Ad Age: Clients Change Ad Agencies Like they Change Underwear

Agencies only have themselves to blame … making it too easy for the client to bully us  and only agencies can stop the madness of and their mistreatment from the review process.

The following are just a couple of the quotes from Rupal Parekh’s recent Ad Age article, “Serial Reviewers’ Risk Brand Damage, Fewer Shops Willing to Pitch,” regarding a growing blacklist of marketers that tend to put their advertising accounts into review every couple of years.

I have a huge disagreement with people changing their agencies like they change their underwear,” said Jane Bedford, partner at the Bedford Group, a consultancy based in Atlanta. “Our clients tell us it takes them about three to six months for them to get fully engaged with their agencies. It’s very difficult for an agency to get up and running, and totally please the client, within the first year.”

“Desperation may be something new to many industries in the recession, but it’s something the agency business has known, embraced and perpetuated for decades. Agencies only have themselves to blame by playing right into the hands of these serial agency-review ‘players’ [and] making it too easy for the client to bully us.” Michael Grey, Chief Marketing Officer, Grey, New York

If agencies don’t want to play the numbers game they must get away from the mentality that “everybody” is a prospective client as long as they have a heart beat and a budget.

“The common failing among agencies seeking new business,” says agency search consultant Bob Lundin, “is their inability or unwillingness to name what they stand for and market themselves on distinguishable differences.”

The agencies that have been able to step out of the crazy agency review process are those that are differentiated and focused. They know who their best prospective clients are and that’s where they spend their time and resources.

Agencies that have an appealing point of differentiation to a particular target audience have:

  • a much larger geographical marketing area
  • more earning power
  • few competitors
  • clients that respect them
  • more viable new business opportunities with less cost

Additional articles that may be of interest:

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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