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Thursday, February 3, 2011

It Can Pay To Keep Agency and Client at a Safe Distance

I was reading a blog post today by RSW/US, a new business development firm based in the country's heartland -- Cincinnati, Ohio (that is the heartland, right?).  RSW/US works with agencies, advertising and public relations, and they talk with marketers all the time.

In addition to being in the business of new business development for agencies, they also do new biz dev for their own company too.  Well, of course they do.  This firm is not the cobbler's children.

I was introduced to RSW/US in the summer of 2009, and had a couple of conversations with Lee McKnight, Jr., their own director of business development.  He's a good consultative new biz dev pro and if you think your firm could benefit from having "more feet on the street," then a call to Lee would be time well spent in my opinion.

While 3Point isn't a paying customer of RSW/US -- at least not yet -- we do consume content from RSW/US. Their "ANB" Blog provides meaningful insights for agencies, including how the new business pitch process has morphed, how agencies could use social media in their new business efforts, etc.

If you work at an agency and have new business development responsibilities, you really should check out their blog.

The post that caught my attention today was actually published a week ago:  "Agency Search Going Local?  Watch Out for the Weeds".  It's a good take on the pitfalls of being geographically (too) close to your client(s).

Like a lot of agencies, we hear from prospects who insist on having a "local" team.  There's a safety net and comfort level clients have knowing members of their agency team can meet them in person on short notice whenever necessary -- and when it's unnecessary, too.  But as the RSW/US post points out, when there's no space between the client's living quarters and the agency's, there's a danger of getting "dragged down into the weeds of the tactics" leaving less time and less budget for strategic thinking.

An account team in close proximity to the client gives the client a false sense of security.  I've had many clients over the years who were located "just down the street" but the need for actual "face time" was infrequent.  At the same time, many of our clients have been located hundreds and even thousands of miles away from the actual account team.  These clients are most interested in the talent and skill sets of the team, the team's knowledge of the customer's business and the agency's ability to generate the desired results.

If you had a choice between a mediocre account team who sat 10 miles from your office or a great account team who was a thousand miles away, which would you choose?

Where the agency team sits is irrelevant.

Communication skills, phones, mobile and desktop devices, email and cloud-based collaboration solutions take care of the rest.


  1. Thanks for the kind words Jim, as well as your take on our post. It's great to have a fleshed-out perspective from someone who's been there.


  2. Your content is always insightful. We read it all the time. Hope you are well, Lee.