Mirren Conference : Ad Agencies need a hug!

by Michael Hubbard on April 11, 2011

in Just Sayin'

At 3:30am when my alarm went off, I was looking for inspiration.  I was on a 6am flight to the Big Apple to attend the Mirren New Business Conference.  It is my first time attending – and my hopes are to be inspired by what the other 399 agency people have to say.  What motivates them?  How are clients pushing them?  How are they reinventing this fast paced industry?  So far, the morning sessions have been as pleasant as a kick to the balls.  Women – that’s not pleasant.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s just getting started, and Monday’s extra session is supposed to really be about dealing with procurement, financial negotiation and ultimately positioning yourself financially in new business…  But still – the underlying tone has been The Big Bad Wolf (Client) is looking to huff and puff, and blow our little businesses (Agency) down.  Every speaker so far has addressed how clients are asking for more while paying less, or how they’re giving Procurement a seat at the table to do nothing more than beat you down on pricing.  Wake up agency execs!  This is the economy we live and work in, and you need to be able to change and adapt and make it work.  Nobody feels sorry for you, so let’s quit with the pity party and move on with the conference!  There, now that that’s off my chest…

The highlight so far has been Michael Farmer from Farmer and Company…  I expected to learn the ABC’s and how to’s, but what I got was a history lesson.  Granted, not everyone here agree’s, but history to me is more important than someone’s idea of where they think we are going, but have no basis for their thoughts.  Michael’s look back at how agencies have done business in the past and what clients have asked from us (smarter creative, and better strategy) has been fantastic.  Here’s a look at some of the other high-level takes from this morning:

  • The best client relationships come from STRONG client management.  Make sure your Client Services team is the best.
  • Use the following as a guideline for new biz pitch principles:
    • Only pursue like-minded clients
    • It’s all about the work
    • A solutions that solves problems and sets the vision
    • Share early and don’t pre-plan outcomes
    • Outstanding execution in all we do
    • Equal parts agency and individuals
  • Client problems have become more strategic and less creative.
  • Every agency SAYS they’re “different” or “better” to the client
  • Give a client more than they ask for…  Then, what they ask for in the RFP…

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the conference!


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