5 Ways To Tap Ad Agency Funding

For startups, selling advertising agencies on your technology can be fraught with difficulty. As startups emerge from their development cycles, investors begin clamoring to get the prototype to market. What follows is a flurry of meetings with brand marketers and advertising agencies in an attempt to secure funding and a business application for the new product.

Many startups assume that their brilliant, game-changing products will sell themselves. It’s at this point that mistakes happen, destroying any chance of meaningful funding and exposure. As someone who’s been tasked with innovation on the agency side for years, and sat through countless meetings with startups, I’ve compiled a guide to make the most of each agency funding opportunity.

1. It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

This meeting is not about you and your idea. It’s about finding a practical and profitable business application for your product. To avoid that glazed-over look as your audience tunes out, do yourself a favor: help them help you. Do your research on the agency and its clients. Have a look at their video case studies. Make an attempt to understand their brands and business challenges. In the agency world, this is called working back to the creative brief. Figure out why your service is best-suited to help the agency or a particular client.

2. Focus the Conversation on User Experience and Agility

Your pitch should emphasize how your product or service was designed with the end-user’s needs in mind. Agencies need to know that your product is more than just a working piece of technology. You may even consider enlisting a UX designer to help with your pitch. Further, it’s critical that you show your ability to manage the product or technology in an agile and flexible manner during the build-out process. Be sure to mention this — it will go a long way in reassuring the agency that it has a real partner.

3. Demonstrate Measurement and Support Capabilities

Make sure you have a sophisticated measurement and accountability system embedded into your technology. Analytics are essential components of the agency business, so be sure to address the topic in your presentation. Also mention your team, however small, in your pitch. Even though you may be a small startup, you have to reassure the agency that you and your team will be able to see the project through to the end.

4. Meet with Key Decision-Makers, Avoid a Run-Around

Many constituents in the agency world have overlapping jobs. While meeting with the CEO or president is ideal, don’t neglect other important titles like the chief technology officer, innovation directors, emerging media directors and strategic planning directors. It can also be helpful to invite a specific account director (sometimes called business directors or management supervisors), as they often represent a direct budget connection, as well as the needs of a particular brand. Avoid the run-around by properly managing the follow-up. It’s important to persist corresponding with the agency in general, but also to identify the appropriate decision-making advocate who will become your agency partner.

5. Entertain Multiple Business Opportunities and Models

Explore the many innovative business models and opportunities in today’s marketing industry. The most straightforward method is piloting your service into a funded brand program. Be prepared to discuss the fees that make the investment worth your time and effort, as well as the costs you are willing to absorb to get the deal done.

Strategic partnerships can also help grow your business. Agencies can assemble many partners around a brand’s table. Look for in-kind opportunities within agencies, for example, high-value media and promotions which would otherwise be financially impossible to you. Lastly, some agencies are now investing in new technology and services as revenue-sharing deals or equity plays. Consider that many agencies could see you as a long-term investment. The important thing is to be prepared for any opportunity and keep an open mind.

Source: mashable.com