Here’s to the specialists
Every agency can do anything their client asks right? In these desperate times most agencies will try and get as much work out of their client as possible – it’s logical… isn’t it?
But is the client getting the best work? And what about that old school thought of being really great at what you do?
It’s bloody tough some days, as every agency tries to scope-creep with their clients. Everyone tries to add more services they can offer once they get a hook into a client.
Media suddenly does content, creative and PR, the creative agency has a media arm, the PR team can do creative..blah blah blah.
Jack of all trades,master of none – it’s actually one reason the full service agency model was deconstructed – specialist divisions who were experts gave clients the best of each world. Scope creep – or everyone suddenly being able to do whatever the client needs, is a natural part of business, but I want to put up an argument for doing what you are good at and doing lots of it – the benefits of being a specialist and for clients – using a specialist- real experts in their specific field.
I am a specialist evangelist. I’m unashamedly biased on using specialists – Waterfront is Australia’s celebrity sourcing specialist agency. We research, recommend, negotiate, contract and deliver local and international celebrities for clients and campaigns.
We often come up against PR, media and creative agencies all claiming to the client they can get a celebrity for a particular campaign, rather than using the expert in the field – us.
So it got me thinking- what do we do as specialists have, that makes us a much better bet for clients, and what do other specialists (like media, PR , creative etc) have in common?
Here is my top four things that top specialists have in common.
- Contacts, relationships and experience make a hell of a difference in every field. It’s who you know, and how well you know them that gives you deep understanding in your field. The relationships you have with suppliers, knowing the market, the key industry people, the demand, and having the trust and relationships. A specialist knows the right people, what the right market deal looks like and how to get to the deal done.
- They know a good deal and how hard to push. Anyone can go to a network and buy media, but the specialist who do it every day know what deals can be done, they know what the rates really are, what supply and demand is like and getting a fair deal that is going to work for both sides. They understand the market. In our world we see so many PR and creative agencies paying way over the odds for their celebrities – the rate card or an inflated price because they think that is what you must have to pay – generally it’s not – and knowing what a celebrity is worth, previous deal rates and what you can get it for comes down to history and specialist expertise.
- Specialists have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to. You know the first few hundred times you do something you are learning on the job – as a client you don’t want to be educating your agency on how to a job they are not skilled in. Using a specialist means they have been there, done that – not going there, learning that. The market is ever changing and the demands and inclusions on celebrity contracts are all key factors in negotiating a strong deal for all parties.
- Specialists will actually do a better job. Use an expert rather than someone who thinks they are, and you will get a better job. In our world that means the right celebrity, delivered with minimum stress, on budget and with a great result.
There’s an advertiser on radio – Paul Denny – and his catch phrase is “When all you do is conveyencing, you get very good at it”. We all have to scope creep and grow our business, but knowing what you are good at and what you aren’t, gives you even more credibility.
You can define what you are amazing at but admitting what you are not good at – it’s the the fish John West rejects…
So here’s to the specialists. Be an expert, be known for what you are really good at…and enjoy being great
Sean Pickwell is director of Waterfront Entertainment Group