Here’s My Beef With Ad Agencies

If you caught my LinkedIn post, you know I’ve got some serious beef with the current ad agency model.

I mean, let’s call a spade a spade—it’s broken. Outdated. And in desperate need of a shake-up.

Apparently, I struck a nerve because that post blew up. We’re talking over 800,000 impressions, 5,000 reactions and a flood of comments and DMs. I knew my hot take would ruffle some feathers, but I didn’t expect it to go viral.

It was equal parts validating and frustrating to see the response.

On one hand, plenty of my fellow CMOs were nodding along in agreement. But on the other, there was no shortage of agency defenders telling me I hadn’t found “the one” yet.

Newsflash: I’ve given enough agencies a shot to know it’s not a “me” problem.

So, why am I so over the traditional agency model? Let me break it down.

When I joined Taylor Morrison nearly a decade ago, we outsourced pretty much everything. But after dealing with the headaches and underwhelming results that came with that approach, one of my first moves as CMO was to start building our in-house team.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve got a marketing and communications department nearly 50 strong. And you know what? It was hands down one of the best decisions I could’ve made.

Since bringing things in-house, we’ve built a brand that means something in an industry where “brand” is usually an afterthought. People seek us out. They choose us. And that’s not by accident.

Now, I’m not saying I’m anti-agency across the board. There are times when I still need to tap outside talent. But when I do, I’m looking for something very specific and it’s not just about production capabilities.

What I need from an agency is creativity. Fresh ideas. Out-of-the-box thinking. I need them to bring a new perspective to the challenges I already know we’re facing.

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