The Drum: The Evolution of Agencies

Ben Turner, Founder and CEO speaks with The Drum to share concerns that agencies have become the throwaway fast fashion of the marketing world, but will thrive with a more bespoke approach.

  • Agencies have become ‘fast-fashion’. Like brands selling identical clothes, agencies are vying for the same business. Everyone’s trying to offer everything. Clients respond by shopping around, trying to find the right fit. Agencies respond by pitching more and taking on more one-off projects with quick delivery timeframes and short-term goals.

    We’re becoming low-cost items and embracing ‘throwaway culture’ just to stay on trend. We risk becoming like that zeitgeisty shirt worn only once.

    So, where’s the opportunity to build long-term value or strong partnership? Where’s the brand commitment?

    Let’s instead try a ‘capsule collection’ approach. How? By offering a curated and cohesive set of limited-edition items or services, typically centered around a specific theme or concept. By emphasizing quality over quantity, we can foster a sense of exclusivity and allow for strategic curation that resonates with a target audience in five key areas.

    1. Strategic curation

    Like a fashion capsule collection that carefully curates a small set of pieces to convey a specific theme, could agencies curate a selection of services by identifying key agency strengths, expertise and emerging trends, aligning them with client needs and market demands?

    Basically, we need to be hyper-relevant specialists with expertise in a specific area – or masters of specific niches, offering clients a depth of knowledge and expertise. This will also encourage efficiency; streamlining your focus allows agencies to invest more time and energy into new emerging strategies.

    2. Agility and adaptability

    There is an increasing need for agencies to remain agile, responding quickly to changes in the industry and client preferences. Like a fashion capsule responding to seasonal shifts, the agency should adjust its collections to stay relevant, incorporating new technologies, design trends and communication strategies.

    By offering a limited, curated selection of services, agencies can focus more on tailoring offerings to better meet the unique needs of each client. Moving away from a one-size-fits-all mentality, this client-centric approach fosters stronger and more personalized relationships.

    3. Timelessness and trendiness

    Balance classic marketing principles with innovative strategies. While it is important to be aware of evolution in the market, some staple pieces will serve you well year after year, and continued investment can position them as a cornerstone of your business. Timeless methods bring reliability, but trendy, cutting-edge approaches bring added creativity.