be buttressed with expert quotes, bylined articles, comments and guest posts on respected industry blogs, etc. This is expertise PR, which when done right, can result in a series of third-party endorsements that can add immeasurably to your credibility. That said, experts are grown, not stamped. Think crock pot rather than microwave.
With so much competition for business and so much less budget to go around, agencies and consultants must get in there and claim the business there is. But buyers will be much more apt to open up when you knock if they recognize the person on the other side of the door.
If you want to know more about how you can use the fruits of expertise PR to help cultivate new business, please contact me.