Now that everyone’s favorite fake adman has returned with the Mad Men premiere, business owners around the country will go back to ask themselves why they can’t have someone like that guy managing their campaigns. After all, if you had Don Draper’s charisma and passion to work with, your marketing results would have to improve… right?
Actually, we don’t think so.
Of course, the fictional ad agency in Mad Men (image courtesy: http://www.pickywallpapers.com/) doesn’t actually produce business websites, but even if they could, we don’t think you would want them to. That’s because the way most web design firms work now is already based upon the old agency model of doing things, and it’s one that doesn’t work in 2013, no matter how good the agency is and how well they execute their plans.
Here are four reasons you wouldn’t want Don Draper – or any of his modern equivalents – working on your Internet marketing plan with the old ad agency model of doing business:
1. The ad agency model is based on activities, not results.
If you visit the average online agency today, the resulting meeting and experience will likely go something like this: you’ll give a few complaints, they’ll recommend a list of activities, and you’ll write a check to make those things happen. Ideally, things will work out in your favor, but the proposals and contracts aren’t really set up with results as a priority.
2. That approach favors art and style over substance and function.
One thing you’ll notice on television, and often in real life, is that agency presentations tend to focus on glitzy designs, rather than long-term plans. Layouts, logos, and color schemes are exciting, but they aren’t usually the main ingredients of a profitable campaign. It’s harder to prioritize substance over style, but unless your agency does, you’re never going to get value for your budget.
3. In the ad agency model, clients aren’t engaged enough in the process.
In the old way of doing things, clients “sit back and relax,” so to speak, until the agency comes to them with the next set of designs or ideas. In working with our own clients, we have seen firsthand that it’s better when both parties are engaged every step of the way, brainstorming concepts and offers, providing feedback, and keeping the focus on business improvement. If you want someone to just do it all for you, the old model might work. If you want efficiency and success, however, you need something better.
4. Ad agencies are really built for two things.
Although ad agencies traditionally serve their clients, they are actually designed to accomplish two things: to win awards and to keep getting their contracts renewed. In other words, they want to keep money coming in, but clients are mainly an excuse to test out things that seem edgy or creative. That’s not always terrible, but it doesn’t really put the focus where it belongs, on the bottom line, either.
The way advertising agencies work on television probably seems glamorous and like a lot of fun. But, if you’re like most business owners or executives today, the results of your online marketing are much more important than the brand of scotch your vendor prefers. The world has changed, and there are better ways of working with an online agency.
At Kayak, we have pioneered a new way of doing business, one that partners us with our clients and involves educating them, deploying online marketing activities in a new way, and then creating automated systems that provide qualified sales leads, month after month.