It’s accepted wisdom that most advertising agencies want to work with the “biggest” companies – whether they’re a “sexy” brand or on the Fortune 500 list. The truth is, while those clients can be nice, they can also hurt your company.
Here’s the problem. When you have a full-service agency based on strategy, and your team is composed of those type A creatives that are so hard to find, you just aren’t as scalable as the more template type marketing companies.
When you sign on a client who is suddenly responsible for 25% of your revenue, that client is going to demand an enormous amount of your time and attention, simply because they are surrounded by “yes” vendors. One of the RCM rules I tell prospects before I’ll have an introductory meeting is “You’re the boss, but if we pitch you something that I believe to be a revenue generator, I will fight for it. Are you going to be okay with that?” Most big brands aren’t.
The truth is, when you have a team of unicorns, once you start diverting attention to the Big Client, you’re going to pay short shrift to the smaller companies who made you who you are. We don’t think that’s fair.
At Rock Candy Media, we’ve made our name as an advertising firm that treats all of our clients like they’re Fortune 500 companies, and it’s why we make a special point not to allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the glitz and glamor of big budget clients. It’s this mentality that allows us to grow our clients’ businesses. We celebrate any time they can open another location, launch another product, get national press they deserve, etc., because we understand what it’s like to be grinding every day.
There are two reasons for this ethos.
One: We’re invested in our clients.
When a new prospect comes in for a Positioning Analysis at the introductory meeting, they aren’t greeted by some junior account manager and a pack of interns. Instead, they meet with me, the CEO. Their second meeting is a kick-off with my senior team. Our clients know exactly who’s working on their account on a personal level. Since I bootstrapped Rock Candy Media, I relate all too well to the businesses that have clawed their way up to where they can afford an agency and are ready to grow. We’re always going to respect a hard work ethic with our own hard work ethic. Together, we grow our clients’ businesses as we pay for ourselves. Our skin is always in it.
Two: We’re invested in ourselves.
In that scenario I outlined earlier, the one where a single company is 25% of your revenue? In that scenario, you’re no longer in charge of your own company. Everything you do is subject to the whims and timetable of the Big Client. That’s not being good to your clients and it’s not being good to your people. I have a very specific philosophy when it comes to running my business and it is this: I would rather fire a client than sell our soul. Which means we’re not bringing on any clients that would put us in that position to begin with.
For the same reason I won’t take on investors, it’s hard for me to take on someone that makes me feel less free as a business owner. There’s too much sacrifice that comes with owning your own business to have another kind of boss. Each client is my boss, and that’s enough for me. What drives me to get new clients is the freedom to fire ones that don’t match the RCM ethos I make them so aware of pre-meeting.
So, if you’re interested in a marketing and design firm that will treat your business like a Fortune 500 company – even if you have three employees, see if you qualify for an RCM Positioning Analysis.
Our team would love to meet you and show you what strategy means to us.