The top 30 marketing management posts of 2014

Wow! What a whirlwind year that was. Business for TrinityP3 across the region has boomed again this year with growth in every market. Projects have ranged from local to regional to global in scope – from production assessments to pitch management and strategic alignment both internally and externally.

We saw a huge explosion in projects assisting marketers with integrating and optimising their digital marketing requirements. And work with organisations from not-for-profits to tech start-ups to major global companies and brands across all categories including retail, finance, automotive, consumer goods, telco and more.

So, as another year comes to a close it is time to reflect on the year that was. What better way than to look at the Marketing Management topics that inspired us and the topics that inspired you. This year we published 160 odd articles ranging in subject from pitching to agency remuneration to creativity to production and all the others in between.


Sure, we managed to publish a second edition of our Top 50 Marketing Management Posts of 2014. But this is different in we are only considering the articles published this year, not just the most read during the year. Therefore there are some that are in both, but a few that are only here. So based on the top read posts from TrinityP3 published in 2014, here are the top 30.

30.  10 tips that are the answer to a winning pitch Chemistry meeting by Anita Zanesco

Chemistry is one of the most important and least definable aspects of the pitch process. And the chemistry meeting is not a laboratory nor is it a social. But it is essential to get it right as an agency if you want to work with a client. Who better to give insight into this that the TrinityP3 consultant with EQ in spades. And that is exactly what Anita did here – provide agencies with insights into how to get it right. Clearly they were interested.

29.  10 ways to debunk the digital agency pitch by Stephan Argent

Our colleague in Canada, founding partner of the Marketing FIRST Forum, Stephan’s particular speciality is digital communications, which is very fortunate (for those hiding in a cave for the last twenty years, everything is digital). In this article he provided a valuable list to debunk many of the myths he had encountered concerning the digital agency pitch. Probably the most interesting is “There is no silver bullet”.

28. Global Marketer Week 2014 addresses the big marketing issues by Darren Woolley

Having attended the Global Marketing Week as a sponsor in Beijing (2011), New York (2012) and  Brussels (2013), it was a moment of pride to attend this year’s when it journeyed down-under to Sydney. The day was certainly action packed with speakers from Europe, USA and Asia all talking on the big topics facing global marketers and local marketers alike. Well worth checking out and Global Marketing Week 2015 is in Marrakesh.

27. Get a health check for your Marketing Procurement capabilities by David Little

The increasing involvement of procurement in the marketing function cannot be overlooked. And it took an experienced and well credentialed marketing procurement professional to come up with the Marketing Procurement Health Check. David Little has contributed much to TrinityP3 and to the blog, with four of his articles making the top 30 in 2014. You can download the Marketing Procurement Health Check free right here.

26. 2014 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference – a comprehensive review by Darren Woolley

Each year the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference goes from strength to strength. It is certainly the one global conference I would personally recommend for all marketing procurement, agency financial and marketing management consultants. Held alternately in Florida and Phoenix, this year’s conference is  comprehensively summarised here using the tweets from the participants and the tweet pic to visualise the event.
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Chapter 10: Diving into digital in a data-driven world

Welcome to the 10th and final Chapter of “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing in a Data-driven World”. If you missed Chapter 9 you can read it here.

This is one of a series of 11 posts or if you want to get the entire book in one hit you can download the full book here.

Digital in a data-driven world

Well, that wasn’t so bad was it? Nine chapters of gold to help you succeed in digital and data-driven marketing. Let’s quickly recap the essence of each chapter of this guide.

Chapter 1: The rise and rise of digital marketing in a data-driven world

Chapter 1 highlighted the ever-changing nature of digital and data. Your mission will be to harness the statistics and opportunities by grounding them in business reality. As the digital world is changing every day, you will need to keep abreast of the major themes and assess the impacts on your business. Ensure you have set up your key information agents and sources of wisdom.

Chapter 2: How digital marketing fits into the marketing mix

Chapter 2 demystified digital channels and demonstrated how digital fits into the marketing mix. It also posed a big question – Should you create a customer budget?

Chapter 3: How the best of the best approach digital marketing

Chapter 3 challenged conventional business operation in silos. It then highlighted the need for a new model of collaboration, ownership and knowledge sharing.

Chapter 4: Launch with a rock-solid foundation

Chapter 4 argued for the need to throw away the old sequential marketing funnel when planning, and provided an example of how to consider customer journeys and non-sequential cycles of discovery.

Chapter 5: Listening to customers to remain relevant

Chapter 5 asserted the need to shift to a customer-centric plan as opposed to relying on the outdated business or product-centric approach. It also explained the impact this will have on your segmentation and data profiling.

