Tools of the Trade: Kelly Higgins from Doremus+Co

By Kyle O'Brien 

Tools of the Trade is an AgencySpy feature to help highlight the many tools that help make advertising and marketing folks successful. The tools can be anything that helps people perform at their top form, from a favorite drafting table to the best software program to a lucky pen, a vintage typewriter or a pair of headphones.

Next up is Kelly Higgins, chief marketing officer at b2b agency Doremus+Co.

Kelly Higgins, CMO of Doremus, shows off her ‘pitch secrets’ guide.


What is one tool you use all the time at work, and how does it inspire your work?

On my desk I keep a black, nondescript pocket guide titled “Pitch Secrets.” It contains five tried-and-true principles for successful new business pitching, ranging from how to identify the right opportunities to ways of working. It even includes a secret formula for winning pitches. Anytime I’m invested in a new business opportunity, just looking at the cover reminds me of the grit and ingenuity it takes to win clients in this business. You might call it my business bible.

Why is it your favorite?

Well who wouldn’t want to know the secrets of winning a pitch? But the reality is that there’s no magic bullet to winning new business. Each client is unique; the nature of every challenge is different; and the context and people involved are ever-changing. And, of course, often there are multiple pitches happening all at once. Whenever I need to feel grounded during the new business swirl, I flip open this playbook and am reminded that there are parts of this process that I can control. Simplifying a complex activity like pitching into a handful of tactics that can lead to success is invaluable.

How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time?

It was gifted to me by an industry vet at The Friar’s Club in New York City. I was in my mid-20s and felt fortunate—and a little intimidated—to be in the company of experienced ad leaders in a setting, a famous private club, where I didn’t feel I belonged. Receiving the guide in that place, filled with industry insiders, gave it a certain mystique.

How does it help you be successful?

It’s as close to an “Insider’s Guide to Winning New Business” as I’ve ever seen. And if I’m ever feeling too overly confident, I can turn to the page where it reminds me: “There is only room for perfection.”

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral? Why or why not?

No. It’s secret. I shouldn’t even be talking about it.

We want to know what tools you use to make you successful. If you’d like to contribute or know someone who would want to be featured in Tools of the Trade, contact and fill out our survey.