Small to mid-size ad agencies need to protect their own backyard

advertising agencies digital business development

This guest post is written by Bret Giles, president of agencyside, which offers training and consulting to sell and implement digital marketing services. It’s all exclusively designed for small to mid-size advertising, marketing and PR agencies.

My backyard is afoul with these pesky rodents intent on ruining what I’ve spent so much energy planting.  They just won’t go away; in fact, I fear they grow in number while their teeth become sharper and their devastation more obvious.  They are invading my space and I’ve done little to prevent it.

Until now.

As an owner of a mid-size agency, I’m ready to passionately protect my turf and start a little invasion of my own. 

Media companies are not agencies – they have hidden agendas and a distinct bias in media selection.  Technology companies like Google are not agencies – they protect their valuation by positioning themselves as a technology to investors, yet they pretend to our clients they are creative strategists capable of pulling off complex campaigns.  And unfortunately they have found a strong ally in procurement offices across American companies.

They are invading our space because their own backyards bear less fruit than needed to sustain juggernaut growth (or prevent death in the case of some media companies).  They know that as marketing budgets are wrestled from people who look beyond the numbers, they will continue to win plum assignments and perform adequately to the expectations of the unsuspecting buyer.

As the story goes, the buyers commoditize our agency offerings and we are relegated to discussions of efficiency against the likes of Meredith, Hearst and Google.  And yet we have some tricks up our sleeve, right? 

By focusing our energy in owned and earned media we feed ourselves, as these media are mostly fee-based (money to us) rather than the media-based alternative of paid media.  As an added bonus, we lessen our reliance on the very entities that invade our turf, thus cutting off their food supply.  On top of that, we can infiltrate their backyards by becoming publishers on behalf of our clients.  After all, conventional media no longer controls the media and conventional wisdom no longer holds value.

It’s time to protect our backyard and organize a small invasion of our own. 

In addition to co-founding an agency, I also helped start agencyside, an organization dedicated to serving small- to mid-size agencies and the issues we face.  We put on an annual conference called BOLO that will further discussions around the role of the small- to mid-size agency and where we can truly add value in a vastly changing backyard.

photo credit: ilmungo via photo pin cc

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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