Famous Last Words: 3 Truths About Ad Agencies
I quit after two years (I was not fired from this job; Peggy and I chose not to move to Des Moines). I left a clean campsite, knowing my successor would be guided by seasoned pros at the Vos Agency and Harold Schwartz in accounting.
3. Agencies Have a Mentoring System
In the corporate world, new hires are shown to their office or cubicle, phone and computer, given keys to their desk and directions to the nearest washroom. Whereupon, they are left to figure out the corporate culture and the mechanics of how things get done. This can be a recipe for failure.
Hire an agency and you have a full organization reporting to you. Back in my day, these folks were experts at off-the-page advertising, direct mail, DRTV and public relations.
Forty years later — with the advent of digital marketing — the challenges are exponentially more complex. Website design, SEO and social media marketing all combine to create a dizzying kaleidoscope of possibilities.
To keep on top of this confluence of big data and marketing know-how, you must rely heavily on your agency. The only way an agency can survive in this tsunami of fast-changing information is to have a mentoring system from the top all the way down through the ranks to junior copywriters, analysts and summer interns.
Three organizations whose successes are built on mentoring: Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Army and ad agencies.
Takeaways to Consider
- Before firing your ad agency, be very sure it is absolutely the right move.
- When you fire your ad agency, you lose a ton of institutional history and knowledge.
- If the person who fires the agency leaves and is replaced by an outsider who must deal with a brand new agency, you are flying blind in a hurricane.