six start ups

Six start-ups seeking success by focusing on economic and cultural trends

We work with a lot of start-ups and scale-ups at Upfront. They may come as clients or we may approach them as prospects if they seem a good fit for a project. When considering how much name recognition a business may have – which is important for their credibility as a partner –  one rule of thumb in our auditing is to look at how much success they have had in raising funding.


At the bottom tier are those with seed funding, which is for the early stages of the business. Series A funding is sought when there is a solid customer base, but the company has yet to start product development or expanding (or both). This funding round is often dominated by one investor, typically a venture capital firm though crowdfunding is an increasingly popular alternative. Series B is when a business wants to expand yet needs money to meet the hoped-for demand. This can seem like Series A, though other investors often come on board at this point.

Series C funding is for the companies which have already built up a base and main product offering. What they are looking for now is to scale up. Think Deliveroo in 2015 or Reddit in 2017.

The probability of a company becoming a well-known brand is also much higher if it matches consumers’ changing needs and tastes. There are three prevailing economic and cultural trends that a product or service should look to map to right now.

The Flexi-worker

The gig economy means jobs and careers need to be rethought by both employers and employees.

More Choice. Less Money

Although technology has given millennials and Gen-Z more options than their parents, they are relatively poorer.

Make Things Simple

Consumers are happy to prioritise convenience and speed in a time-poor world.

Viewing the start-up scene through these lenses suggests the following companies will do well in the next few years.

Company: Zego

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: The Flexi-worker

Founded: 2016

Latest Funding: $42M

Founded by Sten Saar and Harry Franks, two Deliveroo alumni who twigged pay-as-you-go insurance would appeal to their drivers, the Shoreditch-based start-up has raised $42m in its funding drive. This follows an extremely strong growth of around 900% in the last year.

With the gig economy doubling since 2016, and most workers aged between 16 and 34, demand for Zego’s insurance will increase over the next few years. Although much of the money will be spent on recruitment, a fair chunk will likely be saved for reaching out to the digitally-savvy younger generations who make up the bulk of the gig economy. It will also be needed for any expansion plans, whether in Europe or attracting non-delivery flexible workers. 

Company: Flatfair

Funding Stage: Series A

Theme: More Choice. Less Money.

Founded: 2016

Latest Funding: $11M

London-based Flatfair has raised $11 million with Index Ventures as the main investor. Much of this will be spent on recruitment to support its scaling plans; the glut of adverts for business development specialists on LinkedIn and Glassdoor could herald a major marketing drive.

What makes Flatfair stand out is its “deposit-free” offering, where tenants can pay a membership fee rather than a deposit, along with giving access to their bank account. When they move on, end-of-tenancy charges can be taken without any need for surety. Consumers seem happy to trade cheaper immediate costs for access to their accounts; though that may change if they feel the independent adjudicators hired to resolve disputes favour landlords too heavily.

According to its figures, Flatfair is enjoying 25% growth month-on-month and expects £15m in revenue during the next twelve months. The target customer base of younger consumers are most likely to rent and poorer. The opportunity to cut immediate cost and remove the main leverage landlords can have over them has an obvious strong appeal. Nevertheless, renters need a landlord. The landlords will be tempted by the chance to claim up to three month’s rent from the tenant than the standard five weeks, albeit in cases where the adjudicators feel any property damage reflects the fee.

Company: Cazoo

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: Make Things Simple

Founded: 2018

Latest Funding: €28M

This start-up, located in the shadow of Euston station, is yet to launch but has already attracted strong interest from partners and investors. Cazoo picked up €27.7 million in a September funding drive. Started by the founder of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman, the platform hopes to disrupt the used-car selling market by offering simplicity and delivery.

The focus on convenience, both when using the platform and ensuring the car is delivered promptly, will appeal to the time-pressed motorist who needs a vehicle in a hurry. However, Cazoo has done a reasonably good job of hiding the details before launch, making it hard to work out exactly how different its platform is from future competitors, such as CarSupermarket.com.

Nevertheless, second-hand vehicles have a colossal number of variables which can go wrong and, given how they are more costly than books or fashion items, trust between buyer and seller is essential. As few people will be able to sell enough cars to get a solid trust rating, there is the possibility things can go wrong. The steps Cazoo take to solve this issue will determine if it succeeds.

