Why The Traditional Ad Agency Model Doesn’t Work

The majority of agencies are built around structure and a foundation of the old aged advertising legacy model. The sad truth is that most agencies are made up of just 1 person claiming that they have a team when really they do all the work. The ones that are actually a full team are designed for long term client partnerships and marketing strategies and plans that often stretch over years. The steady stream of revenue this provides is essential to their operation. However, you will often take years to see the success that you are looking for in the next few months.

I would suggest that the agency of the future (like Strategic Point Marketing that I started in 2009) will thrive by being quick and nimble, which results from a flatter organization and a process that would allow for adaptive strategies quicker.

Businesses used to (and still do) hire agencies to develop 30-second spots for TV and print tactical media placement planned months in advance, now they are managing customized marketing campaigns across diverse platforms and devices to targeted audiences, all in real-time, with a need for integration across all tactical mediums. This is a new playing field for antiquated agencies and means that agile agencies with less infrastructure yet a veteran team are better equipped to develop great creative at a faster speed. These are the agencies that can react quickly and keep their client’s brands on the forefront of consumers’ minds.
The traditional agency is also being threatened by companies Godaddy, Wix and YELP continue to soar, yet offer only ‘boxed’ solutions that limit the opportunity to scale a business with the agility formerly outlined in this blog. Only the agencies who are able to remain at the forefront of creativity and technology can be open to collaboration and partnership with technology companies and are flexible and agile enough to keep up with them. The truth is that collaboration with tech companies, like Google and Facebook, will actually be vital to an agency’s future success.

Ad Agencies fail to understand the client’s marketing objectives and expectations

Even after outlining what the agency will implement and execute for the client, most digital marketing agency could still get the creative concept or execution wrong.
To give your company a higher chance of a positive engagement with any agency, ensure the following is being executed properly:

They understand exactly what objectives and expectations are and can email you at a later date this information to confirm
Understand the background of their organizational values
Identify their other customer’s goals
Have them show you creative campaigns already created for others

2 Post Fails Agencies Have Post-Sale

After closing the contract, digital marketing agencies should monitor the quality of after-sales service. Often this is not done. Once the close is completed the agency pops the bottle of champagne and moves on to the next sale.

Companies surveyed had these complaints about agencies, post-sale.

  • Failing to respond on time after the contract is signed
  • Failing to communicate requests clearly to the creative team
  • Expecting you, the client, to drive the creative process and execution
  • Dealing with tardy and inefficient back offices that will not meet pre-set timelines

1 – Most Ad Agencies don’t communicate expectations clearly to the client

Agencies can face “unlimited” revisions based on your vague feedback, but they don’t guide you down a road to success. They are not built for that, yet you were sold on it.

2 – The campaign is poorly executed with no fallback plan

Sometimes campaigns aren’t able to generate the expected outcomes as promised, or worse, flat out FLOP.
Agencies should be checking campaigns every day for the first 5 days to ensure things are running smoothly – yet they often don’t even look until day 5.

When agencies are watching campaigns closely they are able to adapt strategies that will make campaigns more effective. However, a fractional CMO is more equipped to manage these types of campaigns.

The value of an agency can come when they have higher-level insights, such as:

Conversion Rates Of Online Visitors Exposed To Different Ad Types
A/B Testing In Paid Targeting
Narratives Of Posts Which Resonated More Engagements
Extracting Valuable Insights From Failures

Lastly – Why Ad Agencies Fail to “INNOVATE”

Some business owners actively look for agencies that can propose new ways to help achieve their business objectives.
Copying and pasting one campaign idea from client to client, or project to project, is easy in the short run but often agencies don’t have a lead Strategist looking for innovative ways to increase your brand or draw new buyers.
As an example of innovation or the lack of you should think about how Google AdWords was managed 10 years ago. Business owners need to buy tracking phone numbers to count conversions. Plus you were worried about how many times your competitor would click your ad charging you hundreds of dollars. While today these are ancient concerns as Google has innovated how things work. Identifying the concerns of users and adapting quickly.

Remember that, past successes is no indication of future success.

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