It’s time to fight back.

A couple of years back “agency/production decoupling” became a trending topic in marketing circles. The idea was, that clients could go directly to manufacturers (television production or PRINT production) and deliver their agency-made creative in order to cut costs. Not a bad idea – if you’re in the accounting department.

Did this idea ever gain traction? Did customers begin to decouple their marketing from production? Most of all – did it work?

Whether or not this idea actually gained any traction in the marketing arena is subject to a lot of different variables. Digital marketing has been on the rise of our growingly connected world since the first banner ad was injected into a static HTML website, and the rise of social media has only poured gasoline on the already raging fire of online marketing.

However, with the social platforms all making a big push to target consumers of all technical skill levels, this begs to ask if any of them have actually adopted a decoupling attitude beyond clicking that oh-so-tempting “Boost Now” button on their most recent Facebook post. Have agencies been relegated to mere content-creators in other areas of marketing as well?

While this prospect doesn’t seem so bad as long as the creative work keeps flowing, it is troubling to miss potential revenues and markups on production related items created by video or print production organizations that GET the agency/production relationship.

I think the most important question here, however, is the third one – did this actually work? Were costs actually cut? This answer again is more difficult to define than simply looking at the line items on your client’s last production invoice.

The bottom line comes down to the quality of the final deliverable. Severing the connection between creator and maker will almost ALWAYS drive down the quality of the end product. Whether it’s digital implementation of a cropped graphic, video production that misses the mark on audio cues, or a printed piece that ended up being put on the wrong stock. We all know what happens when the creative suffers – the results do as well.

One result may be to simply do more of the same poorly implemented creative to achieve the same results. Doing more, spending more and achieving less. Sounds like perhaps the decouplers had it wrong from the start.

The pushback on this is to work with production companies that understand, appreciate, and work in partnership with your creative agency. Simply writing a quote to the requested specs can be enough, but for when it’s not, you should look to partner with a company that’s been on your side of the fence, someone who understands client expectations in both marketing AND production.

That production partner delivers sample stocks to your front door, helps identify the exact print method or postage type needed to achieve discounts, and even invites you to see sales-kit creation being hand stuffed by an army of makers – that is the production partner you need, and if you haven’t guessed it yet – we do all those things and are available to discuss your next print project this week.

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