February 17, 2009

Want more creativity from your ad agency?

Creativing and Advertising

Creativing and Advertising

Here are five observations on getting the most out of the people you depend on for breakthrough marketing communications, or what 10 years on the client side and almost 30 years on the agency side have taught me. Among other things.

1. Creativity isn’t a commodity. And you won’t get it out of your agency team by saying, “This project is really important,” as if you expect someone will hit F8 on his or her keyboard and good things will happen. Creativity is an art, and great art takes time.
2. Out of fast, cheap and good, you can only have two.
3. Rate your agency on value – not cost. Over the long run, you get what you pay for. One great campaign can more than make up the cost difference between a good agency and the boss’s nephew who’s “darned creative and a whiz on the computer.”
4. Give your agency a stake in your success. This can happen two ways. In exchange for lower media commission or account management fees, figure out a revenue-sharing incentive arrangement. For example, if an ad campaign is a big hit and increases sales, share some of the profits with the agency. This is happening more and more in media price negotiations. Another way is to give your agency a regular “seat at the table.” Not just across from you, but with your boss and the president or the EVP. The honchos. The wheels. When the agency pitched you, all those big shots were there. The agency was at the top of its game and there was electricity in the air. Nobody wants to underwhelm the president.
5. Treat your agency as a partner. Never think of your agency as a vendor. Nothing is more relationship-harming than this seemingly innocuous reference. See No. 1 above, one more time.