What CEO’s Don’t Understand About the Agency Review Process.


I have conducted the Jenny Craig, Villeroy & Boch, and Raley’s Supermarkets agency reviews and also spent years developing successful New Business programs for agencies.

Probably one of the biggest obstacles in conducting a review is that many CEO’s don’t understand the search process and the value of review consultants.  That is why eighty percent of clients conduct their own reviews.  Many marketers share with me that convincing their boss to use a consultant is a tough task and that they don’t understand the time and effort it takes to do a review with the due diligence the brand and the company warrant.

The first thing CEO’s need to understand is that their CMO can’t conduct an effective review that does justice to the brand.  They just don’t have the bandwidth.

Today’s marketers are working often with a reduced headcount and a much more complex marketing environment.  According to www.research-live.com, the recession has changed consumer behaviors in a number of ways.  Certainly how they view many institutions like banks.

Over 70% of CMO’s said that the recession has had major changes on consumer behavior.

The savings rate of Americans has increased for the first time in fifty years. Many are practicing fanatical frugality. During the first half of 2010, online coupon traffic increased 49% since the first half of 2009. Marketers are challenged to drive sales in an economy that has shrunk 3.9% from its peak level, the most severe decline in the post world war period.  Keeping up with those trends and reacting is certainly challenging marketers.

Then there is the sheer number of agencies in the U.S.  If I Google the number of advertising agencies in the U.S., there are over six million listings.  I have read that figures saying that there are almost 40,000 advertising agencies in the country. Others say 75, 000 marketing services companies. And the agency landscape has changed dramatically.  According to BNET, 163,000 positions have been eliminated since the start of the recession. Clients don’t have time to keep up with the changing agency playing field and do their jobs.

Then there is technology and its impact on companies and products.  The only Kodachrome film is in a Paul Simon Song.  Kodachrome used to be a multibillion dollar business just a few years ago.  According to Tech Crunch Apple has sold over 50 million iPhones and almost half a million iPads and that data is a few months old.  Marketers have to manage and capitalize upon those changes as well.

Then we have social media and the tremendous increase in consumer conversations and consumer influence.  Just keeping up on social media can be an overwhelming process for Marketers. Pile the growth of mobile marketing on top of that and changes in the digital world.

Effective CEO’s know the value of doing things right.  Part of their role is to ensure that those processes are happening within their companies.  Not using outside resources to conduct searches and reviews places an unfair burden on their Marketing staff and certainly does not allow them to be good stewards of the brands that they manage.

Hank frequently speaks to AAF Chapters on Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business and to many organizations and companies on Networking Your Way to New Business. You can contact Hank at hank@hankblank.com He has two CD’s on his new site about New Business development process that many have found helpful.


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