Tell us about yourself and what you do in your current position.
I am Howard Moggs, and I’m SVP of Business Development at Trailer Park—an integrated creative agency with offices in Los Angeles, Burbank, London and New York. I am responsible for leading our agency’s growth with the world’s largest entertainment companies and top brands.
How would you define the business development role?
Business development is not about selling or persuading; it is about helping people. If you can figure out the best way to help people solve their challenges and achieve their goals, then clients will hire you. No “selling” required.
What’s your background and how/why did you move into business development?
I actually started out my career in business development in London in the early 2000s, and 16 years later, I am still doing it.
How has the role in general (not just your own) evolved over the past few years?
I built my early career around being a new business “hunter”—getting the agencies I represent into consideration for high-value assignments with aspirational clients. In recent years, it has become increasingly more important for brands to find their agencies, so my role has evolved to include more inbound lead-generation tactics, in effect applying the marketing and communications services we offer to clients to our agency. This often means me playing the role of client/CMO in internal meetings with my own colleagues—which has certainly been fun!
Do you have a most memorable account win? Why?
I have been fortunate to win some fantastic accounts in my career, but my most memorable win has to be Indian Motorcycle, (while at Team One). We were the only agency outside of the Minnesota area that was invited to the pitch, so four of us got a flight out of LAX. Twenty-five minutes into the flight, the captain informed us we had to make an emergency landing. It was terrifying! Fortunately, 45 minutes later, we landed safely back at LAX. A quick interview on local news and a shot of tequila later and we were back on the next flight to Minnesota. Our pitch meeting went great, and it wasn’t until the clients wished us a safe flight home that we told them the story—they were in shock!
What would you say is the biggest challenge in maintaining a successful client relationship?
It is incredibly hard for those of us in business development to maintain client relationships after winning a new account since we are immediately tasked with finding the next great new piece of business. The biggest challenge for us is to set up the makings of a long-term successful relationship by smoothly onboarding and transitioning the client to the account team.
What advice could you give to somebody entering the industry who might be interested in a new business role?
- Go for it! It’s the arguably the hardest but certainly the most rewarding job in the agency world.
- Build close partnerships with discipline leads within your agency—you can learn so much incredibly quickly, and you will need strong relationships with these people when you are in high-pressure pitch situations.
- Ensure you have found a true point of difference for your agency that brands actually need. If you don’t, you are in for a rough ride.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Never get on a flight with Craig Crawford (Team One)—that man attracts danger!