Agencies have always done ‘campaigns’. It’s what we do — be it a massive one that lasts for years or a couple of tiny ones to support some above-the-line marketing hullabaloo. But paradigms change when we look at things from a different perspective. We often sincerely believe something from one perspective, but when we view it from another angle, our beliefs can change. It changes how we think, and how we react to something. What some people call “magic” is based on this same principle. Once you understand an illusionist’s “trick”, your paradigm shifts, and you will likely never see that trick the same way again.
So with that idea of ‘thought shift’ in mind, what if a digital agency did things differently too? I had a fascinating debate with a planner at an agency I was working at who was suggesting the agency might sell 100 little experiences to a client instead of one big one. A brilliant idea. It fitted neatly into my distributed experience idea I was trying to sell the same client too. The client agrees to pay a wedge of money, and the agency agrees to concept, design, develop, and launch 100 individual digital experiences (sites, apps, whatever) in 52 weeks rather than one huge one.
It makes sense when you consider that an agency for ‘now’ needs to increase their odds of creating a big hit when it’s impossible to predict what’s going to catch on. Most digital agencies rely on selling the execution of a big beautiful campaign or website. The more complex the site is, the more expensive it is, and the better it is for the agency’s business. But, the market for that business is disappearing.
When an agency pitches to clients, they don’t just come up with one big idea. They usually come up with lots of ideas and then choose the best ones to sell-in hoping that one will make the cut. The ideas that got the chop originally might have the winning formula in there, so why not just do those as well?
No one can predict which idea is going to become an Internet sensation. And not every potential hit will get approved by the client’s legal or PR department. These concerns don’t matter because you’re going to launch every good idea you come up with. Work for the client initially launches without the client’s name attached. If it takes off and becomes a hit, the agency gets to claim it. If they don’t want it, the agency can either take it for themselves or kill it.
Everything is iterative – only a tiny fraction of what you launch will be worth additional time and investment, so create strict qualifications for what makes the cut. Work on all of these select projects using an agile process, making small changes as you go. There’s no finish line, there’s just one improvement after another.
What do you think?