Now, I’ve seen the issues from the inside as someone who’s worked at many different shops. And, now, as a supplier, I’m starting to see things from a whole other perspective. My view is shaped through my experience working with at least ten different shops over the years.
With this in mind, I give you my take:
1. Agencies are built around two functions: media and the studio
Sure, the showcase department for any agency is creative. Hands down, this is where an agency’s image is made â?? or broken. However, from a cash perspective, money is coming in through these two departments:
â?¢ The media department drives creative decisions. By function of the budget provided by the client, the media department allocates their resources based on generating GRPs and maximizing revenues. This department then tells the creative team what they need to produce. There’s little collaboration in the process.
Secondly, media teams are unfamiliar with the web, so they treat it as a dumping ground for interruption tactics.
They’re not interested in talking with people, they’re interested in shouting at them. In this regard, they’re a good two to three years behind the curve.
â?¢ The production department (studio) is the cash cow of many agencies. In some cases, they’re set up as a separate business and bill the agency as a supplier. Hours are accumulated as every job gets pushed through the studio, the agency bills themselves and then they mark up the charges. The client, of course, gets the short end of the stick, having to pay a lot more than if only one real supplier was involved.
2. The art of strategy is dead
More and more, you see agencies turning into glorified order desks. Account Management teams have been replaced with Account Servicing teams. (See the subtle, yet notable, difference?) With this focus on getting jobs in and turning them out, there’s little, if any, emphasis placed on strategic thinking, strategic development or long-term planning of any kind.
The fallout from this is that good young talent is never being harnessed. There’s little leadership training, so developing new strategic minds just isn’t happening. Research, writing, and briefing has been replaced by note taking, phone jockeying and email shuffling.
This is possibly the greatest shame of the industry right now. And it’s a problem that naturally leads to another…
3. Rudderless creative
I’ve written about this before, but I believe that The Kaiser did a much better job. Without a well thought out creative brief, there’s no way that the creative can hit its mark.
In a nutshell:
- No brief, no direction
- No direction, the “anything goes” mindset creeps in
- “Anything goes”, leads to “We can win awards”
- “We can win awards”, leads to agency-serving thinking
Your marketing efforts are supposed to sell goods. Period. Without a (good) brief â?? objectives, key message, audience profiles and all â?? you stand little chance of achieving a desired result.
As agencies continue down this path, scrambling to catch up to their digital, design or social media counterparts, where will it all lead?
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