What’s the role of today’s advertising agency?

This post is by Stephan Argent, CEO of Argedia Group and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3

Here’s a thorny question for you – what’s the role of today’s advertising agency?

Role of Todays Advertising Agency

Depending on the set-up of your internal marketing teams, the answer can take many forms and, if you’re like most marketers, the answer could include some (or all) of the following:

  • Strategy planning and development
  • Research
  • Brand and campaign development
  • Promotions
  • Advertising production across multiple media
  • Testing and measurement
  • Media planning and buying

Even Wikipedia defines the role of the ad agency in very familiar terms – “a service business dedicated to creating, planning and handling advertising for its clients…

The world has changed

The reality is, the world’s changed and marketers have had to rethink why they hire ad agencies and the roles they want them to play in their businesses.  Only then are marketers really able to define the success metrics that matter and partner with the right agency(s) that make the most sense for their individual needs.

Darren Woolley from our partners at Trinity P3 in Australia, encapsulates the issue as follows:

The role of agencies has diversified along with the diversification of the marketing options. In the Mad Men era, the agency was the marketer’s partner. They took responsibility for developing strategy, conceiving campaign ideas, executing production and media, and managing the process for the marketer. But now the marketer has many specialist agencies…”

And it’s that diversification of marketing options and possibilities that’s at the heart of the challenge facing marketers and their relationships with their agencies today. Many marketers still define the role of their ad agencies in traditional terms without thinking about how they’ll collaborate with the other – specialized – agencies they’ve hired to address new opportunities like Social Media.

Defining the role of your agency(s) more clearly

In many cases the role of an agency evolves organically, rather than being planned and managed which can lead to stress and frustration on both sides.  So if that’s got you thinking, here are ten questions to consider to help define the role of your agency(s) more clearly:

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Why are you wasting your money on pitch consultancy?

This post is by Nathan HodgesTrinityP3‘s General Manager. Nathan applies his knowledge and creativity to the specific challenges of marketing management, with a particular focus on team dynamics and behavioural change.

We’ve written before about why a pitch is often the wrong answer to the wrong question. But sometimes it’s the right answer. When it is, then in our experience full management of a pitch process takes around 190 hours.

Clown juggling balls

This surprises some people. Until, that is, they understand what a thorough, comprehensive pitch process actually looks like.

But first of all, just for clarity, here’s what it doesn’t look like.

What it isn’t

It’s not 190 hours of fireside chats, advice and pontification about the good old days when the consultant was at such-and-such a traditional agency. Nor is it 190 hours of blindly beating agencies down on price to justify your own costs. It’s not 190 hours of administration and diary management.

It is also not some ex-agency person nominating the top handful of agencies that come to mind either. And it’s certainly not 190 hours of a consultant desperately pretending to be an expert in a completely unfamiliar field – like an ex-agency TV producer running a digital tech pitch, or an old media buyer pretending to know about creative for example.

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Google’s mobile friendly test and why you must not ignore it

This post is by Mike Morgan, Founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises and Content Director for TrinityP3. Mike has been collaborating with TrinityP3 on a Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media strategy since early 2011.

Post updated 23/4/2015 – scroll to the end to see new analysis.

If you haven’t been following the world of Google and its constant tweaking of the famous algorithm that analyses and sorts billions of web pages you could be excused for not knowing about the biggest change to happen to search in years.

On April 21 (if you are reading this after April 21 I will be adding analysis and results regularly after the fact) Google will be rolling out a new update that will have a major impact on search results. It has already picked up the attractive little nickname “Mobilegeddon” but what is it really all about?

Mobile friendly test

Let’s begin with Google’s announcement on the Google Webmaster Blog.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

There is only one way to read this – if your website is not deemed to be mobile friendly by Google by April 21 you will lose a substantial amount of traffic.

Zineb Ait Bahajji from Google’s Webmaster Trends team was quoted as saying that this change will have more of an impact on search results than Panda or Penguin. Whatever percentage that actually means, this is a big deal.

Unusually for Google, they not only gave people almost 2 months to take action they also supplied guides and a testing tool to help with the process.

This all sounds perfectly reasonable and is unlike the way Google has covertly released most of their previous major updates.

However, getting websites compliant is a significant and often expensive task. Add to this the confusion around whether separate mobile sites, making a current site responsive or going for a whole new responsive website is the preferred option and we have a whole lot of turmoil out there.

To cap things off there is conflicting information from Google’s own tools – the testing tool may give a perfect score while Webmaster Tools gives a major fail. And even Google’s communications have been inconsistent.

Before I dig down into the inconsistencies let’s take a look at the tool and talk about what your best options are if you fail the test.

Here is Google’s Mobile Friendly Test

Click here to test your website.

This is what the result should look like:
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Posted in industry news & trends, mobile marketing, social media & digital marketing | 7 Comments

A Communications Minefield: 5 things marketers hate hearing from their agencies

This post is by David Angell, General Manager of the fast-growing Melbourne market, and national Head of Media at TrinityP3. In these roles, David brings his media-specific, broader commercial and relationship expertise to bear on a diverse range of projects, with one core objective – achieving beneficial results for our clients.

