More and more lately, we’re seeing pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients turn to a single agency or agency network conglomerate for their marketing and advertising services. Whether at the Brand or corporate level, these decisions are often made based on promises of reduced cost and increased quality. These mythological benefits stem from the belief that more dedicated agency teams will provide greater knowledge and continuity resulting in a better work product. You, in turn, will be able to demand lower costs due to the increased leverage your company has with the agency once they are getting more of your money.
Needless to say, for our clients who have traveled this road, these promises never materialize. In fact, the resulting “creative monopoly” often leads to some unanticipated drawbacks. The primary one is that the Client now has neither the carrot (i.e., ability to reward more business) nor the stick (i.e., ability to sever the relationship or to competitively bid out the next project).
But should these drawbacks really be unanticipated? In almost every other area of business, it goes without saying that these types of closed systems, or monopolies, actually lead to increased costs and decreased quality.
In our everyday lives, we demand choice – in our airlines, our phone companies and our utilities. And these choices give us the power to affect price, services and quality, simply because we have the option to walk away from a given service provider.
You wouldn’t settle for only having only one choice of provider for your HBO or Discovery channel, so why should your company settle for only one option when it comes to marketing your Brand?