The High Price of Disconnected Agency Systems: The Strain on Creative Performance Means a Drain on Profit

October 01, 2021

Anyone on the creative side has probably heard this classic marketing agency adage a thousand times. Sing along if you know the words, “There’s a difference between being busy and being productive.” As worn-out as that piece of wisdom may be, it’s definitely a good piece of wisdom. The people on the creative side of the business -- your graphic artists, directors, copywriters, etc. -- they usually seem to be in a hurry, on deadline, and trying to prioritize getting deliverables done for a dozen campaigns.

Quite often, the management side of the house is content to let their highly caffeinated creatives buzz around getting the job done without realizing that there is a way to get that team to a place that gets the maximum amount of productivity out of their business. And we all know that maximum productivity means more profit.

Here’s a solid truth: In today’s agency environment, the effectiveness of your systems and software applications has a direct impact on the productivity level of your talent. The ability to collaborate, communicate, and interact (whether on-site, embedded with a client, or at home) is a creative team's lifeblood. That’s something that’s become immediately evident in today’s remote-work world.


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Not long ago, when creatives typically shared a bustling office space, leadership might have missed the shortcomings of poorly integrated production and collaboration systems or uncooperative applications. In a bullpen environment, a frustrated photographer could walk over to a copywriter’s desk to sort out specifics of a print ad, for example. 

Now, the frustrations of poor app and systems integration are all too obvious. What might have once been fixed with a meeting or quick face-to-face is tougher to resolve. Sharing documents on one platform, tediously clocking time for every minute task on another, checking in with project management milestones on a third, managing client expectations on another still . . . each interface and interaction means time away from actual, billable work. That decimates a budget and crushes a project’s profit margin. The emerging widespread workforce has revealed those cracks in task management, collaboration and tracking, and forward-thinking agencies are moving fast to get internal operations in sync.

When properly designed, deployed and interconnected, the apps, interfaces and platforms creatives use every day to meet client expectations can become the means to optimized agency performance. The benefits are obvious and often immediate:

  • Customers have transparency, and feel like they are part of the process, 
  • Project Managers can truly manage the entirety of projects rather than simply managing tasks,
  • Management has a clear sense of resource utilization and budget burn, and
  • Creatives have optimal bandwidth to do what they do best -- building deliverables and creating campaigns that keep clients happy.

Agencies are facing a critical moment with respect to how they get the most performance from their creative pros. Finding top talent is only part of the mission. That has to match with a commitment to equipping them with the most effective, efficient ways to interact and get the job done. The emerging dynamic is one of acceleration, not hesitation. We were all on pause long enough. 

Now’s the time to take a hard look at whether or not your agency creatives have what they need to take your shop forward. Your creatives are bound to stay busy, and they’ll also be at their most productive.