Ad Age Small Agency Conference: Stating The Obvious… Way Too Often
Here are some smart, yet painful, takeaways from The Ad Age Small Agency Conference. I am not surprised at what the speakers say. But also a bit horrified. I mean, what you are about to hear are what I would consider no-brainers for how to run an advertising agency.
No Brainers… That is my What The Fuck. Am I being too dramatic? I don’t think so.
The issue is that these expert takeaways and advice should be ingrained in all advertising, digital design, and PR agencies. Clearly these takeaways are not. But, YMMV. I include some thoughts and links to “helpful’ thinking. Mine.
Not Speaking Client Language. From Mirren:
Brent Hodgin, Mirren’s Managing Director, is focused on language. As in client language.
“Clients are focused on growth and revenue and most agencies are focusing on brand reputation and positioning,” Hodgins said. “And that is a gap.” Awareness “in and of itself is not an end benefit,” he said, because you can grow awareness and still not move one product off the shelf.” He added: “When you don’t use the language of your client … it’s like you are an outsider trying to be an insider.”
The Levitan take. Hey, agencies are selling services to a prospective client that wants stuff. Figure out what stuff they want (gee like more sales and customers and the right analytics + KPIs) and talk their language. Do the upfront research.
Get past typical agency “branding” talk to talking about “sales”. Like ROI.
Some “CLIENT” language from my pitch book:
Here is a quote from an interview I did with Ian Beavis who has been EVP Automotive at Nielsen and ex auto CMO (Kia, Mitsubishi.) He has been pitched by dozens of agencies (and ran the Toyota account at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, as well)
Levitan: A final question. Agencies have a hard time creating a competitive agency brand positioning. Any insights and advice you can give to the agency world on how to be distinctive in this highly competitive category?
Beavis: You rarely hear of an agency being a business solution provider, as it just doesn’t sound cool or creative. A good agency solves a client’s business issues and is a partner. Very few qualify and even fewer truly embrace this challenge.
Clients want agencies that understand business objectives and business results. They want to hear that you get it. That’s it, folks. This WTF is about not doing the research to learn what that prospective client wants.