The Marketeer Association

By The Drum, Administrator

August 4, 2003 | 5 min read

Some of the most influential pioneers in communications in recent history have been bridge-builders. Intelligent, calculated and visionary creatives, skilfully developing powerful links between previously remote geographic regions of the country.

As the article “Mind the Gap”, featured in July’s edition of Adline, states, there is a recognised need to connect creative companies in the North and North West of England with clients in the North and North West of England, as at present there is a large “marketing gap”, with the London agency being automatically favoured over local talent.

RSW is the UK’s largest new business consultancy and was, until recently, principally concentrating on securing business opportunities for creative companies in the South of England

The decision was made to branch to the North of England through our own realisation of the trend for Northern creative agencies frequently being overlooked in favour of the London-based agencies. There was a clear need for a solution to a problem covering a region teeming with highly skilled creative businesses.

Some time ago, we took a very long and considered look at the many issues recently debated in the “Mind the Gap” article; the preferred and discouraged methods of approaching prospects, which culminated in our own best-practice methodologies. We would like to share our practical experience of what does and doesn’t work and how the bridge to this marketing gap should be constructed.

In “Mind the Gap”, the question was asked “What do Northern agencies need to do to close the gap?” The conclusion reached by the focus group is that the local agency needs to raise its profile: “We need to [be] made aware of what they can do for our businesses.” “We need to know they are there.”

How? The ideal methods of approach, according to the focus groups are: “personalised and tailored approaches that are relevant to the company in question”, “by mail”, “something that will stand out”, “by e-mail”, and at “networking events”.

In RSW’s experience, all approaches to potential new clients by creative service companies need to be personalised and tailored; no form of junk and bulk scattergun tactics will ever consistently work. So, what is the best way to make this approach? RSW has successfully arranged thousands of new business introductions through cold calling and relationship building, many of them resulting in new business opportunities, and many of these opportunities resulting in business.

The cold call has a bad reputation and was cited as one of the discouraged methods of approach in “Mind the Gap”; however, do it properly, with experienced new business managers who show market knowledge, intelligence, a tailored and personalised manner, and it is the most effective way to proactively expand your business. The cold call will open doors to opportunities you would otherwise miss, allows you to discover facts that are never in the press and is the starting point to building the relationships that develop into business.

Let’s look at the other ways the focus group would ideally like to be approached: “by mail”, “by e-mail” and through “networking events”. It goes without saying that the mail and e-mail approach has to be personalised and relevant to the person it is directed to, and what is the best and most effective way to find out their pertinent issues and therefore what to send? By a quick, polite, intelligently structured telephone call. Networking is a very effective way of getting your company known, but the opportunities are infrequent.

RSW develops new business for marketing services agencies throughout the UK and beyond by creating bespoke new business programmes that deliver the required results through the routes of telephone, mail and e-mail. This does include cold calling – not “infuriating, intrusive” cold calling as referenced by the marketing personnel in the focus group. RSW makes carefully directed, personalised, intelligent and tailored calls to the correct key decision makers. These calls help you discover what the company’s current needs are, what their future plans are and even result in opportunities to introduce your agency through an introductory meeting.

The results speak for themselves: we have a retained client base of approximately 90 agencies from every stratum of the marketing communications industry, from PR to design to market research, from top 10 to smaller niche agencies. Over the last 10 years we have introduced these clients to companies they want to work with, from which new relationships have been created, benefiting the agency and the client, who otherwise would not be aware the agency even existed.

Northern agencies must raise their profile by intelligently, dynamically and, of course, respectfully targeting Northern companies by using the most cost-effective methods available. This will become the first step in closing the existing marketing “gap”.

To discuss any of the points made in this piece, Kaeli Denison can be contacted on 01904 630 557 or by e-mail at


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