a his & hers weblog of worlds apart

the Agency’s Farm Team

Client Scouting

If 1) unremarkable and irresponsible products eventually falter, and 2) the product is the best marketing, then why aren’t more agencies aggressively seeking out great new products for future clients. New Biz is always on the radar, and a couple innovative agencies are playing venture capitalist, but I’m talking aggressive, strategic product scouting here – like a pro sports team or a record label’s A&R department goes after fresh talent.

The way I see it, the big agencies should be setting up a farm system collecting a roster of emerging products that they want to develop into household brands. Sure these new clients won’t have cash up front, but they would be long-term partners, investments set-up to protect the company from current declining markets.



– the Agency Farm Team

How It Works:

– For their long-term security, agencies create a group (perhaps made up of up-and-coming talent) that recruits a roster of up-and-coming products they believe in, invests in them, and grows them into household brands.

Why It Works:

– The product is the best marketing in this age. Good products with good marketing will succeed in the New Marketing era. Partnering with emerging young brands will allow agencies to learn and showcase learnings in this space.


-The farm agency holds a yearly open call for young companies requiring marketing dollars and services. Emerging businesses pitch their products and winning client partners are selected. Good press for everyone.


Update: here is a PR agency experimenting with the idea – and getting props for it.

8 comments on “the Agency’s Farm Team

  1. liam
    August 25, 2008

    unrelated: d’you know any ad firms that are looking to create the definitive car commercial of the 2000s? i have the idea.

  2. liam
    August 25, 2008

    related: this is a good idea. it’d also give the marketers the chance to try out some new ideas/strategies on a more pliable client – almost like a form of research to present to the big clients.

  3. sean hazell
    August 25, 2008

    yeah, agree that agencies can use these clients as cases for larger clients liam. right now many agencies are “using” not-for-profits for this sort of thing. but it’s often tough to relay learnings to for-profit products.

    regarding your car commercial idea. let’s hear it. that’s what AdBakery is for.

  4. JJJ
    August 27, 2008

    While I applaud this idea, and think it makes great sense, there’s a part of me that is a little sceptical. Maybe it’s because I run an agency, and am often on the receiving end of the ‘we’ll start small, but we want you to grow with us…’ line. The reality is, that all too often the agency’s fees don’t grow in relation to the success of the company you are representing.

    It’s not a stumbling block, just a reminder that for this idea to be a win:win agencies need to make sure up front that they are rewarded for their efforts when one of the hot new products becomes a household name, selling millions…

  5. sean hazell
    August 27, 2008

    I appreciate your feedback Jen. Clearly it’s a very broad, somewhat naive, thought. I definitely think the large agencies would have best capacity to pull it off. And as for appropriate compensation with growth, ideally you could build in revenue-sharing as Anomaly has successfully done recently:


  6. Pingback: The Pop-Up Farm Team « her Nature his Nurture

  7. Pingback: Marketing Eficiente » Blog Archive » The Pop-Up Farm Team

  8. giles rhys jones
    November 17, 2008

    the farm is the exact model for ogily labs london – nice post and cheers for the link.

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