Ad Agencies Expect Improved Business Conditions in 2011

Advertising agencies are predicting an improved business picture for 2011. A new survey finds many agencies believe they’ve turned the corner and will be able to find additional clients this year. Agencies acknowledge that the competition for clients will be challenging. But they are turning to several sources and employing multiple marketing tactics to bring new clients through the door.

A new survey published by Michael Gass Consulting reveals that nearly half of agencies say  that business is up or up significantly compared to a previous study done in 2008 when the Great Recession was most severe.

Agencies are using the following sources to find new business:

  • Referrals 25.9%
  • Personal networks 24.5%
  • Agency website 9.1%

Agencies are also discovering the importance of the new business director position. Over half (57.3%) employ a new business director. In addition, agencies are also formalizing their new business process. About 53% of agencies draft up formal, written new business plans.

The typical ad agency also believes it must be differentiated from the competition in order to win new business. In some cases, this means positioning the agency as expert in a specific niche such as casinos or high-end resorts. In other cases, differentiation means promising full service in all types of media ranging from traditional to digital. For many, a long history of excellent client service is the differentiator.

Gass’s survey also revealed that nearly 1/3rd of all agencies do not have a blog. To improve their competitive position in the new age of social media, it seems likely that all agencies might strive to publish a blog and use any incoming information as a potential source of new business leads.

[Source: 2010 Advertising Agency New Business Survey. Michael Gass Consulting. December 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2011]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.