New Business in the New World: 8 tips

The new rules 

This is not meant to be some pep talk. In times like these, the temptation is to try to provide inspiration. I believe nobody can claim to have any or all of the answers for anything right now. That’s quite a mouthful for someone that does not believe in absolutes.

outbreak-coronavirus-worldWhat has happened around the world in the past month or so is only unbelievable if you believed in the infallibility of mankind. So let’s begin with the acknowledgment that nobody is an “expert” at anything. Let’s start anew in humility.

Smugness will surely backfire. The last four disasters to inflict pain upon the advertising industry brought with them a degree of smug: “I choose not to participate in the recession” crap. This is different. This is life or death.

This is the time for leaders to lead. If your agency hangs its hat on collaboration — you’re already irrelevant. If you have not led your clients by now, it’s probably too late. But if you have, it’s time to take your fate completely into your own hands. It’s time to stop waiting on referrals. It’s time to stop chasing RFP’s. It’s time to get proactive. Today.

These times require a new approach; not just to new business, but to your business. Here are some thoughts that might work for you, especially if you are a small-to-midsized, regional, creative agency — the salt of the agency earth. This new approach is based upon NOT being an “advertising agency” but instead, a business consultancy that can execute with creativity.

  • Vocation-based outreach — Now is not the time to sell your agency’s benefits to prospects or clients. No, it’s the time to rescue businesses through your knowledge OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand expertise. Think of yourself as a “business doctor” — be a consultant and not an ad person. I remember in 2001 when the twin towers went down; the airline industry grounded to a halt. So, the great Paul Cappelli took an idea to Jet Blue. He gave it to them for free. It helped that fledgling airline in its infancy literally survive. And when the economy recovered, guess what? Jet Blue hired Cappelli’s tiny Ad Store as AOR. The lesson? Make your agency crisis-relevant. All brands and industries are facing unprecedented challenges in the near term. It’s time to truly be a giant slayer now. Do it through ideas. When you call a prospect and they say, “But, we already have an agency” be prepared to reply, “That’s ok, you can still have our idea. We’d like to execute it, but whatever is best for you.” Be the hired gun they don’t have. The big agencies cannot move and think like this. You can
  • Location-based meetings — Charity begins at home. Pick 20-30 regional businesses within 180 miles that you KNOW you can help with an idea. Now is not the time to fight for agency compensation or put a stake in the ground around your principles. It is time to do good for your business community by way of your talents and skills. It’s time for you to do the right thing.
  • Personal prospecting — Think through how your current clients and prospects can be relevant now and in the very near future. What can they do to lead? Write each prospect a personal email; no more Campaign Monitor or MailChimp-type generic mass emails bragging about how great your agency is. Instead, write them a personal email and TELL THEM YOU HAVE AN IDEA FOR THEIR BUSINESS. Ask if you can set up a 15-minute call (no in-person meetings) to present your idea. Ask them if they would prefer Skype, but all you really want to do is talk to them. 
  • Back off the Data for now — Not any data nor any precedent exists for global pandemics; unless you were around in 1918. If you choose to sell your data chops now, it has to be real-time beta testing. But, selling data in might weaken the strength of your proposed idea. Do not confuse being humble with squishiness. You may have to use your instincts now. Some of you relish that challenge.
  • Present versatile ideas — Just because your prospecting is personal, your idea can be broad, industry-specific and category-wide. Study and learn from every brand’s corporate tweets. That’s where their communication priorities lie. I suspect those tweets may be fairly consistent across the category.
  • Present uncomplicated ideas Make sure your ideas are easily executable and operationally simple. The client or prospect should be able to respond, “we can do that right now.” A lot of production shoots are being delayed, so if you’ e invested in an on-site content studio, you have an advantage.
  • Back off the CMO — Maybe we should work from the bottom up. Those young and flexible Brand managers and Associate Marketers might be able to push your idea upwards and to the top. They love being heroes. And they are trying to save their jobs. Give them the ammo
  • Be empathetic — This is more important than ever. Empathy can’t be explained. You just have to be it.

So, what happens when you get this call “meeting” confirmed?

  • Stick to the 15 minute timeframe.
  • Abandon credentials, case studies and creative samples. Nobody wants to be pitched with your agency deck right now.
  • Stick with one simple but big business idea for them.

