The economic recession has seen many companies tighten their belts in the last two years. Marketing budgets have been severely reduced, with the inevitable consequences of less work being given to creative agencies.
Clients without a brief
There are however, a number of companies, which are asking design agencies to undertake creative pitches even without a framework brief. These companies are inviting a large number of agencies to pitch for a single job, and this does nothing but compound the problem of free pitching – which we’ve discussed before. Accounts have become fragmented and the engagement decision is being driven by price.
Is it all about the money?
Birmingham has always prided itself on understanding value. We must remember that value is very different from price: when an account becomes fragmented, agencies reduce the priority of the accounts and that is often reflected in creative input and cost cutting.
Cheap design results in poor performance
In these difficult times, the last thing a company can afford to do is spend valuable revenue on ineffective marketing campaigns. When competition is fierce, you need to make sure that your marketing campaigns are well designed and seamlessly produced in order to create the maximum return on investment. The point is that if you are going to do something, do it properly from the beginning and measure the results!
Which are the design agencies that can afford to free pitch?
Design companies that free pitch are often those that are in trouble (and are chasing the work at any price). Sometimes however, they are the large companies that have the resources and are structured well enough to free pitch. Large agencies carry capacity that they use for high profile accounts when they need to compete against other agencies for the business. Once the work is secured, the account is then handed over to cheaper creative teams and the transition is masked by client account management that ensures an air gap is maintained between the actual creative and the client.
For the best results!
When times are tough, you need to work with people you can trust and are motivated to make things work for you, in the long-term. If you need to review your agency, develop a robust and tightly focused brief. Ask agencies to provide their credentials and examples of projects. If you need to see examples of an agency’s approach to fulfilling your brief, you should set aside a budget and provide suitable money for the agency to conduct work in order to illustrate their approach.
The ethical approach is good business practice
A lesson our forefathers understood was that Birmingham businessmen have always prided themselves on doing good business, expecting good quality and high standards. You can only achieve this if you are fair and open, and if you spend time documenting what you want, meeting companies and ask them to tender for the work. However, if they need to do creative work you should be prepared to pay them for the work they have conducted on your behalf!