Ad agency models: Full service is no service

Tim Williams
Ignition Consulting Group

Client company size used to dictate appropriate agency models, but in today's multichannel world, the idea that any single agency can deliver every service is unrealistic, and specific expertise is the vital differentiator.

Quick, what is the top reason marketers search for a new advertising agency? If you guessed 'creative differences', 'cost' or 'poor service', you'd be citing some of the reasons that do, in fact, show up on top 10 lists. But the key driver in agency searches is the desire marketers have to work with 'best-in-class specialists'.

Smart marketers know that no agency can be good at everything. A recent piece in Digiday quotes a brand executive as saying: "I wish sometimes that the agencies would stick to what they are good at. They try to do everything, and they would be better served to narrow their focus. You can't do everything, and if you try to do everything, you do nothing… it drives me crazy when the agency is trying to pitch you every single service available."