Spotlight On NW Creative: Wiggs Asks, Marr Answers

David Wiggs of Marketing Hitch, a marketing agency search consultancy in Bellingham, conducted an interview with Brian Marr, Managing Director at Seattle’s Wexley School of Girls.

Q. We’ve all read that the pitch / RFP process is broken. Many agencies aren’t even interested in competing in pitches. Do you see an alternative to this process?
A. As an agency, it’s easy to feel like you should be able to show some similar work to win the business. I was client-side for 10 years and can tell you from experience that your client really doesn’t care too much about what you did for . You might get a few points that allow you to sit down with them and have a conversation, but that’s it. In our industry, you’re only as good as your last campaign. In your client’s eyes, you’re only as good as what you can do for them. They just want to know if you can hack it.
Q. What does the agency of the future look like?
In a digital, on-demand age, clients are going to be looking for things like rapid iteration and innovation across all areas. Smaller agencies can deliver on these more quickly than larger places, but will lack the breadth that the networks can provide. To overcome that, I think we’ll see independent agency co-ops on the rise.

Independent agency co-ops is something I’m all for. I’d like to see co-ops emerge from the shadows. No agency–not even the very best–can be all things to all clients, so it makes sense to reach out to one’s friends, or co-op partners as the case may be. I know agencies are used to competing against one another, and that’s always going to be there to some extent, but I think we can enter a new era of cooperation that will benefit our clients and our own firms. To me, it’s all about being a resource for clients. Whatever they need can be delivered. Maybe not by my firm, but through my firm.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.