Agency vs. Software Company… or is it?

I’ve worked at a software company. I’ve worked at several ad agencies. And what is great about each is missing in the other. The “Do Agencies Need to Think Like Software Companies?” panel with my mind made up. Of course we do. But it turns out there is a little more to it than that.

Agencies aren’t about just digital work, they are about brands. So taking an agency that has to produce print and broadcast in addition to digital and turning them into a software company is about as feasible as turning them into a printing company.

Software companies are about creating a great product that is their design, their baby. Not branding. Asking a software company to come up with awesome ideas that have nothing to do with their core product or competency would be brutal.

So instead of the panel I thought I was walking into where agencies were going to be humiliated for being obsolete and where software companies were going to steal our clients and leave us jobless, turns out I was in the one where we take turn buying drinks and just hang out. We actually both have to think like the other, but focus on what we do best. And then we have to hang out more than we do.

Instead of software companies beefing up their marketing skills to steal our clients and agencies hiring a ton of developers and designers, we need to be more curious about each other and collaborate. We need to build a bridge so that agency curiosity means we learn more about what is available to us and software company curiosity means they learn about what we to to market their product better so we find out about it and become curious! circles at their best.

And in terms of development, advice of the day to agencies… get it through prototyping, sell it and then find a dev partner.

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