We have a powerful idea for advertising agencies experiencing the horrors of a new CMO on a client's business. I don't need to tell you how terrifying it can be for an agency when a new CMO comes to town. New CMOs typically want to signal change (internally and externally), they want to leave their own mark and they look at everything that is with a skeptical eye and not with nostalgic feelings of "we've always done it this way."

Firing the agency of record is a quick way to do all of that. And according to the Harvard Business Review57% of CMOs have been in their position three years or less, so this horror movie is happening frequently. 

Which is why Phil Reilly says that when a new CMO starts, it's a critical time for agencies to get ahead of the situation.

Phil should know. He is the President/North America at The Client Relationship Consultancy, a company who works with the world's leading advertising agencies to help them monitor and strengthen their client relationships. He says,

"Agencies are in a difficult position when a new CMO takes over their client's business. They’re proud of what they've done on the business, yet need to somehow connect quickly with that new CMO, listen, understand his or her vision, and prove that they can willingly support the new CMO to achieve their objectives.”

One thing was also clear to Reilly. Sitting back and doing nothing, waiting for the new CMO to "get settled" into the new job, etc., is only going to put distance between your agency and the new CMO. He recommends agencies get in there early and often to start building that relationship.

Which brings me to the powerful idea.

retain business through a flurry of ideas.

As a pre-emptive strike, agencies, invite Ideasicle to come up with a flurry of ideas off your existing brand brief. Up to you what would be most useful given what you know about the new CMO and your confidence level on your existing campaign. But these "silver bullets" could be:

  1. Wholly new campaign ideas.
  2. Fresh extensions of existing campaign platforms.
  3. Tactical ideas bringing to life an existing campaign in interesting new ways.

Our ideas may be ready to present or will at least inspire your teams to think differently about the brand.

Then invite the CMO to a presentation of all this new thinking to show him or her that you're way out in front of this new relationship and are already working on the future, not holding onto the past.

Proactively presenting new ideas shows vitality, shows resourcefulness and shows real respect for this new CMO. No one ever got fired for presenting too many ideas.

A covert or overt operation.

Ideasicle could be hired covertly by the agency as a way to give you automatic "outside perspective" on the brand and immediate bandwidth since most of your teams are probably hard at work running the business. The client doesn't need to know we're involved.

Or in more dire situations we could be hired overtly as a gesture to the new CMO, as if to say, "Let's both keep an open mind, brief Ideasicle's team and see what they come back with. It's on us." The Ideasicle idea presentation to both agency and new CMO will become therapeutic in that you've now got tangible ideas to debate. You're no longer in the abstract. And, best of all, you can start to build your relationship through these ideas.

I say "dire situations" because an overt approach is risky in some situations. Maybe used only when you know the new CMO is talking to other agencies. But if you do it this way, know that Ideasicle is not a threat and never will be. We are not designed to be an agency of record and have no aspirations to change that. We come up with ideas and then get out of the way.

Get the new CMO to make a mark with you.

The ultimate goal here is to use ideas to convince the new CMO that he/she can make a significant "mark" with your agency. Remember there are many reasons for the new CMO not to change agencies, too. Firing your agency means a time-consuming and expensive pitch, it means educating a whole new team about the business, it means getting to a great idea that the new CMO will be proud of. Inefficiency, time and money - the horror.

Let us help you keep more business, one new CMO at a time. It's about fewer horrors with more silver bullets.

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WILL BURNS IS FOUNDER & CEO OF IDEASICLE, AND A FORBES CONTRIBUTOR.

Email Will or sign up for our monthly Ideasicle Newsletter

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