Secret Agency Boss: there is a better way than all these time-wasting pitches
What if we focussed our collective efforts on demonstrating to the world what this wonderful discipline can do to build their business?
I thought I would ease us in gently to this series with a question.
What might happen if we spent as much time, effort and money promoting the great things our product and service can do for businesses as we do scrapping over pitches which ultimately benefit no-one?
While pitches may benefit a few people, the truth is they do not generally benefit agencies.
One agency’s win is another agency’s loss, and then there are several others for which it is a complete waste of time.
Yes, we should be competing with each other to show advertisers why we are the best company for them. But most pitches are not designed for us to actually explain why advertising works.
And advertising does work, doesn’t it? More companies should be doing it and more companies should be spending more money on it shouldn’t they. If you don't believe that, why are you in this business?
I'm talking about creating a bigger pie for all of us.
Instead, what if we focussed our collective efforts on demonstrating to the world what this wonderful discipline can do to build their business?
Of course, some of the industry bodies and larger media owners give it a go. But generally they stay in their swim lane desperately trying to get brands to switch money to their medium. They are not promoting the discipline as a whole.
The digital specialist agencies probably get closest, but still it’s really about promoting a type of advertising or a channel than the whole premise.
Isn't this what trade bodies are for?
Remember the "Land of Independents" campaign from last year? Yes, it had a lot of positive elements, but was still really a scheme to tell clients about which type of agency to use.
I am a big supporter of the IPA, but they are largely focussed on the inner workings of the industry, and how to do the job better rather than why it exists in the first place.
This is completely understandable, but they are missing a trick.
Of course the IPA Effectiveness Awards are one of the best sources of evidence, so the case studies won’t be hard to find. But I would like to see them do more on a broader stage to promote the industry externally, and to get some of its brilliant people out there to extol the virtues of the whole category, not just their agencies' work.
Meanwhile, ISBA is another great organisation but, by definition, it's a club. In its own words it “brings together a powerful network of marketers”. By definition, this means 'existing' powerful marketers and so is vulnerable to being overly introspective.
The thing is, neither the IPA or ISBA's website has much information on why we’re actually here.
The awesome talents of the likes of Mark Ritson, Les Binet & Peter Field, Bob Hoffman, Rory Sutherland and Karen Nelson-Field should also be harnessed in this effort. That bunch talking about why advertising is good for business would make an awesome panel at any industry's annual get together.
So the case studies exist, the brilliant practitioners abound, and the opportunity as we emerge bleary eyed from the last 18 months is surely ripe.
If you think I'm wrong, how about typing "Why advertise?" into Google and see if anything compelling comes up.
No wonder we continue to fight over scraps.