Every successful agency pays close, almost forensic attention to what their clients are saying. Not just because it’s what they’re paid to do, but some very good ads can often originate in a throwaway line or sarcastic remark from a client.

It’s when information becomes an insight and it’s a phenomenal feeling.

However, ‘fact finding’ is not always a simple matter of question and answer sessions – from a client perspective these can sometimes feel more like interrogations. Probing for a particular response based on a template of what services you offer is felt by canny clients.

July AA blog

Obviously you want to meet their needs and solve any problems, but I’ve seen too many situations where businesses listen with an intent to reply rather than understand. I’ve probably been guilty of the old eager beaver syndrome too!

I recently travelled through both Australia and Asia, talking with agencies about what their current systems do and don’t deliver. I chatted to them about:

  • What processes between the project and finances team are disjointed or simply don’t work at all?
  • What impact do these failures have and how is it affecting your morale?
  • How do you want your agency to operate in one, three or five years from now?

There were some patterns and similarities across the board, but I was struck by the fact…sorry the insight that system integration means something different to every agency.

This is a good thing. Why? Because agencies are built around people not systems. Which might sound like a throwaway line of my own, yet it’s easy to flip that dynamic and put people at the mercy of a vendor recommended, but inadequate system that won’t meet future needs.

Horror stories of the like are strewn across the web. The impact they had on businesses who were promised the world by vendors can be felt for years. And in agency world there’s nothing more damaging to your productivity than a short sighted decision, leaving you with a system that hinders rather than helps what you do every day.

Have any readers out there been haunted by their internal systems and how did it impact your day-to-day life?