Company: Curve

Funding Stage: Series B

Theme: Make Things Simple

Founded: 2015

Latest Funding: £4M

The results of Curve’s crowdfunding campaign in September may look small compared to the sums raised by other start-ups in this list. This is not the only difference. It was open to pre-registered customers who got the same valuation – £159 million – that Series B investors had in July. Curve hoped to get £1 million. It took the company a little over 40 minutes to get four times that amount.

The four-year-old fintech, founded by former Israeli special forces soldier Shachar Bialick, lets people combine all their payment cards into one. It has now raised around £60 million in total and is far along the scale-up process. Given how one card takes up less space (not to mention work) than many, Curve’s basic appeal probably won’t fall anytime soon.

Company: Strong Roots

Funding Stage: Series A

Theme: More Choice. Less Money

Founded: 2015

Latest Funding: £18M

This is a company which, at the time of writing, could face hurdles due to Brexit uncertainty. Yet there is still plenty to recommend Strong Roots, even if the Dublin-based vegetarian frozen-food firm forgoes its subsidiary in Shoreditch. The $18.3 million it picked up in September will be spent on a combination of expansion in the USA and research. It is also in the process of building its UK market penetration up from 4%. The current target is 90%.

Strong Roots’ success is largely due to consumers’ growing affinity for vegetarian options over meat equivalents. While it is possible meat will rebound, it won’t happen immediately. If Strong Roots expansion plans work, then it will be in a very strong position. The company has been eager to spend on advertising in the past, working with TBWA Dublin and Core Media, sponsoring Virgin Media’s coverage of the Six Nations and a food truck/camper van.

Company: Depop

Funding Stage: Series C

Theme: The Flexi-worker

Founded: 2011

Latest Funding:  $62M

Most start-ups do not get to Series C. Either they fail or are bought out. Depop is one of the exceptions. The fashion-focused ecommerce app picked up over $60 million from American investors in June as it seeks to expand stateside. Already established in Europe, with around five million users, the London-based company is trying to boost its membership to 15 million by 2022.  

The basic idea, according to founder Simon Beckerman in an  Artefact interview from 2015, is that “Depop is your own shop in your pocket”. Wherever the creative goes, their shop follows. Users – often the makers of the products– post pictures of what they want to sell or buy. It has proved popular; sellers have made over $570m through Depop since 2011. This is because it occupies a strong niche within the gig economy. More than a few people live by becoming freelance artisans. With no shift back to the former total dominance of permanent jobs, it is no surprise that people are adapting to their skills, as well as what they want to do.

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Business Development and PR under the same roof

It’s official, Propeller Group is now under one roof! After 10 amazing years in Farringdon, Upfront has relocated back to Fitzrovia, almost doubling the size of the team located at 33 Alfred Place.

This is another step forward for the new Propeller Group joint offering. We have been delighted to offer a joined-up PR, Content and Business Development programme helping clients not only achieve greater coverage and share of voice in their field, but also use that coverage to engender genuine business leads and ROI.

Now we’re together in our central London office it will be easier than ever to work with both the Propeller PR and Content team, and the Upfront Business Development team to help you get ahead of your competition.

Whilst the move has been successful for the company, it’s not been good for the team’s waistlines! The Upfront team are currently running a Great British Bake Off to raise funds for Pembrokeshire Mencap – click here to donate – meaning we are all up to our ears in cakes and treats. Pete Drewett will be doing a 100-mile cycle for the charity so from all of us at Upfront and across the Propeller Group – good luck Pete!

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Data insights bringing a refreshing angle to new business

At the end of 2018, Upfront signed an exclusive UK partnership with Winmo, a data and insight tool used to fuel business development strategies and campaigns.

To continue our efforts in bringing an insight and intelligence led approach to new business, we have also just hired our first ever Data and Insights Analyst.

This is a new and exciting role, developed to provide our clients with a personal and strategic flair to their new business campaigns and will be taken on by Robert Ware.

Rob joins us after two years at Mintel, where he was a Category Leader focusing on Canadian retail markets.

One size doesn’t fit all:

When it comes to analysing data, “there is no set template for how we do it’’. It is a role that spans across the total business development life cycle, working closely alongside both account managers and business developers.

Robs involvements begins with an initial discussion with clients to identify their target companies and stakeholders – what does a prime prospect look like to you and your business objectives?

