Understanding the “Un-Agency” Model for Marketing Agencies

un-agency model

As the competitive landscape shifts, traditional agency models face new challenges. Innovative marketers are evolving and reimagining the agency model to thrive. One successful approach is the “un-agency” model developed by BRIGHT+CO CEO Jennifer Sutton. This model serves businesses better by eliminating the constraints of conventional agency structures.

In a recent episode of the Hot Pursuit podcast, we talked to Sutton to get her insights into this unique approach.

The Birth of the Un-Agency Model

Sutton spent two decades working in traditional marketing agencies. She saw many problems inherent to this conventional model. Then, in 2008, an economic recession highlighted the need for a new approach.

As businesses rebounded, they pressured agencies to deliver more with less. Sutton founded BRIGHT+CO with the idea of creating an agency uniquely suited to meet the needs of SMBs – the “un-agency” model.

The un-agency model was born out of this necessity. Sutton found that the traditional agency model wasn’t working. Silos and internal competition for client dollars were the primary culprits.

So the un-agency model integrates all aspects of marketing to serve clients better.

How the Un-Agency Model Works

The un-agency model leverages a network of specialists in various marketing disciplines. It supplements the agency’s full-time staff with contractors. That way, the agency can bring on the best people for each project.

This approach provides flexibility and versatility that traditional agencies can’t match.

But the un-agency model isn’t just about outsourcing. It also involves a robust infrastructure like a traditional agency. This includes operations, insurance, systems, and processes.

This structure ensures that clients feel secure and that their brands are well-managed.

Breaking Down Silos and Integrating Teams

One of the key aspects of the un-agency model is breaking down silos and integrating teams.

This approach ensures that all aspects of a marketing campaign, from digital to PR to paid media, are in sync. It asks critical questions about the customer journey, user experience, and KPIs for each initiative.

The Future of the Un-Agency Model

Sutton believes that the un-agency model will continue to evolve as digital marketing becomes more complex. She sees opportunities for agencies like BRIGHT+CO to make sense of the chaos of marketing. Un-agencies will help clients navigate the ever-changing landscape.

Sutton also predicts that more agencies will adopt the un-agency model. Its flexibility and collaboration will only become more appealing as the industry grows.

She also sees generative AI giving un-agencies an additional edge. AI-powered tools are already enhancing operations at BRIGHT+CO.

Improve Outcomes for Clients with the Un-Agency Approach

The un-agency model offers a fresh marketing approach. It’s client-focused, flexible, and collaborative. Un-agencies deliver highly tailored solutions by breaking down silos and bringing in the best specialists for each project. This allows them to meet the needs of their clients better than traditional agencies can. The model will only become more relevant as the digital marketing landscape evolves.