1. It just hired a new CMO.
Let’s get the most obvious sign out of the way first. An incoming CMO will likely review agency relationships within the first several months of their appointment. Give this variable the most weight when predicting possible reviews.
Example: The Houston Rockets just became the first NBA team to hire a CMO.
Score: 67 (a review could be on the way in the next nine to 12 months; possibly sooner)
Julian Duncan, the former CMO and social responsibility senior VP for the Jacksonville Jaguars, joined the Houston Rockets as chief marketing and strategy officer. Duncan will direct marketing, promotional and branding efforts while also overseeing fan experience, digital content, retail and community engagement.
The NBA is obviously focused on advertising efforts for the Rockets and tends to target Gen Z and millennial men (especially sports enthusiasts) via TV, digital, paid social, OOH, print and local broadcast.
Your agency may be able to secure brand-specific and/or project-based work under Duncan. Right now, the NBA’s roster includes creative agency partners Translation, Ready Set Rocket, The Marketing Arm and Cartwright. Mediahub picked up media buying last year.
2. It’s struggling.
If a brand is under-performing or struggling to reach its target demographic, something’s gotta give. Whether it’s a public company that needs to show stockholders everything is under control or a startup that must adjust performance to stay afloat, a struggling brand is far more likely to reshuffle their agency lineup.
Example: Pier 1 Imports relaunches under a new CMO and parent company.
Score: 88 (an agency review looks imminent; approach now)
By Q3 2020, not long after appointing CMO Adrial Bhatia, Pier 1 Imports had closed all of its stores, and Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) acquired the IP and data. REV has also collected retailers Modell’s, Dress Barn and Radio Shack to launch as D2C options. This acquisition came after Pier 1 filed for bankruptcy and sought a buyer in early 2020.
Pier 1’s focus on Facebook and Instagram, along with its focus on authenticity and storytelling (per Bhatia) indicates it’s targeting Gen Z. Various publications have reported that young consumers appreciate authentic and story-based marketing. Additionally, Pier 1’s target demographic traditionally has a strong female skew.
Since we have not yet heard of any roster shifts since the company’s CMO hire, your agency should keep reaching out for potential work. Competition includes Droga5 (creative) and The Blueshirt Group (PR).
3. It’s tapped other agencies.
Agency hires tend to follow one another. A new media AOR appointment can be followed by a creative hire, a PR hire, digital appointment and more. If a brand is changing one piece of the puzzle, they’re more likely to shift the other pieces as well.
Example: Cracker Barrel taps creative and media AOR.
Score: 85 (an agency review looks imminent; approach now)
The chain of combined restaurants and stores appointed Dentsu as its new creative and media AOR, replacing incumbent Havas Chicago. Dentsu’s responsibilities now include strategic, creative and paid media. In response to the global pandemic, this company temporarily closed its dining rooms. It also added beer and wine at 350 locations.
Gen X and boomers, particularly moms and travelers, tend to make up most of Cracker Barrel’s target demographic. The company invests heavily in OOH advertising. In fact, it exclusively advertised on billboards until 2020 with 1,600-plus billboards around the country that urge travelers to visit its restaurants. These travelers reportedly make up 40% of Cracker Barrel’s business.
Right now, according to execs in the company’s latest call, it has enhanced its focus on marketing in Florida, so agencies able to support these local plans will have an upper hand. Your agency may also be able to secure digital analytics, PR and/or social media management work. Right now, Edelman handles PR.
4. It’s in a funding round.
Scouting out brands amid funding rounds is another way to identify which marketers will soon be flush with cash to spend on advertising and marketing initiatives.
Example: Oliver Space taps top marketer and lands funding round amid spend increase.
Score: 72 (signs of an agency shift; review could be six to nine months out)
Furniture company Oliver Space landed a $13 million Series A funding round led by U.S. Venture Partners. Along with this new funding, the company raised $21 million in equity and $16 million in debt since its 2018 founding. This new funding will support the company’s marketing capabilities (which will lead to continued higher spend), market expansion and tech development.
Within the past year, Oliver Space grew 500% in monthly revenue and 800% in monthly order volume, which allowed it to triple its employee headcount. Furniture and home furnishing sales are expected to top 14% of total retail e-commerce sales in the States by 2022, according to Statista. As the category grows, Oliver Space’s spend will likely continue doing the same.
This surge in digital spend and reliance on Instagram advertising show that Oliver Space is primarily targeting Gen Z right now, which may result in expansions into additional digital channels such as OTT and/or podcasts.
Right now, the company is in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, San Diego and Seattle. Your agency should get in touch soon to remain top-of-mind.
These are just a few indicators of pitch-worthiness, which you should view in tandem with smaller, subtle shifts to determine the likelihood an account will be receptive to outreach at the time in question.
Want someone to pick through the sea of changes for you? Winmo gives you a daily rundown of pitch-worthy accounts like these that should be on your agency’s radar, plus the decision-makers responsible for their budgets. Learn more about how your agency can get curated leads on a daily basis at winmo.com/adage.