In October we hosted our sixth The New World of New Biz webinar, which is sponsored by Just After Midnight. Our Founder Katie Street was joined by yet another fantastic line up:
- Margaret Manning OBE, former CEO of Reading Room
- Daniel Hemsley, Managing Director at Swamp Motel
- Richard Norton, Co-Founder Tiny Giant
Offering new products/services
Katie Street kicked off the session by saying 50% of companies have had to launch either new products or services as a result of the Coronavirus disruption.
Daniel Hemsley, Managing Director at Swamp Motel, said that they are included in this 50%. Stating that pre lockdown Swamp Motel was primarily a brand experience agency and are now an immersive entertainment agency. Daniel said “Historically we had done new business pretty badly” using their black book, dabbling with speed dating and prospecting outreach.
Then with 95% of their pipeline dropping out they contemplated closing the business due to the pandemic but wanted to keep doing what they loved doing, so looked at the environment and created a product from their research, an online escape room through Zoom, and Plymouth Point was born!
They were brave and tried something, which has paid off, it’s been more successful than they could ever have dreamed, even hiring ten more employees. Daniel advised that agencies should, “look at what you do and why you do it”. Katie agreed, “think about what your audience needs, and how you can help them”.
Prospecting in different markets
Katie asked Margaret Manning, OBE, former CEO of Reading Room what she’d been seeing in the market in Singapore and whether prospecting was different in Asia, Margaret suggested it wasn’t any different, “prospecting is prospecting anywhere and everywhere”, but suggested prospecting in a more holistic way depending on what type of agency you have.
Margaret also shared the ‘Innovation Wheel’, created by Doblin, she said it is really useful when looking at prospecting, taking a business and splitting it into 3 different components:
- Offering (what you offer clients)
- Experience (how your clients perceive you)
- Configuration (the engine room)
You have to be able to provide the 3 components for prospecting to work, “If you’ve got the best idea in the world, the most creative experience in the world, but no configuration, it’s not going to work” Margaret said. She also said that you need a business that supports your prospecting.
Simplify your offering
The group discussed that agencies should be looking at what they do and how they should simplify their offering so it’s not too overwhelming for clients to understand. Margaret said, “don’t try to be everything to everybody” as well as, ‘if you are clear with your service or product it makes it easier for a client to come to you”.
Richard Norton (aka Norts), said that at Tiny Giant, they wanted to do everything with emerging tech, but that meant they started off as jack of all trades and master of none. Richard said “we want to concentrate on the things that we have a good reputation for, so made the decision to go niche”, they also now run courses to show what is possible in their world.
Katie said she’s seeing a huge trend in agencies being more niche that is more viable by understanding their audience. She also suggested, “the likelihood is your audience’s needs would have changed so need to change your offering and messaging”.
With regards to prospecting, Richard said that when he approached people directly, including CEO’s he has found this successful, “I found that people get excited with they see AI rather than reading about it, so I wanted to be more tactile”. He also suggested that new business can take time, but people do come back to you, months, even years later when they are ready, so you need to be patient if the timing isn’t right for them now.
Katie said you have to think and create tactics, e.g webinar, piece of written content, video content, or an immersive experience, something that is going to resonant with your audience. She said not to rely on posting content and just hope your audience will find you because they won’t, you need to go to them, and Margaret suggested you need good data to make this happen.
The panel spoke about the importance of mentors, and how they can help you think about your business and ask you the right questions, so you improve and grow.
Margaret advised the audience not to shy away from mentors, and people seem to be nervous about having a mentor but shouldn’t be as they can really help with your own personal development and your business goals.
Being a mentor herself, and having been mentored in the past, Katie suggested that mentors make you accountable, and helps you with momentum “which ever stage your business is at, it’s more important now than ever to use a mentor”.
One of the questions that was submitted during the webinar:
Q: There is a lot of talk about single-minded propositions, very focussed product offerings, the old adage “Do one thing well”. How important does the panel feel it is to, at least understand the omnichannel environment into which their product fits because marketing decision-makers are very often working across the entire marketing mix. Is it an agency’s job to explain how their service or product fits into the bigger picture?
A: Katie said “Incredibly important” and Margaret said “omnichannel is absolutely vital.
But equally it’s vital that businesses large and small are very clear not only about their offering but where It fits within your business”.
The importance of partnerships
Katie spoke about the opportunity and success of working with partners, and how it has enabled Street agency to do more, especially when it comes to marketing automation.
Partnerships are a really important for prospecting, “if you could hook up with a partner that works with your product or service, you can get double the prospects together” said Margaret.
It seems that agencies are looking for just partnership managers to own and work those relationships, have to invest time to make them brilliant!
When is the best time to send email outreach?
The world has changed, and the send times that we once thought were the right time to send email campaigns out, now might not be the best time, due to people working from home. It’s been suggested that in the morning people are busy with Zoom calls and catch ups, therefore prospecting emails might now have a better success rate when sent between 8am -9am or after 2pm.
Top prospecting tips
We asked the panel to wrap up the webinar with their top prospecting tip:
- “Be bold be brave” – Norts
- “Don’t forget the new business basics” – Daniel
- “The landscape is changing, our clients are changing extremely quickly, you need to look at prospecting not from a slim marketing perspective but from a business perspective, be agile, get all your business involved, not just one part of it”. Margaret
If you weren’t able to make the webinar or you’d like to watch it back, here’s the video recording:
The New World of New Biz webinars take place on the first Tuesday of every month at 11am, you can sign up here to join the next one.