What do clients want from their Communications partners?
Clients select agencies based on what they believe will be the ‘right fit’ with their business. They have specific sales and marketing objectives that must be met, and their communication partners exist solely to help them achieve them. Clients realise that, when buying into an agency relationship, they buy into the total package – account management, creative, strategy, digital, and the inherent costs associated with deploying those resources. It is expensive, but the need for functional efficacy is mandatory. Efficiency, however, is their genuine battleground – how to get more, for less, from their agency(s).
Agencies are a compromise.
The inherent problem with agencies is that they aren’t interested in the client’s need for efficiency. This does them no good at all. Agencies are already under cost pressures. What they are interested in is deploying all of their people all the time, on client projects, and demonstrating their efficacy – strategic and creative performance.
The problem is that Agency people are generalists. Agency staff must be able to wear many category-client hats. An agency can not just hire a brilliant car creative, if they also have food, finance, insurance, or packaged goods clients. Agency people must be, by default, generalists.
In short, clients recognise that Agencies build teams that are ‘fit for purpose’ not a perfect fit.
A client would love to be able to pick and choose world’s-best agency and creative talent available, and deploy skills that are a perfect fit for their business, on their key projects. Many already try to do so, and build agency rosters with diverse skill sets. The client then must manage multiple agency relationships, and the inherent budgetary issues that arise from deploying multiple businesses, the creative clashes and the lack and synergy on projects and brands. It is a case of too many people feeding on the one piece of pie, and remains a business problem CMO’s must begrudgingly manage.
But, what if the CMO or CEO could deploy the world’s-best people on a project basis, without any of the inherent management issues detailed above? And do so without the cost issues that make managing up to their C-Suite colleagues so difficult?
A Communications Company’s real opportunity:
Give the C-Suite the world’s-best people – what they want, when they want it – without the burden of incurring significant additional cost.
The Comms’ firm need to add value to Country Managers who help pay for the Global team, and demand value from it.
So why not build a world’s-best a team of brand strategists, creative leaders, digital strategist, technologists, and media strategists (whatever skill-set client’s need) and deploys them on client projects when required? More so, build this team around client needs. i.e. if Kellogg needs digital activation solutions, the Firm deploys the best people globally, on this project, on a fee basis.
Creating competitive advantage – efficiency
The key is that the Firm can recruit this talent from the freelance ranks. The people may be freelance, may be in consultancy, or may be working within a business. Regardless, pay them a project fee to execute brilliantly on clients project, and add world’s-best cleverness and creativity to the Firm’s offer.
Country Managers can choose to deploy this fluid global team or not. But a Country Manger can never say, “Global doesn’t add value”.
- Up-skilled teams without onerous fixed HR costs.
- Visible added value for Country Managers.
- Visible added value to clients.
- The Firm provides a better, more focused service, for less than its mainstream competitors.
- Delivering World’s-best skills costs nothing until it is deployed.