Are we glorified order-takers?

Tuesday October 22, 2013

written by Nick Pipitone

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On a recent post on his Propulsion blog, marketing guy extraordinaire Tim Williams makes a compelling point about how agencies talk about how they are in the “service” business. He feels this has created a culture of order taking, wherein clients call, an AE (junior or otherwise) takes an order and hands it off to creative to complete the task, as if the creative people are cooks.

Sound familiar? The unfortunate outcome of this is that oftentimes the client is blamed for bad work. Really it all starts with the agency and their desire to serve. What the client is doing, in effect, is learned behavior.

What Williams adeptly points out is that we actually are not in the service business. We are in the knowledge business. We are hired by clients to use our expertise to get business results. But somehow this got lost along the way. As Williams writes:

Service is a commodity. Smart thinking is not. Clients can get good service anywhere, but proactive marketing leadership is in short supply. In fact, most surveys that seek to diagnose why clients switch agencies usually produce the same answer: “Because our agency never gave us anything we didn’t ask for.”

Think hard about the question of what business you’re in. If you’re in the service business, you can expect to be treated and paid accordingly. If you believe you’re in the knowledge business, then you’d better hire, train, and invest in people accordingly.

What do you think? Are agencies too service oriented and not knowledge oriented enough? Do agencies spoil clients by sampling filling orders for them? What is your agencies’ philosophy? Hit the comments.

You can read Tim Williams full post here.

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