The New Meeting:

  • This is who you are and what your brand means. This is why you exist. Tell them why their brand is important.
  • This is why we want to help you.
  • These are your particular challenges right now.
  • This is our idea for you.
  • Be prepared to discuss an executional plan if they ask you “how do we do this?”  Be prepared to outline the next steps.
  • Remind them that they have a duty and responsibility to communicate with their customers and the world.

If the meeting is on Skype: 

  • Dress professionally. Look like a consultant.
  • Rehearse your call.
  • Have IT in the room in case there’s a glitch. There’s no time to joke around about your technological shortcomings.
  • Be precise and surgical, you are a business doctor.
  • No time to joke around. Build the relationship through your ideas.

Finally, help your fellow agencies if you can. Be part of something bigger than your own Unknownlittle office. Be part of a noble industry. We can change the perception of our industry through this crisis. Look at this as an opportunity. Tap into your Association — the 4A’s. They exist to help you. Be a part of a “task force” to help guide your fellow agencies through the rest of 2020. We are all in this together.

20 Things to do for New Biz in ’20

Here we go again. It’s January and everyone is calling and emailing me asking the same thing: Unknown“What can we do to win new business in 2020?”

I usually lead into my posts by purloining the late, great Jimmy Cannon’s column line, “Nobody asked me, but…”  However, in this case I’m changing it to, “Everyone has asked me, so…”

Take it away, Maestro:

  1. Skip breakfast, it’s the least important meal. If you want to win new business, you’ve got to be hungry
  2. Don’t go to lunch until you’ve connected with a new business target
  3. Send one handwritten letter every day to a prospect — make it a love letter about their brand
  4. Send one email every day warning another prospect about their mortal enemy
  5. Get closer to your agency’s “why”
  6. Get away from your agency’s “how” & “what”
  7. Take out a job order for your agency’s Infographic — have your best designer do it
  8. Take out a job order for your agency’s one minute video based on your agency’s “why“ — produce that video in 30 days — have your best writer write it
  9. Take every image and every word off your website’s landing page except the video and the infographic
  10. Join the 4A’s. If you are already a member, commit to education from the top down at your agency in 2020
  11. Outsource your transom, not your outreach
  12. Kill the category lists
  13. Pick 30 prospects — join every prospect’s LinkedIn Groups
  14. Publish on LinkedIn once every week
  15. Slay an evil giant with communications — get famous that way
  16. Write your book — the book the marketing world can’t live without (if you can’t do this, get out of the business now). Buy the title URL on godaddy.
  17. Set up a blog at that URL — post every Tuesday and Friday 
  18. Repost that post on LinkedIn as a published article
  19. Pump the post into your LinkedIn groups
  20. Send an RFP to 2 prospect companies — make them apply for a spot on your client roster

The Best of 2019

It was a very good year

image.pngWhat is it about life that keeps us coming back for more? Since Genesis in the Garden of Eden, man is doomed to living by the sweat of his brow. We are gluttons for punishment. Still, in the face of a meaningless existence, “we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”  

Why? Because it is both a sad and beautiful world at the same time. It’s incumbent upon us to extract the beauty. Our duty is to seek out and savor satisfaction. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yes. For some, a liverwurst sandwich is repulsive. To others, like me, it is an art form accompanied by raw onion, rye bread and Düsseldorf mustard.

These are the reasons I’m  coming back for more in 2020:

Best Ad: The Truth is Worth It

Best Agency: 360i

Best Hire: Jeff Benjamin, Tombras

Best Creative Award: Yellow D&AD Pencil

Best Agency Network: TBWA

Agency MVP: Dooley Tombras

Most Improved Creative Work: Zaxby’s

Best PR Firm: Praytell

Best Agency New Business Person: Jennifer Hohman, FCB

Best Agency Resources: 4A’s

Best Advertising News Website: Agency Spy

Best Brand Idea: Disney+

Best Franchise Opportunity: Club Pilates

Best Movie: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Album: Travelin’ Thru, Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash

Best Book: Blowout, Rachel Maddow

Best Comeback: Pastis, NYC

Best Sandwich: Liverwurst, McGuire’s Pub

Best New Restaurant: Misi, Brooklyn

Best Bar: Fanelli Cafe, NYC

Best Irish Pub: Fado

Best Burger: Corner Bar, Sag Harbor NY

Best Hot Dog: Nathan’s Famous

Best Fried Chicken: Publix

Best Deli: Ferring Deli, Baldwin NY

Best Wine: Il Pavot 2013, Aldo Conterno

Best Beer: Ode to Mercy, Wild Heaven Brewing

Best Cigar: Hoyo de Monterey, De Rio Seco

Best Whisky: W.L. Weller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top 10 Turkeys of 2019

Restoring the Tradition

We haven’t done this in a few years, but here we go again. The dreaded Palma Turkeys of the Year. There was a lot of dry meat to chew on this year — in advertising, sports, society — and the rest was political gravy.

images14So without a big buildup, nobody asked me but, here are your Turkeys:

NOT-SO COLD TURKEY: Juul.  They said they were targeting smokers that wanted to quit. They were really targeting young non-smokers. They hooked a new generation on nicotine as a result. Gong. 

TURKEY NECK: The Sport of Football.  As a society, the USA (and our North American neighbor Canada) is alone in this world of thrill-seeking violence-as-entertainment. Is it any wonder we also have weekly mass shootings? Is it any wonder we elected hate-speaking, violence-provoking national leadership? Not to me. Knowing what we know about CTE’s, how can we conscionably accept the “sport” of American football? Unless we consider the players’ lives expendable, how can we support this as a society? So, friends to the Left, get off your high horse about gun violence if you are a football fan. And, my friends to the Right, at least you are true to your nature if you root for this killer sport, I commend you for that. But Palma says, the entire sport deserves the death penalty on every level.

 TURKEY BORSCHT: Gary Vaynerchuk.  I admire a guy that came to this country like my Unknowngreat-grandfather without a dollar, new to the English language who makes something of himself. What I don’t admire is rubbing our noses in it. It would be sufferable if the intrusion of constant content was anything but a pompous blinding glimpse of the obvious. All judgment aside, it’s about the work. This is the guy’s Super Bowl spot: https://www.campaignlive.com/article/planters-super-bowl-spot-gets-nuttier-charlie-sheen/1524212. Palma says, the work always speaks for itself.

TURKEY SPRITZ: Brown-Forman.  What’s the name of that evil industry using flavored products to attract teenage users? The beauty and the curse of American capitalism is that we can mass produce firewater. Check out the Jack Daniels flavored Country Cocktails portfolio.

TURKISH CIGARS: Rudy Giuliani.  How the mighty have fallen. The guy has become an international punchline. But the joke is on us. His rap sheet reads like Paul Manafort’s. He owns more smoking guns than you would find after a hunting trip with Dick Cheney. Palma says he would never join a cigar club that would have America’s Mayor as a member.

TURKEY ON STEROIDS: The Sport of Baseball.  In case you lost track: there were more pitches thrown, strikeouts, extra base hits and home runs (by 1,200 hr’s) in 2019 than any season in major league history. Yawwwwnnnn…Palma took the year off from the game, watching less than 100 innings total. It was more exciting watching paint dry.

images-12TEAM DIVISION TURKEY: Atlanta Braves. Since we’re on the topic of baseball, the Braves edge out the Cleveland Indians here, thanks to the denigrating Tomahawk Chop. Palma asks, where is Chief Nokahoma?

ELDERBERRY SAUCE TURKEY: Elton John. The biopic, the tell-all book, the farewell tour. It’s a little bit funny, but I’m all Eltoned out. Is he really that interesting? He didn’t even write the lyrics. 70’s rock star gets hooked on booze, drugs and sex. Now, that’s a new narrative, huh? Palma says the autobiography was a little TMI.

TURKEY BASTER: Michael Jackson. The documentary left no doubt in my mind that image
this guy was a Smooth Criminal. Shame on us all for looking the other way. Our moth-like penchant for the limelight is blinding. Palma says, stop the love you save.

IF IT LOOKS LIKE A TURKEY: Mitch McConnell. Doesn’t he?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 30 years and 150 agencies

imageThe Palma Agency Honor Roll:

As we beat on towards the 30th anniversary celebration in Atlanta next week, I’d like to call out my client agencies — without them, there wouldn’t be any chips and dip.

