Will Burns
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Agency Work


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I spent 7 years as director of business development at Arnold Worldwide in Boston. I learned a lot about the new business process, about pitch consultants, about how to write an RFP, and generally speaking how to increase the odds of a victory throughout the arc of a pitch. Here are the kinds of things I can do for your agency:

  • Unpacking The Pitch (presentation with best practices/strategies)
  • Finding your agency's "obsession" (more on that below)
  • Reviewing new business materials/POV
  • Lead brainstorms
  • Jump start a pitch with Ideasicle


Typically, my first assignment with any agency is to go through all of its new business materials and provide a point-of-view against my understanding of "best practices." Nearly every time I go through this process, I am struck with how much better agencies are at marketing their clients as opposed to themselves. Why is that?

Part of the reason, I think, is that they, like their clients often are too familiar with themselves to see the real differentiating gems. Agencies too easily default to "creativity" or "results" as their differentiation. Problem is, "creativity" is subjective and "results," well to that I say you better get results!

So what I try to find when I go through an agency's existing materials (e.g. RFP, videos, web site, etc.) is an obsession. Because in your agency's obsession will be its differentiating point-of-view and at the very least a fresh way to talk about all the same old stuff every other agency, including yours, must talk about in pitch situations.

Is your obsession about a specific psychological effect that truly makes a consumer change behavior? Is it something about your own unique approach that you really believe in? Is it something about how you unpack a brand for its consumer? Is it about a common marketing enemy that you’ve identified and are built to slay?

Whatever the obsession is, find it, articulate it with passion and then BE it. Watch all of your communications from RFP to the web site to the presentations to the agency’s culture itself suddenly "galvanize" around this obsession. 

I've done this work for agencies like Fuseideas, Heat, Deloitte Digital, Go Full Contact, North, White Rhino, and others. I am particularly proud of my work with the people at Heat, for in helping them to identify their obsession contributed to their sale to Deloitte in 2016. Very proud of that. Relevant article about finding your obsession.

Also, if you're just looking for a quick hit of feedback on an urgent project (like a pitch), consider my "When In Doubt: Run It By Will" service.