Chapter 6: The new four-pillar structure for developing digital ideas

Chapter 6 introduced the development of digital ideas in four dimensions: creative, compelling story, technology and data science. It advocated favouring this over the traditional TV idea that is pushed into various digital channels like a square peg into a round hole.

Chapter 7: The never-ending campaign

Chapter 7 explained the fact that you will ‘always be on’ in digital channels. Therefore, you need to put in place a content-marketing framework for never-ending campaigning, along with escalation processes and a crisis-management plan (in case you require them).

Chapter 8: Understanding the art and science of performance data

Chapter 8 demystified the wealth of data and arrays of metrics that can be utilised for your plan. Remember that you will need to identify the most relevant, most potent ones for your planning and ongoing-optimisation purposes, rather than simply drowning in data.

Chapter 9: Educating your brand world

Chapter 9 outlined how to ensure that key stakeholders and the C-suite provide input into, and ultimately take ownership of, your digital and data plans.

Your 100-day plan

Now before we unleash you, we believe that to close the loop on this guide, we should sum it up in a straightforward 100-day plan. As we’re sure you will find, everyone is now a digital marketing expert, so you will need a structured planning process in order to develop your own plan and stay on track.

The table below serves as a framework for you to populate. The plan has been split into increments of five days (one standard working week), with the final day marking the finalisation of the specified action. Also detailed are the deliverables.

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MediaCom – a sorry day for the industry when trust is compromised

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 news last week concerning MediaCom and two of its clients is a sorry day for the whole industry. What can be seen is an inevitable consequence of the market trends from advertisers putting pressure on agencies to do more with less and less, and agencies and their holding company groups to report improved profitability to their shareholders.

Agencies under pressure

The industry is under pressure

Trapped in the middle of these industry trends are people like you and me who are just trying to do their job. While there is no excuse for acting unlawfully or unethically, the fact is that when people are under pressure to meet unrealistic expectations it is often ethics that end up being compromised and the consequence is a loss of trust and integrity in the relationship and the process.

Only the week before at the AANA AGM, Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Executive Director of the St James Ethics Centre, addressed this issue when he recounted working with people in war zones facing many ethical dilemmas and how they were able to work through these issues to achieve a resolution. How much more challenging is war than marketing?

While we may never know the actual mechanisms of what has occurred here, it is worthwhile to reflect the impact the opposing pressures have on the individuals at the centre of the client / agency relationship.

We cannot forget that it is a relationship and often a very personal one and that it is not between brands or companies or organisations, but it is ultimately delivered and managed and maintained by people.

The ‘Race to Zero’ creating a commodity buyers market

The first pressure is the ‘Race to Zero’, which we have commented on and discussed publicly as recently as the SAGE (Secrets of Agency Excellence) in Sydney last month. There has been a sustained and downward pressure on agency fees and ultimately margins and profits since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 / 2008.

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Chapter 9: Educating your business and brand world

Welcome to the 9th Chapter of “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing in a Data-driven World”. If you missed Chapter 8 you can read it here.

This is one of a series of 11 posts or if you want to get the entire book in one hit you can download the full book here.

Educating business -and brand

You’re almost there. Plan in place. Resources in place. Digital activity developed. And measurement framework in place. Now in walks the CEO and asks, ‘Why haven’t we built a Pinterest presence yet? And let’s start a new company blog’. Hmmm. Where did that come from? You didn’t even know that your CEO was aware of Pinterest.

Yes, that’s right. All your painstaking digital planning can easily be unravelled from the top if everyone isn’t aligned. It is essential to take all parts of your business with you on your digital journey. That includes making sure that the C-suite has bought into it too. They obviously don’t need to know all the meticulous detail, but they do need to know your overall plan and how it will deliver more business.

In the penultimate chapter of our guide, we will explore two critical aspects of educating your business and brand world:

  1. The level of internal training required (bottom-up and top-down)
  2. How to achieve a C-suite buy-in

The level of internal training required (bottom-up and top-down)

Now that your digital plan is in place, you need to align your internal resources. This will need to occur from the top down as well as from the bottom up.

A word of warning here. Hopefully you have been including key stakeholders and decision-makers within your business throughout the planning stages. So in effect, what happens next won’t be a surprise. But it will still be critical to ‘train’ the relevant divisions and stakeholders in regards to your activity.

Here’s a handy checklist of divisions and actions:


Sales and marketing each used to be completely siloed. However, in many organisations, the sales and marketing functions are now uniting as one force. Either way, make sure your key sales managers – be they central, national, state or regional – have bought into your plan.

