I’ve looked at life from both sides now – the agency and client side. And here’s a simple truth — agencies don’t get it until clients get it. Agencies have never led clients in marketing innovation. Why? Simply because there’s little money in it. Innovation takes people resource investment and risk – both of which agencies are reticent to do.
So clients must push their agencies and only then will agencies deal with it. Look at PR. It is stuck in an old model of doing PR to get coverage in the New York Times. Nice? Sure. But does that drive sales? Hardly.
Today for example, the PR model is evolving right under the noses of the agencies into something called PVR = Public + Viral relations (ok – I use that term since I don’t know what else to call it). PR should be used to gain SEO visibility which gets sales. Don’t look to your PR agency to explain this to you – they don’t even know how to do a viral relations campaign, much less merging PR and viral relations to optimize web presence. I challenge you to ask your PR agency to do it . At best, they will look at you like you have 2 heads – at worse they will try and talk you out of it.
Pity — because PVR works. At my company, we built a base of millions of users using just PVR. But agencies won’t embrace it because there are no huge media buys associated with it — no large budgets — no glamourous WSJ articles to point to.
Take it from me (after having spent lots of $$$ in agency fees) – agencies don’t innovate – they follow. Maybe that’s why clients are frustrated.