The Secret Marketer tells agencies and suppliers to be honest

Secret Marketer

Is it just me, or are marketing agencies and suppliers getting more desperate and lazy in their approaches for new business? Perhaps it’s a consequence of email and social media taking the cost and the graft out of it, as per my point last week, so that business development people no longer have to care so much about genuine new ideas.

Take today. I received a LinkedIn message from Delena. Apart from the annoying “Delena has indicated that you are a friend” message (and I have never met, let alone befriended her), she states: “We undertook a campaign for your brand in the past and achieved some very good results adhering to the brief”.

Do business development people think we owe agencies a living? The last time I looked it was a buyer’s market

OK, sounds interesting, except that she works in a marketing discipline that I could never imagine my brand entertaining. But, being a friendly chap, I replied asking what work she had done with us, with whom, when and what were these amazing results.

Incredibly, Delena came back to say that having now looked at my profile – perhaps she should have started there – I wouldn’t be aware of this activity as it was way before my time (so why mention it?).

But the real killer was that she was unwilling to look through her archive to find the details of the “excellent results” she boasted of, unless I committed to signing her agency up, which would entail a minimum annual retainer of £24,000. As those details were not readily available to her, it would be too much trouble to dig them out without a commitment on my behalf.

This seems pretty incredible to me. Do these business development people think customers owe agencies a living? I am sorry, but last time I looked, this was a buyer’s market.

Delena is not alone. I’ve had several approaches from people claiming to have been passed on to me by my chief executive, who they claim is very excited by the particular opportunity they’re offering. Do people not realise that I have a close relationship with my CEO and an even closer one with his PA, so the first thing I am going to do is check the validity of a statement?

Usually I send them away with a flea in their ear. Agencies and suppliers: if you want to sell to me, you need to be honest, relevant and ultimately be able to demonstrate why I should speak to you over the multitude of others who have the same idea.

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