It takes a baby boomer to know a baby boomer.
We've been there just like you.
As one of you, we know how to market to your mature customers—
The largest and only group of Americans who have money.
We are experts.
With the same track record your career has had.
We sell products and services and only to a specific set of Americans.
The ones with cash.
The ones who can buy, build, travel, enjoy food, wine, cars, boats, music, gaming, church and charity.
That's all we do.
Master of Science in Advertising, Northwestern University
Bachelor of Science in Journalism, University of Kansas
President, Gavin & Gavin Advertising/SD
VP, Management Supervisor, DBC/LA
Account Supervisor, KCS&A/SD
Media Planner, Dentsu/Young & Rubicam/LA
Traffic Manager, KCNW-AM/KUDL-FM/Kansas City
SD American Marketing Association: 2004 Best Integrated Local Campaign of the Year
Subway Restaurants: National Gold Standard Award, Annual Business Plan;
Top 5 'Agency of the Year' Finalist
Clio, Homburg and IABC Creative Awards
Charitable Awards—Easter Seals, March of Dimes & Boy Scouts
Author - Death by Client
This excerpt below is written by Bob Gavin from the book entitled 'Death by Client.' To request a copy of the book, Contact us for your copy.
The presentation is the most important part of the agency business. For that short while, you and your team must work in blissful concert, in collaboration and concisely to show each component, show how it all works together, discuss creative touch points, do it with smiles and panache and make yourself money while coming in at or under budget.
Presentations are always formal to start and more casual going forward. However, the key elements are making it entertaining, enlightening, and educational while achieving 'deliverables.' In other words, pitching a complete game shutout while highlighting quantitative and qualitative benchmarks to make the client money.
Clients are like the Soviet Union: a riddle, an enigma and a puzzle. They work in their own world and we are but several percentage points of their budget. So, inasmuch as we work under their direction, we are always under their thumb. Because stuff happens and, baby, we're always the last to know.
No one lives in a vacuum. For an ad man, what makes you valuable is broad-based experience. He who knows the most about the most can help the most.
Whereas if I only know about one thing, I cannot make the connections of what binds all of us. What is the answer of what binds us all?
Our shopping habits.
For me, there are no unique stores. Inside, there are a homogenized set of populations—for example, gay neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods.
Rich neighborhoods are the same throughout America. Palm Desert, La Jolla, Bel-Air, Hillsborough, Cape Cod, Winnetka, Buckhead, Incline Village, Carmel, the Upper East Side—Americans may be different but they are different in a consistent way city to city.
It's the same in Gay America—those stores record huge retail sales in many franchise systems. In other words, whether we're rich or gay—or maybe rich and gay—our politics and station in life generates huge sales in adjoining shopping centers. No matter what city in America.
The key to winning business is to get two meetings. In the first, you learn their problems. In the second, you propose solutions.
After our first meeting, we focus on creating a two-page brief with one piece of data we know that they don't and one red herring strategy with multiple tactics to throw them off trail.
Outside of our intellectual property of knowing what they don't and knowing how to raise their sales through deft messaging, we are valueless. Our bid is competitive and always with the promise that we know how to fix their problem—and will.
We then ask three questions: where are you at, where are you going, and how are you getting there? This situational analysis is enlightening. We get insight into our prospective client's mindset.
We then begin a systematic and methodical Q&A interview into the elements of their business and how much quantifying or opinion is part of their business. From this overall marketing top line, we discuss two other parts: the client's past media choices and a detailed look at their creative output—which we requested to see when we originally scheduled the meeting. We're always interested in learning what has worked and what has not.
From here, we ask why we're here. What is the mission you are considering with us? What specific tactics are we looking at? What is the timeframe? What research has been completed earlier?
Within 65 minutes, we've met, listened, learned and been given a potential assignment—an assignment based on description and scope but always based on bid. Our business is always about money to start—our cost versus our competitor's cost—but ends up being all about people. We're in the chemistry business, plain and simple. If they like you and what you say, they'll hire you if the money's right. If you say something you don't like, they may take your estimate for comparison purposes, but they'll write you they're 'going in another direction.' They never say what direction that direction is.
So, we've learned the hard way to keep our opinions to ourselves and just ask questions. The better the questions, the smarter they think you are.
But, there's one puzzle piece that is called 'vertical experience.' It means that if you've worked in their category before, you're experienced enough to work in it again—no matter how much you sucked. And if you don't have experience, odds are you'll not win the business. Specialization is a big deal in the car, military and casino businesses.
The problem with one-category specialization: you may know one category well but you don't know how that category weaves into another category. And the reason is simple—every thing is related to every other thing. No one lives in a vacuum.
Ninety percent of the agency's new business calls over the past twenty years have been between Tuesday 10:30 am and Thursday, 2 pm. No matter what year, it's just always been like that. Perhaps this is when clients allot time from their schedules to discuss their business with strangers. One thing for sure, though. I am always here during these times. I have no meetings, no lunches, and am always within quick reach of the phone.
My first meetings are always 8-10 am or 3-5 pm on these days—normally within one day of the prospective client's call. Mondays and Friday mornings are office/paperwork days. Friday afternoon at a bar is the only other time I'll meet with clients.
This schedule has been honed over 20 years simply because of the consistency of our calls and the productivity efficiencies it creates. The first meeting only includes top management and is always at the client's offices. Within five minutes of meeting a client, we have a good idea of the type of organization we're talking with—how big they are, how sophisticated they are, how long they've been around, what the strengths are of our designated client contact, and—how much money we're talking about.
Normally, the first meeting is called 'Twenty Questions.' Our job, so eloquently stated by Dale Carnegie decades ago, is to look around the office, find something your prospective client enjoys and start asking questions about the man's passions. They open up immediately.
The second meeting is always at our offices. In this way, the client realizes they're getting something for nothing and is more vested in the plan's strategies and tactics. They see what we do and can buy into more of it based on the visual case studies on our walls.