The wider marketing agency industry appears to be in a constant state of turmoil, with aggressive competition bordering on the nasty, and charging models that lack clarity and security for the client, and the agency.
Agencies may feel they need retainers to be able to secure their income and be confident enough to hire resources, but sell projects.
They don't want projects to end, but would happily get out of some of their retainers where the client has inevitably let down their end, allowed things to slide and built up a service debt.
There are solutions to all this, and agencies don't have to work all this out on their own.
We are lucky enough to be part of the 'Inbound' community, where collaboration between agencies is the norm - even where we are obviously flat-out competitors. The benefits are proven to outweigh the costs.
Where we are seeing the most benefit though, is to partner and collaborate with other marketing agencies who have a different skill set to us. Yes, we may be competing for the same money, time or attention in the same clients, but when we collaborate, we provide better service.
One of my friends gave me some excellent customer insight yesterday about this very issue - they work with 15 different agencies. Among them, a big firm that's also an anagram of 'aah schits' (almost).
This big firm wants to be the 'lead agency' and sub-contract everything else, but they don't want to work with the agencies that the client already likes working with.
Another smaller agency they use, have been providing project work for years, and have a great relationship most of the time. However, they get hurt and 'act like a jealous lover' every time they hear the client may have been talking to someone else. So now the client is understandably careful about what they tell this agency so as not to upset them!
When we offered to collaborate properly with the other agencies, and hand over opportunities to them if they were better placed to provide value for the client, we were instantly invited into more work. It solves a problem.
Clients know that all marketing agencies are different. They know marketing is a big catch all term for lots of things, and nobody is good at all of it.
More collaboration, and an honest and grown-up attitude to solving problems for the client, is the key to the future success of the marketing industry.
We want more agencies to collaborate with us. We are really strong in inbound marketing and inbound sales. We drive growth through strategy, guidance and we never shy away from challenging a client to succeed. We need agencies who can help us improve our client's experience in many areas where are skills aren't as strong.
We also want to help more clients who are looking for help in getting their agencies to collaborate more.
Thanks for reading this far, if you've still got the energy, read the attached article for some in-depth stuff on this subject.
It feels like an idea that needs more shouting about. If you want us to expand more on the topic of collaboration in future posts, hit the star at the top of this article.
What can you do now to drive the integration of creativity, media and technology that you need to truly engage consumers? Coordination of agencies is not enough — you need to move more aggressively toward collaboration. And guess what? Agency folk want more collaboration — or at least they claim they do.