This a comment I’ve heard many times in my career. Clients who want to circumvent the chain of agency process in order to speak directly with the people who will be developing the creative product.
In response, agencies usually have pretty lame excuses, like:
“We don’t want to disturb them;” or
“They don’t have the authority to do that.”
Essentially, what the agency is saying is “We don’t want to lose control of our process,” which is analogous to a woman in a store trying to buy a pair of men’s jeans and being told she can’t because it messes up their sales database.
Sometimes it’s imperative to retain control of your processes. But we need to think of our clients more like customers. They all have different needs, and we, as agencies, need to be flexible enough to address them.
Recently we revamped our communication process in our shop. Account Services designate whether a client job is ‘simple’ (i.e. under a certain $ level, design determined, easy collateral, production-oriented, only one art director required, etc.) or ‘complex’ (over a certain $ level, multiple resources required, creative brief required, etc.). Simple jobs get transferred right to the Creative department where the client interfaces directly with the art director or writer. In order to ensure success, we use estimate templates and give the creatives authority to open a new project in the system to bill their time to.
So far it’s early days, but our clients are thrilled to have this kind of access.