Awards R’ Us
You know that big fish ad agency you have been trying to call on but can’t get your foot in the door—have you ever tried using an award for bait?
FACT: The only thing ad agencies love more than themselves are awards for their work!
If you have ever visited an ad agency, somewhere there is a wall or cabinet with special lighting that was put in to shine brightly on the trophies and plaques they have received. Some agencies display them proudly in the reception area so it’s the first thing you see. If it’s a very large agency, you might even find awards have spilled into people’s offices and now sit prominently on their desks or windowsills. The point is, even if the award is from 1989 it’s not going into storage anytime soon, and bringing award opportunities to agencies is a great way to get in “good” with them.
Next time you have some downtime, or if you are lucky enough to have a summer intern, send them on a search for print and paper industry awards. Almost every print organization has them for a myriad of criteria, some trade shows have awards, and the paper mills either have their own or know of the ones that tie in with design, paper and print. Make a master list and divide it up by printing method and/or print category (stationery, folders, self-mailer, self-promotion etc), and make note of the ones that require entry fees.
Now that you have the proper lures in your tackle box you can go fishing!
Invite the agency to partner with you! Send the criteria and ask them to contact you if they want to participate. You can send the same letter to the agency president, creative director, creative manager and the production manager since you aren’t selling printing. Presenting an opportunity for THEM to shine—with your help—won’t be taken as a solicitation if you stay on topic! However, if you have had a prior relationship with the agency at any point, go through the production manager first. If you don’t hear back, you can go to the creative director or creative manager. If you don’t hear back after your second attempt, you can cross the agency off your list.
You can also contact several agencies and it doesn’t matter that they are competing against each other. Agencies always compete against each other. They are going to create what they create and print how they want to print. If you give 100 percent to each project you are covered and your chances of winning only grow.
The one awards caveat is that some require you pay an entry fee and/or fee for each submission. Decide beforehand if you will cover that cost or cover up to a certain amount, offer to split it, or defer it to them. Just make sure you include that information so they aren’t “blindsided” by it down the road.
Your Name In Lights
Depending upon the award, some list the agency and the vendor as well. Think of this as free out of home advertising for your business since your name is now hanging in the agency’s lobby. It’s also a testimonial for you as to your clients when people see the award on your side, and of course your capabilities.
There is also a very good possibility that the agency will send out a press release that they have won an award and it should include you! Grab up some testimonials while everyone is celebrating and even recommendations for your LinkedIn profile.
Win or lose, when it comes to agencies and awards there is always a way for a printer to win...if you know how to play!