Archive for April, 2012

Going mobile, explained

Posted: April 29, 2012 in Mobile
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Gotta be simpler than this!

How to approach developing a Mobile Web site continues to be the source of confusion for some. With device proliferation and complexity increasing by the month (from new devices to improving specifications), the options seem to get more complicated from year to year.

In putting a reponse to an RFP together for a recent brief, I put the following presentation together which I thought might be worth sharing – it aims to simplify the options available to clients considering a mobile Web site.

Whilst it’s just the tip of the iceberg, with tools like Netbiscuits offering ‘long tail’ mobile solutions for older devices, jQuery and Web apps (see a past post about this – The costly risk of ignoring Wapps) further complicating the scene, the attached should serve as a good starting point for anyone who’s confused about going mobile.

[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]We recently re-pitched to retain an account – not an enjoyable experience, but extremely valuable nonetheless.

It’s bad enough entering a pitch when ‘the favoured incumbent’ is partaking in the process, but it’s far worse when you are the incumbent! Trust me.

I can imagine it’s not a frequently discussed / blogged topic – why would it be. Re-pitching for an existing account doesn’t exactly smack of ‘Oh my God, you guys are so good with your clients’!!!

Before I go onto some of the lessons learnt, the most important thing I suppose, is don’t let things get to that point. Whilst being there doesn’t have to be due to the client being unhappy (business priorities can change, procurement battleaxes get in the way, a new <insert fancy job title here> joins the company etc) it is, I believe, entirely avoidable.

So, don’t kid yourself for a second … you’re there because you took your eye off the ball and whether you like it or not, alignment with your client was lost somewhere along the line. The sooner you can be honest about why you’re there, the quicker you can figure out how to win them back.

First and foremost decide if the client is one that’s worth retaining (are they profitable? are they the right fit? do they add shine to your client list?). If you decide they are, then make sure you leave no room for question. Strong account management, efficient delivery and proactive engagement are all part of the retention game, but not what this blog post is all about (though for what it’s worth – collaborative road-mapping has to be one of the key tools for client retention in my opinion).

So, what to do when you do find yourself in the situation of re-pitching for an existing account!? From my humble recent experience, here are some pointers…

  1. Don’t take anything for granted. You might have the best relationship with your client, but don’t assume their organisation/colleagues feel the same way. Make sure you focus less on what you’ve done and more on what you can do.
  2. Approach the process as you would any valuable new pitch opportunity. Pitches are often a show of an agency’s finest skills – don’t get complacent or lazy because you think the history affords you the right to. Use it as an opportunity to shine.
  3. Leverage your successes, but keep it brief. Being the incumbent is an advantage – so don’t be shy to recap on the successes … there may be people present who were not around for the whole account history. But don’t gloat – you need to win based on your vision, not you (perceived) past successes.
  4. Be honest about you failures and propose solutions. It’s a bit harsh and I’m not suggesting you go in and commit Hari-kiri! But make them believe that you can put right any of the issues that have been encountered over the years.
  5. Be bold. Don’t be shy to create an entire new vision – a complete team shake up, a new working/charging model, a new marketing plan – whatever! Figure out why you’re there, address those issues head on and don’t be scared to jump well outside of your comfort zone.
  6. Most importantly … tell them something new, surprise them! All too often (particulalry with longer standing accounts) clients will have an (outdated) opinion about you and your agency. Use the pitch as a chance to surprise them – create a ‘heck I had no idea you did that’ moment. Make it relevant and impactful.

When all else fails, a brown bag stuffed with cash might be the last resort (luckily, we haven’t had it come to that yet!).