Speaking at a Secrets of Agency Excellence conference this week, renowned agency consultant Michael Farmer described the ad industry today as “a loser’s game” for all parties.
In his presentation he made these points:
He also has strong views on whether independents should sell their businesses:
All rather scary. So what's the answer?
Luckily he claims he has the solutions, in a recent book of his: Madison Avenue Manslaughter.
To summarise his answers:
1. THE WORKLOAD CHALLENGE
Agencies must document, track and measure their workloads carefully.
2. THE MISSION CHALLENGE
Agencies must change the thinking from creativity and big ideas to results for clients. This will require an upgrading of skills.
3. THE ACCOUNTABILITY CHALLENGE
Agencies must run their agency like a business. Create a strong sense of accountability throughout the organisation, office by office, client by client. This won't kill creativity. On the contrary, creativity is being killed on a daily basis by the very lack of accountability.
He also emphasises that these are CEO challenges. No other executive in the management structure has the stature and authority to bring about these transformations. They are insider challenges.
"I rather doubt that an outsider would have the credibility to overturn the agency culture, which is what is called for here. Take it on! Disrupt the agency! Don't expect to be applauded! It may not be a lot of fun, but it is what is needed."
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