Clients should pay more for digital

Most of my clients have either been digital agencies or advertising agencies. Over the last decade I have probably stepped foot in most around town. Being in recruitment I have also interviewed thousands of people that work for these agencies, from Creatives, Strategists, Developers etc, you get the idea.

A big chunk of my business has been helping advertising agencies build a digital offering, from hiring a Head of Digital and Creative Techs to stay ahead of the game. I think digital is probably the hardest thing to integrate into the traditional advertising model, and in my opinion this boils down to two main factors.

  1. The people selling digital services generally do not have the technical understanding to properly commit to what they quote a client.
  2. Software methodologies like Agile, Scrum, Lean, Prince & Waterfall that can be crucial to some digital projects are hard to implement into an ad agency.

Don’t get me wrong, the Account Service people are extremely talented and work very hard and it is simply not fair to expect these overworked individuals to have the technical understanding of a software engineer. It takes years of study and commercial development experience to obtain their knowledge.

My point is that these methodologies were never meant for the advertising agency model. Their purpose was mainly for large software development environments not creative agency environments.

The answer in my mind is to simply charge more from the outset. Digital need these resources but they are expensive and complicated. If clients want quality services from their advertising agency they need to pay for it. I have seen how hard these agencies work for their clients, and in my opinion aren’t given a big enough budget to work with. If they were, they might just have enough time to execute properly.


Written by Nick Barry, Founder of Interactiveinc. A specialist digital recruitment agency based in Sydney finding digital jobs for digital people.