1) The competitors of those in the trade press
The news you read about a company wanting to appoint an agency is toxic to your new business endeavours. Firstly, if it’s in the trade press, it’s old. The best case scenario is that every agency on the planet has contacted the prospect. Most commonly though, the lead is now cold. Leave them alone and focus on the competitors of the company in question. If one company in a sector is used to outsourcing, then many of its competitors will be too. They’ll also be aware of the review and might be considering their own marketing support.
2) The brands your team would like to work on
When we conduct our briefing days with new clients, one of the things we do is talk to the team at the agency and talk about dream clients. Once we’ve got Apple, Innocent, Audi and Nike out of the way, some really interesting ideas often emerge. It stands to reason that brands that your team feel enthusiastic about are the ones they could help write an amazing pitch for. And if you win the business, they’ll love working on it. No downside.
3) The Top 10 of everything
Walk around your office and list everything (and I mean everything). For example:
- Light switches
- Fluorescent tubes
- Door furniture
- Squash racquet (hardly used)
- Copper pipes
All of these have manufacturers. Most of them are in sectors rarely approached by agencies. Find the top 10 of each (I’m not telling you how – you’re supposed to hire us) and then consider whether they’re marketed effectively. It’s a little trivial, but it’ll get you away from having new business planning sessions where you decide that FMCG, lifestyle and food and drink are the best sectors to target because they're famous.