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Working Together
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Our world of advertising is approaching a very interesting moment. The markets are rising, consumer confidence is up, and brands are looking to spend. As the Fed continues to boost the financial markets, those of us in the agency world are in a great position to flex our new business muscles and get out there.

But the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the UK equivalent to our own 4A's, released a report that suggests, yet again, that marketers and agencies are on different pages.

The survey, which was conducted during the first quarter of 2013, looked at the agency perspective of pitches. In short, the perspective is not a pleased one.

About 22% of agency personnel surveyed said that the management of the pitch by the brand managers was poor or very poor, compared to 29% saying that it was excellent, or very good. Only 39% said that they had "adequate" access to the marketers, while a little over half said that the key personnel were present.

The beginning of the client/agency relationship has to improve.

Let's face it; both sides, the agency and the brand marketer, are demanding. Both sides want to do it their way, and if the other side gets their way, unless it's hugely successful, the other side is going to begrudgingly go along.

Why haven't we figured this out yet?

With the IPA across the pond, and 4A's and ANA here at home, there must be a way that we can get all sides to the table and create a smooth process. Clients, tell the agencies in the pitch up front what your budget is. Don't waste your time, or theirs. Agencies, be up front about costs/fees related to creating spec work; do you do it, or not? Both sides should be able to create estimated timelines for delivery. Both should be clear about the teams working on the accounts. And yes, those teams should meet and know each other.

Brands, if you want agencies to be transparent about costs and their structures, you have to do the same. It's not a one-way street anymore. We know this. You know this.

Let's stop being so sensitive when it comes to lines-of-command and "creative ownership." The ultimate goal is to give the consumer what they want, right? Building the right team, the right agency/client mix, should be the means to the end. 

If it's the Age of the Consumer, let's act like it.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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