Death of the salesman?
It is amazing the amount of things you can buy today without meeting a sales rep / new business person.
I bought conveyancing online and it was great and it was dead cheap. I bought it off line too it was painful, slow and more expensive.
You can use online estate agents, solicitors, get loads of financial advice, compare insurance quotes and so on.
Will there be a moneysupermarket or comparethemeerkat for creative agencies? In fact why isn’t there? Is that what some of the creative intermediaries already do? Create a central viewing point of showreels and credentials for marketers to view out of sight from pesky new business people or agency heads? Is that commoditising creative services?
Today it seems creative agencies are largely being commoditised and treated as free consultants. Maybe that is okay for estate agents, solicitors and financial services but does it benefit the buyers of creative services?
And it is happening, just look at People Per Hour (PPH), where online you can buy logos, websites, SEO, ads, photo-shopping services, graphic design, press releases, direct marketing, telemarketing – all cheap as chips.
You can get some pretty good services on-line, carried out often, but not always, by someone in a developing country at a fraction of the cost and you never meet the seller.
I used a brilliant guy in India to fix my WordPress site and I can tell you the service was outstanding, he over delivered and kept in contact all through the process.
I know people in agencies who have bought services from PPH and over paid / tipped the supplier because the quality was so high. When was the last time your client tipped your agency?
I think creative services are different, very different, well they should be. The problem is the mis-definition of creativity or more importantly creative thinking today. If creativity is seen as something technical you can most likely buy it online. Fix the gremlins in my WordPress site for example or photoshop a picture.
Creativity today is often seen as solely aesthetic, making something look visually appealing. Although important, this is only part of what it means to be creative.
The creative industries need to help a business solve a problem that is holding them back. They’re business issues and problems which are objective. Even if they are sometimes hard to diagnose from the symptoms that the client offers up. A person, a new business person, is need to help diagnose right, like a doctor? Creativity is linked in my opinion to critical thinking – the prospect requires this don’t they? Else they’ll just do the same thing over and over.
Being creative is a way of thinking about those identified symptoms, for instance struggling to make revenues, losing customers, losing market share, competing with new entrants and so on.
Creativity is a competitive advantage, it is looking at the problem differently it is being critical of the current way things are done.
It is hard to commoditise, hard to find and yet unfortunately way too easy to put a low price on today. Let me tell you my story about gourmet burgers and see if it whets your appetite? Because it is not just my intention to say that buyers often buy cheap but that they buy bad and over priced more than cheap.