When I first worked in ad agencies, I worked with a slightly unhinged Print Production Manager. We’ll call him Ike. On his wall was a diagram of the well-known ‘Quality, Speed and Price’ triangle. When bright-eyed, bushy-tailed account execs approached Ike for a quote, it would quite likely reduce him to ranting about unrealistic expectations and end with Ike pointing to the diagram, yelling, “Pick Two Turd!”
And in those days it was true. You rarely got all three.
Fast forward to 2016 and delivering all three is a matter of business success. Client expectations have never been greater.
When it comes to producing ideas, technology and new business models have increased the speed of production and lowered cost. It’s one of the reasons many marketers take a lot of their production in-house. They argue it’s cheaper and more efficient.
Sometimes what is pumped out, they admit, is mediocre. This is usually quickly followed with the justification that regardless, it’s ‘fit for purpose’.
Would they like it to be better? Sure, they’ll say, as long it doesn’t cost any more.
So what’s the one thing that good agencies can add?
Quality. Quality thinking. Quality ideas. Quality of execution.
Today, this has to be an agency’s number one point of difference.
But quality must now go hand in glove with efficiency of process.
Smarter process is about automation, it’s about having less layers of approval. It’s about speed of decision-making and not sweating over every last word like it’s ‘do or die’. All of these combined go to lowering cost and increasing speed, giving clients what they want and keeping agencies in the game.
Kevin Moreland is a Managing Director at BCM
Postscript: Just in case you were wondering, Ike long ago stopped terrorising young execs, and retired to the beaches of Northern New South Wales.