Agencies bad at promoting themselves

I am amazed at the arrogance of Michael Bartram in his belief that it is the job of marketing service buyers to have a comprehensive knowledge of pre-eminent agencies (MW October 5).

Surely he is not suggesting that just because agencies are not in the big league they should be dismissed for not having a relevant offering? Or does he believe that buyers should have an all-encompassing knowledge of the entire agency universe? If the latter is the case, the nation’s assorted marketing departments would spend their time doing little else but researching suppliers and holding credentials presentations.

The reality is that nearly all agencies suffer from extreme cases of cobblers’ children syndrome. They may be good at promoting clients’ brands, but most are poor at promoting their own.

Few agencies advertise in the marketing press and if they do it is generally tactical and very poor. And the least said about agency brochures the better – they nearly all read the same.

As a specialist PR in the marketing services sector I know how bad most agencies are at public relations. The same is true of the relevant professional bodies. Too many blindly send out irrelevant and untargeted messages and then wonder why they do not get the editorial coverage they think they deserve. Some agencies’ professional PR representatives are just as bad.

In any market the sellers have to sell themselves. A few agencies do it extremely well and enjoy high brand profiles, but too many have to learn to practise what they preach. To suggest that it is up to marketing buyers to constantly research suppliers is nonsense.

Nick Rines

Managing director

MRC

Milton Keynes

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