This is then followed by the creation of a, ‘’custom-ranking’’ system, taking into consideration a range of factors, such as turnover and YoY media spend. 

Whilst the key performance metric will be securing qualified opportunities and meetings for our clients; Rob will also be looking for a cultural match between the client and the prospect.

It may be a cliché that all business is good, but some business is better than others!

Spotting the X-factor:

Rob also looks for trends among the target companies, ‘’What is their direction? Are they giving signs that they would be interested in a certain product?’’

As for stakeholders, have they got what the client wants, whether that is a focus on marketing or experience in digital transformation? Or does it seem plausible? And if they do, are there any details online which would make for a nice icebreaker to inform our new business approach.

Always room for improvement:

A significant part of Rob’s day to day responsibilities will be collecting and collating internal information, recommending improvements and supporting the wider team.

This will then lead to debriefing sessions, focused on analysing and discussing FOUR major questions:  What worked? What didn’t? Why? What can we learn?

Although we treat every client on an individual level, there is a lot to be gained from looking at all our work, formulating trends per sector, per job title and per discipline. This will be fed up the chain of command through regular briefing sessions and the occasional report.  

We are excited to welcome Rob to the team and have already had some fantastic feedback from existing clients on how this new approach brings a refreshing and unique angle to new business. 

Interested in understanding more about our insight led approach? Get in touch.

You can also have a look at our data tool Winmo, here

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Staying Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Health Check – Highlights

On Thursday 4th April, Upfront and Propeller Group hosted a Business Development and PR Masterclass, giving a health check on agency BD and PR plans as we enter Q2. Joining us as Keynote speaker was Bronwen Andrews, Head of Business Development for the UK and Europe at Grayling. Bronwen shared her experience, insights and tips, including that when it comes to new business you should be like a sniper.

Following Bronwen, guests broke into separate table discussions led by Jody Osman (MD, Upfront), Branwell Johnson (Head of Content, Propeller), Rose Bentley (Head of Clients & Strategy, Propeller) and Camilla Honey (MD, JFDI).

Here are our key takeaways from each table discussion:

Content: Tips for ideas, formats and distribution – Branwell Johnson, Propeller Group

As Director of Content at Propeller, Branwell highlighted that content creation should always go hand in hand with how you plan to optimise it once created. Before producing content, you need to identify what you want to get out of it. There is no value in creating content that won’t be used or seen by those its being targeted at. He advised that good content brings something new to the conversation, whether this is new ideas, trends or bespoke research. He also recommended that your clients can be a great way of getting insight for a content piece, and often they are incredibly willing to be included. Branwell noted that when it comes to creating content for your agency, it is everyone’s responsibility – the entire team should be educated on its importance and value. In order to make it easier for your team to write, he advised to create a template for your peers to follow. Be smart with your content, see what can be reworked and revised. While Branwell noted that it’s incredibly difficult to measure the effectiveness of content, what is clear is that content can provide credibility, build agency status and help you become part of the conversation.

How to build your network – Rose Bentley, Propeller Group

Currently Director of Clients and Strategy at Propeller, Rose was previously Global Head of Reputation of Wolff Olins. Rose emphasised the importance of understanding your network and how to leverage it. In her experience, she found that 80% of overall new business wins came from companies that were already within her agencies network. If there’s not an opportunity when you meet someone, it is important to keep in touch so that when an opportunity arises, you are naturally already part of the conversation. She recommended finding out what interests your contacts, researching them and their plans and either inviting them to events or organising to reconnect at industry events. Her top tips for writing emails to connections were to first personalise the email and make the connection, then address an issue relevant to them, followed by highlighting your own credibility and experience. The note should end in a proposition to meet up, with a suggested date or time that may suit. While you should be building and utilising your network and your conversations should be thought through and structured, Rose advised not to overthink it. Be natural and use your own personality to guide the conversation – how and when you think you should say something usually turns out to be the right way.

Auditing your new business success – Camilla Honey, JFDI

As Managing Director, Camilla said that she started JFDI as she believed that there was a better way to do new business. New business never used to be joined up to marketing and PR, only really in pitches. As it’s important and natural that these disciplines become increasingly joined up, it does not come without its challenges. Previously new business plans would focus on the next five years, whereas now agencies generally produce 12-month plans. Before planning, you should first look at the future both professionally and personally, and what it is you want to achieve. She advised you should then look at the past and identify any themes and threads coming out that you can then apply to your plan for the year ahead. Find out what’s working for you. Ask your clients for honest feedback which you can then incorporate into your plan. Camilla ultimately advised that when it comes to new business success; you should be disciplined, be agile but most importantly, just f**king do it!

