The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Many years have passed since my agency internships fortunately led to a full time position. About 42 years to be more precise.

About half way into my agency career I took a right turn and spent almost fifteen years in what turned out to be the most significant learning experience of my business life. I became a senior level client and was part of a multi-function team that ignited a global business with strategic planning, brand differentiation, channel confidence and targeted acquisitions.

In that crusade I found that my previous agency experience helped us seek out agency partners that all contributed to our long term success. Some of our best agencies had a near decade of tenure with us. We knew that the better we prepared our agencies the more we got in return. Better strategies, better ideas, better budget control and measurable marketplace results. That’s the Good. Very Good.

The Bad was when a few of our agency teams didn’t clearly understand our channel and end user needs. This despite a client willingness to invest in focused research that clarified the path to brand strategies that would help create long term differentiation and incremental revenue growth. I’ve always believed as a client and agency leader that there is no substitute for marketplace insight.

I’m now back in a marketing and brand activation agency. We strive to make a meaningful difference. We have some very good clients and want to have more. Problem is, we’re not seeing enough prospects who understand, or want to invest in, what it takes to make their marketing and communications investments win in the market. Some talk of brand leadership but only give it lip service. At times, this gets Ugly.

Fact is, you must break through and prove you can add value to each and every worthwhile prospect. It may not be easy, but there is no productive alternative if you are trying to grow. You must strive to find and build marketing alliances where both client and agency have the freedom and courage to ask the tough questions and together forge a will to succeed. When this happens there is a bond where successes are celebrated and results breed agency annuity. There is nothing like this success whether you are the client or the agency.

It’s always best to focus on the Good.