Are big agencies a dying breed?

These days, there are plenty of large businesses who have their own in-house teams who can deal with what was once outsourced to big marketing and digital agencies.

Many organisations have teams of marketers, project managers, analysts, researchers, designers, copywriters and developers focused entirely on delivering and managing their online presence.

And those without the skills in their workforce are turning to small groups of consultants like us, rather than agencies, to solve their problems.

Agree or disagree with this statement?

Tell us what you think in our online survey

What evidence is there?

Our own clients regularly tell us that digital agencies are inefficient and ineffective. They tell us:

  • Agencies are forced at times to put their own needs ahead of their clients’ needs (e.g. Pushing something through to completion when it’s not ready because the work needs to be billed to keep the cash flow healthy)
  • Agencies have their own people and processes and these don’t always sit well with the clients’ way of working. Clients often pay for people and services that they don’t need simply because the agency is following their ‘one size fits all’ methodology
  • Agencies don’t live and breathe the clients problem in the same way that clients do. Not all the people are in the right place at the right time to get under the skin of the problem, which can lead to miscommunication, project ‘black holes’ (where things go deathly silent) and deliverables that don’t meet the requirements
  • The senior agency people who have the vision that clients buy into often disappear or take a step back when the work begins, which leads to inconsistent support and advice

But don’t just take our word for it. Just look at the mess Hertz and Accenture got themselves into.

It’s not all bad though, right?

Of course not. We think the right agency can bring something valuable. For example:

  • Wider industry experience and lateral thinking for better problem solving, drawing on their breadth of experience across clients and industries
  • A cost-effective way of covering skill gaps where a full time, permanent member of staff is not needed
  • An external, unbiased view that considers the problem and solution for what it is and not what is going to sit well with interdepartmental politics
  • Experience from a pool of senior people when it is needed

So what does this mean for the future of big digital agencies?

We clearly have our own ideas but we are keen to know what you think.

Feel incensed or inspired by what we have said?

Tell us what you think in our online survey