What’s the best approach to marketing yourself to big, international firms you haven’t worked with before?
That was a question someone left in my comment box recently. Here’s my reply:
Over the years I’ve been freelancing, I’ve written for all kinds of international companies. Citibank, Pepsi, Hitachi and SonyEricsson, to name but four.
Working for intermediaries
But I don’t have these multinationals as direct clients. Instead, I work for their web design, graphic design agency, or marketing agency. In most cases, I attend client meetings and have day-to-day direct dealings with the end company but I send my invoices to the agency.
Here’s the reason I do it this way. Every time I have marketed myself (ie: sent mailshots) to large companies, I’ve hit against a brick wall. Yet I succeed pretty well when it comes to marketing to web and graphic design agencies, or to marketing agencies.
The occasions when I do work directly with a large client, this usually comes about through word of mouth recommendation. I’m thinking here about projects I undertook for organisations such as Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson and FT Magazines.
Draw up a list of your top ten companies
If you want to give it a go and market to large corporates, I would draw up a list of the top ten companies you really want to work for. Then see if there is anyone in your network of contacts who might be able to introduce you to someone at one of those ten companies. LinkedIn is great for, first of all, searching for these potential client contacts and then getting introductions to them.
You could also join networking groups that you think your potential ten clients might belong to. And go to industry events that they’re likely to attend.
I think it’s unlikely they’ll respond if you contact them by email or direct mail letter. Unless your email / letter arrives on the day when they are looking for a freelancer just like you. That stuff does happen but it’s a long shot.
What success have you had?
I’d be interested to hear what measure of success YOU have had in marketing yourself to big corporates.
Or if there is another question you’d like me to answer, feel free to leave it in the comment box below.