I'm still catching up on my RSS feeds but I saw this post by MEDIAWEEK called Google Goes On Charm Offensive at AAAA Media and I really had to laugh; hence the need for a post. Google's Tim Armstrong went out of his way to point out that Google is not the enemy to agencies, at least in my opinion to agencies that provide value. Allow me to explain.
As a client and now as a political agency executive and consultant, I've always purchased my media. Whether that was search marketing or display buys I always had the media buy under my control (for a brief time DLJdirect used Modem Media to purchase media before my time, but I ended up taking it back). So I think I have an interesting reference point. Google as well as most online advertising publishers are geared towards a self-servicing or client centric model; that's the way it was built as compared with TV, Print, DM, and Radio which were built around an agency model.
Google to me is the premier self-servicing model. You as an individual, small business, or eCampaign manager can go right in, pop-in a billing option (or wait for credit), pick your keywords, design your text ads, use their targeting, and finally implement their tracking package. The thing that makes Google so great is that it gives small marketers the tools historically unavailable to you unless you had huge marketing budgets. Hence the perceived agency threat.
For me there were only three reasons why a client would hire an agency; creative, media, or consultant. These reasons are:
- A Guru at the agency that can move your business forward
- Client does not have the time or resources
- Client does not have the resident expertise in-house
That's it. Three simple reasons and if your agency doesn't have a guru you can make a great living at #2 and #3. And if you continue to provide value and services, you'll keep your clients assuming you don't get lazy.
Google is not a threat to any of those reasons. As an agency do you have a digital strategy and search guru you can pimp out? If yes, then no worries your sales pitch is we have this expert you'll love and then charge your premium. Isn't that how most agencies started anyway; hence the old agency name with the founder in the company title (my all time favorite agency names wa Messner Veter Berger McNamee Schmetterer).
Agencies should stop being scared of Google and embrace it. Google helps your business model and even if you have a smart client that runs media, often they don't have the time or dedicated resources to devote to it. There are a lot more clients in that model than the old Harrisdirect model of buying direct. This is a time where the agencies should stop being threatened and get on board with the search/digital strategy. That's where a huge share of the marketing budget is going, so instead of fighting it, join it and get a bigger share of the budget.