July 30, 2013

When I owned an ad agency I always thought making it bigger was better. I would have more resources to provide clients more help, and I could also make the business stronger with more money. Wrong. As I point out in my book, the basic challenge with size is that it doesn’t help put your client’s business head of yours.

That’s why the proposed merger of the second- and third-biggest advertising companies, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe is a bad idea. It is good for a few bankers, lawyers and top executives. The Wall St. Journal reports that the deal highlights “how Big Data is transforming the advertising industry, turning Madison Avenue into a version of Wall Street, with its emphasis on data-driven analysis” and it allows them to sell their own media options. This is true, but nothing about creating a bigger, more bureaucratic organization is good for clients or staff.

Because most of my readers work in the small business world, this merger will have no impact on them, so why comment on it? It shows the relentless drive of big business to make more money at the top of the pyramid. It also allows me to remind readers that as you grow, you need to constantly shift more focus on your customers. What are you doing this week to make sure you and your staff are placing the customer’s interest first?

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