As we emerge from Thanksgiving, many companies are still asking themselves what exactly they should be thankful for this year. The economy continues to stall. The national debt continues to explode. The housing and lending markets are showing little to no signs of softening up. And uncertainty around taxes, regulations and the new healthcare law reigns throughout every sector of the US (and global) economy.
The reality is that all of this doom and gloom provides businesses with an opportunity – and really an obligation – to re-examine their sales and marketing expenditures for immediate cost relief without sacrificing short and long-terms goals in regards to sales growth, revenue growth, brand building and share of voice.
Businesses can gain operational efficiency, wring more value from precious marketing dollars and continue to build brand equity (and therefore the value of the firm) by simply re-evaluating and reconstituting their advertising and marketing agency relationships.
Over the last few years, most companies started to look at their advertising and marketing agency relationships a bit differently. Companies started to add a more deliberate focus on financial terms, production efficiency, customer service levels, measurable “Return on Investment” (ROI) and tracking and reporting results for all agency programs and initiatives.
This perspective shift was quite healthy… as long you did not work for an agency that was top heavy and bloated. These new measurements were just not what bigger agencies could deliver on for their clients – especially when compared to the growing cadre of boutique agencies in the marketplace.
Companies now expect more from their agencies. There is no more room for error or for waste. And that is why the advertising marketplace is shifting. Boutique agencies (7-15 people) with a singular focus (digital, events, video, social, mobile, cloud, content strategy, etc.) are popping up everywhere – and they can promise companies something the big agencies cannot – competitive prices, great service, constant attention from their ‘A’ team and bleeding edge thought leadership in their area(s) of expertise.
Look at Poke New York (25 employees) and Poke London (65 employees) as a great example. They work with Fortune 1000 brands (American Express, General Mills, Skype and Virgin) – and beat the ‘big guys’ routinely because they bring senior talent to the table at small agency rates – and with a small agency focus on service, accountability, flexibility, great creative, turn-around time and tracking/reporting success.
The time to re-examine your company’s marketing and advertising agency relationships is now. The world’s biggest and best brands are embracing this shift – which gives them even more competitive advantage not just today, but down the road as well.
The time to make that shift is now.