You will need to align your KPIs to their sales goals and targets to show how both work together. Front-line sales teams are also a great source of ongoing customer insights, particularly regarding buying behaviour and multi-channel customer journeys.

IT department

Make sure your IT team is fully across the activity you are planning. Typically, they are briefed only for specific digital marketing projects and platform requirements, but IT ideally should have a complete picture of what you are looking to achieve. They will then be able to provide invaluable research and solutions for your digital technology requirements.

Data team

Usually the data team sits within the IT division. Make sure your key data analysts and managers are up-to-speed with your data-capture plans, segmentation methodology and ongoing measurement criteria, as you will be relying on them to crunch the mass of data that you collect.

Remember that success will rely on uncovering the hidden opportunities that the wealth of big data within your business provides. Often, this will hinge on one number delivering one insight, not on a 100-page PowerPoint deck.


You will have involved your research teams in the customer-insight planning stage. Also make sure your ongoing customer-insight activity is fully aligned to the research manager’s plan.

Digital media, in particular social networks, can be your best source of research, customer insight and product/service learning. Be careful not to duplicate research activity.

Contact centre

If you rely on a contact centre, be it in-house or outsourced, you will need to brief the senior contact-centre teams on your overall plan, in addition to giving individual project briefings. Your contact centre is also a key channel for customer insights that you should be utilising for planning and for optimising your ongoing activity.


You also will be working with product and/or purchasing teams. As we mentioned in Chapter 7, your content calendar will start with key product releases and product-based events and activity.

Human resources (HR)

Ensure that HR are across the marketing ethos and that they have input into the overall plan. Your marketing plan should map to, and align with, the internal HR plan and culture model. This is vital from an internal staff and brand culture point of view, as it will ultimately impact on your desired customer experience.

Have you got a universal brand archetype for your business that aligns with the business’ personality? How are staff (existing and new recruits) delivering on the values and proof-points? Are there marketing opportunities to leverage ongoing staff training programs? How are staff delivering on your content marketing objectives?

Hopefully you’ve raised these questions with your HR manager and team throughout your planning process – and answered them.


Make sure your in-house legal counsel has had input into, and agreed to, the legal stance on your digital marketing activity. In particular, legal must agree to your social media crisis-management policy as well as any financial obligations within your digital marketing activity; for example, loyalty rewards, service standards and pricing structures.


Most importantly, get buy-in from finance on your measurement criteria and ROI model. Finance has the CEO’s ear, so you will need to be aligned with them.

How to achieve a C-suite buy-in

It’s also essential to ensure that your digital marketing activity has a C-suite buy-in. This may sound daunting, but it’s unavoidable if you are to help evolve your business in a digital world. After all, digital marketing will affect all areas of your business, not just the touch-points.

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TrinityP3’s new guide to television advertising production governance

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 television advertising production process is complex and technical. It involves a large number of agreements and contracts with third party companies and individuals. It also involves the creation and procurement of performance rights, intellectual property and any associated moral rights.

From a governance perspective, it is a potential minefield of risk, which is why most organisations and individuals are inclined to default to allowing their contracted agency to manage this on their behalf.

This default makes sense only if the agency is managing production procurement and management to an acceptable standard of due diligence and governance. It is also important to ensure that the agency is not operating outside of their contracted level of authority, especially in regards to binding the advertiser to legal agreements on their behalf.

The TrinityP3 ‘Television Advertising Production Governance Guide’ allows advertisers and their organisations to quickly and conveniently identify the areas of risk to good governance and due diligence in your television advertising production process.

Click on the image below to see in large view


How to use the Television Advertising Governance Guide

The Television Advertising Production Governance Guide provides a comprehensive map of the various stakeholders and suppliers in the television advertising production process. Each of these are then indicated with a color-coding to identify:

  1. Performance rights – these are separate to intellectual property rights and exist where the artist, actor or musician provides a personal performance.
  2. Intellectual property rights – these can either be existing or arise as part of the production process and must be either licensed or assigned to the appropriate owner.
  3. Third party contracts – these arise out of the advertising agency subcontracting to the various suppliers or can arise where the various subcontractors engage subcontractors to provide services required for the production.
  4. Multiple suppliers – in many parts of this production process, there can be multiple suppliers involved at some steps, effectively increasing the level of complexity and the associated risks.

Use the chart as a practical tool to chart the current processes to ensure that your agency suppliers, contracted to provide television advertising production services, have the appropriate processes and documentation in place to ensure acceptable compliance and rigor in their contract management and procurement process.

