Kanye vs. Taylor.
England vs. the EU.
Trump vs. the media.
Everyone loves a public spat. They are car wrecks we can’t turn away from. We are somehow pre-programmed to stop what we are doing and watch with every last bit of attention span we have. It’s who we are.
While not quite as interesting as two celebs fighting it out on Twitter, the ongoing spat between media agencies and consultancies is getting pretty fun to watch. Earlier this week, Digiday released an article entitled “ When it comes to consulting firms, some advertisers aren’t convinced.”  The article does a great job of outlining the growing battle of agencies vs. consultancies and some of the benefits and detriments of each.  Agencies tend to be heads down in the weeds of media, but missing the bigger business needs.  Consultancies tend to understand the business needs but don’t understand the nitty gritty of media.  In between is an enormous gap they are both trying to fill. The reality is clients don’t need one or the other – they need both.  They need true strategic leaders that can solve their business challenges.  They need an agency that can pick its head up, get out of the details, and explain to a board or investment team how media will improve their entire business.  They need a consultancy that can follow up their big idea with a detailed approach to executing the very last details.  They need a true partner that understands their business from top to bottom.  They need someone to fill the gap between the two. That gap is the exact reason I started January Digital.  Our goal is to always be a true digital leadership agency that is integrated with the business at all levels.  Instead of CPCs, our teams talk about the contribution to our clients’ margin.  Instead of reporting on marketing channels, we build analytics suites that include marketing, wholesale, customer, and business intelligence data.  Instead of sitting in a room and doing weekly status calls, our team goes to client offices and does status in person – soaking up the client’s culture, business needs, and even the mood around the office.  When we do those things well, we are exactly where both agencies and consultancies are trying to get to. For my money, if it’s not JD winning this battle and taking over the world, the consultancies are much better positioned than traditional digital agencies.  The consultancies can go buy any number of tactical media agencies, integrate them with their strategic teams and put together a complete solution.  If you’re a tactical agency though, you can’t as easily go buy a huge consulting firm – which means you have to level up your teams pretty sharply which is expensive and time consuming. Kanye vs. Taylor, Brexit, Trump, or any number of battles will be interesting for sure.  But if you ask me, watching JD battle the big agencies and consulting firms might be the most interesting one to watch.

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