What’s alternating current?

I recently became fascinated with understanding how and why alternating current works better in electricity delivery than direct current. The improvement of efficiency of power delivered via alterating current is staggering. I never knew …  and it got me thinking about places where better power management (as AC was to DC) can make a huge difference in many industries and applications.

Then I began to ponder how to apply this efficiency model in a broken business model, the model called marketing services and the agencies that deliver these services to clients.

As an ex-agency person who has been on the client side for a dozen years, you’ll notice this blog is punctuated by postings that rant against agencies. “They don’t get it. They live in their cool worlds without having business experience.” And I am not alone in my thinking. Nearly every client friend I know complains bitterly about their agency. I even had one ex-client call me about a year ago (we have not worked together in over 20 years) to say she missed me. She missed me as her account person. “They just don’t get it” she said. She meant her agency.

But I love this industry. I worked as a VP at an ad agency for over a decade (NWAyer for those old timers who remember this agency with affection) and I see a failure of power delivery. I see a failure of imagination that would have allowed agencies to evolve in the increasingly complex world that clients live in.

I want to create a place where clients and agencies can cooperate to create something more productive, more efficient. Help me create a more efficient way to deliver power (aka business ideas and services) to clients.

What’s the alternating current paradigm shift of our business?

I don’t yet know what form the “alternating current” power model of the marketing industry will be.To that end, I will be creating a virtual group where we will be able to address real issues and provide practical solutions. Perhaps we create a new standards body to address technology integration issues. Perhaps there is a need for agencies to have a consistent approach to online identity management?

So to join me … just email me. I am starting with a small gathering soon. Watch this space.

Judy Shapiro


7 Responses

  1. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    Don’t pay for your electricity any longer…
    Instead, the power company will pay YOU!

  2. Very interesting … finally someone who explained Twitter it to me. (I am sending your post to everyone in my marketing department). Your blog is great!

  3. Craetive idea — Ray K. would wonder at this no doubt. 🙂

  4. Excellent post. Wonder if there are any useful guidelines to truly evaluate when a community should be created versus leveraging existing social networks. P.S. I’ve added TechWars link to my MarketingWitz blog.

  5. I think this is an interesting idea- the thing about the AC power grid is that it’s great for distributing power, but at the point where most people want to USE it, you still need a transformer to convert it into DC (e.g. the power “brick” for your laptop.” It’s a standardized system, but it can only work as a system that home builders, industrial users, device manufacturers, generators, (etc) all use together. This is also what makes it so hard for change to come.

    So to me, major changes in the ways clients and agencies work together really have to be accompanied by change on all sides, in the whole system. I think the evolution of agency and client relationships is a really interesting topic- have you developed this idea further since you originally blogged this?

    • Well said and your point is well taken. I have begun to refine my thinking and you precisely understood the issue — it is around standardization.

      And here’s what became apparent. Today, digital agencies are selling both creative services AND technology, yet none of the normal service level agreements or metrics that would normally apply when buying technology applies in the digital agency space.

      For instance, at Paltalk, we are testing a remarketing program, but we have to take their word for it on how many downloads we got. It’s hard to swallow this level of “trust me” when you are paying per download, don’t you think?

      I am beginning to assemble a working group of senior level agency and client people to identify key areas where standardization would improve. We would then push these initiatives through the proper industry standards group. Some potential areas where we may start is around SEO, social media buying, new technology assessment, a working model for monetizing content.

      We welcome ideas – this is still “jelling”…

      • Just so I have this right- the remarketing program would be like an agency creating a paltalkscene campaign or featured engagement (like a live chat) for a client and then giving the agency credit for PalTalk client downloads they were able to drive?

        I think it’s really important for the agency work of the future to center around creating real connections between brands/products and their customers, and your point holds true: how are *any* of the parties to such a relationship going to know if these connections have been created? Once everyone knows what’s being measured, and who’s accountable for what, the fun can begin, but until then….

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