According to research conducted by The Myers Report almost half of all decisions on which media to buy is being made by people in the industry less than 8 years. You can read a summary of the report here.
This is not a new phenomenon. One of the reasons I left the mega agencies is that I found, as a senior person, that I was spending more time on agency business than on client business. I was chasing down time-sheets and signing vacation request forms. I was resolving billing discrepancies and payment issues. I want to work on client business. I want to solve marketer’s problems. Striking out on my own was the right decision for me. I have built an agency staffed primarily with people with 15+ years of experience.
Larger marketers are much more driven by process and guidelines, which makes it easier for media agencies to staff accounts with a revolving door of youngsters. What I have found since then is that small/mid-sized marketers like having adults involved in the decision making. The smaller marketers want and need to draw upon the experiences of people who have been in the trenches through all of the evolutions/revolutions our industry has faced for the last 30 years.
Funny thing is these large media agencies consistently claim to have leverage because they buy so much inventory. How can we rectify that claim with the reality that less experienced people are deciding on which media vendors to buy? The management of these media agencies are finding out how much is spent by vendor after the fact. That’s not leverage. It’s an Achille’s Heel. The only way a media agency can “leverage” this situation is to pre-negotiate with them for rebates based on amounts spent—and we all know where that leads. Just research the ANA K-2 report.
What marketers need to ask themselves is: When I am working with my agency, am I dealing with seasoned strategists or order takers? If it is the latter, then the marketer must become the primary media strategist. This is a lot to ask, because this individual must then be an expert at marketing, have a deep resume of successful media campaigns, an in-depth knowledge of an ever-changing media marketplace so that strategies may be customized accordingly and the time to do the thinking.
Marketers need to understand that you get what you pay for. Working with an agency that commits senior personnel to their clients’ business may cost more, but the levels of experience and expertise are a worthy investment towards marketing success.