I walk both sides of the street in the advertising and marketing worlds. This comes from my years as an agency person pursuing New Business and my experiences as an agency search consultant.
It is no secret that sometimes these relationships can often be strained and not optimized.
According to a recent study by RSW/US only 44% of Marketers are truly happy with their primary Agency. That’s worse than the divorce rate.
Why is that? Why are things so dysfunctional in the advertising, public relations, PR and Marketing arenas? Inevitably poor relationships can’t lead to the best execution and stewardship of the billions of dollars that are spent on advertising and other disciplines.
I had my gut feeling but I wanted to validate it. So I went out to my social network and posed the question that I wanted to validate an assumption. My belief is that most marketing people do not really receive any formal training on how to work with their advertising, public relations, or digital agencies.
This is the feedback that I received.
On the high bar, Diane commented “I received training when I was with General Foods (which is now Kraft). And I know when I worked with P&G, they also received training on how to work with Agencies, as well as how to judge Creative. I don’t know of anywhere else where this type of in-depth training took place. I was lucky enough to get it.”
From across the pound, I also received a comment from the UK from Annette saying, “Here in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Marketing has been a force for good in helping new and existing marketeers understand the different marketing communications disciplines, what works when, and how to ensure that integrated campaigns are developed, including digital marketing!” http://www.cim.co.uk/tandq/qualifications/qualificationDetails/whichqualification.aspx
Thank God for England.
The majority of other people said that they have never received any training in this area. That is pretty scary to think that you have to figure out those relationships managing that kind of investment by the seat of your pants.
Many said that companies expected that Marketing people would have an innate understanding of how to work with their agencies.
David wrote, “Hank, I concur with your observation. Many other aspects of Product Management and/or Product Marketing are assumed to be innately enabled when one assumes the respective title.”
How did those skills get into their DNA and wiring?
Some clients wrote back that “ You learn as you go.” Glad that they aren’t pilots.
Training certainly doesn’t seem to be happening in college. Karen was kind enough to send me this. “ I just finished my MBA with a marketing focus and in all of my marketing classes I don’t think this was discussed once even in my advertising and promotion class which was taught by someone with decades of experience on the agency side.”
Surprising those on the agency side said they had the added responsibility of training junior clients in all areas of advertising including how to work more effectively with their agencies. Thanks for that Chris.
Others said, “I was able to work directly with advertising/branding and digital agencies during my internship. The experience was great and I appreciate the individuals who took time to train me.”
I got another comment saying, “…They show up. We hope they know what they are doing.”
As a shareholder would that increase your comfort level and want you to increase the marketing budget? I don’t think so.
Does the lack of training lead to poor fundamentals, a variety of approaches that change with each company and eventual frustration? If a client is burned by one agency does that legacy go with them to other positions and other agency encounters. I think so.
In this recessionary environment I think that most agency people that I talk to would say that their people receive little training and that good AE’s are very hard to find. From clients I hear that within many organizations that training is a bad word.
That doesn’t make me feel more assured that this situation will change in the near future.
How about you? Where did you get trained? Did you learn to just tolerate a frustrating client agency relationship?
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin
Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank
Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank