How to get in the door. Interview with Joe Clift, Brand & Customer Marketing Director at Lloyds Banking Group.
Joe Clift leaves Lloyds Banking Group at the end of February after three successful years as Brand & Customer Marketing Director. Joe spent the first half of his career agency side, at Ogilvy. During his time at Lloyds Joe ran and sat through many pitches. He is an acknowledged expert in all aspects of pitch management.
I asked Joe for his five top tips on how agencies can ‘get in the door’ of clients they’re not currently working with.
1. Be famous for something specific
All good clients will know broadly know where they can go for their main agency needs, so if you are new to them and wish to stand out, you need to have a clear point of view as to what makes you different and special and why they should give you an opportunity.
2. Agencies should do a much better job at understanding the person..
No Marketing Director is the same. We all have different backgrounds, different operating styles, different preferred approaches, modes and methods of communication. Even – at its most basic – different times of the day when you’re likely to get our ear.
3. Understand the business and the brand
What’s likely to be keeping them awake, given their business and brand health? What has their main competitor just done that they might be looking at in admiration or ridiculing by the water cooler? What campaigns have they just launched? What can you find out from your industry contacts about what’s coming next?
Use all those “scraps and straws” (as Jeremy Bullmore says in a different context) to build your best possible view as to how you can position your clear point of view, your point of difference, to spark some interest.
4. Be a partner…before you’re even a partner!
Most big clients have rosters, which they nurture and don’t readily disrupt. Work out how you might partner with one of their existing agencies. I call this “working the roster dynamics” and, if handled well, can work to everyone’s advantage.
5. And above all, be clear who you’re after
Clients prize their agencies, often above all else, for their communication planning and targeting skills. So why on earth don’t agencies wield the same brainpower on their new business strategies and communications? I’ve lost count of the number of approaches I’ve had which claim to be highly attuned to my needs, promising the answers to all my problems, when it’s crystal clear that I’m on the receiving end of something pretty vanilla and untargeted.
It’s critical that you understand the person, brand and business you’re targeting, so that your communications have the potential to be both relevant and adjacent. Only by meeting those two key criteria are you likely to get though my door.
Karla Morales is a new business and marketing consultant based in London. Over the last seven years she has worked with some of the most brilliant agencies in the UK to help them identify and win high-value new business. Follow KarlaHuntFarm on Twitter.