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Arrogant Marketing – Advertising Agencies

This is my third post in the last three months on arrogant marketing. In my previous two posts (Arrogant Marketing – Bank of America and Arrogant Marketing – How Not to “Be The Client”) I related stories of how marketers improperly communicated to their customers and prospects.

Today’s post is about marketers complaining about their (prospective) clients. Advertising Age just ran an article relating how an advertising agency openly blasted Zappos for their RFP process, specifically for not taking enough time to thoroughly read their response. Zappos had recently launched an agency review, putting out an open RFP call, which resulted in more than 80 responses. One of the agencies submitted their response via their web site, but also installed analytics tracking software on their site; therefore, they were able to track exactly what pages Zappos looked at and for how long. As it turned out, Zappos did not look at too many of their pages and did not stay on any of the pages too long. Needless to say, the agency was not selected. However, the agency decided to lash out at Zappos in their agency blog. They complained that Zappos opened the process up to too many agencies and they complained that Zappos didn’t look at enough of the pages that they had worked so hard at. (“If agencies are going to spend weeks preparing their response, the least any client can do is commit 30 minutes to look at it.”) Moreover, the agency made it clear that future companies hoping to be graced by their presence will get the same treatment. (“If we reply to any RFPs in the future, we’ll be letting the prospective clients know that our submission will be online and that we’ll be measuring how much time is spent reviewing it.”)

At what point did marketers start feeling that they were entitled to a specific amount of a prospects’ time? Will job applicants now also start demanding that companies review their resumes for at least 15 minutes before discarding them? Will consumers owe us at least 15 seconds of any 30-second spot because we worked so hard at it?

What struck me as much as the arrogant hubris of this agency was the number of supportive comments by other agencies. There are obviously a lot of agencies who have forgotten that they are not owed any business.

Not only do we as agencies have to earn our business, we have to earn every second of our clients’ attention. It’s no different than earning every second of our consumers’ attention. If our creative work doesn’t grab, inspire, engage, and stick with a consumer, we have no right to expect them to stay. We’re supposed to be communications experts – it’s our job to excite and captivate people from the opening sentence of our communication to the closing sentence. If we can’t do that, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s no different with our pitches to our clients.

At Domus we understand the importance of captivating and winning our audience – all of our audiences – all of the time. And we do it well. For more information, please visit us at We promise we won’t track how long you stay on our site!

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