Ad Industry Innovator: Traction

Agency search consultant, David Wiggs, posted an interview with me on his blog at Marketing Hitch. Here's an excerpt:

We’ve all read that the pitch / RFP process is broken. Many agencies aren’t even interested in competing in pitches. Do you see an alternative to this process?

Sure. We have ten active clients right now. I think we only went through a pitch “process” for half of them. I just emailed a potential client a half hour ago to tell them we wouldn’t do spec work.

It really depends what kind of work you want to do. We walked into a capabilities presentation at a major consumer software company a few weeks ago, had a great meeting and got a call from their procurement department in the midst of celebratory margaritas 25 minutes later.

We ordered another round.

What does the agency of the future look like?

Interactive, obviously.

But more so, I think agencies are going to need to move up the value chain and become true strategic partners for their clients.

If agencies make their money producing banner resizes, pretty soon clients are going to ask, “Why don’t I just hire someone to do that?” On the other end of the spectrum, more and more publishers and providing brands with unique content integration opportunities and doing creative on their own.

What we can offer that is unique and invaluable are the abilities to uncover insights, to translate them into strategically relevant creative expressions of a brand, and to uncover opportunities to get those messages in front of the right audiences at the right time with the right vehicle. That will mean giving up some creative control at times, but it will also mean greater value will be placed on the strategic process and brand innovation that the agency of the future will bring.

What do marketers need that agencies are not giving them?

There’s a huge focus on ROI today and there’s good reason for that. But the result has been a slew of agencies that focus solely on performance marketing and are unwilling to take a risk. They’re afraid to fail.

Great ideas always feel like risks. They always make you nervous. Because great ideas challenge conventional notions. That’s what makes them great.

What marketers need and are not getting from agencies are efforts that bridge that gap. That offer breakthrough thinking married with best practices and a measured ROI. That’s the value we strive to bring our clients at Traction. I think we do a pretty good job.

You can read the rest of the post and see the rest of the series of interviews with marketing innovators here.

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