Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Agencies chosen in the clients' image

One of the perennial problems of many a good agency and a boon to the bigger players is having a client that counts supplier size, kudos and higher fee as a key consideration in selecting their agency.

Of course, if you are a small agency it would probably not be feasible that a blue chip such as Tescos or British Gas is going to hire you. It is not impossible, especially if you have some very specialised and sought after skill, but unlikely.

However, for many clients size should not be everything. I wrote, with an advertising client called The Agency, a piece that reflected this sentiment for a notable marketing magazine. (For the record their MD has done well in establishing relationships with some impressive names). The article expressed that enthusiasm, skill and client understanding are not the sole preserve of a few larger players.

I once had a conversation that demonstrates how some clients and potential clients can misunderstand the options available. John, for this illustration, had hired a big agency for all their marketing. I called up 6 months later to see how they were getting on and they were not PR wise although the agency's other services had been fine.

John had initially said that a bigger agency was able to get more coverage because it had more sway and influence, just like a media buyer! This obviously would make all small to medium agencies redundant and there are many smaller agencies about.

Anyway, he said they had spent a lot but the fees must be worth it for a big agency.

I happened, at a Christmas quiz, to sit with a member of the agency he hired. When I mentioned John and his company the reply was, "Small account, the girl behind me works on it."

I think that says almost everything.


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