The Hollywood Model vs. The Traditional Agency

The Hollywood model should be the goal of every marketing firm and it should be the goal of every business to hire a company that uses the Hollywood model. The traditional agency model for marketing firms goes all the way back to the era of the hit TV show Mad Men. It is composed of a traditional office with several employees and a variety of directors. These types of companies go out and tackle the elephants of the world and land large companies. These firms are doing the large memorable ad campaigns and collecting creative awards given by their peers and are more interested in achieving creativity than results. In contrast to this is the nimble, fast moving, digital marketing agency that utilizes the Hollywood model. Inc. magazine thinks you should adopt this model. Maybe it is time to listen.

The Traditional Agency Looks Impressive

When a client calls one of these traditional agencies they get an impressive show. First, “A” person doesn’t show up. An entire team comes. They introduce everyone from the project manager to the creative director and it just looks impressive. As the client, you feel like these people can handle your project with ease. After all, they have a team. Teams cost money. That team is being paid for with YOUR money.

Traditional agencies are big, heavy, and have the speed and maneuverability of a glacier. That’s a problem. Clients don’t realize how much overhead they are paying for with those fee checks they are writing every month. Payroll for outdated bloated staff. Rent for nice plush offices with prestigious business addresses. Client entertainment such as dinners, sports tickets, and expense accounts so clients feel spoiled and special. The fees you pay covers all of it.

Fixed & Static Talent Pool

The other issue with a lot of these companies is the use of the traditional employee model. While they generate great fees and can attract numerous talented individuals; once those people are on the payroll you need to use the skills they have or spend more money training them. Digital marketing is a field that takes constant education. Therefore, you have constant education costs and if you pay well these employees get comfortable and stay. These companies rarely get rid of employees that don’t keep up on skill development. They aren’t always on the cutting edge or top of their game, but they are still the one working on your project. The Hollywood model uses a temporary talent pool that is skilled, fast, and adaptable.

The Hollywood Model

In Hollywood, the day of the large studios with dozens of actors & actresses on the payroll working exclusively for that studio is long gone. Instead, the creative energy of Hollywood embraces an entirely new model. Everyone is a free agent. Each individual movie project becomes “the company” for that one project. You have a small core team of producers and financiers that hire a director, hire talent from acting to script writing and marketing. This ad hoc team is assembled based on that specific movie project and what is needed to make that one movie a blockbuster hit. Once it is finished that team breaks up and goes onto other projects. In other words, there is no static team. Every movie project is different and every team that works on it is different.

The Hollywood Model Benefits

The real benefits of the Hollywood model are that you pull the best talent for that specific project together for just that project. You get the right actors & actresses, writers, and director to do the best job with that specific movie. Once the movie is finished that team breaks up and somewhere else a new team comes together of different people for a different movie. The talent is always fresh and always dynamic. There aren’t large expenses to carry talent that isn’t working or isn’t the right fit between projects. Everyone is essentially a freelancer. That is why each movie feels different and unique today even if you see the same acting talent from one movie to another. They may be the same, but for THAT movie they are the best fit.

Hollywood Model & Digital Marketing

It turns out the Hollywood model also works well in digital marketing. A client comes in and has a specific project. The agency that uses this model has a team, but they aren’t a fixed team. This team is pulled together for this specific project. They are the best for this specific job. They aren’t there between projects sucking up payroll that you must pay for once you engage this firm for your project. You are getting fresh, dynamic, and adaptable talent that is the best fit at the best price for your project. Not all agencies can do this, but those that do give the client a better service with better talent at a lower cost. It doesn’t matter if your project is a website, video, or copywriting a team that is the best fit for your project is the one that is pulled together.

Business Benefits of the Hollywood Model

If you are a business the benefits of the Hollywood model are numerous…

  1. Best Talent – The talent that is pulled together for your project are selected for your specific need at that time for that specific project.
  2. Lower Cost – In the Hollywood model talent is assembled for each project and disassembled when no longer needed. The talent doesn’t rack up overhead when not being used.
  3. Skilled Talent – The individuals that make up team in a Hollywood model must constantly hone their craft and learn new skills to stay competitive. Remember they only work from one project to the next. If they don’t stay sharp they won’t get the next project and a more talented person will. Survival of the fittest.
  4. Singular Focus – In the Hollywood model the team is focused on only one project. Your project. The team is assembled to work on your project right now. They are the best team for that project.

The era of Mad Men, large behemoth, slow-moving agencies is over. The era of the Hollywood model is here, and those companies willing to find and use the agency that embraces this model will benefit. The people that continue to pay for “the big agency” because they have an impressive looking team, big building, and large staff are paying for every bit of that.

As Steve Jobs of Apple is quoted as saying… Think Differently.


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