Big Department Cause Bias

Big Departments

Most advertising agencies today are trying to change themselves from what they once specialized in, like ad buying or website development, into a complete Marketing agency (please see our post about Marketing vs. Advertising).  Why?  Because more and more  clients are looking for a partner who understands all the aspects of business, has a full understanding and agnostic approach to all the various areas of marketing today, and then understands how to best bring the two together to create the greatest return on their marketing investment. 

This agnosticism is very important on getting the best out of an agency partner.  What do we mean by marketing agnostic?  Being agnostic to marketing means to have no bias for one marketing tool or medium over another when beginning to approach a given challenge.  Sounds simple, right?  Not when you have been using and/or specializing in one area of marketing (i.e., advertising, media buying, public relations, etc.) for years.  It’s very difficult not to revert back to ones roots, its part of your DNA.  Its the old analogy, when you hold a hammer long enough the whole world looks like a nail. 

Why it's a Problem

There are two main problems with these agencies. 
  1. DNA is Hard to Change – If an organization has done something for years it is very difficult to one day send out a memo telling its staff the company they work for now does all these other things they never did before. Even if they added new staff or merged with another firm the bigger part of the organization will naturally down play the new folks and in worst cases reject them.  Think of organ donation. Not to mention whatever they did for years they were probably pretty good at it, making it even more difficult to see better and newer ways to accomplish the client’s goals.
  2. Mouths Need Feeding – How big is your firms staff?  What kind of departments do they have?  Either consciously or subconsciously agencies will offer solutions that will keep their staff billable.  Agencies have a crack web design team…guess what…you need a new website.  Now if you know you need a new website, great.  But do you need solutions for driving traffic to that site?  Do you need to know how your distribution channels can best leverage that new site?