ALABAMA: BW&CoLawler Ballard Van Durand, Lewis Communications, Luckie & Company, Intermark Group, Slaughter Hanson

CALIFORNIA:  blendChiat/Day, Livingston + Keye, North Kingdom, McCann/SF, Vitro

COLORADO:  Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Sterling-Rice Group, Sukle

CONNECTICUT:  Colangelo Synergy Marketing, Digital Surgeons, Mintz & Hoke

D.C.:  Admirable Devil, CultureONEWorld, Stratacomm

FLORIDA:  Beber Silverstein, Bright Red/TBWA, Connect, Crispin & Porter, CAP, Harris Drury Cohen, On Ideas, The Mitchells, The Zimmerman Agency, West & Company

GEORGIA:  22squared, Ames Scullin O’Haire, Austin Kelley, BBDO, BaylessCronin, Blue Sky, Cole Henderson Drake, ComGroup, Creative Outhouse, DW&P, Do! Design, Earle Palmer Brown, Engauge, Fahlgren, Fitzco, Fizz, Hauser Group, Hughes Advertising, JWT, MRA, Mastermind Marketing, McCann-Erickson, Momentum, Ogilvy & Mather, Point B, Public School, Rivetica, Scout, Seed Factory, Tausche Martin Lonsdorf, The Partnership, Think Tank, Tucker Wayne Luckie, Twin Bear, USWEB/CKS, WestWayne

ILLINOIS: Arian Lowe & Travis, Cramer-Krasselt

KENTUCKY:  Creative Alliance

LOUISIANA:  Trumpet

MAINE:  Kemp Goldberg, Industrium

MARYLAND: Doner, EPB, GKV, RM&D, RP3, Siquis, TBC

MASSACHUSETTS:  Arnold, Doyle Advertising & Design, Forge Worldwide, Hill Holliday, Ingalls, Mullen

MICHIGAN: Doner

MINNESOTA:  Carmichael Lynch, Clarity Coverdale Rueff, Martin Williams

MISSOURI:  Muller + Co, ValentineRadford

NEW JERSEY:  Hammerhead Advertising

NEW YORK:  Ad Store, Ammirati & Puris, BBDO, Blass Communications, Custom, FCB, Havas, JWalk, Merkley, partners + Napier, Perception, RSL, Sarkissian Mason, Truth Collective, Your Majesty

NORTH CAROLINA:  Baldwin&, BooneOakley, Concentric, Howard Merrell & Partners, FGI, Lewis Advertising, Long Haymes Carr, McKinney & Silver, Mullen, Price-McNabb, Rockett Burkhead & Lewis, Trone Advertising, West & Vaughn, WrayWard

PENNSYLVANIA:  Brunner, Ketchum, MARC, Neiman, Pavone

RHODE ISLAND:  LeonardMonahan, RDW

SOUTH CAROLINA:  FerebeeLane, Rawle Murdy, &Donovan

TENNESSEE:  Johnson Group, Tombras

TEXAS:  Bozell, Firehouse, GSD&M, Temmerlin McLain

UTAH: Williams & Rockwood

VIRGINIA:  Arnold, BC&F, Barber Martin, EPB, Lawler Ballard, Siddall Matus & Coughter, Smith Gifford, White64

WASHINGTON:  Cole & Weber

WISCONSIN: Cramer-Krasselt, Frankenberry Laughlin Constable

WYOMING: Riddell Advertising & Design

redesign-header-logoMy 30th Anniversary is sponsored by The V Foundation for Cancer Research. We are SO close to our financial goal. Please make a donation and let’s slay cancer together.

The Palma 30th Anniversary Creative All-Stars

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

UnknownAs I approach my 30th anniversary in the advertising industry, I’d like to call out my inspiration, F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I read The Great Gatsby as a teenager, it changed my life. It inspired me to read, write and become a student of writing. Without Mr. Fitzgerald and his great American novel — 218 pages of literary perfection — there is no way I’d be doing what I’ve done for the past 30 years.

As a reminder, my 30th anniversary is sponsored by the V Foundation for Cancer Research culminating with a celebration on October 10, 2019 in Atlanta.

