Why clients deserve an independent network model built around their needs (not the agency’s).
Why networks fail to differentiate
Networks are creatures of habit.
Their agencies often retain outdated beliefs and methods that fail to offer clients new thinking and ideas. As a result, they struggle to define the impact of their work on a specific client audience. Frustrating for those looking for the ideal partner.
Instead, if they are genuinely are client-centric and empathetic, focused on solving a specific client problem, then meaningful differentiation comes in the form of a strong network purpose.
It shifts their emphasis or purpose from delivering services to being a network focused on achieving client outcomes.
Being relevant in a world of choices requires bold new approaches. But few networks are willing & able to review and revise their commercial model, not to mention their mindset, skills and process, to make this a reality.
Ownership and leadership matter
Research with marketers across industries, confirm that 5 out of 6 marketers care about agency ownership status, increasing when it comes to the bigger tenders.
It’s one reason why leaders of independents are considered to be more committed. They invest personal, hands-on time to get closer to your business. Having agency owners active on your account is a demonstration of how important the account is to the agency. Independents know success is dependent on your success – so enabling client profitability is critical. The same cannot be said of traditional network agencies.
Agility and the need to be nimble
When environmental pressures hit, the need to shift gears becomes vital.
Independents can deliver the agility and flexibility, tailoring a team and solution to the nature of the problem. Increasingly, these attributes are fundamental to marketers.
It’s true that independents are less limited by structure and process. Decisions and adjustment can be made quickly to introduce new products, operate in faster more iterative ways. Hence why independents are often said to be trim and agile (vs. the bloated and slow traditional networks).
Embedding in the client’s business
Increasingly, client briefs have become focused problem statements rather than a clearly defined scope of work. This demands that agencies move fast to probe and explore how to attack possible solutions. Designing the right team that can work in partnership with the client doesn’t come with a handbook.
As a result, agencies need to adapt quickly, offer more high quality consultancy.
Judging by the problem-statement briefs they’re bringing to the BlocPartners, our independent network is increasingly seen as a progressive client solution.
Traditional networks focus on leveraging their current product offering and capabilities to acquire client spend. BlocPartners however, has a culture of looking outside for innovation to determine how we can help evolve the client’s personal and business performance.
Partnership remains key
Resource limitations on client side means that relying on partner resource and thinking is a necessity. It gives agencies the opportunity to stand out further on solution design, commitment, trust.
Agencies are an expensive but valuable resource. Working with them demands care and attention. If you don’t work well together, success won’t happen. So, whatever your network preference, it’s never been more important to choose your agency partner wisely.
Craig Mills, Group Managing Director Frontera The BlocPartners UK