Talking shop at sea//
…or how we spent three days on a boat pitching Factor 3 to 42 new clients.
When first invited to attend The Marketing Forum, my initial thought was, “Do we really need to go?” 2016 has been a strong year for our agency and we had just won a major digital marketing pitch. At the same time, I always believe you pitch your best game when you’re on a winning streak; clients can always smell fear and desperation.
And so, with the promise of getting to introduce our Cheltenham-based design agency to 42 potentially new clients, along with a strong recommendation from a competitive design agency who’d attended the last four years (Thanks Paul!), we decided to give it a go.
From the word ‘go’ it was all hands-on deck in our studios; we prepared dossiers on every client we were scheduled to meet; we delivered mailings (an email introduction with content analysis of their site and a posted Survival Kit for the boat for each client – see above image), along with a video show reel to present, should the opportunity arise, and a digital strategy thought piece, all to help introduce our agency, our work, our talent, and our thinking to these potential new clients before we ever sat down to chat.
New business is a strange alchemical science; it’s like a never-ending series of experiments to create a great client. Like alchemy, you’re constantly re-examining the formula to see how it could be improved to achieve success. Sometimes the chemistry just works and you have a pitch winning formula – but try that approach again and you’re back in the lab following an ‘it was really close’ telephone call.
Stepping on to the good ship Aurora, we had our formula, but we also had no idea whether we’d sink or swim.
The first evening we had four ‘speed dates’ and two dinner meetings. So far so good. The second day started at 7.45am and finished at midnight. We squeezed in 18 meetings. The third day, again started at 7.45am and ended at 1am – with a further 18 meetings. Intense? Just a bit. Exhausting? Absolutely. Did the formula work? We’ll let you know.
We stepped back off the boat weary, but surprisingly upbeat. They were long days, but rich in conversation, idea generation, and collaboration across all the clients we met. We realised this is where the work begins: maintaining the relationships we’d built on the boat; continuing to think and ideate, keeping in touch often, and hopefully, in one or two cases, turning lead into gold.