A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall
In honor of Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, I cribbed from the master for this post’s headline because in five words he perfectly captured the results of a recent marketer poll. The results were published in AD AGE.
The poll was conducted with leading advertisers and registers their discontent with their marketing service firms.
Get a load of this:
– 66% plan creative agency reviews
– 65% plan to review search agencies
– 64% will review media agencies
– 61% are ready to review digital agencies
Can you say, “Ouch?”
Right now, many marketing services people are headed to the bar to drown their sorrows, or the bathroom to slash their wrists. How did we get to this pitiful state?
Like a marriage gone bad, it all comes down to trust. 48% of advertisers said their agencies were not open and transparent on costs. 34% confess they don’t trust their agencies.
Of course, 48% of these marketers admitted they do not give their agencies KPIs, and 40% don’t share their sales data.
So, the client-agency relationship is guarded at best, cantankerous and combative at worst. And now, the folks with the checkbook have wandering eyes and dreams of better partners.
This is bad news for everyone. Agencies scrambling to defend accounts will divert attention from their other accounts, and probably create more dissatisfied clients.
And clients searching for relief will have to divert their attention to conducting time-consuming agency reviews and persistent leg-humping from every company with any marketing chops. “I know our firm says Four Aces Promotional Products, but we’re actually a fully integrated shop that can put your logo on pens and coasters! Need any digital or koozies?”
It’ll be a feeding frenzy with agencies bending over backward and diving through rings of fire to prove their worthiness, and then lowering their worth by doing the how-low-can-you-go limbo dance for compensation. Whatever it takes to get the business– got to have that sweet, sweet revenue stream.
Then, guess what? After the honeymoon period, chances are the client will be unhappy again because the agency can’t deliver what it promised as a result of the narrow margins it offered to win the account, and its need to divert the best brains to winning more profitable accounts.
Can you say, “Vicious cycle?”
It seems in marketing, the times they are not a-changin’.