What should you be looking for and assessing?

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Chapter 8: Understanding the art and science of performance data

Welcome to the 8th Chapter of “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing in a Data-driven World”. If you missed Chapter 7 you can read it here.

This is one of a series of 11 posts or if you want to get the entire book in one hit you can download the full book here.

Now that your content activity is aligned with your marketing activity and goals, it’s time to explore the data side of your strategy – specifically, the analysis of customer behaviour and engagement, optimisation, and measurement of the performance and impact of your digital marketing activity.

Performance data

As you know, every digital action is measureable, and therefore as marketers, you can analyse consumer behaviour until the cows come home. Considering the explosion of data that we highlighted earlier in this guide, it is critical to focus on the major impact areas rather than wade through huge amounts of data within your organisation.

With that in mind, in this chapter we will explore four fundamental areas:

  1. UX – ensuring there is a logical interrelationship between digital channels (and offline channels) as well as a logical UX and journey within each channel
  2. Engagement – identifying the levels of engagement that you require from different segments of prospects and customers
  3. Quality conversion and optimisation – focusing on converting quality leads and customer behaviour, rather than losing focus on high-volume / low-conversion activity
  4. ROI – measuring the financial return on your digital marketing activity that maps to your business goals

User experience

UX quite simply is the experience the user has when visiting your digital property. Typically, you are aiming to quickly deliver relevant information in a format that is easy to understand and has a common-sense flow to it, and which meets a person’s expectations (intuitive).

Now while this sounds straightforward, UX is constantly changing and should not be thought of tactically or in isolation. New levels of technology, interactivity and rich media continue to impact on a consumer’s experience, in particular what people can do in digital channels. So UX should be thought of strategically in the context of the role of your digital marketing and brand in your consumer’s world.

You also need to ensure that you are constantly optimising your activity based on consumer outcomes. The essence of UX is to create a user flow and experience that is logical and can take a user quickly and seamlessly to their desired end point (be it a known or unknown point).

We will provide more detail about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) later in this chapter, keeping in mind that a successful digital entity should be one that delivers on its business goals and builds on its brand world experience.

By definition then, UX involves a focus on the user, which means it is critical to take a customer-centric approach to building your digital activity. This will ensure you keep thinking about information, content and the overall experience from a user’s point of view rather than aimlessly pushing your content at people.

Remember that people have a short attention span and are always only one click away from leaving your digital property.

Here’s a quick checklist of questions to answer as you move through the UX planning and development stages:

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Here comes programmatic creative!

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

Well, if you just dropped that cup of coffee you were holding, don’t worry – programmatic creative isn’t a new way of automating the creative process, or something’s that’s been dreamed up in someone’s garage and is about to become the new darling start-up.

It’s daft. And about as useful as an inflatable anchor.

Programmatic creative

From math men to mad men…

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Sir Martin Sorrell’s comments that advertising has moved from “math men to mad men…” so much so, that I almost called this article, “The case for mad men”. But, as good as Sir Martin’s headline grabbing comments may have been, it’s already in need of a bit of a brand refresh.

The issue is that analytics, media mix modeling, programmatic buying, programmatic algorithms, return on investment calculations and profitability metrics have been hogging the limelight recently, as technology enables deeper dives into the science of advertising.

Our craft still relies on both art and science

We may now have what we consider to be “start of the art” technology to help us dig deep, analyze and possibly predict consumer behavior, but our craft still relies on both art and science for it to work properly and effectively.

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Chapter 7: The never-ending digital marketing campaign

Welcome to the 7th Chapter of “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing in a Data-driven World”. If you missed Chapter 6 you can read it here.

This is one of a series of 11 posts or if you want to get the entire book in one hit you can download the full book here.

After reading the last chapter, you can appreciate the fact that while good ideas can come from anywhere, great ideas need to germinate in four dimensions.

In this Chapter we look at how to develop the ongoing journey of discovery, or what we call the never-ending campaign.

Marketing campaign

We will focus on what it means to ‘live in beta’ – the ability of brands and their stories to iterate and evolve – and the need for a content calendar to keep your activity on track. We will also cover the need to have escalation and crisis-management plans in place should you be exposed to negative commentary.

Living in beta

Today’s marketing world, which is largely driven by technology and software companies, can be described as a beta-world. No longer are technology products coming off the production line after years of being perfected.

Lead times to market have shortened dramatically, and therefore competitive advantage has diminished. This means that, as marketers, you will need to accept that your product will never be 100% ready – it will never satisfy 100% of the market 100% of the time.

