Dear Digital Agencies... I Don't Work With Eggs

I run the social media team for a large organization and business is booming. With the growth of social across digital, mobile, video, audio and print, we are bursting at the seams. And that means, I'm starting to think about scalability. And, yes, how agencies might be able to help.

There are two ways to find an agency:

1) Watch what is happening in your industry. When someone does something innovative or game-changing, find out who's working on it and get to know them (usually via Twitter.) Then, when I'm looking to work with an agency, I ask the people I trust, who they think is good to work with. The best recommendations don't come from cold calls, they come from happy clients.

The other way, I loathe. Let's call it "over the transom".

2) Every day, multiple times a day, I get emails and phone calls (my least favorite way to be contacted out of the blue) from people trying to sell me X agency that works with [insert famous brands] on [insert trendy buzz word]. They all want somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour to tell me why.

If you're like me, you don't have 15 minutes to an hour to spend with people you care about - or finish the dozens of projects you'd like to get done for work. So, why spend them getting pitched?

If I'm feeling nice, I'll send a note back. Something like, "Thanks. Super busy right now and not looking. Please remove me from your email lists, but feel free to stay in touch and develop the relationship via Twitter. I'm @tammy"

Nine times out of ten, that person will follow me on Twitter next. And. They. Will. Be. An. Egg.

Who in their right mind would ever hire a digital strategist that can't take the time to upload an avatar and not look like spam?

Let's be clear. No matter how I'm considering an agency, the first thing I do is research your digital footprint. How socially savvy is your agency website? Who might be working on my account and what comes up when I Google their name? Do they *get it*?

[NOTE: We're between two agencies right now for a piece of business. The determining factor: a DM to me from someone I respect vouching for their agency.]

After that a lot more happens. I may RFP. I may reach out to people I know that know you or your work. I most definitely will reach out to the social leads for clients that you've worked with in the past.

But if the first thing I see is an egg, this conversation is over.


Martha McBride said...

egads! First, an apparent ignorance of basic business courtesy (even modern LIFE!) and then…the egg. Idiots.

Michael Barber said...

Well said. Most of these "digital strategists" calling you aren't strategists. They are salespeople who don't have the first clue about digital. One of the things agency do terribly is new business. Pretty ironic considering we are often advising companies on how to drive business. Too often, we have the wrong people in those roles who couldn't have a conversation about marketing, digital or otherwise, to save their life. They are there to get a call and then bring in the big guns. Hence, the egg.

Natalie Wardel said...

Just today I was fielding pitches from vendors and thinking "does this actually work for you? Just cold pitching your product?"

It's so frustrating.

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