when client overlap meets small ponds

As a freelancer, 90% of my work comes from Yorkshire agencies – and it’s a small pond up here.  There are probably only eight agencies capable of handling seven figure accounts, half of whom specialise in shopper marketing and/or retail.  So the big FMCG and retail clients based up here tend to split their work among them.  Which means there is a heck of a lot of client overlap, client conflict and inter-agency musical desks that goes on.  Most people in the Yorkshire agency scene have worked on Asda, Morrisons and/or DFS at one point or another.

The problem is when it comes to freelance support – and it works both ways.  If a freelancer (creative, digital or planner) has just been working on Morrisons, then they probably shouldn’t be working on Asda.  And likewise you can’t have a freelancer working on Asda simultaneously across two different agencies.

But what about when a freelancer is working on Retailer A for one agency, then gets asked to work on Different Unconnected Client B for another agency – who also work for Retailer A?  Where does conflict end and simply an expectation of professional behaviour begin?  As you may have guessed by now, I’ve just missed out on a long and juicy freelance planning gig because of the above example.

I honestly believe that if agencies want the best fish in a small pond, they (and possibly also their clients) will have to be a bit more flexible about who they’re swimming with.  After all, if the trusted partners, agency-and-friends model is the way forward in delivering client’s needs, surely we’re allowed to share friendship groups?
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One thought on “when client overlap meets small ponds

  1. Given how some brand flit between agencies, there are unlikely to be many people working at Yorkshire agencies who haven’t crossed the conflict line at some point!

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