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Marketing opinion

Why oh why do corporates build marketing empires?

I have seen this on numerous occasions during my career... companies decide that they can do a better job, and cheaper, than an agency.

If you want to market your products and services to your customers, why not let the experts do it for you? (Image: Henry Trotter, via Wikimedia Commons)
In one case I got involved with a large financial institution that had four staff members handling marketing and by the time I left the agency they were over 100 people strong! All this was done to 'save' money. The truth is they wasted money by increasing their overhead and the agency that used to do all the required work lost substantial income. The quality of marketing staff employed was poor and obviously did not have the experience the agency staff had.


In walks a new CEO and the bubble burst! Some 90% of the staff members were retrenched. There are many such cases and yet this empire building continues. Why oh why? Agencies earn their money by appointing highly skilled people who can do a task fast and effectively. They further guarantee the result... i.e. agencies take the responsibility for the print job [as an example]. Their knowledge and skill will in actual fact save the client money.

Just one recent example serves to show how money can be wasted: a client ordered wet-dem tables from an agent directly to 'save' money. Then the client asked us to source the tables. The exact same table from the same supplier was half the price. So, had the client used us it would have saved 60% as our mark-up is 25%...

Why oh why do the corporates not leave the advertising/promotions to the experts and do what they do best? What happened to agencies and clients working together to build a brand?

About Rolf Akermann

Passionate Marketing / Brand Strategist with substantial industry experience - Thrives on building and growing successful brands...
Siyabonga ngubane
Well said.
Posted on 4 Dec 2013 21:00
Because 75% of people in agencies are lazy and don't actually do what is actually best for client
Posted on 5 Dec 2013 09:06
chief head patter
What an entitled whiny rant this post is.

"The quality of marketing staff employed was poor and obviously did not have the experience the agency staff had." - I don't think that is obvious at all! I have worked in a couple of big corporates and alongside a couple of big agencies. The agencies were far more likely to hire the cheapest fresh noobs they could find, they were just better at passing them off as professionals! Low rise jeans and trendy hairdos are not a competence indicator. What are you judging these corporate employees on?

Pandora's box has a couple of dead spiders in it and it annoys corporates no end that agencies like the idea that they are practicing some sort of special magic that no one without a bold orange wall or a bell in reception (or whatever your gimmick is) can do. Many of the tasks our agency charged a premium for could have been done as well by in-house staff. This was proven on more than one occasion when work done by in-house staff was blind tested against agency work for board approval. Without the logo and the dance done to present, no one could tell the difference. An objective way to blow that rubbish out the water.

Agencies are good for a lot of things, which is why we hire them, but more and more, they need to get over themselves and recognise that if they want to add value they need to do more than clinging on to basic marketing tasks like babies with their first rattle toy.
Posted on 5 Dec 2013 15:16
Dave Nemeth
Tue true!
Posted on 5 Dec 2013 15:55
The truth of the matter is that the industry has changed and the advertising model has not changed with it...

What is the next big thing that will change the advertising landscape and give clients and industry people what they want at a price that both are happy???

My belief is there is no need for an advertising agency anymore.

They are expensive, too slow and do not really add value anymore...

Volary.com is coming...
Posted on 10 Dec 2013 11:28
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