Digital Marketing Agencies: Bursting the Bubble

What’s the deal with Digital Marketing Agencies in Ireland?

Twice in the past 3 months I’ve been invited for unsolicited “chats” about the role of Client Service Director.

Both agencies had heard about me via their network of contacts, knew my commercial and new business track record from working with the likes of Saatchi in London, McConnells in Ireland, Dynamics PR etc etc. They wanted to know “What Could I Bring to the Business either as a staffer or a consultant?”

So, in both cases I outlined what I called the “Digital Realities” and where I saw a big commercial growth opportunity. (I can also speak fluent Digital because I’ve done the Certificate in Digital Marketing course at the NCI – i.e. I’ve learnt much more than just the vocabulary).

Anyway, I put forward the view that Digital Agencies in general are far too pleased with themselves. And that there’s a speedbump coming down the tracks in 2015 that’s going to prove a “Reality Bites” moment. Namely, the point when they have to behave like a traditional agency and get commercial.

At the moment business is flying in the door with little or no effort. Client inspection of results is not too rigorous because there’s still a big lack of knowledge about quite what DM can or should achieve. It’s all blue skies. However, recent findings from the fifth annual Alternatives Group Marketing Watch Survey flagged that Digital Marketing will come under greater performance scrutiny over the coming year and with that, a change in attitude.

I said that, based on my experience, agencies needed to future proof their business by having a pro-active new business development programme that’s designed to build revenue from existing and new clients to fuel growth but also to absorb the impact of client losses without incurring profit collapse or a reduction in staff numbers.

Both agencies had previously told me about their work processes and I also felt that they needed to considerably improve their client reporting and client service systems (there’s very little point in creating glorious work if your client is exhausted from the trauma of getting it done).

And the outcome of these chats? One agency felt that my assessment of their business was “obvious” (but not so obvious that they were actually doing what I recommended !).

The second agency felt – and I’m quoting now – “that I was too likely to bring in new business in the short term and with it questions on our capacity to handle that business and possible disruption to the culture of the agency”. ( that was novel – I’ve never heard anyone complain about new income before.)

The experience hasn’t put me off and I’m still interested in chatting with a Digital Agency – but one that’s anchored in the real world and that isn’t averse to growth and expansion.

If that agency exists, then get in touch on 087 2208636 – we might have a lot in common.