The Evolution of the Agency Approach

Working with traditional advertising and marketing agencies have become a pain point for a lot of businesses. As client marketing budgets have decreased, agency fees have increased without finding a solution to the age old battle of billable hours versus value.

Throughout our team’s history of working on the agency side, we’ve seen this time and time again. There’s a lot of contributing factors to why agency fees have increased and a big piece of it is how agencies are structured.

Let’s start by taking a look at the types of teams typically associated with an agency.

The FTEs won’t let me be

  • Sales team
  • Executives that don’t touch your business except during onboarding or when the relationship goes south
  • Account Management team managing the relationship and strategy (usually with an Account Director, Account Supervisor, Account Manager, and Account Executive depending on the size of the account)
  • Project Management
  • Your client or project team—this is the team doing a majority of the work behind the scenes: SEO, paid media, creative, strategic insights, etc.

On any given account there’s a lot of people touching the work at various levels. Sometimes this sense of bloating the team is good for the agitation and creation of great ideas, but isn’t beneficial for client’s budgets.

The way agencies typically estimate out the work is by a percentage of a full time employees (FTE) allocation of billable time. This model doesn’t make sense in today’s world. When agencies bill based on a percentage of a FTE, they aren’t just billing you for the employee working on your project.

In Workfront’s The State of Work Report, U.S. Edition they found that only 40% of an employee’s week is taken up by their primary job functions. The rest of the week went towards:

  • 16% – Emails
  • 12% – Administrative Tasks (timesheets… fun!)
  • 10% – Useful and Productive Meetings
  • 8% – Wasteful Meetings
  • 8% – Interruptions for Nonessential Tasks
  • 6% – Everything Else

If your agency is billing you based on a percentage of FTEs, you’re not just paying for the work being done, but for their own inefficiencies in how the work gets delivered. Next time your contract is set to renew, ask them for a 60% reduction so that you’re only paying for the actual work done.

We’re just a bunch of Huckers

When Huck Adventures set off to build a marketing agency within our outdoor adventure app company, we knew we wanted to create something different: a better model to service our clients.

It started with this idea of evolving the traditional approach of account and project management into the role of Solution Delivery.

Solution Delivery blends components of those two practices, along with strategic insights and elements from the role of Product Managers on software teams. We created an approach that has the overarching accountability for the delivery of whatever solution we’re providing.

For any given solution, the Solution Delivery team will work with you to understand the what, why, how and when needed. They’re accountable for your service journey with Huck Marketing. They’ll work with you to understand your business needs and pull the team members needed to facilitate the work. As we work through the scoping phase, we’ll only scope for the work needed to be done on an hourly basis, not by a percentage of a FTE. We aim to activate talent in meaningful ways and if we have moments of ineffeciency, that’s on us, and we won’t bill you for it.

Our team has a passion for problem solving, an intellectual curiosity, and entrepreneurial sensibility. We are advocates of collaboration—musing, speculating, guessing, and achieving great things along the way.

We’re here, working to forge a new path within the advertising and marketing industry and we hope you’ll join us on this ride. Get in touch with us today and let’s get to work with providing your business with the right marketing solutions.