A couple days ago I was talking with a creative director about how we have often found ourselves giving away ideas and tips to our clients about potential new products, or improvements of old ones: though most of these ideas get lost along the way, sometimes they eventually become financially-relevant products, and all we get out of that is a handshake. If we’re lucky, a “thank you, we’ll not pitch you for a while…”
Fastforward 24 hours, and I stumble upon this article from AdAge, listing a number of agencies that have been addressing this same issue in the most obvious way: by becoming marketers themselves.
They develop and market their own proprietary ideas, thus evolving from consultants to entrepreneurs: from “communication experts” to “idea factories”.
The first implication of all this is quite immediate: money. You need lots of money to finance your ideas, develop and market them, before you can see any ROI. But if you do see a ROI, is much more rewarding than current agency fees.
The second keyword is risk: entrepreneurial risk. Agencies have always been preaching brave risk-taking, but have never really been keen to take any risk themselves. We still hang on to the same structure and business model of the last many decades.
Speaking of that, what kind of structure can support such a business model? Most likely one with a few selected talents and low fixed costs. Which is pretty much the opposite of the agency structure of today: very high fixed costs (lotsa people), but real talents have been fleeing our industry for years, in search for better opportunities and, well, more money.
I’m still gathering the thoughts, but it seems one of those topics worth tracking.
Final Burp: if agencies start succesfully marketing their own products, will clients quit saying that we can’t fucking sell, and we just don’t get figures?