How to present to an ad agency.

If you work in advertising (and even more so on the media side), you have attended MANY vendor presentations. Sometimes they are from media companies who want to show you why you should be buying space on their sites, or partnering with them on content creation. Some are measurement companies, social dashboards, app developers, Facebook community managers, the list goes on and on.

I’ve sat through hundreds of these presentations and have brought many of my friends’ companies in to speak to my colleagues. So here, from my experience, are the best ways to present your company to a room full of advertising people (in no particular order).

  1. BRING FOOD (I know I said these were in no particular order, but this is the most important). Seriously. If you want harried, overworked ad people to come and listen to your pitch, the least you can do is feed us (or give us beer. Or both). Bonus points go to vendors who bring in interesting or unusual food. We eat a lot of pizza and sandwiches. My friend at OnSwipe once brought us Chinese food. That was a good day. 
  2. Bring examples. As much as we want to learn the ins and outs of how your platform, technology, app, service, etc is new and exciting and different, what we NEED to hear is how it’s being used. Not how you think people should use it – how are people actually using it. Tell us about other agencies that you have partnered with, what client bought in, and what they did with it.
  3. Show results. Like above, tell us what really happened! Too often vendors either present case studies that are so new and fresh they don’t have results, or they can’t/won’t share the results, or they don’t even have them because they are compartmentalized away from the broader marketing.
  4. Do your homework. Find out who our clients are ahead of time. If you know we work with Pizza Hut or Ford, come prepared with some ideas about how you would use your platform for those brands. If those teams are in the room they will appreciate the ideas.
  5. Get a sponsor. It’s always a better presentation when someone inside the company is helping to bring you in. They can round up their friends, tell people about the presentation, etc to help get a better attendance. They can also remind people about it later when they want to use your product/service.
  6. Be patient. It’s rare that a vendor comes in, shows off their stuff, and we have an immediate need for it. More likely, if you make a good impression we will remember your offering when we are concepting and then give you a frantic call about how we need your help right away.

What else? Anyone want to chime in with some other ways vendors can make good impressions on agencies (and don’t say give us free stuff like Xboxes or ski trips – that only happens at media agencies).

About Ezra Englebardt
Account planner, digital nerd, marketing guru, tweeter, occasional blogger, cyclist, snowboarder, mountain biker, social media junkie and avid reader. CU-Boulder and Boston College alum. Frequent guest speaker in Boston-area universities.

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