Monogamy – it’s usually synonymous with romantic relationships but from an agency POV it seems to be pretty standard with clients and agencies too. When a client is involved with an agency, it’s often hard to turn their heads to consider a ‘date’ with someone else even if their current relationship looks to have run its course.
If you speak to most agencies it seems ‘turning heads’ is the hardest nut to crack. Getting someone else to love your work, love your team and take a chance on the work you produce, even just to ‘get you’ and your culture – so much so that they want to work with you.
Isn’t it a strange irony that we spend our whole careers developing the art of persuasion ‘buy our product/love our brand/here are your reasons to believe/act differently’, yet when it comes to our own target market (marketeers) no-one, NO-ONE has the answer.
Some clients cheat on their agency to shake things up, in most instances something has gone monumentally tits up or the dreaded new CEO wants to make their mark, and out goes the current agency – a complete break up!
As agency bods we see so many articles showcasing past projects shouting ‘look at who we work with, the great work we have done, the awards we have won’, but who are we doing this for? Is our target audience even listening? We are in a cycle where we peacock to one another, but is our target audience on a different dating website?
It’s a nightmare because what we are really selling isn’t tangible. You’re selling your agency as it stands in that moment – the team, the ethos, the past experience…it’s all relative. If your current client base is in retail, ‘like attracts like’ and therefore that’s where you aim your new business arrow – but your agency and expertise are more than that. Your clients have dictated that, but we are yet to see an agency whose creative team doesn’t have a massively varied interest outside of work in their ‘plays section’, but that never sees the light of day.
Recommendation though – if a peer recommends an agency to their marketing friend then a client is more inclined to ‘cheat’. A one night stand ‘brief’, to see if you are worth leaving the long-term relationship for. Why is this the push that is needed sometimes? Is it trust or affirmation that they are doing the right thing, or is it that they are afraid of long-term commitment with someone else who might not be right for them?
But they are never going to know unless they try?
So how do we convince them?
Time served, past projects, right place right time. In most instances this isn’t enough. We have to pitch – we take them on a date, we buy them dinner (and the team who demand pizza for the late night) and they might not even call us back. All for the love of showing what great work we can actually produce for them. We are excited about it, about the potential of a new relationship and their brand but have to pay for the privilege of showing them how amazing we are.
The methods we use are fundamentally broken – you can’t show chemistry through your creds, you can’t have an amazing brainstorm when you have never met, you cant be a meeting of minds if those minds have never met.
So what can we do?
Let’s meet out of positive circumstances. Let’s always be on the lookout for fresh and new ways to do things and lets old school it. Let’s go to the right pubs where we can all meet, let’s not treat creative like applying for a job. You can’t summarise who you are, what you do and what you want to do on an email or side of A4.