The Emperor’s New Clothes – Advertising and Web Design Agencies are walking around naked convinced they are fully clothed in the finest of attire. Why?
“My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it,” he added. “What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I’m going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it — 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds. You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.”
“The agency model that I grew up with largely has not changed today,” he said, noting that he has been in the ad industry for 25 years. “Yet agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear … they are looking at clients being way more promiscuous with their agencies than they ever have.”
“We are still talking about the 30-second TV spot. Seriously?”
Here is the thing. EVERYONE KNOWS HE IS RIGHT! Now, given the incredible pain we went through transforming a web agency fully into a cutting edge open source software company, I fully realize the reasons behind the resistance. I’ve lost employees who went to agencies that I fully know will fail.
Maybe I was too early on converting Schipul – The Web Marketing Company into Tendenci Software. But the decision, the direction, the move itself? The tectonic shift in media? The virtual and global workforce coming together every day through online tools? No, I’m not wrong about that.
If you are married to the classic ad-agency model, or even web-design company model, my only advice is to chase down the third world companies and clients. Why? Because you now have a very real first-world problem; your business model will fail and your owners know it. #firstWorldProblemsCanBeABitch
This isn’t to say the solution we are going after with Tendenci is the perfect approach. I don’t think anybody knows what will work in the future.
However we DO know what won’t work. Looking at the old agency model, it’s a game of dead-man-walking. If you work there, get your money, save your money, and train like crazy because education is a lifelong journey and it is your responsibility to be ready for “the next.” It’s frustrating as I don’t know the “next” any more than anyone else.
I’ve failed a lot in the last two years. I have a PhD in failure at this point. I say this even as the company is turning around and back in the black and growing again. (Thank you to all of our new clients! Thank you to everyone who believed in us and stuck by us. We are going to have you SOOOO prepared for the “next” it’ll be incredible.)
What I did know is that I had to get my clients and my employees off the Titanic. Ironically many didn’t understand and instead left for variations I call “Titanic 2.0”. Still, I do believe our formers will be fine because they are lifelong learners. I just hope they are getting ready now. The game is changed and nobody, nobody, knows all of the new rules yet.
Maybe that is the bigger issue? If you invent a sport like soccer, you start by setting the objectives. The objective is to make a goal. Then you choose the size of the field. The size of the goal. The number of players.
Then the subtleties – rules like “offsides” – to keep the game exciting.
You don’t try to make the game identical to some other game because the public (remember the consumer? the ones with the money?) will be bored. And won’t watch. You must evolve. Evolve or die. It’s that simple. And it hurts like hell. Yet….
Make no mistake – the first decision when you invent a new sport is “what is the objective” and everything else is derived from that. If your company hasn’t figured out that the agency model is broken, then they definitely aren’t working on the subtleties. And as usual, the devil is in the details.
Has Open Source Tendenci and our team been through a lot? Yes. But it would be malpractice if we were still selling fluffy social media consulting retainers with timer based twitter posts in 2015.
Seriously, you are still selling “Social Media Consulting”? Seriously?
PR is strategy – everything else is a vehicle to execute on that strategy. There is absolutely no differentiation in being able to operate hootsuite because you can be replaced by a 16 year old. Clients aren’t stupid – they WILL figure this out.
Yes, I know people still make money selling fluffy “I can operate facebook for you”, but, just how long are clients going to be stupid enough to pay for that? Why would you pay for that when the next generation is doing hard-deletes?
As quoted above: “agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear”
It’s hard to follow a leader. Harder to follow one that is ahead of the curve. I’m probably wrong. But I’m not. Titanic 2.0 will sink just as surely as Titanic 1.0 did. And the CEOs and clients will push the weak aside and take the lifeboats. And then, well, where will you be?