There has been even more recent news of clients ending relationships with agencies. It is no wonder the CMO job is becoming more and more of a revolving door in the age of immediate gratification. If the CMO and the agency they bring down fails to deliver on the crazy expectations of the C-Suite or shareholders, both parties might as well begin looking for new ventures before the official word.
The CMO is very important to agencies because that person is the one who really decides what kind of marketing or creative culture the brand is going to embody. Yes, we know that a lot of attention goes to the agency the brand partners with because the agency life tends to be more on the eccentric spectrum than brands, but if the CMO likes eccentricity, then that is how the agency can win the brand over.
Like looking for a job, agencies should get to know the CMO and their marketing department, past successes and failures, and previous agencies to see if they can see themselves working well with the brand. How long has the CMO been there? Does the CMO have regular access to the C-Suite and Board (if a public company)?
How long does the CMO intend on being there?
If any of those questions aren't answered in a way that would set you at ease, then you must be willing to walk away. Unfortunately, not all client accounts are equal, and we must be smart about picking the right ones.
Agencies must find the right fit.
We've said this before, and this is probably nothing new to you, but it is interesting to see CMOs be interviewed and hear them exclaim how ready they were for a change or to read how a CMO ousted an agency because it came in under the previous CMO.
It's a simple concept, yet sometimes we need to take a step back and remind ourselves that the advertising business is a people business. Finding the right fit doesn't just mean "Can my agency do quality work for this brand?" but also "Can my agency people get along with this brand's people?"
At times, it is the latter question that is more important.
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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