So to kick off the festivities, here are the Palma Advertising All-Stars Part I — or at least as much as I can remember today. After 30 years and 1,300 placements, I have a good memory — but it’s short.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Cabell Harris, Tripp Westbrook, Daniel Russ, Scott Mackey, David Baldwin, Adam Wohl, Mara Evans, Bob Costanza, Mitch Bennett, Terry Taylor, Kurt Tausche, Jim Anderson, Scott Sheinberg, Marcus Kemp, Mark Cohen, Lee St. James, Kipp Monroe, Jim Hagar, Larry Washington, Alex Martinez, Rich Paschall, Steve Saari, Ned Brown, Ryan Wofford, Rudy Fernandez, Patrick Scullin, Rich Wakefield, Chris Jacobs, Mike Fornwald, Randall Hooker, Bill Shirk, Jeff Nieberding, Mike LaMonica, Minsoo Pak, Eddie Prentiss, Lou Flores, John Roberts, Andre Nel, Christopher Cole, John Carter, Mike Bevil

COPYWRITER

Chuck Borghesee, Bobby Pearce, Chris Breen, Bill Bayne, Bill Wright, Mike Wilson, Pam Sullivan, David Terrenoire, Rich Terry, John Spalding, Walt Burns, Jannie Gerds, George Brumis, Andrew Payton, Jeff Van Zandt, TJ Aseltyne, Paige Bryars, David Evans, Steve Koeneke, Beth Dzengelowski, Mike Holicek, Cristina Gordet, Mike Weidner, Brian Connaughton, Benji Vega, John Harrington, Julian Levy, Greg Wheeler, Mark Trueblood, Larry Werner, Ben Hopkins, Robbie Vitrano

ART DIRECTOR

Jimmy Bonner, David Crawford, Tim Smith, Silver Cuellar III, Chris Schlegel, Michael Anderson, John Strohmeyer, David Salmon, Jeff Martin, Harry Hartofelis, Lotenna Enwonwu, Christian Herrity, Mark Limbach, Tim Roper, Michael Powell, Mike Weed, Jeff Dahlberg, Chris Browne, Todd McVey, Laura LeBel, Jim Newbury, Mike Kohlbecker, Roger Richards, Dan Morse, Paul Safsel, Damon Williams, Troy King, Pete Kehr, Michael Ancevic

ACCOUNT SERVICE

Nancy Hill, Rob Gerds, Ed Klein, Josh Simpson, Jack Peterson, West Herford, Bob Atkinson, Allie Clark, Jim Crone, Chris Griggs,  Jason Hatfield, Max Hegerman

I am honored to have worked with each and every one of these talented professionals. Hopefully, I have made some small impression on their lives — making life a little better for them. They have greatly impacted me, blurring the line between my job and my vocation. If I missed you, don’t worry…stay tuned for Part II.VF_Logo_Benefiting_BW

All I ask is, if you are on this list, please join the team that’s out to slay cancer for my anniversary. We are almost halfway to our goal. Please make a donation to the fight and support the V Foundation. Great teams pull off stunning upsets.

Help me Slay Cancer for my 30th Anniversary

VF_Logo_Benefiting_BWThirty years ago I picked up a landline telephone and recruited my first copywriter. I then faxed his resume and a few of his writing samples to an agency owner in Raleigh, NC. Pretty soon I was sending portfolio cases to agency Creative Directors nationwide.

1,300 hundred placements and 12 cell phones later, it is 2019 — and high time to celebrate the good fortune of a rewarding career and vocation in the advertising industry.

Please be my guest as I celebrate all the good times over the past 30 years. If I helped your career, agency or brand, please return the effort and help me slay the giant of cancer. Please make a donation. The donation is also a ticket to attend the anniversary party on 10/10/19 in Atlanta if you wish to attend.

The event is supported by and benefits the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

I played basketball for Coach Jim Valvano at tiny Iona Colllege before he became famous. We slayed giants together: Louisville, Kansas, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh…we took them all down with a slingshot — like David took down Goliath.

And together, we have one giant left to slay: cancer

Last December, cancer took my twin sister, Michelle Palma Furchak. In her honor, I dedicate my 30th anniversary in the advertising industry with a celebration of fun, food, jokes and stories amongst the extended family of “Palma people.”

Whether you can make the event or not, please help me fight cancer by making a VF_Logo_Supporting_BWdonation to the V Foundation. It doesn’t matter how much you donate, just do what you can to chip in. One thing Coach Valvano taught me: it takes a team effort to pull off an upset.