The messages come from everywhere. Turn on the television, listen to the radio, read periodicals, glance at a billboard, or surf the web, and you are exposed to an ever-growing tidal wave of advertisements. If you are a company owner or marketing manager, ad sales reps are blowing up your telephone and email. Your head spins with all the advertising options available to you.
Enter the agency. Actually, enter the media buyer. Many “agencies” are really composed of one or two enterprising people with an ad sales background — former account executives that discovered they could do the same job, make the same money, and work from home. How is this possible? It’s possible because media partners pay 10%-15% commission to agencies for placing ad buys on behalf of their clients. This commission structure has been around since the dawn of mass-media advertising.
You can admire the initiative of these types of agencies, but they’re taking advantage of a flawed model. In a sense, they order your lunch, and in return keep 15% of your hamburger, 10% of your french fries, and 12% of your Coke. The paradigm is shifting. Speaking of Coca-Cola, they are one of many national and regional companies who have rejected this antiquated media commission structure, instead opting to pay their agencies a fair hourly rate to place the buy. They now reinvest the commission previously paid to the agency into efforts that build brand equity.
Certainly, there is value in having a competent media buyer direct your spending. They manage the ad sales reps, ensure ad buys go smoothly, and help deliver your message to the right audience. The question is this: does that skill set alone entitle them to 15% of your ad budget? Wouldn’t those dollars be better invested in the development of strategic communication assets, i.e. better ads? Respectfully, delivering the message is the easy part. Creating the message is the true challenge.
In a day when your potential customers are being bombarded with ad messages, it takes more than reach and frequency to make an impression. To truly stand out, a business needs advertising that engages, educates, and enchants an audience. Unfortunately, many local and regional businesses don’t feel they have the budget to support high-quality creative services. In reality they would, if they didn’t have to pay a commission to the media buyer. Most every business could have commercials of superior concept and execution than the “free production” presented as “value-added” by media buyers who are dependent on the traditional commission system.
At Firevine, we believe that the quality of the message matters. To prove it, we’ll provide media buying services and let you keep the agency commission.
The buy is dead.