Insights and strategies to build a successful business development programme – Jody Osman, Upfront BD

Jody echoed Camilla’s sentiments, arguing that in order to plan for the future, you need to be looking at the past and identify your key challenges, see if there are any common trends, what worked and what didn’t. Too often, agencies can rush their targeting and decide to go after a particular sector without properly considering their overall strategy. It is important to focus not only on immediate opportunities, but every conversation you have as it all can be used as insight to feed into your overall business development programme. With so many agencies wanting to talk to the same decision makers, it can be increasingly difficult to get cut through. It’s necessary to think outside the box and make an introduction memorable enough to successfully follow up. Of course, there’s always a risk that creativity might not be received in the intended way, so you should be open to the fact that it won’t always appeal to everyone. Choose something that reflects your brand and supporting Rose’s advice, being true to your own personality is almost always the best approach to take.

Thank you to all those who attended the event, to our keynote, Bronwen Andrews and to our table speakers for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion. If you’d like to talk about developing your agency’s integrated business development and PR plan, please get in touch.

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Let’s Get Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Health Check

Upfront announces next masterclass with Propeller PR – 4th April 2019, The Charlotte Street Hotel

Join us for breakfast, insights and round table discussions where we will be having a spring clean of your agency Business Development and PR plan, making sure you have everything to stay on track for the rest of the year.

With the year in full swing, it is a good time to take a moment to see how those all important Business Development and PR plans are taking shape, review progress and make any changes that are needed to stay on track. Alternatively, if you don’t yet have a plan, it’s not too late!

We’ve organised a morning Masterclass on the 4th April, bringing together a range of agency peers to cover some of the areas that will be vital to your success over the rest of the year. These will be practical, interactive sessions where we’ll share ideas and discuss specific issues and challenges you may be facing.

Opening our discussion as keynote speaker will be Bronwen Andrews, Head of Business Development for the UK and Europe at Grayling. Bronwen’s career in new business includes working at Edelman and Publicis’s MSLGROUP, helping win clients such as Coca-Cola and Netflix. She will share her experience and insights to help make sure you stay on track throughout the year.

The rest of the morning will be an interactive workshop session with table discussions. Each table will be hosted by an expert practitioner on a specific topic, where you will be invited to share pain points, ideas and advice with peers. After 20 minutes you move to another table and another topic!

The table discussions will be led by:

Auditing your new business success, sharing insights from the JFDI New Business Barometer – Camilla Honey (Managing Director, JFDI)

Content/tips for ideas, formats, distribution – Branwell Johnson (Director of Content, Propeller Group)

How to build your network – Rose Bentley (Director of Strategy, Propeller Group)

Insights and strategies to build a successful Business Development programme – Jody Osman (Managing Director, Upfront Business Development)

The morning will give you a good opportunity to gain insight, see how other agencies are getting on and ensure you have everything in place to help make sure your plans for the year are on track.

Register for tickets here.

For further information, contact Leiley Sanei on 020 3861 4450.

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Getting Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Masterclass – Highlights

In December, Upfront and Propeller Group hosted their first joint event at The Charlotte Street Hotel, where four breakfast roundtables discussed how to create your joined up 2019 agency business development and PR plan. Kicking off the morning was Anna Burns, Managing Partner of Ogilvy, who heads up Ogilvy’s EMEA business development and marketing activities She shared her tips, insights and best practise when planning for a successful year ahead. Following her, each table broke into separate discussions led by Jody Osman, Branwell Johnson, Ian Farnfield and Ben Titchmarsh. Here are our key takeaways from each table discussion.

