The structure of the agency-client relationship is not designed to produce the best or the most work. It is designed to avoid mistakes. Over time, that is how agencies have structured themselves to serve clients. It makes sense. They do not get fired for inefficiency. They get fired for screwing up. Worse, both agencies and clients are often painfully unaware of this. They do not see the inefficiency because rarely has anyone on the agency side worked client side, and vice versa.
I am going to shed light into some of the dark places of how that structure is not serving you or your brand. I can do this because for the past 20 years, I have had the rare experience of having worked for both agencies and clients leading brands. From startups to Fortune 100 companies, offline and online agencies, creative director and account lead, media and digital strategist, or as the intern pasting up creative and producing multimedia presentations, I have worked with more than a billion dollars of media in my career. Because of that experience, I am often hired by agencies or clients to help identify areas for improvement in the relationship, and the first place I start is the structure of the account.
Success in an agency-client relationship is often about process and the most efficient structure to produce the highest quality work at the lowest cost. That is what the agency-client relationship is about, and failure to recognize that is why many agencies are ripping off many clients without even realizing it.
Conscious or unconscious, purposeful or accidental, there are countless ways your agency is ripping you off, and almost all of them can be avoided. Here are a few pointers that will help you restructure your account and your agency relationship to save massive amounts of money, produce amazingly effective creative -- and have your agency thank you for it.