Far too often as marketers we tend to become complacent. Changing status quo is not something that marketers are wont to do in a hurry, especially when it comes to something as close to as changing one’s incumbent agency. As marketers more often than not we tend to resist the change, sometimes with a great degree of passion.
“They understand my brand and my business” or “I’ve invested hours in briefing them” are some of the usual statements that marketers tend to throw around when changes are requested. But the bottom line is that a change in agency is not something that any marketer honestly desires. But there comes a time when the plug has to be pulled and as a marketer understanding the early signs that you need a new agency are a good way to prepare oneself for the inevitable day, sooner rather than later.
So what are the tell-tale signs to watch out for?
Sign No 1: Creativity is falling
At the heart of marketing is creativity. And that’s the fundamental process that an agency brings to the table in a client-agency relationship. And creativity is not just restricted at the design level involving the creative team. You may still get outstanding designs from your agency, but if the creative thinking caps start looking jaded, you may be reasonably sure that your account is either too small for the agency or that your agency has started taking your account for granted. Either ways, it’s going to be a downhill road from here on.
Sign No 2: You’re still being serviced by the same team
If you’re still being serviced by the same team that started servicing you even after two years, it’s time to insist on a fresh team or a new agency. The reason is quite simple. Fatigue. The agency business is a dog eat dog world filled with daily pressures and acute stresses of missed deadlines. And your servicing team is not immune to this pressure. The only way to bring freshness back into a jaded team is to assign them a new account.
Remember the first day at your new job? The excitement. The passion in which you took on every task that was assigned to you? Wouldn’t you want that same level of excitement in your agency team? Everyone gets bored of doing the same job every day of the month of the year. Why shouldn’t your agency team be any different?
Unfortunately, however change in this case is pretty hotly resisted by agency heads. Shuffling agency teams between accounts cause a higher degree of stress within an agency as the likelihood of making errors become higher and as a result most agencies will resist changing the core servicing team. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sign No 3: Your presentations increasingly begin to look like the earlier ones.
A sure sign that you need a new agency is when your agency presentation start looking very similar to the earlier ones. Cut-Copy-Paste is an all-true familiar short cut within the agency culture with harassed client servicing teams. The logic is un-beatable. Why spend time trying to create something new when the brief calls for exactly the same thing that was discussed six months ago?
Cut-copy-paste. And presto, the presentation is ready with a few quick changes for presenting on Monday morning.
Sign No 4: You stop really questioning the agency estimates
You’re so used to agency quotes by now that you mostly blindly take everything at face value. After all, your agency is your partner. You stop looking at stretching your budget and so does your agency. And over a period of time you will end up becoming really lousy at making your marketing budgets meet your marketing objectives.
An integral role an agency needs to play is to think on behalf of the client and stretch the budget to deliver better ROI. But sadly, that’s a role that few agency heads inculcate in servicing teams these days.
Sign No 5: You get too many internal escalations
A sure fire sign that your agency needs the boot is when you begin to get too many internal escalations on various aspects of the project which were supposed to be handled by the agency. Given the nature of marketing projects, the occasional escalations are bound to happen but when it becomes a practice, you have to read the signs for what they mean.
It’s time to let go.
Sign No 6: You are meeting sharper minds than your incumbent agency
Marketing is an art that’s best practiced as a science. And every marketer would love to have the sharpest scientific minds at work in his marketing team. The science comes from the experience that agency heads and the team bring to the table while the art comes from the integration and application of creativity.
If your meeting other agencies that leave you post the meeting with a sense of the ‘wow’, the chances are that your incumbent agency has no longer the spark that drove you to choose him in the first place. It’s time to move on in other words.
Changing an incumbent agency for a new one is a tough decision to take as it involves re-starting a new relationship while letting go of an existing one. The smoothest way to doing so is to bring in your new agency on a specific project and slowly ease him into the account. This will ensure that the transitioning process will be a smooth one and who knows, perhaps this might shake your incumbent agency to taking a good hard look at the account and re-inventing himself?
Liked what you read? Why not let us know how you felt with your comment below? Or better still share it with your colleagues or subscribe to our monthly digest of the hottest insider views on digital marketing. And if you would like to really speak to us, you can contact us here