Why Magnetry never wins new business.

Written By on January 29, 2018

You hear it all the time, “Such and such agency wins a new account.” Maybe it’s while reading an industry article or press for the agency, but the vernacular is always the same. Truth be told, this is exactly how most agencies discuss acquiring a new piece of business internally too. As a win.  An account is won. We won! Ring the bell, drinks all around. 

Well, Magnetry never wins new business.

That’s not to say we don’t gain opportunities with new clients, it’s just that we don’t consider this a win. While it may seem like an insignificant argument over semantics, we try our best to never discuss client business this way.

Let me explain.

How an agency defines winning is an important indicator of their priorities and ultimately shapes the way the agency operates.  If you consider adding a new client to your roster as a win, then you promote the hell out of that and let everyone know. I have always thought that was a silly definition of a win, but this definitely gives a peek at what drives an agency. To be blunt, I don’t see how an agency that is truly creatively-driven, could speak in these terms about simply adding a piece of business. Of course, bank or account-driven agencies would celebrate this. They are motivated, evaluated, and excited about increased billings. Their job is done, and that’s okay. While we do well on that measure, financials are NOT where our values lie, they are merely a means to an end. Earning a client’s trust isn’t winning; it’s just the beginning of a lot of hard work. The winning comes later. Conveying this message to our team is extremely important to me, so much so that this small detail matters.

The other reason we don’t discuss new business in this way; is that it is human nature to relax once you’ve won. Once you stop doing your choreographed touchdown celebration all over social media, the contentment sets in and we don’t have a lot of room for that around here. What you consider winning is where you consider the finish line, and our finish line is in an entirely different place. How can we win, when we’ve just started?

In 2017 we added five major pieces of business to our agency and one in 2018 already. We didn’t announce any of them because we didn’t consider them wins yet. (And winning requires a client willing to take risks and do something interesting too.) Not making a big deal about adding accounts goes counter to what every business guru would advise, but again — it’s just who we are. We’re not after growth, we’re chasing something much more difficult.

In full disclosure, we also came in a painful second to a particularly good opportunity last year, but conversely, I don’t consider that a loss. We met some interesting folks and they walked away impressed enough to sweat over their final decision. I’d wager we’ll work for them in the future, too.

Allow me to put it this way. If Magnetry earns your business, we will win when you win and not a moment sooner. Make no mistake, we REALLY like winning, but we’ll do that together, with your team. We’ll do a victory lap when we have made a difference in your business and in your lives. Let the others prematurely celebrate. While they are sleeping off their hangover, we will be working hard and smart towards a win that truly matters.