The Conditions For Success Need To Be Plainly Evident

Phil Johnson is CEO of PJA Advertising & Marketing with offices in Cambridge and San Francisco. He’s also a contributor to Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary.
Johnson’s latest piece addresses some fundamental problems people in the agency business face. Like this one:

If you want a healthy, profitable relationship, find a client that can articulate a real problem to solve. Signing on with a company that has the vague goal of becoming better known, or that wants more sales, will eventually lead to vague dissatisfaction with the agency.

And this one:

Agencies need to identify companies that make money and are doing well financially. I can’t believe the number of agencies (embarrassingly mine included) who have busted their butts to win a piece of business that can’t afford to do any work.

Let’s recap. It’s imperative to find clients with real marketing problems that need solutions, and those clients need to have the budget to solve said marcom problems. That’s about as straightforward as things get in this business.



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.