One agency -vs- many agencies
It never fails to amaze us how many different agencies some businesses hire.
We see it all the time… They could have a design agency, a copywriter, a PR company, a web development company, a branding agency, a creative consultant, a software company, an SEO agency, a digital agency, a UX consultant, photographers, a video production company, media buying consultants, internal communications consultants, analytics agency, social media agency, direct mail house, printers… and the list just goes on. It’s out of control!
Effort, cost, headache…
The effort required in managing this number of agencies and people must be colossal. The cost has to be even greater. Don’t overlook the enormous challenge that the culture, creative process and individual needs of each agency brings. Oh, and you’re going to need to benchmark them all, pay them all, evaluate them all, meet with them all etc. Can, worms, open.
We always end up scratching our heads and wondering how anyone working on the inside manages to get anything done or is it the case that Marketing Managers actually end up spending their days administrating? We honestly don’t know.
The argument you hear in defence of this practice generally revolves around the notion that “it gives the brand access to talented people, new ideas and best practice that would be otherwise out of reach” and “when several agencies are employed they will fight for the business and it keeps them focused as they could lose the account at any time if they don’t give 100%!”
The first part of this theory is best dealt with by simply replying “You must be hiring the wrong people / team / agency!” Further, if you’ve ever dealt with an experienced top-flight creative person you’ll already know that the second part is nonsense too. Creatives do their best work when you brief them properly and leave them to their own devices. Pay them well and reap the rewards… take the pressure away and let them deliver the magic. Sure, you can beast them for a while but remember it’s a two way street and there is always another client just around the corner that will value them more.
Taking an impartial and logical view on the matter you’d likely conclude that buy hiring multiple agencies your own in-house teams can’t function properly. The teams you hire are unlikely to collaborate as well as you’d hope (regardless of what they promise) and brand consistency will be tricky to maintain. Messaging won’t always be on-point and more time will be spent administrating this vicious circle that’s been created. Oh, and the spiralling costs…
What’s the alternative?
If you’re still not convinced then take a look at the way Apple quite literally conquered the world with their incredible advertising. When you strip away the fables and legend the story basically goes like this;
- One man in charge (Steve Jobs)
- One advertising Agency (TBWA\Chiat\Day)
- One small team of smart people
- One shared vision
There’s been books, documentaries and endless articles written about their relationship. It was a perfect storm; A maverick client, the best in class products, a willing and highly able advertising agency and… well, and nothing. That’s it.
Free agency audit
So, that was a long winded way of saying this: If you want to save a LOT of time and a LOT of money think about hiring a small team of smart people that will take care of everything in one place. If, as a business owner, you think your organisation is wasting a LOT of time and a LOT of money using multiple agencies then we could be the magic bullet you’re looking for.
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