In this new episode of Ad Chatter, we hear from a special guest, David Blain. David is president of Saxton Horne in Salt Lake City and a mentor to me. I got my start in the agency business in 1997 at David’s agency, Blain Olsen White Gurr, which was a high-tech B2B agency in Salt Lake City. David was the account guy and partner who helped me to learn about the power of strategic thinking (something that has helped me throughout my career).
In this 30-minute episode, hear us discuss the lost art of account service and much more. David shares:
- What it was like to work “24-hours a day” on Intel in the 1990s
- His thoughts on new business and selling great work
- How his agency’s automotive clients continue to sell cars during COVID-19
- The need for (and power of) an in-house agency
- The need for agency team members to “really get” what the client is all about
- What qualities make for a great client
- The raw power of creativity to change the score for a client
- How to create a “climate of receptivity” for wild ideas
At 17+ minutes into the conversation, David says there are a couple of things he’s read that are memorable and influential to him. The first is the book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan. “To me, this book will teach account people to respect the creative process. Because it highlights the power and the value of this idea we call ‘creativity’ and that creativity is something you can hold in your hand. And that it’s a tangible asset. For a lot of clients, it goes over their heads. They miss it. So, how do you help the client see the creative genius that is the work that you’re showing them?”
David also says that great creative always comes from a good strategy, and he mentions an article that he read some years ago which perfectly illustrates the need. “Finding The Capo d’astro bar” by Bud Robbins is the story of a young copywriter who tours a piano factory and discovers the secret to his client’s longevity and success.
Driving to the Bucket with Larry H. Miller
Saxton Horne is Larry H. Miller’s in-house agency.
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies began on May 1, 1979, when Larry and Gail Miller purchased their first dealership in Murray, Utah. From this humble start, the company has grown to employ more than 10,000 individuals at businesses located throughout the western United States.
The Miller family owns and operates 65 dealerships in seven western states. The family business also owns the Utah Jazz, the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, NBA G-League Salt Lake Stars, The Zone Sports Radio Network, and Megaplex Theatres.
How to Be A Great Client
Near the end of the show, I ask David what qualities he looks for in a client. His responses are spot on and well worth your listening time. David said he had a client once who said his method for achieving “good client” status was two-fold. First, he wanted to make sure everything the agency showed him got a fair hearing. Secondly, he wanted to make sure we were profitable on his account.
David adds that when it’s time to evaluate whether to take on a new client, he always asks, “Do they have the desire and the ability to pay me.”