One of the things I like about agencies is their eternal optimism. Give
them a copy of our feature this week - which reports that 53 per cent of
marketers at the UK’s top 3,000 advertisers changed jobs this year and
that if a senior marketer moves jobs a review invariably follows - and
agencies will, no doubt, say sensible things along the lines of
‘marketing is a training ground that helps produce more rounded clients’
and ‘we need to maintain close contacts at every level of a client
Some assume that this merry-go-round of marketers has had a direct
effect on standards in advertising. Such people add that there has been
a general levelling-out of standards in the business, that while the
crap is decently executed the cream has gone off a bit, and that we will
never see the likes of the work produced in the 70s again. Doom, gloom
What is true, is that much of the work that we all rate is the fruit of
long client-agency relationships. Witness Sony, the Economist, Tango,
Levi’s and Nike.
There is nothing much agencies can do about client moves except produce
great work, store up the information and be prepared to act quickly.
Someone has suggested that the Incorporated Society of British
Advertisers/Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s joint initiative
to promote job swapping between advertisers and agencies could keep
ambitious marketers in place for longer. I’m not so sure.
As one agency principal told Campaign recently: ‘I am happy to volunteer
myself for job swapping, so long as the folk left behind don’t mind
being short staffed, the agency can cope without a senior member of
staff for a minimum of three months, the client matches my salary, my
job security is not threatened, oh, and the marketing director doesn’t
move on in the next 18 months, triggering a review and totally wasting
the agency’s time and money.’ Clearly, it’s a great idea.