The age of full-service 2.0 is coming

Full Service agencies. Leading the race. Male runners passing relay baton.

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Following this week’s news that Bega has consolidated its media and creative accounts, the momentum is building for full-service, and the marketing world will be better for it, says Spinach CEO Craig Flanders.

Mumbrella reported:

“The shift to an integrated media and creative account by Bega could herald a return to the industry model that existed before the 1980s where media buying was largely carried out by creative agencies who took a commission for placing advertising.”

As gold-plated advocates of a full-service model, we welcomed the news.

Like a number of other established agencies, we made the shift to full-service some years ago. In fact, it’s been seven years for us, and longer for others. So as far as heralding a return to full-service, consider it heralded.

And it seems the club is finally starting to build. Quality players on both sides of the fence are seeing the light.

For the uninitiated, there may be a simplistic notion of what it takes for an agency to become full-service in today’s market. The idea that creative + media = full-service is an oversimplification that runs the risk of simply harking back to pre-digital and smartphone days.

While some clients might simply require media and creative from a full-service offering, others such as financial services businesses that sell direct, or retailers with a massive loyalty program, are a whole other ball game. They’re what we call full full-service.

The big difference is data and tech. Once large amounts of data from multiple sources and customer touch points enter the equation, you quickly learn that to do full-service for grown-ups, you need a multi-skilled, senior team of hands-on experts that intimately understand every aspect of how the client’s business works and customers behave.

The connections people need a deep understanding of how the creative works, the creative people need a deeper understanding of how the connections plan fits together and the digital, data and tech people have to be across all of the above. And vice versa, all reviewed and refined on a daily or weekly basis for uncovered consumer insights to have an impact on the creative development process and deliver a better ROI for the client.

In a modern-day full-service agency that’s running like a well-oiled machine, an outsider entering the building should struggle on first meeting to work out who exactly does what.

There’s a culture you need to develop and nurture, a mindset you need to change all at the same time. Some people have it, some don’t and some can learn it, but it will take time.

While the heart of successful integration is still the same as it was in the days of old, with all the levers, bells and whistles at our disposal today, true full-service looks very different. You could call it full-service 2.0.

Ultimately, we welcome other agencies and their clients to the full-service fold.

This reinvented idea of full-service has been cooking for a while and the age of full-service 2.0 is almost upon us.

Craig Flanders

A passionate advocate for the strength of full integration shaped by 25 years in advertising where he’s held a number of senior management roles, Craig oversees all aspects of our integrated offer.