Agencies as a time suck?

BrandWeek just reported that 45% of CMOs are spending more time with their agencies and that only 21% of them believe they are getting their agencies’ best work. Wow! What’s wrong with this picture?

CMOs are under more pressure to produce results with less money than many have had for decades. Agencies are hard hit by client budget cuts and are struggling for their own survival. The economic meltdown is creating a crisis of confidence in marketing unlike any I’ve seen in my 30 years in this profession. What is a marketer to do?

I’d suggest these three steps:

1. Prioritize the activities that can drive the most immediate and measurable return on your marketing dollars in the short term.

2. Partner with an agency that “gets it” and is willing to work on your priorities and not argue constantly about “building the brand for the long term.”

3. Work together with your agency partner to develop a learning system that allows you to optimize your programs continuously. The “silver bullet” of marketing in these times is not a magical tactic but a methodical system.

My guess is if more CMOs had agencies that partnered with them in this way they would be less concerned about the lack of return on the time they are investing today. What do you think?