Letters, Dec. 7, 2009

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The problem is with the review process

RE: "The Dirty Half Dozen That Will Doom Your Agency Review" (AdAge.com, Dec. 1). The so-called standard agency pitch procedure is not the best way of choosing a new partnership. Many of the mistakes properly identified in this article can be avoided without putting either agency or advertiser on the block.

In our view, the most critical issue in any good agency/client relationship is the relationship itself. It's a serious drawback of common pitch scenarios that focus on finding a new agency. It is mostly the client that suffers the consequences when "reality" sinks in after the decision has been taken. Sadly, it could have been avoided. Jorg Borgwardt New York

Here's a thought: Why don't agencies reexamine their outdated creative models and show advertisers that they deserve to be treated with the respect they think they deserve?

Why do you think you're treated like commodities? Because you are.

Please don't blame advertisers for your problems. Look in the mirror and realize that you are the cause of what you complain about because advertisers would be happy to treat you better and pay you what you think you're worth once you prove you deserve it. But whining is not the way to accomplish that.

Ken Convoy
Los Angeles

Companies and their search consultants need to carefully select the prospective agencies that are relevant to their business needs and objectives prior to beginning the review. Too often we see companies beginning this process with a "cattle call"-like start, inviting 50 or more agencies. This is a waste of time for many participating agencies as it is improbable that their submissions will be fairly assessed. Best practice is to create a short list of highly pre-qualified attendees.

Peter Weiss
Lake Oswego, Ore.

If agencies are willing to pursue business under the old rules of engagement and be treated like commodity vendors during the courtship, go ahead and make a deal with the devil; you certainly know what sort of treatment you will get once you win the business. There are plenty of brands with managers and executives of high integrity, looking for true agency partners -- go find advertisers whose values match your own.

But look at it from the advertiser's perspective, too. There is story after story about agency pitches from the A-team, glowing references, eye-candy case studies, and even insightful support from agency search firms that all give way to commodity-like, uninspired, B-team performance once the honeymoon is over.

Joe Van Remortel
San Francisco

Followers aren't currency on Twitter

RE: "Chalk Up Twitter's Decline to Ghost Followers" (AdAge.com, Nov. 30). I feel like this is the right discovery. Followers were never the currency of Twitter, they were just the easiest thing to track. Mutual following auto-scripts quickly discovered a way to game that system, but, as you say, it was all smoke and mirrors based on a meaningless metric.

There is a trick to ensuring high quality followers: Don't follow people back.

The people who are following you to increase their numbers will quickly auto-unfollow and churn away. The people who genuinely want to hear what you have to say will stick around. It takes longer, but it gets better results.

I am far, far, far in the shallow end here but I see a similar thing in my stats. I've seen people quote 150 clicks on a link when they had 10,000 followers. I have only 600 people following me, but I can expect that 40-90 will click on something I post. That's MUCH better engagement.

Tim Maly

Digital is not the death of journalism

RE: "Can Europe Rescue Media Biz, and If So, Can the U.S. Do It, Too?" (AdAge.com, Nov. 30) I agree that exposing teens to legitimate, written, news outlets is important for their exposure to the greater world beyond themselves.

Handing out free newspapers is a no-brainer.

What I don't see in the article, and yet must be, is that digital does not equal the death of the news reporter, readership or written word. Why do newspapers have to be printed on paper?

As technology within the eBook arena continues to gain in convenience and readability, I would think it is time to shed the idea of the newspaper industry's status quo.

Trent Sherrell
Hanover Park, Ill.

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