Trumpet Over The Horizon

Right now it is clear to me. As measured by resources Carson Dunn Media is not a top tier agency. We are second tier solely because of limitations imposed by this, however, in terms of talent, CDM is damn good and can be as good as it gets.

Somewhere in the fog of memory are the words of a story I once read. The story is about a warning, actually and more precisely, a warning not heeded. It went like this:

“Sunlight pushed through the purple shadows dawn, a new day had arrived. As always I stood on a rock in the meadow. A brook had swollen from the rain and rushed madly in a rocky channel. The current licked at my boots. I heard it. I’d heard the sound before. Somewhere on a hill, dirt and rocks moved and rolled down the hill. In the distant valley, a sound echoed. It became louder; the sound blaring over the horizon. It was a trumpet and it carried a warning. What bodes for me, I asked repeatedly to the wind. My question and voice got lost in it.”

I think I have the answer – the riddle is solved. If you don’t pay attention, you miss the music. In all situations, there is a choice. For me, there is a time to act.
For any creative agency business should be abundant – the economy’s leaking boat notwithstanding.

It is simple when you break it down. A business exists for two reasons: survival of the brand; and, growth in sales. Everyday the issue for me is determining why clients are not beating a path to our door. Maybe it should begin with a change in agency philosophy. As a creative agency Carson Dunn Media should explore a business’ needs, and then accommodate them. I am reminded that a wise man calls this channeling the conscience of a business.

Regardless, it is time to wake up. The right pricing structure can draw clients. Enough business can increase our agency’s profits. This is the trumpet an agency president must and heed. More profit has an added benefit: it causes continued viability and allows us to keep our best talent. Increased staff allows us to give better services.

I don’t know about other agencies, but developing and stretching our market capabilities and presence is exciting. Growth is a prospect worth pursuing. I want to build a successful creative business. If it means charging less – but valuing our services – I’m for it.

We have a buyer’s market. That does not mean Carson Dunn Media will refrain from accepting the 15% commission – no, we will take 13% and put the remainder back into the advertising budget. That does not sound like much, but over time, this 2% will add up. With a bigger budget, the client will benefit.

In order to offer a full range of marketing services an agency should receive an initial retainer to get things targeted and on the mark. As a result Carson Dunn Media could cap creative fees, and not require clients to pay a monthly running tab.

How realistic is this? What are the total savings a client will experience? I am not certain. It is a gamble, and it comes with risks. The downside may be hindered growth. But the upside is the prospects of greater profit for agency and client. More business at reduced costs mean volume – volume means success. That is the sound of the trumpet over the horizon.

….. Bernard A. McNealy, President of CDM

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