HZ P.O.V.—Business Development

HZ has a broad range of capabilities. To help showcase our process and all that we do, we will be talking with the heads of our departments & teams on a (semi) weekly basis. Below is our first installment. Enjoy!

Lindsay Maarec, Director of Business Development at HZ

Lindsay Maarec, Director of Business Development at HZ

1. Do you think it’s better for an agency to focus on one industry/type of client or to work with a more diverse portfolio?

We talk about this in our new-business pitches all the time. One of the reasons HZ prefers a diverse portfolio is because it allows a cross-pollination of insight. Because we work within so many industries, we know a lot about consumers—how they buy cars, how they buy homes, what they shop for, and what they value. Understanding the lifestyle of a consumer and her/his decision-making process is what good branding, and marketing, is all about. It might sound funny, but in our world, our work with VW helps improve our work with Hilton, which strengthens our work with Tishman-Speyer. We’ve learned how to connect these different brands in ways that benefit our agency’s work across the board.

2. What’s the best way to pull in new clients? How does HZ reel in a big fish, so to speak?

Our reputation is the biggest driver of new business. We don’t consider business development a sales department—rather it’s a team more focused on relationship building. We’ve been fortunate to have so many positive connections and experiences for the past 28 years—and those clients tend to come back to us again and again. Or they tell their friends—which is exciting. And it makes us want to live up to the great things they have already heard.

For example, we recently presented a proposal to redo a website for a large dairy company. We didn’t win the account—but they referred us to one of their partners, Organic Valley, who have since hired us to rebuild their website and take over several other marketing initiatives.

If we hadn’t made a good impression, even on business we didn’t win, then we would never have had such a great opportunity.

3. New clients can shape the future of an agency—how do you make sure that the new business you pull in lines up with Karen’s vision of HZ’s future?

[CCO and president] Karen’s involvement is really important. She’s the face of our agency, but she’s also so much more—we do our best to get her in front of as many clients as possible. She’s very hands-on, but she can also think in terms of a larger perspective and keep tabs on everything going on within the agency. It’s amazing how much she knows about not just every client and account, but every person at HZ too.

Her authenticity wins over a lot of clients. You can’t fake that. Plus, the combination of Karen and Jerry is really important—they support all of their employees and each other. And they have great gut instincts.