Friday, September 19, 2008

Do local agencies within networks really understand their clients business

I read an interesting article not that long ago about the fact that at a boardroom on the client side can not connect as much with management at a local office of an international advertising or marketing group as much as they used to. It was a simple thing that in the old days a local agency (not in a network) had the everyday trials and tribulations of running a business. Giving the management the ability to connect with clients management outside of the marketing department due to the pain they both shared. This has lead to the only real person that the management on the clients side look up to is Martin Sorrell.

I read a great overview from Neil Christie of the conference on the future of the agency model over at W&K's blog. The way Sorrell address the issues was like any boardroom management of a company would. Size, scale, efficiencies throughout the business and across markets. Single line servicing. Things like the agency created for Dell. Do you think that was sold to the Marketing Director or to the management board. Do you think that taking on Mother was managements idea or Marketing for Dell. He talks the language they understand. He knows about running a global business. Hence the global deals he has created for WPP. Its not that I disagree with either model. It is something that I believe that if we want to as an industry survive and continue to add value to our clients business its an important thing we have to address.

At the conference Neil highlights George Bryant's comments from the local office of the newly launched Brooklyn Brothers who talks about something I have been interested in for a while. He talks about the creation of products and brands for clients and for the agency as a new revenue model. But the great thing he highlights that I have never really thought around, is the fact that launching these products teaches you about the business world of your client. Creating a product, a brand, distribution, retailers, costs of production etc are all areas of the business that we often dont see a lot of or spend our money on. But if we start to put our money where our mouth is, by launching our own products and services to test out in beta and get a greater understanding of the entire process, maybe that help us have a greater relationship at a higher level. I think it is a great start. I also believe it will lead to better solutions for clients on an everyday level. The strength we bring to the table is understanding of consumers and creativity. What if that lead to new distribution channels, new ways to produce the product. New pricing etc.

So lets go launch a couple of products for sh!ts and giggles. Problem is trying to get the money to do it... wonder if we could sneak it through the training budget.

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