For far too many years, ad people have been degraded, muscled by the data freaks, and minimized by consultants and in-house agencies. The Adverati went from being the brains of the marketing operation to the hands. And it cost the industry dearly. Therefore, I am glad to see this article on Campaign US that highlights the need for and value of strategic thinking that builds businesses.
Two-thirds (64%) of indie agencies said they are ahead in terms of revenues compared to this time last year, when the pandemic lockdowns were at their peak, according to a report by Agency Futures Index for Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI).
“Clients’ needs were not service-based as much as they were thinking-based,” said John Harris, president and CEO of WPI. “There was a need for business thinking, not just comms thinking.”
Many years ago, I worked with John at The Integer Group in Denver. We stay in touch today because our business interests are aligned. We both want to see an environment where healthy agencies are able to prosper.
According to Worldwide Partners, successful agencies doubled down on their strategy practices as clients needed help moving their businesses online. In fact, strategic services were the most profitable marketing service offered for one-third of agencies surveyed, followed by media planning and buying (16%), advertising (13%), digital and e-commerce (11%), content creation (7%), and social media (4%).
Pay to Play, or Get Out of the Way
Look at the results at the bottom of the above pile. Content marketing and social media marketing are not highly valued. Not because clients and agencies don’t place value on these methods of reaching millions of people where they live (online). The buyers of products and services are the ones who are not impressed.
Meanwhile, strategy, media planning and buying, and the making of advertising are all profitable. They’re profitable because these methods can change the score for a client in a hurry. It takes money to make money, and paid advertising is one area where agencies can prove this, over and over again.
When you do pay to play, you’re also giving your organic (free) content a chance to be seen. The notion that a brand can somehow reach customers directly with no paid ad support makes my head spin. How about your head?