The agency-client relationship is broken. Here’s how to fix it.
by Síle Cleary
Recent research compiled by IBSA, a membership group representing British Advertisers, has shown a growing number of UK advertisers are moving to in-house or on-site agency services. It’s a trend that’s already in full swing in the US with as much as 58% of US advertisers having made or in the process of making the transition.
So what’s the reason for this skills migration? Are agencies becoming too expensive? Are they not delivering a good service… or is something else afoot? Well, according to the report, there’s a growing concern that agencies are becoming less able to respond to the fast-moving demands of the digital space. There’s too many links in the chain to getting a creative project, not just off the ground – but fully delivered within ever tightening timelines. Ask any agency and they’ll tell you they’re working on tens if not hundreds of projects at any one time and that means resources are tight. New project requests can often end up in a holding pattern, much like an aircraft waiting to land at a busy airport, circling round and around until eventually resources become available to move it forward. And with advertising shifting from a campaign focused landscape to a continuous delivery approach, that just doesn’t work. For a company to really make their advertising work, it’s now as much about being agile and responsive in the moment as it is to being strategic and thinking long-term. You simply cannot afford to be the last brand to the party (or not even be at the party) when it comes to event driven, opportunistic advertising.
But it’s not just the responsiveness of agencies that has come under scrutiny lately. Many advertisers have cited the effort required to manage multiple agency relationships being another key factor to making the move in-house. Complex projects require cross-agency collaboration which adds a further level of complication and inefficiency. Even without that however, the layers of communication between the advertiser and the person putting the nuts and bolts of a project together can be many and it’s easy for the vision and the message to get lost or badly skewed on route.
So what’s the answer to this agency conundrum? Is it time to sell up whilst the sun is still faintly shining and hark back to the good old days when the only advertising mediums were TV, Radio and Newspaper? Of course not, but agencies do need to adapt to the changing advertising landscape if they are to survive. That means they need to become more agile, more responsive. In house systems which allow for better project management through effective resource management are essential for the future of all agencies. Standardizing internal processes to streamline a project’s journey is also paramount. But perhaps above all, agencies need to be able to collaborate more effectively, both internally and externally with their clients and other agencies. Only by breaking down the layers of communication and the virtual barriers between organizations can agencies truly become responsive to the needs of their clients.
And that’s where we at Screendragon come in. For over 10 years, we’ve worked with leading advertisers and agencies such as Kelllogg, Kimberly Clark, BP, JWT, Leo Burnett, Mccann World group and GroupM to implement new processes and tools which enable them to become more agile and efficient. For more detailed information on the problems we solve and how we can help your agency or in-house team, contact us today or book in for a personalized demo of our software.