How to build and maintain strong client relationships

Leading this topic discussion was Ian Farnfield, CEO of Tonic Partners. He has been responsible for growing two major international agencies from small national businesses and driven the success of over a dozen start-ups. Through this extensive experience, Ian’s discussion highlighted that business development does not just involve winning business; retaining clients should be just as essential to your business development plan. Central to this, Ian advised, was planning. Planning for the year ahead should be all encompassing – involving the entire agency, outlining individual and team roles and reconnecting on a monthly basis to ensure progress and growth. New Business can often take president over clients, both in terms of investment and time. Discussion continued however, to highlight that the two shouldn’t be separated. Join up the skills needed in new business and client services and enhance all relationships. Take the time to understand each client – while planning is essential, there isn’t a one size fits all strategy. Just as you would with a pitch, tailor your strategy depending on the client’s potential. Ian’s table discussions throughout the morning took away the essential advice to be committed, be nosy and don’t let your clients forget the reason you won the pitch in the first place.

The key components to a successful new business plan

Jody Osman, Managing Director of Upfront drew on his experience in business development, having helped agencies win over 150m worth of business; and led discussion around how to develop a successful new business plan. This begins, he argued, with the targeting. Take the time to get the targeting right – make sure you’re contacting the right decision makers and the right companies for your agency. Segment your plan, divide it in a way that makes sense to your strategy – whether that be by sector, job title, spend etc. Have a clear focus in what you want to achieve and set targets and deadlines – plans should always be working documents so set in quarterly reviews to see if you’re on track and what’s working. If you appear to be behind where you should be at a particular time, you need to understand why and review your strategy laid out in your initial plan. Be open to changing and adapting. Jody noted that success not only looks different for different agencies, but can look different throughout the year depending on your agency’s priorities. Adapting to what your success looks like, taking into account the ever changing agency landscape and industry trends around you is an incredibly important aspect of success. Additionally, Jody highlighted the importance of an effective CRM system to track your progress, set tasks and ensure your plan is fully in action. Ending his table discussions, he noted that while plans by their very design involve thinking ahead, you should continue to look back, drawing on past experience and previous years to ensure that this year is your most successful one yet.

Creating content that moves the dial for business growth

Branwell Johnson, Director of Content at Propeller, a former journalist and deputy editor of Marketing Week, highlighted the importance of content when it comes to joining up business development and PR. Content is often viewed as a heavy investment with relatively minimal return. Agencies need to look at the cost of creating content vs. the cost of not creating it. You can invest a lot of time and money into creating a great piece of content, but if no one sees it, then that’s where the question over its value arises. It’s not all about what you produce, but how you then go on to use this great piece of content. When deadlines hit and agencies struggle with budgets, it is challenging to get stakeholders to invest in content, but it should be your responsibility to challenge yourself and your peers to research trends, see what the industry is talking about and become part of the conversation. Not only can content help recruit talent and help your business grow internally, it can elevate your company status both agency and client side. If your business is looking for external support or investment, it needs to be seen to be innovative, it needs to be admired and respected. Branwell advised delegates that content was a key component to achieving this.

Building your agency brand in a competitive market

Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Propeller Group, Ben Titchmarsh led his table discussion around how your agency can stand out within today’s competitive landscape. He argued that at face value, agencies can often all look the same. Obvious though it may seem, a company’s website is an easy way to create content around your company, but how do you stand out in an online sea of similar agencies? It gets increasingly difficult to differentiate one from another – companies are at risk of losing their USP when they face competition from thousands of other agencies that claim to do exactly the same. This is not to say that agencies have lost their individuality but they increasingly fall short of effectively communicating their key messaging. Supporting Branwell’s sentiments, content can often get overlooked because a greater client need requires urgency. There needs to be a shift in attitude of content as an additional part of company strategy to a central element of your plan for business development.

You can read more about Upfront and Propeller’s plans to fully join up business development and PR here. Thank you to all those who attended the event, and to our speakers for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion. If you’d like to talk about creating your agency’s integrated business development and PR plan, please get in touch.

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An Interview with Jemima Monies

Last Month, Upfront’s Managing Director and Co-Founder of The BD100, Jody Osman interviewed Jemima Monies. Deputy Managing Director of Adam & Eve DDB and member of The BD100 2018, Jemima has worked in new business for over ten years.

After achieving Agency of the Year (making it four years in a row) and only just pipped to the post in the creative agency new business rankings for 2018, Jemima shares her thinking and approach to Business Development – including how to prepare for a big agency pitch, the importance of adapting your approach and the need for good work to power Business Development and PR.

This is the first in a series of interviews The BD100 has coming up which will share insight, tips and Business Development best practice.

