This Is Why Digital Agencies Have A Huge Moral & Social Responsibility
By Collette Easton ~
I’ve worked for clients of either a Digital agency or a Digital SaaS software platform used by agencies for over a decade. My industry friends and colleagues also work in and alongside agencies. I therefore feel qualified to write this post about an agencies moral and social responsibilities to help a client. Where is she going with this I can hear you say.
Digital Is Such A Big Deal
Digital is such a big part of modern commerce that a businesses performance or lack thereof can make or break quarters or years.
When an agency and client agree strategies and budgets there is a contract drawn up that sells time and materials for cash. This post is not about these areas. This post is about the unwritten contract. The one that understands the consequence of underperformance.Digital Marketing: our small actions cause ripples, our big actions can cause waves Click To Tweet
What I’ve come to understand and appreciate is that we are all part of a connected world where our actions have consequences. Not just for the first person in we impact, but for all of the other people and business entities our actions as marketers impact.
Here’s a highly plausible yet fictional story:
- An agency does a great job pitching a plan that has a companies online performance growing at the desired 20% year-on-year. The agency is appointed and work begins.
- After 6 months, alarm bells are ringing, meetings are getting tense and performance is flat.
- After 12 months, the budget has gone and the ROI is not there.
- During the year, whilst growth was below the budgeted amount, there were two reforecasts, both of which resulted in cost cutting and some front-line staff lost their jobs, and for one family in particular, it resulted in high levels of debt being accumulated, stress and relationship breakups.
- The Head of Marketing that appointed the agency is let go, but she’s not gone quietly, she made sure she tells everyone she knows about the promises she was given and her agencies under-delivery.
- The agency staff were unsettled by being asked to continue to work on an ineffective plan and the job dissatisfaction meant that the best staff left to work at another competitor agency.
Even though this is made-up, it is in my opinion this and stories like this are very likely to be happening around the world right now.
When we don’t deliver as an agency the implications don’t just stop at accounts showing lower than expected numbers. Our actions like all actions have reactions, some good and some bad.
For many agencies this is not a concern as building trust and doing great work that gets results is what you do, and when things don’t go to plan it’s dealt with early and professionally.
It’s the others I know are out there that this post is for. It’s the ones not doing great work, yet monthly fees are billed. It’s the ones not delivering the time, energy and value promised. If this is you, call it fast and do the right thing, your actions define you and have consequences.
Agencies are key stakeholder of marketing channels that connect customers with products. When these connections are not made people and businesses suffer, not spreadsheets. This means we need to be professional, responsible, morally robust and socially aware.
When founding Molecule, it was thoughts like these that formed the core set of values and behaviours that defined us. I hope we never forget them.