I spent yesterday at the AdAge Small Agency Conference in Denver at The Brown Palace Hotel (a client of ours! I loved listening to the comments about the splendor of the hotel and the great food).
Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi reminded everyone to be real, not get lost in automation and all things digital and to respect your instincts.
Jay Ferracane of Angry+Bovine helped us seek the positivity around being a ‘smaller’ agency. You’re only as small as your thinking and ideas. Small agency’s advantages lie in their ability to be flexible, fast and unencumbered by overly processed protocols. Also, fewer employees means being choosier about hiring ‘right’ in addition to only having ‘the A Team’ for clients (that part was from BFG9000).
Kayak reminded me that time wasted in meetings helps no one. They limit their meetings to 20-30 minutes MAX as a way to keep everyone on task. Participants come prepared and they set a timer. mmm, I think we’ll be trying this one.
Many speakers and agency owners talked about digital, digital, digital. But I think the conversation should be much bigger than that. The focus should be on connecting the right dots at the right time for whatever media your consumer uses. There’s room for specialists in every arena, sure, but I believe the best marketers don’t think digital or analog anymore. Hybrid skill sets are increasingly valuable as clients and agencies alike begin thinking about connections, in any form, versus specific tactical elements.
What is collaboration? Is it ‘expensive’ to collaborate (i.e., lots of people in one room for a meeting or brainstorm)?
Well, there’s ‘cooperation’ and then there’s real ‘collaboration’ (thanks David @bdwcu). Cooperation is a discussion. Collaboration is problem-solving. I think the concept of swarming–specialists within the agency swarm onto a project and then trust the team and other specialists to make it real.
From Shingy at AOL (he was amazing) he challenged us to think of the 3rd screen and what convergence really means for content habits and warned us of the check-in backlash brewing. Sometimes, you only want your real friends to know where you’re at.
Seated near Beth an EVP from 4A’s, we stayed after to talk about Account Planning and Account Service–sometimes they’re one in the same, but the skill sets aren’t interchangeable. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation with her soon. Is it a small agency phenomenon or is it agency-wide sea change? Can the career paths intersect? Where? This one is top of my list to learn and explore.
We also talked at length about culture. It’s the number one predictor of success as an agency and in biz dev. The question she’s struggling with, “who’s doing it well and how are best practices shared? Can they be?” I’m still percolating on this one.
Biggest takeaway=never lose sight of the thrill and success that finding and nurturing a good idea can bring–for you and your clients.
I’m hoping our new Colorado Tourism team can beta test some of this new thinking and new ideas and see what it’s like to swim in such a turbulent pool that is ecosystem marketing strategy, planning and execution.
And I picked up my new favorite saying from Rob at CPB via their inception, “Good Enough Sucks”
What do you think?
See most of the day’s conversation by checking out #smallagency
Post By: Rachael Donaldson, VP Account Strategy and Connection Planning