Quite often we have found that previous experiences of our clients at larger agencies falls short of decent business standards. From what we can ascertain, the model of a large agency is:

1. Get as much automated software as possible
2. Get as many people in as possible
3. sell as many contracts as possible

The net result is conservative spend on obvious keywords/placements with known good CPA (often brand as well – don’t let me go there!), and the obligatory report at the end of each month. When I think of this agency model, I think of endless rows of poor caged battery farm hens. The sole purpose of the account manager is to deliver a mediocre egg, over and over again, and the factory will not change no matter what the account demands.

So what about the free range agency model? Is this Goldladder? Well, even here the analogy falls short for us. No one thinks for moment that ‘free range’ hens roam the lush green countryside, laying eggs at random. We know that some larger ‘free range’ agencies are looking at ROI, and do try to go beyond the caged model. However, this upgraded approach is often delivered via a layer of trouble shooters, overseeing the egg laying hens. Progress meetings are delivered by salespeople, fearful of contract violations, rather than fostering a genuine understanding of the client’s business aims and strategies. There’s some flexibility in the feeding shed, but still not enough room to do the job well.

So that leaves the smallholder model. A collection of chickens at the end of the garden, that recognise their owner, know the best food spots and is the right size to deliver exactly what is required. I like to think Goldladder are more like this – well, maybe with a few gardens to look over – but still a team that is primarily linked to our clients business objectives, and can adjust the hen house to suit. Certainly, our work with multinational accounts like the Financial Times, Platts and Liberty Global show that even a big corporation can have their own hens!

So to the witty end line: Contact us if you are playing chicken with your search marketing agency!