Part 5: Are Agency Org Charts Undermining Client Alignment?

This is the last in a 5-part series looking at what I believe are fatal flaws in traditional full-service agency organization structure.  When I use the term "fatal" I am referring to the ability of the agency to enjoy long-term growth and client stability.  There are plenty of agencies pumping out brochure design, trade show collateral and broadcast advertising at a profit and there will always be a few industries that can get by with this. ...

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Part 4: Are Agency Org Charts Undermining Collaboration?

Posted on March 31, 2014

Over the past two months, I've been releasing a series of posts to stimulate reflection on traditional full-service agency organization structure and whether it is the best way to deliver client value in the future.   The theme being that most full-service agencies are organized into production silos with separate Directors and P&Ls such that collaboration becomes difficult when competing interests collide. This is the fourth in a 5-part ...

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Part 3: Are Agency Org Charts Undermining Insight Accountability?

This is the third in a 5-part series examining potential fatal flaws in the traditional full-service agency model that focused on production silos instead of integrated demand marketing teams. One of the observations that I have had in working with many full-service agencies in the past couple years is the lack of buyer insights and the concentration of campaign performance data with a select few internal agency departments (typically Account ...

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Part 2: Are Agency Org Charts Undermining Knowledge Transfer?

Posted on March 10, 2014

Back in January 2014, I posted that I believe that the traditional full-service agency organization structure is outdated and that it may actually impede the agency's ability to deliver value to clients.  Why?  Because the idea of production silos with separate P&L focus contradicts what CMOs need to generate leads: integrated marketing touch points that align with the customer decision journey. In February 2014, I followed up with a post ...

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Part 1: Has Assisted Attribution Killed the Current Agency Org Chart?

Posted on January 30, 2014

This is the first in a five-part series highlighting what I believe are five fatal flaws with the traditional full-service agency organization chart and how agency leaders can resolve them.  Some agencies are getting this right and if you are, I'd like to hear from you. Traditional Agency Business Model In consulting with both digital and full-service agencies since 2008, I've observed a disconnect that has puzzled me. Namely, the lack of ...

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5 Fatal Flaws in Traditional Agency Org Structure

Posted on January 13, 2014

I have been working with multiple full-service and digital agencies over the past 15 months and it has been interesting to observe a common theme emerge.  The traditional advertising agency business model that was established 50+ years ago and emphasized functional specialty (creative, production, media buying, etc.) is no longer working as well. I believe that the traditional agency org structure has five (5) fatal flaws that result from a ...

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Agency Business Model: Are Clients Buying What Agencies are Selling?

Posted on October 8, 2013

Over the past five years I've been advising a number of small-to-midsize full-service agencies on growth strategies.  Having built a $20MM marketing firm, I have first-hand experience with evolving my business model to changing market conditions and recognizing the key to business survival is to "build what is sellable" not "sell what's buildable."   The former is customer-centric and the latter is self-centric. Nearly all of the agencies ...

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Are Traditional Ad Agencies Relevant Anymore?

In an odd sort of way, I admire traditional ad agencies for their ability to sell a single tactic (advertising) within one part of the purchase funnel (Awareness) and collect some pretty handsome fees -- regardless of whether the ads generate measurable sales.  I just wish they'd do one thing: ditch their primary association with advertising.  Let me explain. In its purist sense, an advertisement is a one-way message (monolog) designed to ...

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“Strategery” is Not Just for Will Farrell

Posted on February 20, 2009

This post addresses the challenge facing ad agencies seeking to position themselves as marketing solutions providers -- go beyond the brochure and actually re-invent your firm.  I can help you do it. I recently met with an agency who was concerned about coming advertising budget cuts from clients and how it would impact them.  As I listened to the agency talk about the need to diversify their services and become more measurable in their ...

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