[by Chris Winton-Stahle]
How and why I do research
Research is an essential part to finding clients that fit with my brand. It helps me to eliminate the marginal clients and focus on clients that really might be interested in working with me. Currently, I subscribe to a mailing list but I have also created my own.
My marketing service of choice is Agency Access . Through them I have a team of people working on my behalf, advising and assisting me in creating very targeted mailing lists. My four lists include national advertising agencies, local advertising agencies, national magazines, and entertainment. Each list is marketed in a unique and different manner.
What I want to know
Once I know the brands I wanted to work with, then I thoroughly research the advertising agencies that represent those brands. I deepen my understanding of those agencies by looking at the clients they represent. I also learn who works for each agency including the art producers, creative directors and art directors. I find out who manages the accounts of interest, look at other work those individuals have done, what awards they’ve won, and what their interests might be. This information is particularly useful when I meet with creatives. Sometimes it helps me to make a personal and professional connection. My lists are hosted with Agency Access but I also keep a personal database. Their database has fields for storing information such as birthdays, hobbies, and previous conversation headlines. Facebook has a great birthday reminder system which I also use for closer contacts
Research tools I use
Agency websites often have interesting and relevant information about their team. I also utilize social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to glean additional information about agency staff members. I personally look for creatives who are exceptionally innovative and award winning.
Over time my team establishes a very refined hand-picked list of potential clients. After this step is completed I press forward to invest more time and money creating special promos or specialize portfolios that I put directly into the hands of the right people.
When a lead looks exceptionally promising, I might email or call them and request a meeting. If they request samples or a pdf portfolio, I send work that fits the brands their agency represents. The final step is to meet with the creatives in person and establish a trusting business relationship.
Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.