Issue No. 75: Thriving, Retention and Marriage

Last Word: Are They Really Broken?
There is a great article that discusses the efficacy of marketing agencies, written by the principal of a marketing agency. One passage stood out to me.

This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to the relationship between companies and their agencies. They expect the agency to be a de facto CMO. The agency is responsible for coming up with the ideas, deploying them, managing the systems, and reporting everything back. In fact, we’re treated more like a CMO and marketing department all rolled into one. But again, we’re not you. Our message is always going to be slightly off from where you’d like it. We’re never going to know your customers as well as you do.

I don’t fully agree with his sentiments. I am a believer in marketing agencies, I just happen to think that beliefs and goals could be better aligned to achieve more, over the longer term. This could mean a few things: perhaps marketing agencies should have in-house management consulting expertise to assist in advising brands’ toughest decisions. Or perhaps brands’ securities should be a component of compensation packages for marketing agencies. When the brand does well, the firms’ illiquid assets are mor valuable.

More and more, agencies are becoming more accountable to brands. But often enough, the remedy is the alignment of risk and the potential of upside.

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