The Canal Barge Analogy for Agency New Business

I was reminded recently of the Canal Barge analogy for agency new business. It was first told me many moons ago by, if I remember correctly, Graeme Green from LGM (that’s showing how long I’ve been in this business!). It goes like this.

Imagine the marketing director is the pilot of an old fashioned canal barge (the brand) being pulled along by a dray horse (incumbent agency). He has a pretty solitary existence and is always looking out for something to amuse him or help him perform his role more effectively – a good pilot never leaves school!


elephant in the room

Guaranteed Results for New Business

In this business of new business there has been an elephant in the room that has been ignored for years and it trumpets every so often with the refrain … “Can you provide guaranteed results?”

… at the first mention of which every single new business agency trots out the same old reply …

“Of course not, if we were to guarantee a given number of meetings then the quality would suffer and surely quality is more important than quantity isn’t it?” […]