To grow, marketing services agencies will have to change – look at the lead Havas are taking with their Villages. It’s big picture stuff – focusing around the client and not the traditional internal fiefdoms. But that is just one way, there are so many concepts going round that it’s hard for agencies to grasp where to start. But no matter what your future strategy, there is something everyone can improve now – the profit you generate from your people.
In an emerging world of AI do not be seduced by headlines. People, and how you use them still makes the difference between profit and loss in agencies. You spend thousands recruiting the right people and then you don’t maximise their potential and moan that you have the wrong people.
Business is now so complex that instructions on how to do things can no longer be passed down as law from a department head. The best approach is prototyped on a daily basis by those teams delivering on the front line.
“If you want to kill innovation within your organisation, incentivise it, install a steering committee, and hire a business development manager”
So what sort of experiments should you be trying? Here are three ideas, all of which involve solutions being generated by staff, not designed by management.
The way we control people in the company system is a 100 year old design. It lacks many things including trust and autonomy that are needed to deliver value to clients. What got you here will not get you there – that much we know. The tough bit for leaders is that there is no single replacement. In a VUCA world solutions need to be flexible and swift. That’s where the hippo eating comes in. If business problems are so complex that you can’t figure out the answer in advance, you need lots of people eating the problem one bite at a time. You may have to adjust the strategy and design of your agency over the next few years, but if you have focused empowered people tucking into that hippo, then that will support any growth agenda.
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