Clients take lead over integration

As 2004 drew to a close, the notion of a “new improved” integrated full-service approach to marketing was being bandied about by some of the industry giants.

On a superficial level, the idea is an attractive proposition for clients. But, frankly, we all know that when you force agencies with different cultures to work together under one umbrella agency, the result is an internal power struggle. Backbiting and competition behind the scenes is inevitable, which can work to the detriment of the overall marketing strategy.

A far more successful and cost-effective approach is for clients to retain control of selected independent agencies. These then report to the client directly, rather than an appointed corporation.

In this scenario, various specialists can work at what they do best, and collaborate with each other when appropriate.

Individual cultures can be respected and allowed to flourish, encourage better creativity and more outstanding results. Lets hope we’ll be seeing more of this in 2005.

Heather WestgateManaging directorTDACheltenham

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