Thanks so much to Jemima who managed to fit us in to her busy schedule at the end of last year, just before going on maternity leave!

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more, or get involved.

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Business Development Trends and Predictions for 2019

As we plan for the year ahead, we’ve been reflecting back on the last 12 months and talking to the agency community, to understand what will be the key trends for Business Development in 2019. Here are our 7 top predictions to help you keep ahead of the game.

TRADITIONAL AGENCY CATEGORIES WILL BECOME LESS SIGNIFICANT

The increase in agencies of all different shapes and sizes – as well as consultants, technology solutions and other new entrants to the market – means that you’re no longer just competing against those who have traditionally done the same as you. The lines between the categories and classifications of agencies has become increasingly blurred, so agencies find themselves being compared against a wide range of different businesses.

There are already over 30,000 agencies in the UK and some analysis recently undertaken suggests some 40 different agency models in operation. Ed Walker, Business Development Director at Foolproof predicts that management consultancies will also continue to become more influential and secure more places on pitch lists. Therefore it’s ever more important to find ways to make sure your agency stands out and go beyond the discipline or category you specialise in.

Ian Farnfield of Tonic Partners highlights that clients are often looking for specialists who can deliver results, but they find it hard to identify what they are really getting. Therefore it’s important to make it clear what you stand for, what client challenge you solve, or where you really add value. Ian also suggests that ‘likeability’ and trust will increasingly play a big part in winning and maintaining relationships.

SALES INTELLIGENCE SOFTWARE WILL BE A GAME CHANGER

Over the last couple of years technology has been changing the landscape for new business. A good CRM system should now be a basic expectation for any new business team (especially with great free and low cost options out there).

The right data and insights tools should also be an essential part of any new business toolkit. Ingrid Olmesdahl (Client Services Director at Red Badger) expects to see data-driven approach to new business become non-negotiable in 2019, with the correct use of data and insights a key differentiator for agencies in supporting new business and client development.

At Upfront, we’ve recently secured a deal to exclusively partner with U.S. based sales intelligence leader Winmo. As well as providing access to the latest media spend, incumbent agency info and brand insight, the really exciting part is the platform’s predictive intelligence – by tracking triggers such as investment, financial performance and new appointments, the platform helps you anticipate future agencies reviews so you don’t chase new business leads, you get out in front of them.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT GDPR

The anticipation of GDPR coming into force in 2018 created a lot of concern amongst agencies as to what this would mean for new business. After a big rush to update privacy policies and ironically, send out lots of emails, businesses have largely continued to reach out to potential clients by applying legitimate interest. Whilst the headlines and attention quickly faded post May 25th, it’s important to manage your data carefully and provide a clear opt-out process.

If you are applying legitimate interest as a reason for contacting someone, do keep in mind the importance of ensuring your communication is well targeted and highly relevant. This is important not just too adhere to legislation, but as best practice to increase your chances of success. It’s also important to ensure you future proof your new business activity by developing highly engaged relationships where people want to hear more from you as who knows that the future holds as PECR and other updates follow.

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO

The agency pitch was a hot topic throughout 2018 and something we covered at a recent event where we looked at how the pitch process can be improved. There have been a number of calls for the process to be overhauled and some intermediaries proposing new models and ways of working. We expect this conversation to carry forward into 2019 with a more collaborative approach between clients, agencies, intermediaries and procurement helping to develop more progressive and streamlined processes.

We all know that the pitch process can be an incredibly time intensive process for both agencies and clients. The most effective agencies over the last year have enjoyed success, not by being on the most pitch lists, but by knowing which pitches to go for. Kate Bosomworth, CMO of M&C Saatchi, highlighted at our BD100 event that agencies need to know when to say no and should become more selective with who they choose to pitch for. Keep this in mind when planning resource allocation for new business to deliver on the year ahead.

Agencies should also make sure they commit to diversity, as this is likely to become more and more important to brands and start impacting selection process. When speaking at our event, Carolyn McKeever, Global Head of Downstream Marketing at Shell, mentioned that diversity was important, but sometimes difficult to apply when better creative work is still likely to swing it. However, with recent calls from the likes of Syl Saller, Diageo’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, to ask agencies to see their statistics on gender diversity and pay gaps, it’s likely to form an increasingly prominent part of the process – and rightly so!

