If you can’t join ’em, beat ‘em

Don Smith

How to push back against the squeeze on independent agencies

You’re being squeezed.

From every side.

It’s happening to all agencies, especially the independents.

It’s like a compression.

The pressure that constrains your size comes from the growth that is happening in four very competitive industries.

Consulting firms, the gig economy, in-house teams, and AI/automation.

And their growth is not stopping.

The pressure will not ease.

For some agencies, the philosophy is ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em’.

Karmarama, Acne, and only recently, Droga5, have all sold or merged into consulting firms.

I’ve never been an admirer of that philosophy, I’ve spent my career in independents, with a belief in the quality of work over the quantity of profit.

Here’s a philosophy I prefer; If you can’t join ’em, beat ‘em!

And if you want to beat ’em, and push back, you need to first know who you’re pushing against.

Which is something I can help with.

I restructured my career a few years ago to give me the freedom to work my way, on my terms, and in that time I’ve had experience with all of these disruptive threats.

I’ve been an associate for some of the biggest consulting firms in the game.

I’ve worked in agile teams of independent freelancers.

I’ve built in-house design systems and communities for corporates.

I’ve worked directly for and with AI and marketing automation vendors.

And I’ve put together an analysis of the way these sectors are impacting independent agencies. Their business models, their growth strategies, their leadership structures, their operational systems, and their value propositions.

So I can give you a better picture of the battlefield you are fighting on.

But I can also show you the strategies available to you, so that you can fight those battles and win.

So that you can gain territory and hopefully enjoy the spoils of this war.

I’ve put all of this together into a one day workshop.

I used the word workshop. I know, I’m sorry.

But the best way to help you plan is to have you, your brightest and best, and me, locked away in a room for a whole day.

Anything less is noncommittal, anything’s more is overkill.

The day is split into nine sections.

The first four are about understanding the threats.

The fifth is about placing your model into this ecosystem.

The last four are strategies to combat the threats.

And your homework afterwards will be planning the implementation of whichever strategies are most applicable to your business.

The invaders are coming. I can arm you.


Don Smith

Written by

Don Smith

I am the founder of One Hundred Flowers. We are an invention and disruption practice. 'Better way' beats ‘Better off’. Visit us at www.inventdisrupt.com

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