If a client goes to an advertising agency with a marketing communications challenge, the agency will almost always recommend advertising. If the same client goes to a PR agency with a challenge, they'll almost always suggest what they have to sell – PR. The same is true for direct marketing and promotions companies. Most companies will sell you what they have – not necessarily what is best for the situation. Because as the saying goes, "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
The same conflict exists when an agency is organized in functional departments. A director heads the department, and the director's compensation is determined by the amount of billing flowing through the department. The natural tendency is for the director or their people to want to maximize the department's percentage of the client's budget. They too often resent being included in meetings they can't bill time for – thus reducing collaboration and integration. So whose best interests are being served? The client's? Often not.
These conflicts of interest waste energy and produce anxiety. Both are detrimental to productivity and a healthy business environment.
Deployment in client-centered teams eliminates conflict of interest and aligns the members in purpose to achieve the client's goals.
People should never be confused about whether they're working for the client or an agency department head. Client-related decisions shouldn't be made because someone wants to make more money for his or her department.
Conversely, specialists working on client-based teams do what is best for the client. When they help create client success, they will be rewarded for it – at least in the long run.