As time goes on, creative people are working more and earning less. This is not because the owners of their agencies keep the difference, but because the profit margins in the industry are getting lower every day. We believe this has to change.
They drop because they no longer centralize the relationship with the media and because the latter multiplied; multiplying with them the number of deliverables – new and adaptations – for the same budget.
If profit margins continue to shrink, the only way the agency can stay alive is by paying less and overworking its team. And this will eventually come to an end, because the truly talented will look for a place where their work is valued and the agency, without seniority, will die: it will lose its differential and become a commodity. And the commodity, by definition, is a product, it’s generic, it’s basic and has no major differentiation between its varieties, where it’s only business when it sells in quantity. It is basically the opposite of a professional service, where the business is in quality and customization that generates added value… not in volume, not in quantity.
This is why, if we want to retain creative and senior talent, we need to remunerate their work better and ease their burden. And this is not solved by simply billing more. It is solved by increasing our profit margin: to charge what we are really worth. We can invoice a lot and earn nothing. Increasing profitability, or ultimately “earning more” means that the client pays a price per hour or per deliverable that allows the agency to take care of its creative and senior talent, added to a profit margin that allows the agency owners to have an interest in improving their business, which is to increase the value of brands.
Billing more by gaining new customers and keeping the same low profit margin will only generate a larger team with an unsustainable business model that will lead to failure.
This vicious cycle only ends when you start valuing yourself.
It’s profitability, not billing. And for this, we need agencies fighting for their value and we need conscious brands, responsible brands.
Let’s get back to being great. Let’s reclaim the creatives. Let’s save advertising.