Advertising & Marketing Communications spending is one of the first things companies decide to cut when faced with slowing sales. Advertising agencies have already started feeling the pinch. Ad people are anxious and scared as well. So, what do you do to survive this critical phase and come out victorious. You must fight back! Here is your survival guide:
1. Promote your agency more aggressively – Doing nothing only leads to failure. This moment is the test of your leadership. Go out there, and face the recession head-on. Promote your agency more aggressively than ever before. Relentlessly pursue new business leads. Re-negotiate costs with your vendors, IT providers and even with your landlord! Generate great business-building ideas for your existing clients. All these will fuel you and your agency with renewed energy.
2. Be there for the client – Do not take your clients for granted even for a single day. Make sure that you personally visit each of your clients in the same month. Your clients need your help like never before, for they’re now seeking answers to kick-start their sales and get rolling. If their agency stands by them in this battle, enabling them to invent new solutions, they will most likely never forget you once the good times resurafce.
3. Create opportunities – Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Don’t wait for the chance. Meet as many people as possible. There is always an opportunity to capitalize on. Collaborate with your partners, tie up with complimentary service providers and forge strategic alliances. Remember, somewhere a potential client is planning to take advantage of the downturn. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you just sit back and wait for the next new-business win, you are simply waiting for a disaster to take over.
4. Think Smart. Work Harder – In your efforts to fight back the downturn, be sure your agency’s work is as smart as it can be. Put in those extra hours. Ask yourself: Is the message as relevant today as it was six months ago? Is it as cost effective? Is there a better and perhaps cheaper medium to communicate the message? Maintain the integrity of your agency’s work throughout these times, and you will surely earn the trust and respect of your clients.
5. Don’t stop innovations – Slow client spending is not an excuse to go conservative with your work. Don’t play safe. If you think you are going to hold on to your clients by being extra cautious with your work, you might give your clients an excuse to switch to another agency that will continue to take intelligent risks. Recession is the ideal time to innovate and experiment. Suggest media innovations. Try your hand and unleash your creativity online through blogs, social media and viral campaigns.
6. Improve internal communication – Do not sit quietly in your cabin and distance yourself from the staff. Get up and mingle with your staff and let them know what’s going on with the agency. Feel the pulse of your own team. Better internal communication only makes the team stronger. Also, do not stop looking for the best talent. This economic downturn has put a lot of really good people on the street. Now may be a rare opportunity to upgrade your staff strength. Provide creative stimulation to engage your employees. Keep the spirits up to make sure that the happiness quotient remains high in your office.
7. Stay focused – Just because times are tough, your agency shouldn’t move away from the strategic course you set. Be it a plan to differentiate your agency or expand into new services, stay true to your long term goals even if it takes a little longer for them to materialize. When the economy turns around, you’ll have the wind at your back.
And finally don’t forget: tough times never last, but tough people do.