So what is the effect of Covid-19 on agency new business? In the short term it may appear to be quite substantial, but we’re at the coalface and are hearing a few things we feel we should share.
The Manifest team are of course all working from home as are the prospects they are contacting.
The first issue we thought we might come up against was access – in other words, will we be able to contact the CMOs if they are working from home? This is proving to be not as big a hurdle as we thought it might turn out to be. Most receptions are still open and taking and putting through calls and many of the prospects we are contacting have put their desk phones onto divert to their mobiles. And they are answering them. We also have other ways of getting mobile numbers which we don’t divulge but are very effective if handled correctly.
So that’s THAT problem negated.
Next. Will they be receptive to speaking to us? It depends. You (we) need to have empathy – so don’t go calling up companies in sectors which is obviously going to be in free fall or crisis. But if you are careful about who you are targeting then the effect of Covid-19 on agency new business is not as bad as you might have suspected. Here are a few things prospects have been telling us:
They have more time on their hands as they are being interrupted less (yes, ironic since we have just interrupted them!) so if intelligently and sympathetically engaged, will be more attentive.
Many of them have suspended activity in the short term but are already starting to plan medium term activity dependent upon different possible scenarios.
They are using the quiet time they have to really consider how effective their current agencies have been and are starting to think about whether, when they ARE ready to start spending again, they should use the same agency/ies.
Bearing the above in mind, they are quite happy and open to start talking to new agencies to see what they have to offer. Obviously not face-to-face yet, but video or telephone conferencing is a good enough substitute in the short to medium term.
So although, yes, in the short term, agency new business may slow down, it is IMPERATIVE not to take your foot off the peddle.
Last week we arranged for our clients to meet (via video call naturally!) senior marketing or PR decision makers within the following companies; WorldRemit, Moet Hennessy, four meetings with different people and for different agencies with Unilever, East Coast Mobility, HIAB, Caremark, JLR, Drax, DB Schenker, Avast and Deliveroo. All of whom have impending projects or reviews to discuss with our agency clients.