Truth or Consequences

Advertising Agencies have more than an image problem and an alternative options problem

Since they all promise everything... what is a client left to do but consider them all commodities... and work with the cheapest.

Alternatives have been encroaching...

In-House Agencies can get closer to real data and accountability. Check out the fast growing and fun folks at In House Agency Forum -

Management Consultants are promising big-picture results that includes marcom... which are just a few cogs in the wheel. Their not-so-secret method is to charge outrageous rates that require the sharing of all client data and issues... then (and only then)  can actually really help.

Remember, Agencies have that conundrum of focusing services to be a defined brand but therefore not helping their clients across their entire ecosystem (the answer is working with trusted partners... I would love to talk to you about the right ways to do this).

Michael Farmer has been trying to help Agencies by being brutally honest in his book Madison Avenue Manslaughter - read it.

Excerpt from his recent post
"Transformed agencies will require sophisticated mid-level executives who can thoroughly engage with their clients to solve business issues, like underperforming brands. This will require a considerable amount of analytical and strategic expertise. Currently, there is an agency deficit in talent, training and salaries.

To pay for the required talent for agency transformations, agencies need to upgrade their fee levels. This is possible today only if agencies document the work they do and negotiate fees based on Scopes of Work rather than on client-controlled benchmarked salaries and overhead rates. My analyses show that agencies are currently underpaid by 15-30% for the work they do – and their poor Scope of Work documentation and negotiation practices are root causes of the problem."  

More on his methods at

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