We’re all in the communications industry, right? Communication of some form, at least – creating it, planning it, buying it, commenting on it or monitoring it.

So how come we’re often so bad at communicating with each other, across the agency-client garden fence?

A gap in communication

Too often, agency staffers do not pay enough respect to the intuition of the client; or, even worse, they phrase an innocent comment in a way that is highly likely to be misinterpreted.

They haven’t read their clients properly, are not enough in tune with the people they’re dealing with and have not adapted their communication style accordingly.

And when this happens, and it backfires, the reaction is frequently similar to one of my favourite and most cherished comedy characters – Father Ted’s innocent, naïve and dumb side-kick, Father Dougall McGuire.

‘What’s the problem there, Ted?’

A lot of the time, Agencies simply don’t know when, or why, they’ve caused offence. Account leads are usually not strong enough to withstand internal pressure to communicate in a certain way (I know, I’ve been there), which wins the battle over their own common sense.

And if the client doesn’t speak up about it, the agency will forever be the Father Dougall of the relationship.

Here are five agency sayings that marketers hate hearing, and why.

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4 thoughts on advertiser / agency relationships – Audi and Holler

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

The relationships between advertisers and their agencies are becoming more complicated and difficult to define. When they work well this junction of creativity and commerce can have a significant impact on both parties.

But what are the key criteria or ingredients for high performing advertiser and agency relationships? What are the challenges in managing these relationships? What advice do you have in regards to managing the relationship? And what changes will these relationships need to face in the foreseeable future?


Four thoughts on managing Advertiser / Agency relationships continues here with Audi Australia and their agency Holler.

Holler won the business in a competitive pitch run by TrinityP3 in 2012.

Since then the relationship has gone from strength to strength. Together, Kevin (right) and Mike (left) have overseen the development of the award winning work in the last Land of Quattro campaign.  

This then kicked off an increase in Holler’s service offering with Audi to include CRM & Data. 

Audi Australia: Kevin Goult, General Manager Marketing

Holler: Mike Hill, CEO

What are the key ingredients for great client – agency relationships that really matter?

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Why storyboards are the building blocks of production

This post is by Clive Duncan a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. As a Director and DOP he has an appreciation for the value of great creative and outstanding production values, while also recognising the importance of delivering value for money solutions to the advertiser.


I found this article by Michael Grills who has a company called Big City Story.

Michael articulates the need for storyboards as a production tool far better than I can.

9 Ways Storyboards Lower Your Production Risk: by Michael Grills

I typically do storyboards for three different types of clients:

  1. Top level creative agencies
  2. High value e-learning companies, and
  3. AAA video game companies.

They have two reasons to call me.

The first is that they want me to add value and insight to a project, the second is to save money by lowering their production risk.

Most of the conceptualizing and problem solving for a video project is in the planning, which some people don’t want to spend too much time on. Yet the most expensive part is actually in the production.

Production requires many hands. There’s the director, the sound designer, the cameramen, the actors, and other important crew to get a shot done.

If your concept is just in your head and you get it wrong on set – or even worse, after the shoot – you’re not going to get your money back. You’re going to have to reschedule, reorganize, and redo the budget for the entire project.

Without pre-production conceptualization, you also risk miscommunication with the client. Remember that until it’s on a screen in front of them for review…it’s all been in their imagination. Suddenly their perception of the project might change dramatically. If you haven’t explained it well enough up to this point, they’re more often than not going to be very disappointed.

Here are the 9 ways storyboards lower your production risk:

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Metadata for socks. So where the bloody hell are you marketers?

This post is by Anton Buchner, a senior consultant with TrinityP3. Anton is a lateral and innovative thinker with a passion for refocusing business teams and strategies; creating visionary, data driven communication plans; and making sense of a more complex digital marketing environment.

OK you got past the headline. Thank you.

I know this sounds like a dry and disjointed post already, however can I urge you to stick with me?

I’d like to roll up the sleeves and have a little chat about metadata.

Metadata - data about data

The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and his ministers, are out there talking about it. Albeit a little confusingly.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner, Tim Morris, tells us that “those with nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.”

And former United States National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, blew the whistle, saying that the NSA had been collecting and storing huge amounts of telephony metadata, including numbers called, and the time and length of calls but not their content.

So what the hell is metadata?

I often describe it as something similar to the library Dewy Decimal system which catalogues books based on subjects. However metadata is the data description and organising structure behind digital content but not the content itself.

 Metadata description and organising structure

It’s more the digital footprint left behind after making a phone call, sending an email, tweeting, or using any other online application.

You could say it’s the data about data. It can be descriptive, technical, rights based, or sustainable in the sense of preserving or sustaining information for later access or use.

However, metadata has nothing to do with the discussion of a phone call, subject of an email, or the name of a website someone visits. But, it does allow people to find if you’ve performed such an action.

For example a Tweet can be up to 140 characters, but the metadata behind it includes things like the time you tweeted, your location, the device you used, profiles of any people you mention, hashtags, and direct links to photos shared.

