I read a piece this week which used the term ‘channel-neutral’. I’m not sure I’ve heard the term used before but I quite like it. Basically it means looking at ‘marketing’ without preference to any one medium or style, something Levy McCallum have always preached to our clients. I’m constantly surprised how many times otherwise sensible and intelligent people tell me they were approached by a specific media directly and were very impressed by their statistics and presentation. I always feel like asking them what they thought the presentation would say; don’t advertise with us radio is better? Of course they are going to show the stats that put them in the best light, of course they’ll offer you a ‘great deal’ if you go direct; that would be in their interests, but not necessarily yours.

You can only seriously look at at a clients marketing if being ‘channel-neutral’ is in your DNA. If the only objective you have is to find the best channel for the client, not the one that is best for you, because ultimately if you are a real marketing agency the two things are so intertwined as to be the same thing anyway. If we give good advice, if we prove the case, craft the message and execute the timing correctly then the marketing will work and the client will be happy. That is in our interests.

Being ‘channel-neutral’ at this time, when clients are worried, customers are scarce, and competition is fierce is more vital than ever. Looking at every form of marketing just now is the minimum we should be doing. We shouldn’t dismiss traditional media as without a doubt done correctly they are still hugely effective. Likewise we shouldn’t promote new or social media too the detriment of other media simply because their modernity makes them more interesting to clients and so easier to sell.

We are all having to make some very difficult decisions just now, under pressure some haven’t felt before. Reviewing all the options, considering the previously unthinkable and looking closely at the hard road is the best option for all of us. The opportunity to stop and consider everything we do and give serious thought to how we can do it better is about the only good thing to come out of the current economic situation. Being leaner, more effective, faster, better value and being required more than ever by our clients is where the agency needs to be just now and it is in all of our self-interests that we achieve these things, and quickly.