August 07, 2013
Do A Few Things Well
I would like to suggest a new strategy for your agency: Do a few things well.
You are trying to do too much. As a result, you are mediocre at a lot of things and excellent at nothing.
You are becoming like government. People used to have confidence that government was competent and effective. Now 10% of the population has confidence in Congress and about 1/3 have confidence in the executive branch.
To me, the reasons are very clear. Government used to do a few things well. They paved the roads, they put out fires, they educated our kids, and they protected us against criminals. Now they do none of these thing well.
They are too busy with other things. They want to tell us how much soda we can drink and who we can sleep with. They're busy monitoring our emails and legislating our reproductive lives.
They are over-reaching and, consequently, under-performing. Just as you are.
It's for time for you to decide who you are and what you do. It is unrealistic to expect that you can excel at traditional advertising and technology and data and social media and shopper marketing and PR and direct response and search and... and all the other disciplines that make up the complex web of activities that marketing has become.
If you're an agency, do a few things well. Make great spots, or build great platforms, or design great websites. But don't pretend you can do it all. You can't. You can't play first base and pitch and do the play-by-play. It just doesn't work like that.
It is very hard for an agency to say no. It is very hard to say, "we don't do that." One of the chuckles I've always gotten from agencies is that the smaller they are, the more they say they can do.
Go to a 12-person agency's websites and you'll find that they do advertising, branding, PR, interactive, social media, design, and on and on.
According to a study reported by Marketing Week, 78% of CEOs do not trust their advertising and media agencies to create effective campaigns. This is not good.
Part of the problem is people pretending to be good at things they are not good at.
It's a lot easier to do many things poorly than a few things well. Don't be that agency.