In a sparkly reception the other day I thumbed through a report on The Future CMO.
Certainly not my usual reading matter.
Advertising heavy, with piece after piece on the maze of social media paths, one article did stay with me.
Apparently in this field, the typical duration at present of a client relationship with an agency is 3.2 years.
My mind thought on numerous sales from my past where such knowledge was a useful trigger.
When seeking to replace an incumbent, knowing the point in time when such a swap might usually occur back then was most likely golden.
Otherwise you were banging on a firmly shut door. Think of all those surveys that claim the fear of hidden, runaway switching costs put off many a decision to look around.
There are other ignitions. Most notably the new broom. Yet the sense that fresh ideas, impetus or people would be welcome in your suspect’s mind can be the driving force alone.
Just like football clubs seem to dispense with their head coach services after an ever dwindling number of months, then is the race to appoint a new supplier seeing similarly shrinking durations?
It needn’t be this way. Although I remember blogging in late-2015 on what was the end of perhaps the longest commercial team-up in England (93 years).
Once you might have been safe in thinking contacts came up for grabs at a specific juncture. This machine is ‘on a 3yr deal’, that service gets renewed at ‘annual budget review’ time, kind of style.
Such horizons are surely now blurred.
I noted with a raised eyebrow how one agency cited in the above article tried to suggest they were now “experts in transformation”. With all the vigour of an Eighties and Nineties software rep pitching themselves as “best of breed turnkey solutions”.
Yet from this the right way ought emerge. If you rely on the energy to have sapped out of a vendor-user coupling before you get a chance to bid, you’ll probably be way short of your overall Number.
A final point, is that current supplier relationship length in some sectors can be insisted upon by hq. Likewise any contract renewal date. Yet how helpful are these, really? Pitching solely because a previous partnership may have simply become a little tired is no way to build a sustainable, quota-busting funnel.
If rather, you are aware of exactly the particular circumstances client side where you come along on your white horse and save the day, then you’ll be in much richer pastures.
As a footnote, the aforementioned writing has an additional sub-ed panel to the one up-top.
It serves as a reminder of the kinds of contemporary jargonistic words you must banish from your pitching;