Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why ad agencies aren't going anywhere

Years ago I bought a car at University Chevrolet in Seattle.  I was enamored by all the trophies in the salesperson's office and for the life of me couldn't figure out what his secret was.  He must have been salesperson of the month and salesperson of the year one hundred times.  He was very unassuming, but obviously got the job done when it came to closing deals.

As time passed I realized in a hurry why he was so successful.  For the next 15 years or so I got a hand written birthday card from him every year.  Somehow he found me even though I had moved several times.  

He made it easy to want to do business with him.

This is also true with the job of an advertising agency.  Our job is to make things as easy as possible for the clients to get their message out in the most efficient manner.   I often refer to it as taking the headache off their desk, and doing it in an objective way.

Good agency people look at the brand the way the consumer looks at the brand.  Not the way the company looks at the brand.  Advertising is taking the client's marketing strategy and transforming it into consumer messages, in the simplest way possible.  Marketing is very similar.  It is taking the consumer's wants and needs and converting it into a marketing strategy.

The only thing that really matters is putting aside the biases, and getting inside the mind of the consumers.  One of the biggest advantages of agencies is they can play dumb.  In other words, they can be more objective and throw aside the biases.  That's why agencies are going to be with us for a long time in spite of the fact that clients could do their own advertising.

In my experience sometimes clients feel obligated to conduct business based on relationships that may not be the best use of marketing resources for the company.  Agencies have the ability to place the advertising so the dollars are spent in the most efficient way.

At the end of the day, an agency is an ideal organization to serve as the eyes and ears of the client.  Once the goals and marketing plans can be determined, then the client is in a much better position to focus on what's really important, the management goals and the vision of the company.