Agencies Say Referrals, Networking Best For Drumming Up New Biz

October 30, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | Social Media | Trade Shows & Events

About 8 in 10 agencies surveyed by RSW/US [pdf] believe that the number of opportunities for new business are about the same as last year (34.4%) or have increased (44.8%). But, that doesn’t mean that getting new business is any easier. In fact, more than 8 in 10 say that obtaining new business is either as hard (47.6%) or harder (34.9%) than it was last year. So what has been most effective for generating new business? Asked to select their top 3 marketing tools, most agencies chose referrals (59%), networking (57.4%), and business from existing clients (57.4%).

No other marketing tactic even came close. Presentations or speaking engagements got 24.6% of the vote, and cold calls 18%. Slightly more than 1 in 10 said that social media and email marketing (each at 11.5%) was one of their top-3 most effective ways of obtaining new business. None of the other individual tactics identified cracked the 10% threshold.

Emails, Mailings Draw Awareness From Marketers

In addition to its survey of 168 agency principals The RSW/US study contains results from a survey of 101 key marketing decision-makers. Interestingly, despite few agencies trumpeting email as an effective tool for generating new business, marketing decision-makers say that aside from referrals, they most often learn about new agencies through emails (58.3%) they receive from agencies. Mailings (49%) and calls (46.9%) they receive are also ways in which they frequently learn about agencies. By contrast, only 15.6% can say the same about social media.

Marketer: Dear Agency, Please Email Me

When it comes to the preferred methods of outreach by agencies, marketers show a very clear penchant for email. Indeed, asked how they like to be contacted if an agency is trying to reach out to make them aware of the value they can bring their company, 76.8% of marketers selected email as one of their top-3 choices. Trailing distantly in the second spot was mail, chosen by 36.8% of respondents. Of course, these communication methods are also the easiest to ignore – which may be why only about 1 in 10 agencies reported much success with new business generation using email marketing or email campaigns.

Contact methods that require more direct contact, such as phone calls (23.2%), conferences (23.2%) and trade shows (10.9%), are preferred by fewer marketers. When it comes to social media, marketers much prefer to be contacted via LinkedIn (17.9%) than Facebook (3.2%) or Twitter (1.1%).

Other Findings:

  • Looking ahead to the end of this year and 2013, more than 6 in 10 agencies believe that new business opportunities will increase relative to that same time period last year.
  • Only 1 in 10 agencies have ever used an inbound marketing tool (like HubSpot) to assist with new business development.
  • The most frequent new business opportunities seen by agencies are digital, such as web design and mobile (76.3%) and social media (52.6%). This mirrors Q2 survey results from Pearlfinders, which found that digital and social media services have become more sought-after disciplines.

About the Data: The RSW/US surveys were conducted in September 2012.

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