What does an advertising agency sell? What does a design agency sell? What does a PR agency sell?
The answers are obviously – advertising, design and PR.
Do they provide strategic advice? Well not really because that requires them to be unbiased and not to favour any one path over another before they even understand the problem.
My old boss once told me – “Reward shapes behaviour”. If the staff of a PR agency only get paid if they sell PR and the staff of an ad agency only get a bonus if they sell ads – then guess what they will sell you regardless of your problem.
This is a true story to illustrate the point:
About twenty years ago I was working as Marketing Director for a big beer company. I was struggling with a key strategic issue and I went to my ad agency to discuss the problem assuming that they would be able to help me. However the only solution they had was for me to advertise more which didn’t address the strategic issue in my mind. After the meeting I shared my disappointment with one of their account managers who I respected. She told me I was being naive!
She said – “the business of an ad agency is to sell you advertising so don’t expect them to give you any advice other than to spend more on advertising.” I remember being quite saddened by this because if that is the case who could I discuss my challenges with? I was on my own.
I believe that the role of a company like Standout is to help our clients figure out what marketing activity will work best for their business. It normally involves a bit of trial and error (testing) at first. It may involve some advertising, design, PR and even digital marketing but it might not!
Unfortunately too many companies all into the specialist trap too early.
At Standout we figure out what works first and then we employ and manage a team of specialists across all marketing disciplines to implement the right solutions.