What Digital Agencies Say

Let me share a story that I have now witnessed with almost every digital agency platform that exists…

I am invited to or I run an event for the sales and marketing teams of what might be considered the Top 50 independent agencies in the UK on the host platform. A veritable powerhouse of sales and marketing brainpower and experience…

Exercise 1 is “Get out a phone and have a video taken of your elevator pitch/intro that you would make to a potential client.

“Groan! Groan!” went the audience. (But I thought these were some of the high-flyers in the sales and marketing world?) And we know why they went “Groan! Groan!”. Not only do 95% of us hate any form of role play or videoing of themselves, but most of us feel uncomfortable about ‘selling’ our business in public.

Maybe we don’t put the necessary work in? Or maybe we think we could do better? Or maybe we think that the competition (that keep stealing business away from under our noses even when we have a better product) are better at this type of exercise.

My point is not about how we feel giving our 60-second intros. We all know how humbling/embarrassing/humiliating (delete as necessary) this type of exercise is and we seem to avoid them at all costs. But some people seem to nail it. And they win the business. So maybe we need to pay it some attention. But even that is not my point. My point is as follows:

25 pairs of agency folk videoing each other is a wonderful thing to behold. But hearing what they say is something else. The bull-ometer is in the red: “best-in-class, unique, open, transparent”, “using a combination of platform functionality utilised through a paradigm that engages all stakeholders in the digital transformation process”, “creating a deliverable, connected yet transformational input-output algorithm that capitalises in the big data characteristics that co-exist in a pre- and post-GDPR ecosystem” and so on.

You think I joke! You think I made this stuff up! I have been visibly shocked. And this is meant to be some of the best sales and marketing people!

Do people really think this is what clients want to hear? Don’t they know that clients play Bull Bingo?

This is simply a plea to see things through the eyes of the customer.

Do they believe this rubbish? No.

What do they care about? Themselves.

Each customer will be different, but I suspect most will fall under one or some of the following headings:

  • What do they want #1? An agency that will help them achieve their goals.
  • What do they want #2? A compelling and convincing proposition they can put in front of the FD and not be laughed out of the room.
  • What do they want #3? A presentation they find believable.
  • What do they want #4? Someone who cuts the rubbish, demonstrates credibility and authority, and looks like they can deliver.
  • What do they want #5? A presentation that clearly articulates the overt business benefit of working with the agency (ie clear numbers of what has been achieved).
  • What do they want #6? A presentation that demonstrates your ability to deliver on your promise.
  • What do they want #7? A presentation that demonstrates what makes you different from the rest.


I will stop there. But the bull has got to stop. It makes all agencies look foolish and doesn’t help you get the business. Unless you believe you are giving your potential customers what they want?