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Global or Indie agency?

Global Media Network agency or Indie? The pro’s and cons.

When it comes to choosing a media agency, do you go for a big global network agency or select one of the high performing indie agencies? It is a choice more advertisers are struggling with as they look to extract greater value from their media investment. Discover the pros and cons of each choice here in Media Minutes.

SCRIPT

DARREN: Welcome to Media Minutes. I am Darren Woolley
STEPHEN: And I am Stephen Wright
DARREN: In the next few minutes we will share with you some thoughts on the choice between Global media agencies and local independents.
STEPHEN: Yes, this is a key question for many advertisers when they go to market. There are many things that appeal to a smaller local agency but some realities that need to be addressed.
DARREN: Well let’s start with the positives… why do indies appeal.
STEPHEN: Skin in the game, first and foremost. They truly care about doing a great job. To them, client satisfaction and retention is often the difference between keeping their home and losing everything.
DARREN: So, their service and commitment can never be questioned.
STEPHEN: Absolutely and the senior people who established and own the agency will be there at every key meeting and working behind the scenes 24/7.
DARREN: Surely then it’s an easy decision to opt for an indie every time?
STEPHEN: Well you certainly get a commitment, and only the best senior people break away from larger agencies to set up their own operation. But there is a growing list of challenges for indies too.
DARREN: Are you talking about media buying and the large agency deals?
STEPHEN: Yes, that is certainly one of them. The large agency groups and the major media providers still do large volume-based deals. Some of these in the digital space are now global. DARREN: So, the indies don’t buy as well…
STEPHEN: No, it would be unfair to say that…it is more of a challenge for them and it can be an issue for bigger advertisers but that having been said there have always been indies with large clients who have bought competitively.
DARREN: You mentioned a growing list of challenges…
STEPHEN: Yes, there are two others that now have to be overcome. Firstly, there is the challenge of scale and financial stability that can present problems when procurement is heavily involved. Purchasing and procurement at larger advertisers look at the financials and to them some of the indies represent risk. Procurement is all about mitigating risk.
DARREN: Makes sense, the mainstream agencies are all part of multibillion-dollar global groups.
STEPHEN: It does on paper, but in 25 years in media I can’t think of a single media indie that has gone under leaving a client in strife. Some have gone under, but usually when large advertisers move on.
DARREN: And the other challenge?
STEPHEN: Data and systems…an increasing need for many advertisers. The global agencies spread the cost of system development across thousands of clients. It’s hard for the small indie to compete.
DARREN: Hard or impossible?
STEPHEN: No not impossible, there are some very good indies out there delivering high-quality digital solutions, but they need to have a commitment to digital. If they can deliver a good digital product combined with commitment and great service, they can represent a strong option.
DARREN: So, which type of advertiser should seriously consider an indie?
STEPHEN: When running a pitch there are 3 key questions that need to be properly considered upfront. Are the financials going to be an issue with procurement?
DARREN: Right you don’t want to waste the agency’s and clients time if a decision is going to be a problem down the track.
STEPHEN: Exactly… then based on your size and scale how much of an issue has senior representation and servicing been an issue? Do you feel you only ever get juniors and have a constantly changing team?
DARREN: Yes, staff churn at the large agencies is an issue for many advertisers.
STEPHEN: And… what are your needs in the digital and performance media space? This is more to guide the type of indie you might engage rather than whether to engage and indie. There are some very good digital specialists.
DARREN: Thanks, you Stephen, food for thought for advertisers engaged in an agency review. Now for further enlightenment, make sure you subscribe to Media Minutes. A weekly snack on all thing’s media. Until then. I’m Darren Woolley, and he’s
STEPHEN: Stephen Wright
TOGETHER: And this is Media Minutes.