It still bewilders me that Ad Agencies and PR Agencies remain separate, broken entities. If markets are conversations then why do communications organizations continue to avoid them? It starts with the Agency’s clients who don’t demand this singularity of their agencies. Marketing execs go shopping for the pieces. They look for a PR agency or an Ad Agency. Budgets are allocated based on this separation. Companies staff their teams with PR people and Marcom people. And Agencies match this staffing with specialists to match that demand. This cycle perpetuates; rinse and repeat.
Fragmented, complex, and blind
As an exteme example, I used to run the global Microsoft Office business at an Ad Agency and no one (on either side) was more guilty than we were. Our assignment was to convince the market through brute force that their version of Office wasn’t good enough. It took us 18 months to create a single (horrible) ad campaign. We’d talk to their PR agency maybe twice a year. We had no idea what they were doing and they really didn’t care what we did either. Our joint meetings were focused on making sure we didn’t step on each other’s feet so we could continue to do what we wanted. Even within my Agency, the media, creative, production, direct marketing and “interactive” people were completely isolated and distinct. As long as everything looked the same and was blasted to the street at the right time, we were fine.
Marketing disciplines are out of date
Go click through some agency’s websites. They’re still siloed into various mass-media disciplines and I can tell you after having sat though hundreds of pitches and working with over 20 agencies that they’re all still filled with prima donna specialists who think the best ideas come from them. Integration means checking the various boxes and repurposing the same idea across channels.
Time for a media cage match
In 1993, the UFC brought together fighters across all disciplines and pit them against each other in an attempt to determine which system would be more effective in a real, unregulated, combat situation. Since then, it’s become the most rapid growing sport in history and created a whole new, singular discipline called “mixed martial arts.” That’s exactly what needs to happen across Advertising and PR Agencies.
Mixed Martial Media will kick ass
The new communication companies will nuke all that specialization and reorganize. Here’s what they need to do:
- Enable, facilitate and participate in communities. Stop pretending and really learn about consumers.
- Focus on quality content instead of ads. Repeat: Stop making ads.
- Share creative talent with the community. You don’t own the ideas.
- Blow up the funnel and concentrate on unique steps that graduate along the way.
- Participate, be open and visible.
- Concentrate on the connected. Change your metrics to reflect it.
- Results will occur daily or you’re not doing it right