Recently had the privlage to listen to Tim Williams from Ignition Consulting Group tell a group of agencies that if they don’t make changes to the way they are structured, and adapt to the demands of Marketers, they will struggle to survive.  His presentation centered on the need for agencies to recognize what Marketers have been saying for years:

  1. Be more strategic
  2. Understand my business and my industry
  3. Be more proactive
  4. Help me build more value into my business

We have seen these responses from Marketers in our RSW/AgencySearch surveys year-after-year and a recent CMO survey sponsored in part by the CMO Council noted similar challenges.

The issue centers on the fact that most agencies are set up to react…and not lead the thinking.

Too often, there are too many do’ers and not enough people taking the time to step back and think about how they best add value beyond making ads.

Tim recommended that Agencies need to take a more  aggressive stand in separating out these functions within agencies and dedicate more resources to planning to support their clients.

So what does this mean for you?

It is relatively simple.

When you’re looking for your next agency, ask them to present a case history centered on a strategic challenge they faced and have them explain how they lead the process to address it.

Ask them to tell you how they are structured.

Find out how many planners do they have?

Try and understand how their planners get involved in the day-to-day activities of their clients?

Ask how do they help add value to their clients’ worlds?

Some simple questions can help you sort out what kind of partner you’re really bringing on board next time you sign on a new agency.