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Dear Ad Agency Principals:
By: Jeff Louis
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Did you get the RFP?
Did you receive Current's RFP? The cable network is in search of an agency to "...formulate a brand/ad strategy that communicates who Current is through compelling, inspiring, and even controversial advertising." Sounds like a client that would be great for your roster, right? One that would challenge the creative department's expertise, and possibly land your agency on the front page of Creativity.


The RFP wasn't selective...it went out to everyone. It's understandable that you could have been missed it...things have been crazy, especially with most of your effort being spent on cost reductions and reviewing financials. You've made difficult decisions lately; downsizing, reducing benefits, cutting pension plans, ending bonus payouts, maybe even dumping the "not-so-free" coffee service. Decisions affecting real people, a responsibility greater than many could bear. The only solace: you're not alone.

However, it's never good policy to miss out on new business opportunities. If you missed the RFP, read on.

History tells us...
Once upon a time, broadcast television experienced explosive growth; it began at the close of WW II and roughly ended around 1960, with eighty-five percent of U.S. households owning a television set (a 500% growth rate). Decades later, the Internet did the same thing, at a faster rate and in much higher revenues. In hindsight, we wonder, "how could anyone have missed these opportunities?" Yet, some did. The chart, below, compares the first fourteen years of ad revenue growth for TV (blue), Cable (red), and Online (green):

It's happening again with Social Media (SM), a tsunami that grows daily...(let us pause to let the information sink in). Every day Social Media reinvents itself, converting commonplace consumers into informed users. Exponentially. It's mashable, interlacing various user "platforms" (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.) together, allowing users to choose one platform and also access all of the others. If you're so inclined, you can even download a new desktop that will integrate all SM for you. SM is not comprised of stand-alone applications, and if you consider SM as a media tactic, you're on the wrong track.

What do you do?
Wake up! Your agency is out of alignment: your strategy's obsolete if it doesn't capitalize on Social Media opportunities. Scrap the current strategy--even if it's working. Meet with your staff. You may not be "in the know," but your employees use SM on a daily basis. Use these resources to determine your SM strategy. Start a Twitter profile. Add your company profile to LinkedIn and Facebook. Begin an agency blog. Ensure your website has an RSS feed. Become content-oriented. If your specialty is automobiles and healthcare, tell the world how to weather the storm. Show them how to succeed. Invite them to contact you. Become the "go-to" for information regarding your agency's strengths. Connect with your current clients...it is your singular purpose. Once you've engaged them, reach out and captivate new ones. In a meeting last week concerning the fall of newspaper, Google CEO Last week, Google's CEO told the newspaper industry: Innovate to survive.

Today, I'm telling you: Be bold. Do great things.

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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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