To ad agencies, it’s just a business


  • The ad industry gathered at Canned to pat themselves on the back with over 700 awards.
  • Notably missing were brand marketers who are being asked to demonstrate the ROI of advertising clearly.
  • Some of the quotes from ad agency people are beyond stupid when it comes to branding.
  • More and more brands are going to bring advertising ion house.

I love marketing, but I hate the “business” of marketing. By that, I mean dealing with ad agencies who are woefully out of touch with people (not target markets). In my opinion, there is a clear disconnect between what agencies do and what senior management wants from marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I know that is too much emphasis on short-term gains at the expense of branding, but agencies really don’t understand the brand-customer relationship.

The only thing more prolific than the number of asinine awards for work that has never really run is the mind-boggling stupid statements by various senior-level executives bent on stating the obvious–tautologies or solipsisms–that add up to nothing more than nothing.

George Tannenbaum, Ad Aged

I get many requests from clients to look at proposals from agencies or sit in on agency pitches. The bullshit I have heard is enough to make me sick. How the hell can ANY agency come in and tell you to do this or do that without understanding your business and customers?

One of the best pitches I heard was from Ogilvy One when they said, “we can’t tell you what you should do because we don’t understand enough about your brand or target customer.” Of the eight agency pitches we heard that day, theirs was the most refreshing (yes, they got the job).

A brand is not a friend to a customer, nor is it a companion. All the marketing in the world will not make up for consumers is disappointed when they use/open your brand. In the grocery aisles, private label sales are growing double-digit so much that Costco, Target, and Whole Foods are introducing premium private label products.

One of the top brands, according to surveys, continues to Amazon. Why? Their customer service is top-notch, and it’s easy to get what you want or return something that disappoints. Considering all the negative headlines around Jeff Bezos and how Amazon treats warehouse employees, you would expect people to back off using Amazon. Still, they continue to make boatloads of money.

Apple charges a premium price for their products, but when you first open an Apple product through any technical issues, they ensure you’re happy with your purchase. When I recently returned an iMac because I needed a bigger hard drive, it took less than 5 minutes in the Apple store. That I’ll remember.

When it comes to hard goods, more customers believe that customer service is a huge part of the brand. Grocery items? Sales are driven by FSI’s and promotion more than favorite brands. It’s hard to spend an extra 50% on protein pasta when the same product is available in a store brand.

As long as bad marketers love self-promotion and get their pictures in business magazines, there will be bad agencies. Cannes is a great example of how out of touch they are with marketing and people. No wonder so many good people are leaving big agencies, and P&G brought their advertising in-house.

The advertising business is still just a business.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

View all posts by richmeyer →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.