PR AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT WILL WORK CLOSER TOGETHER

In a recent interview with Jemima Monies, Deputy Managing Director at Adam & Eve DDB, Jemima shared her view that PR and Business Development need to work closely together, intrinsically supported by great work. Jemima explains that when it comes to new business, it’s much more than just pitching and you need to look at the agency as a whole – considering all aspects of marketing, internal comms and PR.

New Business consultant Lucy Snell adds that new business should be about covering all bases – from content, to social media & marketing, through to running, attending and speaking at events.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, great content, events and PR are no longer nice to haves for Business Development. They are all critical to supporting both outbound and inbound new business activity and helping agencies stand out. Meanwhile, from a PR perspective, Martin Loat (Chairman at the Propeller Group) highlights that agencies are increasingly looking for business outcomes and sales delivered in return for their investment in PR.

These were big drivers for Upfront to join forces and become part of the Propeller Group in 2018, allowing us to tap into new skills and expertise as part of a joined up approach. We see this extending into exciting areas in 2019 such as video and podcast production, inbound and LinkedIn engagement to help agencies deliver leads and support their new business activity.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT WILL GET THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES

In September 2018 we were very proud to launch The BD100. Together with Co-Founder, Richard McHardy, we felt it was time to shine a light on all the fantastic Business Developers out there and did this by bringing everyone together for a night of celebration. Fran Brook won the Business Developer of the Year and Lydia Smith was voted rising star. Both were very worthy winners, but beyond that, it was great to seeing all of the top 100 getting the recognition they deserve.

We were delighted to partner with The Drum for The BD100 and together we are already making plans to do this again in 2019. It will be bigger and better as we continue to champion the business development community. Further announcements to follow soon and rest assured we will continue to work hard to ensure Business Development gets the recognition it deserves.

STAY PITCH FIT

It’s likely that you will have your highs and lows in new business. Kerry Glazer (CEO of AAR and President of NABS) reminds us that Business Development can be very stressful and at times, lonely profession, so make sure you keep you and your team pitch fit and prioritise staff wellbeing.

It’s been encouraging to see more open discussion around the importance of mental well-being across the indusry – and in particular around new business. We hope to see this continue in 2019 with a greater commitment to supporting Business Development teams.

Organisations such as NABS are on hand for support and if you don’t already have one, it may be worth searching out a mentor. It’s also a good idea to regularly meet up with other Business Developers to help share ideas, insights and experience.

Good luck for the year ahead, may it be filled with lots of exciting new business success!

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more, or need a little help with all this.

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Upfront Signs Exclusive Deal with Winmo

Upfront has signed an exclusive UK distribution agreement with U.S. based sales intelligence leader, Winmo. The agreement will enable Upfront to offer its UK clients access to Winmo’s best-in-class database, which profiles top UK brands, agencies and the decision-makers in their ranks.

The Winmo distribution agreement represents the next stage of Upfront’s business expansion plans. Last month, Propeller Group, the long-established B2B PR, content and events agency for the media, advertising and tech sectors, acquired a majority stake in Upfront Business Development.

Now, the deal with Winmo will give Upfront and Propeller clients exclusive access to data and insights that fuel profitable prospect relationships, including:

·         Brand-Company-Agency Relationships

·         Media Spend by Channel

·         Campaign and Agency Review Predictions

As part of the deal, Upfront will be integrating its existing Stay Upstream product into the Winmo platform, which integrates seamlessly with other sales automation and inbound marketing platforms including Salesforce and HubSpot.

Jody Osman, managing director of Upfront said: “We believe Winmo is a best in class new business tool, providing the latest brand insights and some really exciting predictive intelligence. We are delighted to announce that the Propeller Group and Upfront have an exclusive UK partnership with Winmo, providing a market-leading combination of data and insight, PR, content, events and lead generation.”

“We felt it was vital that our new integrated PR and business development proposition had data and technology at the heart of it. We’re really excited to have Winmo in place to support and drive our new business activity for clients.”

Kieran Kent, managing director of Propeller Group said: “We’ll be launching our expanded service offer in early 2019 aimed at media and marketing services agencies and technology providers that target brand-side marketers. The new offer meets the increasing demand for tangible return on investment placed on B2B PR and the demand for stronger content and engagement placed on business development teams.”

