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Business Models

Agencies Should Get Out of the Service Business

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Agencies Should Get Out of the Service Business

Peruse virtually any contract between an advertising agency and its clients and you’re likely to find the language “work for hire.” Essentially this means that any work the agency produces is owned by its clients. Not only are there no contractual provisions for agencies to retain ownership of some of the intellectual property they create, there’s not even room for discussion. 

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To Prosper, Stop Adding and Start Subtracting

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To Prosper, Stop Adding and Start Subtracting

If you were looking for a person to spend the rest of your life with, is it more likely you’d find him or her at a bar (where you’re likely to find a little bit of everything) or on one of the new matchmaking sites designed to pair interests and personalities? The bar hopping approach might yield the desired result – eventually – but using eHarmony or OK Cupid will get you there a lot faster, and arguably with a much better match.

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The Modularization of Professional Services

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The Modularization of Professional Services

Is your firm a one-stop shop? If so, you’re likely experiencing a decline in revenues and an even steeper decline in profits. Today’s sophisticated buyers of professional services don’t expect to find “all your legal needs under one roof” because they’re smart enough to know that no single firm can be good at everything.

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Expand By Narrowing Your Focus

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Expand By Narrowing Your Focus

What’s the logical way to grow your business this coming year? Expand, right? Add more lines, serve more markets? Seems like common sense. But for the most part, business strategy is not common sense.

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Why Ad Agencies Will Not Be Replaced By Google

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Why Ad Agencies Will Not Be Replaced By Google

Advertising agencies have been walking in fear of the giant tech companies like Google and Facebook ever since these disruptive new players arrived on the scene. And for years, Google and Facebook have been insisting that agencies are their business partners, not their competitors. These complicated relationship dynamics led one high-profile agency executive to famously refer to Google as a “frenemy.”

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Thrive In The Age of Hyperspecialization

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Thrive In The Age of Hyperspecialization

Now that most national marketers employ the services of at least a dozen or more agencies, it should be increasingly clear to the marketing services industry that there really is no such thing as an “Agency of Record.” Instead, agencies serve as specialists in a constellation of service providers, and the trend toward specialization is increasing as the marketing environment continues to grow in complexity.

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Why Outcomes Are Worth More Than Services

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Why Outcomes Are Worth More Than Services

How are cosmetics able to command such premium pricing? It’s not that the ingredients are expensive; their actual cost is quite minimal. Cosmetics are perhaps the ultimate example of the power of selling outcomes, because women aren’t buying the chemical compounds that comprise a powder, rouge or lipstick. They’re buying the promise of looking young and beautiful. As Revlon magnate Charles Revson once said, “We sell hope.”

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You're in Marketing, But Are You a Professional?

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You're in Marketing, But Are You a Professional?

Marketing is foundational to the success of a business and is represented by some amazingly talented and experienced people. But is marketing a profession? In articles and books, I have often referred to advertising and marketing people as “professionals” and advertising agencies as “professional services firms.” I realize I’m indirectly stating my belief that marketing is – or at least should be – a profession in the same league with law, accounting, or architecture.

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State of Advertising Agencies: Redistribution of Value

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State of Advertising Agencies: Redistribution of Value

Today’s advertising agencies might be surprised to hear that there is just as much money being spent in marketing today as there ever was (as a percent of sales). In some categories, marketing spending has actually accelerated. It’s just that less and less of this marketing spend is making its way into the coffers of advertising agencies.

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How to Measure What Matters

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How to Measure What Matters

As professional service firms like advertising agencies begin to experiment more with the concept of outcome-based compensation agreements, it’s essential to understand how to measure what matters.

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Brands That Go Stealth

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Brands That Go Stealth

When major brands face a situation where low-cost competitors are stealing share, many smart companies don’t try to fight low-cost competition head on; instead they develop a second brand—a “fighter brand.” This allows the original brand to retain its customer base and its premium price.

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Will Your Firm Endure?

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Will Your Firm Endure?

It’s quite unsettling to look around the advertising agency industry and see that it’s populated with 50-somethings at the top, 20-somethings on the front lines, and virtually nobody in-between. So many agency leaders lament their firm's lack of “bench strength” and are worried about not having a clear second in command.

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How Agencies Can Make Money While They Sleep

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How Agencies Can Make Money While They Sleep

Most companies make money while they sleep because they sell products or services with recurring revenue streams. But most professional service firms -- like advertising agencies -- only make money when they’re logging hours to a time sheet.

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