For Advertising That Works, Think Small
If I had to choose the most important thing I’ve learned in more than 40 years in the business, it’s that clients are pretty darn smart about their own business. You know your product. You know their customers, and you have a pretty clear idea of the problem you want the ad agency to solve. Then the agency goes and complicates matters.
I often wonder why so many agencies proceed to make it harder than it needs to be? My only guess is that there’s money to be made in hiring “over thinking” Account Executives and assistants to turn simple problems into complex ones. Maybe there’s substantial profits to be earned in spending a year developing a branding strategy, or commissioning expensive research just to find out what is painfully obvious. Find an agency that actually listens to you and does what you need done, without the dog and pony show.
I began my career in a larger agency, and many time I heard AEs running up and down the halls screaming, “Holy ____. The client is coming. The client is coming.” All too often the client was someone the agency staffers never talked to – or maybe never even seen. Sure, big agencies must have systems in place. Everyone must go through proper channels. Senior Executives only talk to Senior Executives because staffers talking directly to clients makes agency heads nervous. But isn’t this business about communication? I decided a long time ago that rigid systems and protocols DO NOT make things happen more efficiently. I have found it to be absolutely true that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line: client to media buyer, client to production manager, client to creative director, client to social media guru, etc. Look for an agency that will let you talk directly to their staff, not just to the Account Executive. See that the agency has an open doors, open channels of communication and open minds philosophy. This is a formula that allows a small agency to survive and thrive, and create more effective advertising. At our small agency, every idea gets put on the table – even the client’s. Everyone gets involved. Problems get solved. And, wonders of wonders, client and agency actually produce advertising that works. There are lots of great small agencies out there, find one.