Leo Burnett famously once said “There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success.” This statement got me thinking…If this is the case, why are there so many industry niche agencies who develop a process and plan that becomes the standard they use for every client they work with? And better yet…why do so many clients look to them for their help in media buying?
Agencies that specialize in a specific industry typically move in that direction because they have found success for a client and started getting the attention of others in the same industry. Each potential client walks through the door with the same objective, wants the same type of advertising as long as it’s different but not too daring, and the niche agency is ready and willing to give it to them.
Maybe it makes sense? Niche agencies pride themselves on doing their “homework” and having the experience and expertise to know exactly how to reach the right audience. They promise to be a specialized agency and one that has more in-depth knowledge of their client’s industry. Heck, they even charge a premium, because it is worth spending a little more to work with an agency that offers you the level of industry expertise they bring to the table. The problem is their creative ideas and media plans all begin to look the same.
Healthcare, banking, education, automotive and even real estate are fantastic examples of industries that turn to niche agencies to create and plan their advertising. The similarities within these industries, between their messaging and their media placement tend to blend together. It becomes harder and harder to see the difference between each advertiser. Each hospital, bank, school, etc. all look exactly the same. And yet the clients keep coming back for more.
Variety with respect to imagery is only one reason to rethink using a niche agency. The world of advertising and the way consumers engage with it, changes so frequently that working with an agency who sticks with the same game plan over and over doesn’t make much sense.
Agencies that work with a wide range of clients, in a multitude of industries become experts in marketing as a whole. These are the agencies that keep up with media trends and can bring new and fresh ideas to the table. All the clients I have worked with come from companies who are looking to improve upon their existing marketing tactics. So, offering them exactly what their competition has already done, doesn’t typically work.
No one ever says, “I want a generic media plan.” So why would they go with an agency that plays it safe and offers a “rinse and repeat” program? Because those agencies have told them they know what’s best for their business. But remember, “There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success.” That’s all the more reason to re-evaluate your choice in agencies. The agency you choose to provide your media plans should know your industry but more importantly be experts in media.