Can agencies provide a 24/7 service?

A new survey of marketers’ views of agencies and what they need from them suggests that in future agencies will need to provide a 24/7 service across all media and internet channels, given that consumers are increasingly connected to brands at all hours of the day or night.

The study by GyroHSR interviewed 50 top marketers in depth and also surveyed another 250 marketers on agency effectiveness. As is usual with these surveys, marketers believe agencies just can’t or won’t dance to their tune.

As if marketers weren’t screwing the agencies down enough, with their continual strategy changes, micromanagement and cost-cutting, they now want them to work to a “continuous engagement strategy” — in other words be constantly available, rather like some form of creative or media call centre.

As the report suggests, the only outfit equipped to provide this kind of service is the old-fashioned full-service agency, probably part of a network, which will have both the resources and the broad range of skills to be able to handle any kind of marketing task as and when it’s needed.

Of course the full-service agency used to have those skills and be constantly on call decades ago, when it made a living by charging 15 per cent commission on all media expenditure, a system that is regarded with disgust by present day marketers.

When it comes to remuneration the marketers declare that agencies should be more accountable and be paid by results. Different payment models should be used for different briefs , so that there would be a “hierarchy” of payment models for separate projects and different agencies.

All of which would create much more work for the procurement geeks and end up with the kind of enormous bureaucratic maze beloved by the civil service. In the end agencies would spend far more time calculating and haggling over payments than actually doing the work.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.