There are other ways to get through this recession. I've written about some in recent months, but wanted to share some new insights that may help your agency thrive against the odds:
- Buy an Agency. That's right. One of the smartest strategies over the next 18 months will be to grow through acquisition. Seek out an agency that complements the strengths your shop has, both in skill sets, client roster, specialty and culture. Some shops are hurting now, so they may be inclined to sell; others may be doing well, but want to take advantage of the downturn in the economy to add core services to continue to satisfy the client base. Either way, now could be a rare opportunity for you to grow without making a new-business pitch or winning additional assignments from current clients.
- Write a Book. In times like these, your agency needs every advantage it can get. I've seen many agencies whose leaders have penned a book on the business, and the impact it has had on the agency. Authoring a book gives your shop instant credibility and, even more important, a leg up in every new business pitch. Clients prefer to hire the agency that wrote the book on marketing. If you start now, it can hit the bookshelves in 2009. Full disclosure: This is something I've always wanted to do. And still plan to. Wish I had it done now!
- Touch Your Client. Not that way. You should have a plan to have everyone with client-facing responsibilities touch his or her clients on a more regular basis. Not just to build relationships -- that is part of it, for sure. But reach out to your clients with more timely thinking on growing brands in economic downturns; develop more innovative ideas that you might think twice about in normal times (I call this a smart risk); and offer to be a think tank for them, even if the problems to solve have nothing to do with advertising or PR. Your clients just might take you up on it, and they likely won't forget you when times get good again.