In a pilot study examining how marketers feel about their agencies, Advertiser Perceptions, a unit of Perceptions Group, found that 58% of respondents said they plan to review their agencies in the next 12 months. I would have thought it would have been higher.
As a consultant, I am often called upon to sit in on agency pitch’s, recommendations and reviews to give an independent voice. While I have come across some very good agencies their number is small. I have seen agencies try and tell clients what to do without having any idea about their business, recommend tactics that don’t support brand objectives while executives jet off to France to pat themselves on the back.
Can any agency, for example, justify the continuing annoying TV commercials for companies like Liberty Mutual or Progressive while the Internet is full of negative comments about their service?
Marketers need to hold agencies accountable and by that I mean for the key objective of the brand. If they fail they should be given the boot. When ad campaigns don’t work brands should bolt to an agency that understands why we are in business.
Not too long ago I sat in an agency review in Chicago. It seemed that the original people working on the account had left (two wanted to travel, three left for smaller agencies) and when I inquired why they did certain things their response was “we would have to go back and check”. Needless to say my recommendation was to fire them, which the client did at the end of the day.
The good agencies need to be more vocal about how they are different and what makes them better than larger traditional agencies with big overheads. Until this happens more marketers are going to put business up for review.