This week the Ad Club hosted guest speakers Kristen Cavallo, Chief Strategy Officer of Mullen, and Donna Wiederkehr, CMO of Aegis Media N.A., on the topic of new business. Coming from different backgrounds, with over decades of experience between the two of them, the insights they gave were both practical and thought provoking.
Cavallo and Wiederkher, outlined and discussed five steps to help generate new business for advertising agencies. However, these steps have a broader application and provide a good guide for digital publishers.
- Treat your agency as a brand: While you might be a content aggregator, or even a content platform, remember that you are a brand. Advertisers aren’t just buying your audience. They’re buying your name and the association that comes with placing ads on your page. Brands are powerful, build yours. And if you want to stay at the top, don’t become complacent. Think like your runner up. What are they planning to do to take your place?
- Mine CMOs, not Companies: When building your inspiration bank look for people, not products. You might love the new Slate redesign, but that doesn’t mean you should keep looking at Slate to lead the way. Instead, find the people that did the redesign (Hard Candy Shell), and follow them. They’re sure to continue doing more inspirational work.
- Set a bar for yourself: Cavallo spoke about a spend threshold for clients that the agencies take on. Not every brand that approaches her is going to be right for her agency. In the same way, not every advertiser is right for your site. You are known by the company that you keep. The same way advertisers are using your brand when they’re on your site, users will associate their brand with your site. So, be conscious.
- Use PR as your single greatest asset: This is particularly important for content sites to remember. The audience is trafficking your site for the content, not the ads, so make sure you are known for great content. Buzz around the success of your site will bring the advertisers to you.
- Refuse to be ignored: “The biggest threat to brands and business isn’t negative feelings, its indifference.” This is something to keep in mind no matter what your business is. When people interact with your content you want them to feel something. That connection will keep them coming back again and again.
Listening to Cavallo and Wiederkher speak showed what having passion and ambition can help you to achieve. They understand their businesses inside and out. That holistic understanding of what makes them different helped them in every decision they made, from clients, to work and results. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be the best version of your own site. And when you put forward the best version of your site, no matter how much people will try to copy it, they’ll never be as good at being you as you.