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Calling all Heads of Retention

Calling all Heads of Retention
It's time for agencies to make a new hire, writes Richard Robinson of Oystercatchers.

New Business: the lifeblood of agencies, creator of reputations, architect of dreams, content of a thousand press releases. 

Existing business: the daily bump and grind and often, mistakenly, seen as less sexy... 

New Business and existing business. The two critical components of every successful agency, and, many unsuccessful ones too.

The former is bestowed with investment, management time, headcount, the authority to move existing business peers onto pitches and, above all else, capital letters at the start of New and Business. The latter is deemed important but seemingly not worthy of a job title, or department to visibly demonstrate its significance within the agency or, indeed, within the industry.

At the IPA's excellent ADAPTATHON recently, Oystercatchers shared our concept of “Head of Retention” with delegates. By the end of the session, the notion of Head of Retention had become a positive, repetitive theme and one of the main take-aways of the conference.

The concept is deliberately simple, and something that we have been discussing for well over twelve months with many of the senior marketers and agency leaders we work with.

Its hypothesis lies in the fact that to create the very best long term client agency relationships, agencies need to begin to visibly demonstrate internally and externally that existing business retention (and growth) is as important to their long-term health as New Business wins.

Our thinking has been born out of results of the multiple client agency qualitative evaluations we undertake each year using our proprietary methodology Optimise™. Each time we propose the creation of the role “Head of Retention” or “Head of Existing Business” we find it strikes an immediate chord and visceral desire with everyone involved.

So, we’d like to see Existing Business take its due in the industry, along with all the Existing Business Directors who retain and grow their accounts and their clients’ brands every day of the year.

Each and every Existing Business retention should be celebrated just like a New Business win, and every new, effective innovation created for an existing client agency model or campaign should receive the huge acclaim it deserves.

The real legacy of #IPAdapt 2013 will be the better client agency relationships that it can deliver to our industry. “Heads of Retention” may just be one of these.

Read the latest news on the Adapt programme.

Photo credit: Lauren Mitchell/Flickr

Last updated 12/10/2013

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