For years and years, the widely held belief in the ad industry was that an agency’s primary job was to product brilliant, moving creative that shaped the overarching view of a brand. Too many agencies out there were traditionally only concerned about output. They weren’t concerned about whether the work did anything to advance the client’s bottom line – as long as they are producing what they deem to be “the best” work out there, they think they’ve done their job. The tide is turning…
A survey of 110 executive level marketers from both the client- and agency-side done earlier this year revealed a strong commitment to accountability. According to Mary Ann Packo, CEO of Millward Brown North America, “The challenge for marketers right now is creating brand relevance among consumers who are uncertain about the future. At the same time, they must deliver measurable results proving the value of every marketing dollar spent.”
You cannot have the best, most relevant work in the market place if it doesn’t drive results. If your work isn’t driving sales on an everyday basis, then it’s not great work. Great work MUST work great. Period. I’ve built my entire career and agency on this very principal. And I’ve taken a lot of criticism over the years from the industry because of it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I have no problem being the punching bag of the industry, especially now that those same critics are coming around to my point of view. It has taken the worst economic downturn in decades for agencies and industry experts to finally see the light. It has now become painfully evident to these people that their creative must work…it must move the market forward…or they aren’t going to survive.
Brilliant output and undeniable outcome are not mutually exclusive: you can, and absolutely should, have both. And anyone who says you can’t is just making an excuse. Any agency that says you can’t is the wrong agency, plain and simple.