Wednesday, 17 February 2010

How to deal with an agency, part 2

There's nothing like tearing the ring out of a keynote speech to really fill you full of pep, spunk and oomph.

So, with yesterday's standing ovation ringing in my ears, I strode into my agency at 11.30am, bang on time for our 9am review meeting.

I veritably waltzed up to reception and said, 'Morning, gorgeous - it's me, a soft cotton gusset.' She looked confused. 'You always want me in your pants!' Poor thing, she didn't know where to look (that's the animal magnetism of executive business power) and I skipped off to meet the agency gang.

Fellow marketing professionals, this post should give you further insight into the correct way to manage your agency and follows on from my original genius in this area. Consider this part 2 of the masterclass.

Here's what I did during the day that you should do with your agency:

1. Accept no excuses.
They tried it all. The Cleanavia launch campaign achieved poor results because the ads that ran weren't the ads they created, their media recommendations weren't taken and there were numerous complaints about the ads - suggesting the target audience didn't respond to them, blah blah blah. Now, I may have created the campaign and rewritten the media schedule, but as I always say, 'YOU'RE the agency. You're meant to be the professionals here. I just make washing machines.'

As usual, there was no come back on that one.

2. Haggle, haggle, haggle, haggle, haggle.
They showed me the usual breakdown of creative and account handling time spent on the account against the monthly fee, with a plaintive suggestion that they'd had to over-service the account by 70 or 80%. But is it my fault if they can't execute my genius ideas quickly enough?

I said, 'I can't manage your time for you. YOU'RE the agency. You're meant to be the professionals here. I just make washing machines.'

Then I added, 'Chop 10% off the fee. There's a fucking credit crunch on.'

3. Keep the creatives energised.
Creatives, or 'scribblers' as I call them (which they fucking love!), are by their nature, bone-idle, feckless, belligerent, cynical, misanthropic, egomaniacal, insecure cunt-packets with barely a worthwhile cell in their entire bodies. So you need to keep them pumped up.

I always keep my lot on their toes by never letting them think they've done a good job. It's a trick that my parents used on me, and it worked! Look at me now! Am I a useless, boring, stupid, pointless, disappointing little speck who'll never amount to anything, ever, now get back in your bed, I don't care if it is Saturday afternoon, no you can't have a bike, because you're so useless you'd fall off it and we'd have to waste money on plasters? No! I'm a Marketing Director!

I said, 'Why are you lot so shit, I have to do your jobs for you? YOU'RE the agency. You're meant to be the professionals here. I just make washing machines.'

They were visibly invigorated.

4. They buy the beerz!
Never, ever let this slip. Ever. Never. Never ever. Ever. Cementing the client / agency relationship is essential. Not that it's ever easy to get people to come along. Christ - it was like a funeral parlour in there today. You'd imagine that three hours of a client telling them they were shit and had to cut their fees would make them ready for a drink! But no!

I made it clear that it's their job to entertain clients. I said, 'YOU'RE the agency. You're meant to be the professionals here. I just make washing machines. Now buy me a fucking pint before I call an agency review.'

It went swimmingly after that.

I'll return to this topic from time to time because, let's be honest, I've made it a fucking art form.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!


  1. No you're not. You're a fucking maestro.

  2. I know! I KNOW! Thanks, man - for all the comments you've been contributing lately. It's nice to see that my marketing genius isn't leaving everyone totally dumbstruck, awestruck and thunderstruck.

    I get less comments than a fucking Heat reporter round Cheryl Cole's house. But I take it as a compliment.