What's all the fuss about?
Since the Facebook IPO a few weeks back, there's been nothing but talk about the problems that Facebook faces. We don't believe there is a real problem with Facebook, just lots of angry and disappointed investors that bought a share at the wrong price.
Let's roll back the clock...2-3 months ago everyone was talking about the Facebook IPO as if it was the next big thing to happen to humanity. There was no limit to the greatness journalists would write about, just to get a story with a headline featuring the F-word.
So what happened? Ok, the value dropped on the stock market, and some people lost a lot of money. BUT, if we separate our minds from this loss, we are still talking about a fairly young company that has a turnover of approximately $10billion annually, and a 10% profit = $1billion. Isn't that pretty good? Who said that 900 million users should drive in more money? No-one has ever been where Facebook is today.
So what's the problem people? They're doing well, they're making money, they're constantly developing new company and business models, they're employing people, creating opportunities for other innovative companies to develop new add-on services and products, and all the while keeping their users happy and logged in.
Why not give Facebook some more time to work on their business model, and see what happens over the coming months/years?
In the meantime, put your energy into the companies that really have problems, and aren't succeeding in making profit or employment opportunities.
Nothing has changed for Facebook - just it's stock price.
- Jacob H, June 2012
Why clients and agencies don’t see eye-to-eye on agency proactivity
Proactivity is consistently identified as one of the top value drivers in agency/client relationships, but agencies almost always get low marks from clients in this area. In other words, clients highly value proactivity but feel that for the most part, agencies don’t deliver.
As someone who has been conducting agency evaluations for nearly 10 years, this is not a surprise. The subject of proactivity pops up in most evaluations and agencies often score poorly in this area. We have seen agencies interpret proactivity as everything from developing new products to creating new logos – regardless if they were desired by the client. If clients are not looking for proactivity of this magnitude, these initiatives can be viewed as expensive time wasters. This understandably leaves agencies deflated and confused, and stuck in a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” conundrum in regard to proactivity.
What does it mean to be proactive?
The key learning is that clients and agencies often have very different definitions as to what constitutes proactive behavior. There is significant complexity underlying the concept of proactivity so it is in your best interest to understand the expectations surrounding this important value driver.
From a broad perspective, proactivity is generally defined as doing things without being asked, i.e., initiating change rather than reacting to events. Agencies often interpret low proactivity scores as a thinly veiled request for more surprise and delight – i.e., the development of projects in black-box secrecy delivered with a showbiz flourish. Agencies tend to overemphasize the surprise and secrecy aspects of proactivity while clients think more along the lines of initiative – having agencies do a better job anticipating their needs and not functioning as an order-taker. Clients don’t always like surprises – particularly irrelevant surprises which they have funded.
The art of “relevant proactivity”
Realizing the high value clients place on proactive behavior and that the definition of proactivity is in the mind of the beholder, I recommend that you practice relevant proactivity (if you are not doing so already). Have a conversation with your client in which you mutually create a clear framework for proactivity and the expectations they have for your agency. Importantly, this is not about requesting permission to be proactive. It means having a clear definition of the borders of proactivity and having free rein to execute within those guard rails.
Take these simple steps and I guarantee your proactivity ratings will increase in your next agency assessment.
- Russel W, July 2012