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  • Frank Gussoni

“We’re Good, We Already Work with An Agency.” Why These Words May Come Back to Haunt Regional CMOs

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

I’ve had the pleasure of working with more than 250 regional company CMOs and VP. of Sales in my career. I’m only going to use them as references for the solutions they have found and the successes they have had. However, today I want to discuss the ones we’ve only had conversations with and have never worked with.

My new sales team and I constantly has discussions with companies we are courting and nearly every day we hear these words. “We’re good, we already work with an agency”. That typically happens immediately after we offer them our no cost media analysis.

It’s not much different than having your utility company visit and do a diagnostic test on your home showing where your insulation is thin and where your dollars maybe going out the window.

We all think that’s a good idea, right?

I realize we’re all busy but are they too busy to allow someone else to do a full no cost diagnosis on their media campaign and report back its effectiveness and efficiencies? Obviously, many CMOs are. Or, maybe there are other reasons. Let’s discuss.

I think it’s odd, when typically there are millions of dollars at stake (normally a much larger budget than the one needed to make good creative), that many regional CMO’s or VP’s believe there is no need for an honest assessment. I have a few hunches as to why that may be the case and here they are.

• I brought this agency here when I arrived. • I don’t want to look bad if the audit uncovers inefficiencies. • I don’t really understand the operational minutia of media math so, I can’t intelligently comment on our agency’s costs. • A diagnosis might uncover my lack of media knowledge. • It’s not my money, so while I care, I don’t care enough to take the time from my schedule for a review. • Media agencies are all the same.

There’s one more reason and this one I can’t disagree with. “I like the folks I work with and relationships are important”. If the CMO truly believe this then kudos to them. Stay right where you are because good working relationships are extremely important. However, you should still confirm they are treating you right and you’re getting your money’s worth! Because you might find out they’re so easy to work with because you’re being over charged for the services you are receiving.

However, if any of my other reasons listed above are the true reason, then you need to analyze your role, your dedication to your company and your chutzpah! Yes, I said it, chutzpah!

Your role is diverse and very trying. Many times, you’re expected to work miracles while managing a large staff or trying to do more with an under-staffed team than is fair. I completely understand all this, but the other portion of your job is quality and cost control.

When a regional company hires a CMO or VP. Of Sales, they normally believe they are hiring a marketing and ad expert. Unfortunately, that often isn’t the case. They expect that person to handle their division almost as a subset company within the company, bringing efficiencies and fresh perspectives to the overall business.

While they have less power, a CMO or VP. of Sales has similar duties to the COO. They must handle a staff, look for product (marketing or positioning) development and handle costs, while driving profits. Profits can be derived by increasing sales or cost savings. In the end there is no distinguishable difference to the bottom line.

Now back to the 250 C-Levels I have worked with. Many of them welcomed our analysis. Some, I suspect knew they could do better while others believed they were good. Some were quite skeptical but had the confidence in themselves to see what a diagnosis would reveal.

In nearly 77% of the cases together we found that they had the wrong media strategy and/or buying model and were leaving out very strong opportunities and not buying right. In nearly every case what they found was the industry standards of buying media didn’t offer them the discounts they should have been entitled to. In more than 60% of the cases we were able to save them 25 – 40% or expand their media reach by 35% with their existing budget.

It’s no wonder that most of these C-Execs have strong teams, long tenures and are an integral part of their companies. In the end, they understood there were only two answers our analysis would uncover. Either they had a great agency who was doing right by them or they didn’t. They had nothing to lose.



President & Founder of A3 media.

We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

Frank’s Take provides uncommon sense media buying advice for regional and mid-market businesses.

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President & Founder of A3 media. We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

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