Be Gutsy. Your Creative Agency Must Do Gutsy Things to Succeed in 2013.

It’s the first quarter of 2013. The agency business has been drifting over the past few years. Some of you have done very well… others not so well, but you’re alive.

Regardless of your political leanings or feelings about the recent election, my sense is that the economy is on its own course. The politicians can provide stimulus, but more often than not, the economic cycles play themselves out over time; up, then down, then up again. Just look at a historical timeline for proof.

If you think about it, the idea of cutting spending to live within our country’s budget is great in theory. But in truth, the only substantive cuts to be made are in Social Security and Medicare, and frankly, there aren’t many of us who will tolerate major systemic cuts, certainly not with all of the post war Baby Boomers (70 million of them) entering or in retirement and counting on “their share” of entitlements.

So what do you do if you are the President and Congress? Yes, you fight and whine. But you hope the economy eventually recovers and starts pumping huge amounts of tax revenues into the system. Cutting should be done where appropriate, waste should be purged out of the system, revenue needs to increase, but most of all, the economy has to come back in order to balance the budget. The truth is, we have some time before the worst of Social Security or Medicare will directly impact the federal budget.

This leads me to the economic recovery.

I stopped reading the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, but I continue to skim the pages. Try it sometime. Page through quickly and read the headlines. Over the past few years, they sounded pretty gloomy. Now, if you page through quickly and read the headlines, they sound much more optimistic.

This causes me to say 2013 is going to be okay for the recovering economy, for marketing, and for the pent-up demand that is present at most companies today. In other words, most marketing directors want to spend in 2013 to bring in more customers, more sales and more “lift”…

…which brings me back to my headline, BE GUTSY.

There will be marketing spend this year. You just need to make sure your agency is gutsy enough to get your share-and MORE!

“How?” you ask. Following are some ways to gain advantage for your agency and “be gutsy” in front of clients and prospects.

The Research Play

Using research to impress prospects or to level the playing field with clients is a gutsy move if you make it. I can assure you that most clients respect an agency that runs step by step with them on customer insights and competitive information. Try it sometime in 2013. It really works.

Turning Projects into Programs

It takes guts to push a project back on a client who feels they are doing you a favor for giving you the chance to bid. The gutsiest agencies know that single projects almost never cut it for clients. The best assignments involve putting forth fully integrated solutions for clients that help bring greater lift.

Really Moving into New Media

Early in 2008, most agencies within Second Wind were far behind on whatever digital media existed at that time. By 2013, most of you have come a long way. Not far enough, I say. To be really gutsy, you must push your agency to adapt to and adopt the full range of digital media. Make it a core competency. Only then will you really own it and truly be seen as an expert.

Getting Much Better at Data

Along the same lines, there is so much data out there today that is not being used properly to further marketing insight and sharpen messaging. Agencies have a tremendous opportunity to be gutsy and harness some of that data to inform their work and empower themselves with, and for, their clients.

Be gutsy this year. It will surely pay off.

Drop me a note if you’d like to chat about this or any other issues at your agency. I’m available anytime at

a guest blog from:

Tony Mikes
Managing Director
Second Wind

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