Dave Currie, Chief Executive Officer of Winmo said: “Accelerating growth is at the forefront of every one of our clients’ minds. Partnering with Propeller Group today creates the U.K.’s most powerful, single-source destination for advertising and media sales professionals who target national advertisers, their agencies and technology providers. Consistently exceeding your sales quotas just became more attainable.”

About Winmo

Winmo is the leading B2B sales intelligence provider for the advertising industry. Taking the guesswork out of prospecting, the award-winning platform guides those who target national advertisers and their agencies to the right decision-makers, on the right accounts, at the right time. While providing the most accurate contact and brand-agency relationship data available in the media and advertising industry, Winmo also predicts sales events on the horizon – tracking subtle industry shifts to forecast campaigns and agency reviews months before they happen. Armed with reliable sales intelligence, Winmo users don’t chase new business leads, they get out in front of them.

www.winmo.com

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Upfront Becomes Part of The Propeller Group

Upfront has joined forces to become part of the Propeller Group, the long established B2B PR, content and events agency. This will allow both teams to collaborate and in 2019 launch an expanded offer aimed at media and marketing services agencies and technology providers that target brand-side marketers.

The new offer will combine positioning, messaging, publicity and business content provided by Propeller with Upfront’s relationship-building, direct contact and business development expertise.

Propeller and Upfront both provide services to the supply side of the marketing industry. Their clients will benefit from an end-to-end solution that stretches from creating awareness and reputation through direct sales to clinching a contract. This meets the increasing demand for tangible RoI placed on B2B PR and the demand for stronger content and engagement placed on business development people.

The two companies will continue to be located in their existing offices in Fitzrovia and Clerkenwell, but will share knowledge, systems and data. Propeller will continue to be run by managing director Kieran Kent and Upfront by founder and managing director Jody Osman, who will also join the holding company board. Martin Loat, the founder of Propeller and the driver of the deal will now become chairman of an expanded Propeller Group Holdings entity.

Loat said: “This is an important strategic moment for Propeller: more of our marketing agency and martech clients want real business outcomes and sales delivered in return for their investment in PR, content and events programmes. So we decided to skip over classic PR metrics such as media coverage and web hits to concentrate on what matters for clients – sales leads and revenue growth. In Upfront we’ve teamed up with one of the hot shops in that sector. I’d admired Jody and his business for a while, and our teams have jointly pitched on several occasions, so it’s exciting to now have a formal relationship that will help both companies expand.”

Osman said: “I’ve always been a big advocate of Business Development and PR working hand in hand, but the reality is that bringing these together can often be a challenge. As the landscape continues to change, we believe it’s increasingly important that agencies and martech clients adopt a more joined up approach. We are always hungry for great content, events and PR to power our programmes and stand out from the rest. We are excited to become part of the Propeller Group as this will allow us to tap into fantastic experience and expertise, providing a perfect marriage of Business Development and PR.’

Kent said: “This deal between Propeller and Upfront enables us to combine brand-building PR with lead generation activity, to get our clients in front of the companies and people they want to do business with. For our staff it’s also a great opportunity to learn new skills and offer more strategic advice and consultancy to clients. Media relations is still a big part of our offer but we will also focus on broader services such as video and podcast production, inbound marketing and LinkedIn engagement to deliver the sales leads that lots of our clients are looking for.”

About Propeller Group

Propeller Group specialises in building the profile and profit of businesses operating in the media, advertising, marketing and technology sectors. We help clients grow their businesses by reaching and engaging the business people that matter, making their products, people and ideas famous through strategic media relations, content creation, networking, events and lead generation programmes.

Propeller Group’s global headquarters can be found at Alfred Place in central London. Propeller’s international partner agency network gives us global reach, allied to ‘on the-ground’ local expertise. We currently manage and coordinate international PR campaigns for clients that reach key influencers in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

Propeller clients include Publicis.Sapient, Nielsen, Wolff Olins and Pearl & Dean.

www.propellergroup.com

About Upfront Business Development 

Founded in 2005, Upfront is one of the UK’s leading business development consultancies. Upfront specialises in working with marketing, creative and digital companies, helping to drive growth and new business success. Upfront takes a proactive and insight driven approach to Business Development, helping clients to win over £150 million in new business, including wins with the likes of Coca-Cola, Adidas, Hotels.com, Virgin Money, John Lewis and Panasonic.

 

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