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Matt Valenzia – Senior Account Manager at EarlyWMC

How the traditional marketing agency model has changed

  • by Matt Valenzia – Senior Account Manager at EarlyWMC
  • 19 Sep 2018

Ask Joe Bloggs to describe the inside of an advertising agency, and more often than not Joe will conjure up dimly lit board rooms, lubricated with a mid-morning round of whiskeys, and Don Draper crooning creative like some kind of prophet king.

The reality is very different, agencies of today look more like science labs than speakeasies, and for good reason – Science is celebrating a resounding victory over Art in the battle for every CMOs ear. A couple of years back, the Saatchi Institute announced they had found the formula for effective marketing. They understood that the right balance between of Art (maximum differentiation from the norm) and Science (minimum deviation from your target audience) would give, and I quote, “the formula for peace and prosperity”.

However, as real time big data now gives agencies the unprecedented capability of getting in front of the right people, at the right time, with the right message, it seems that the formulaic balance is shifting permanently in the favour of Science. Creatives may dispute this: bean-counters have their uses, but think of your favourite TV spot and there you have it – creative shines forth.

The truth is, creative impact is all well and good, but it is the icing on the cake rather than the measure of a good campaign. Any ad-man or woman worth their salt will tell you, good marketing relies on nailing your target audience (and by audience I now mean individuals), with a message that is absolutely moulded to their needs, at a time and a place that suits them best. Many agencies now believe that the traditional agency model is broken – Strategy doesn’t speak to Creative, often to the client’s detriment.

Long form copy doesn’t need to be given its own department. Making big decisions based on timesheet information is inherently flawed (account executives will testify to this – particularly when smashing in hours at 19:00 on a Friday).

Instead, some agencies are now operating on an open plan model – with copywriting and strategy centralised into a marketing unit, and designers and developers involved in end to end projects rather than solely at an execution level. 

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