Many Agencies Still Do 20th Century Marketing: TBWA’s Tuomas Peltoniemi

Many Agencies Still Do 20th Century Marketing: TBWA’s Tuomas Peltoniemi

The traditional way many agencies work with their clients is out of date and no longer resonates with modern, tech-savvy businesses.

John Bastick
Posted by John Bastick

That’s the view of  TBWA’s innovation director Tuomas Peltoniemi who was speaking at the Daze of Disruption conference at Melbourne’s Crown Casino this afternoon.

Peltoniemi argued the old model was bust and agencies needed to have the expertise to solve a wealth of client’s problems, not just their creative marketing ones.

When TBWA wanted to work with Airbnb recently they did the typical thing to pitch by showcasing their previous work. Explains Peltoniemi: “The company founder, Brian Chesky, came back to us and said, ‘It’s fantastic work but it’s 20th century marketing and we’re a 21st century company’.

“It was a real wake-up call for us about how we do business and how we needed to transform the entire agency. We soon realised we were good at marketing concepts but we weren’t great at solving our customer’s business problems. And it was Chesky who said, ‘You guys really need to change the way you work as a creative agency if you want to work with clients like us.”

Peltoniemi said the company looked to Silicon Valley for inspiration. Companies there, he said, are entrepreneurial, they’re product-first in their thinking, they want the customer to interact with their brands, they’re message driven and community focused.

So what TBWA attempted to do was change the agency-client relationship which typically goes: client briefs agency, they come up with the strategy, the creative, they launch, and you wait for the next block of work. “We were so busy trying to change the client we never thought about changing ourselves,” he confessed.

“Agencies have to align their business objectives with their client’s. When you can both work to the same goal then that becomes very, very powerful. It’s no longer a linear process, it’s a daily process, it’s about working with all the parts of your client’s business, too.

“We had to become more agile and we’re now working with 21st century clients such as Netflix, Twitter, Snapchat and Slack,” he said.