Ever lost a sock?

If metadata offers us humble human beings standards to organise and find things, then imagine if socks had a literal metadata footprint.

Imagine how we would simply locate and find every missing sock to our beloved pairs.

Metadata footprint for socks

Ever bought a pair of socks online?

And if you’ve ever searched for a pair of socks online, then you’d appreciate the use of metadata in HTML web content, used by SEO experts – to carry this example further – to ensure that the description of webpages that contain socks rank highly in any search engine that you’re using.

So where the bloody hell are you?

To coin a phrase from the Aussie chick, Lara Dingle, sorry Bingle, used in the controversial Tourism Australia Advertising Campaign, I’d like to ask all the marketers reading this “so where the bloody hell are you?”

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Marketing 101 – The myths and the dos and don’ts of marketing

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

A few days ago I flew to Melbourne to co-host the ‘Taking Care of Business‘ podcast hosted by Jacki Mitchell.

‘Taking Care of Business’ is a dedicated radio business program live on RPP FM every Friday. The program focuses on all businesses big and small and is full of tips on marketing, finance, management, thought leadership and shares expert opinions along with insider knowledge on all things business.

RPPFM-Marketing Gurus

Darren Woolley (Co-Host), Marilyn Miller (Guest), Jacki Mitchell (Host), Stephanie Asher (Guest)

Topic of the day – Marketing 101

Jacki starts the program with an introduction on the topic of the day – Marketing 101.

Today we revisit one of businesses most popular and intriguing topics – marketing. This is an area that has gone through a lot of change particularly with the advent of technology, yet the basics still apply. A varied landscape for the novice and always heavily debated amongst professionals but there is no panacea.

Today we will explore the myths, realistic expectations, and the do’s and the dont’s of this vital business ingredient.

To help me tackle this enormous task I have called in a very special co-host to help me today and who other than the ‘Mr. Wolf” of marketing communications and named one of the most powerful people in marketing today – Darren Woolley.

In this 43-minute episode of ‘Taking Care of Business’, you will learn about:

  • Marketing – what is it and how is it defined in context?
  • The current state of marketing in today’s digital landscape
  • Brand promotion and the customer experience
  • Understanding marketing in the distribution and delivery of products and services
  • Digital marketing and social media for business

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Anatomy of an Agency Performance Review

This post is by David Little, who has been working in Procurement Category Management for 12 years within FMCG, Telecoms and Consulting. He has a special interest in Marketing categories, Procurement Leadership and helping others develop their Procurement skills.

Otto Preminger’s ‘Anatomy of a Murder’ (1959) is the genre of courtroom drama at its best: Jimmy Stewart plays a rural lawyer defending a man convicted in a revenge murder case. It’s a tense and dramatic film and was shocking at the time it was released, even facing bans due to its language and moral ambiguity. The artwork is cool and so too is Duke Ellington’s jazz soundtrack. I recommend it.

Lt. Frederick Manion: “How can a jury disregard what it’s already heard?”

Paul Biegler: [shaking head] “They can’t, lieutenant. They can’t.”

Despite the potential allure of a courtroom thriller, I don’t recommend conducting agency reviews as if the agency is on trial; it doesn’t guarantee a clear, balanced picture of events, and is focused on recriminations rather than resolution. So how do we stay away from blaming and accusations, and stick to rational discussion when conducting a decent agency review?

Regular performance reviews

Performance reviews are the culmination of a robust agency remuneration framework, identifying successes, failures and (importantly), allowing remedial action to get brands (and bonuses) back on track.

They should be done regularly with all agencies, and in a common format (with common frameworks and metrics for similar agency types) so that senior Marketing personnel can easily compare like for like. Unless you have specific Marketing resources, most marketers will be glad to hear that Procurement should be taking care of all the administration associated in arranging them.

So how should they be conducted? Well, there’s much you could put down to common sense and discipline, but for me the game-changer is coincidentally also the stamp of a skilful Procurement professional — you’ve maybe gathered how biased I am on the importance of Procurement involvement… bear with me though ­—the attitude of facilitator and, above all, a commitment to positive results for both parties.

The structure, content and style of performance reviews

And here are some tips for getting the structure, content and style right…

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Hey agency, before you say yes to a pitch, you should Pitcherator it

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

Back in 2010 (OMG that is five years ago) I shared a list of the top ten questions agencies should ask before they decide to participate in a pitch. It was from a significant industry authority – David Ogilvy himself and can be found in his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”.

Well it is time to update these important questions.

And, as today everything is digital, it appears that in 2015 they can now ask and answer these questions online with the Pitcherator.


The Pitcherator provides the ten questions to be answered by the agency CEO or Managing Director online and then it rates if the pitch is worth pitching for. Developed by dn&co in London it raises important commercial questions that should be considered including:

1. Have you met the client?

Have they committed to talking it through with you and answering any questions? Or did they send you the brief cold and only want to see you on the day? They should want you warmed up not just showing up.

2. Have you worked with the client before?

You have an advantage if you know what makes them tick… or ticked off. Also, you may be able to understand the bigger picture.

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