The Urgency of Being Win-Based

SFW Insights is an ongoing marketing industry analysis designed to help your brands win. This introspective post evaluates the urgency of being a win-based agency in today's marketplace and how this new agency philosophy is shaking up the traditional model.

Agency accountability has been a hang-up for marketers for years. Traditional (i.e., most) agencies sell bundles of hours or shiny campaigns. Results may be an initial catalyst for the engagement, but all too often disappear based on benchmarks that are trivial to the business objective.

The promise of a win-based agency is different. Being win-based means results are the central driver in the agency-client arrangement. Data becomes evermore important for defining strategies and tracking results. Breakthrough creative remains sacred, but the wonder of great creative becomes metrics-based and sits at the intersection of science-backed insights and art. Creative, in this new win-based model, is therefore always dialed directly toward the end goal that is defined at the outset.

SFW is a win-based agency. We challenge our clients to define concrete parameters for quantifying a win. We then apply a research-based strategy that keeps the end success metric at the forefront. Surprisingly, this is a different approach that breaks the traditional agency model.

Finally, A New Agency Model

Not long ago, the advertising industry embraced a myopic strategy of spraying a message to the masses, leveraging the luxury of limited channels through which to vie for the attention of consumers. Still today, brands with the largest advertising budgets can justify the importance of always-on mass media aimed at maintaining a mental presence in consumers' minds. But a great migration has forced the majority of marketers to exist outside of this bubble.

SFW is an agency for brands that exist in an urgent crossroad of scarce resources and complex marketing challenges. Understanding the customer and how to most effectively influence them is paramount. We are structured to address the urgency of making brands content-relevant and engaging their target consumers through media-agnostic, conversion-based campaigns.

Bridging Science and Art

A "win" for agencies in the legacy model was creative worthy of lots of airtime and a shot at a creative trophy. Aggregate sales were also a success metric. But the foundation of these historical conventions has been shaken, fissured and sits atop several sinkholes. While quick-footed agencies are adjusting or specializing to remain relevant, others have ceased to exist.

Being win-based forces data and metrics (the science) into all strategies and creative executions (the art). An explosion of consumer choice in brands and purchase channels, online and off, means research-based insights are needed to gain a deep understanding of the customer and their path to purchase. Being win-based requires mitigating risk by producing standout creative that bridges research and strategy to leverage key triggers along that path. Arriving at results means you are forced to set benchmarks for moving the needle toward brand-defined victories.

Adding Skin in the Game

Finally, a win-based agency philosophy enables performance-based "Partner Pricing," where part of the agency's compensation is based on mutually agreed upon win metrics. You can guarantee the big agency model is nowhere close to risking compensation against the performance of their creative campaigns. But the urgency of the application of data toward marketing in a ROI-or-die world means SFW's win-based partner pricing will disrupt and exploit the agency model.

Calling Those Who Want to Win

SFW is selective with whom we chose to partner. We seek clients with a competitive drive to match our own. If your organization has clear business objectives and needs a partner who will work in an unbiased manner toward achieving that result, then contact us to discuss a situational analysis. We welcome you to experience the new agency model.

Welcome to SFW, Where Brands Win™.