Your ‘production mentality’ now entails releasing your product into the market (or a market segment), allowing time to update and refine it, then releasing it into wider markets. To steer its way through this iterative process, your business will require more agile, flexible and collaborative business structures and processes, as discussed in Chapter 3.

Your marketing activity will also be subject to an iterative process. Linear brand stories can be created – hence the content calendar – but you need to be prepared for non-linear activity as well, especially in social media.

Consumer reaction and engagement may open up completely new opportunities, and it may also present challenges you have never seen before – some good, some bad. So before we look at creating the content calendar, let’s examine how to prepare a crisis plan and escalation process to handle negative social media and consumer backlash activity.

Crisis management

When talking to today’s management, we at TrinityP3 still come across nervousness about approaching social media. Well, that nervousness is understandable. As we’ve said a few times now, we no longer do our work on a traditional one-way street. We now operate on a two-way digital street, where brands invite conversation and exchange.

That means you have to expect the good, the bad and the ugly. This is especially so in regards to social media, which is why it is critical that you ‘listen’ to digital conversations. You should invest in monitoring software as well as resources that allow you to listen during those key periods of the week, or times of day, that impact the most on your business.

It is also important to train your resources to identify what is a crisis (or potentially a crisis) as opposed to what is not a crisis. The word ‘crisis’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as:

noun (plural crises)

  • a time of intense difficulty or danger … a time when a difficult or important decision must be made … a crisis point

Let’s explore this definition in relation to social media.

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Chapter 6: The new four-pillar structure for developing digital ideas

Welcome to the 6th Chapter of “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing in a Data-driven World”. If you missed Chapter 5 you can read it here.

This is one of a series of 11 posts or if you want to get the entire book in one hit you can download the full book here.

OK, so you are now well down the track to an effective digital marketing strategy. Your business goals are clear, your strategy is set, your internal and external resources are aligned, and you have clearly identified your brand persona and approach to customer segmentation.

In this Chapter we focus on developing compelling digital marketing ideas in this new collaborative era. You must now concentrate on bringing your strategy to life.

Developing digital ideas

Traditionally, brand agencies developed the overarching brand ideas and left it to other disciplines, including the digital teams, to adapt the media work. However, this is no longer effective as it ignores the two-way nature of digital channels and the need for an ongoing journey of discovery rather than one-off, one-way push communication.

Consequently, traditional brand and advertising agencies have started creating engaging digital campaigns (albeit not necessarily with the deepest specialist skill set or strategic foundation). Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, for example, went from collecting 80% of its revenues in 2011 from traditional advertising campaigns and less than 20% from digital initiatives, to a 60/40 traditional/digital split only 12 months later.

The agency landscape has also seen micro-agencies being set up due to the inflexibility and lack of speed-to-market that characterise the global ad agency behemoths. Utilising open innovation, crowdsourcing and co-creation, one or two people can create an agency without the rigid structures, processes and egos that can constrain great ideas in the biggest firms.

The 4D model

It simply is no longer good enough just to brief an art director and a copywriter to dream up that Big Idea. In today’s digital, data-driven environment, ideas need to be generated in four dimensions:

  1. Creative
  2. Compelling story
  3. Technology
  4. Data science

The 4D model

Before we explore these dimensions, here’s a case study to whet your appetite.

Victors and Spoils (V&S) is a relatively new Colorado-based agency that was founded in 2009. It claims to be the first creative advertising agency built on crowdsourcing principles, with a 7200-member community. In 2011, V&S was keen to win Harley-Davidson’s business after hearing that the motorcycle manufacturer had split with its agency of three decades, Carmichael Lynch.

But instead of joining the pitch list, V&S proactively created a brief and posted it to its thousands of creatives and strategists, made up of freelancers, moonlighters from other agencies, and brand and advertising enthusiasts who’d all opted to work in the new open model.

‘Six hundred ideas flooded in’, claimed V&S CEO John Winsor. He apparently tweeted Harley-Davidson’s CMO to explain what they were doing and the CMO replied, ‘Go for it’. V&S ended up presenting 65 ideas and won the business (source: The end of traditional ad agencies).

Let’s now examine more closely these new ways of working in the digital world.

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4 thoughts on advertiser / agency relationships – Beam Suntory and The Works

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?

TheWorks_BeamFour thoughts on managing Advertiser / Agency relationships continues here with Beam Suntory Australia and their agency The Works.

James (right) and Damian (left) have worked through many changes in the Beam business. Both partners have changed and adjusted to the market conditions and have fostered one of the most successful longer standing relationships in the business.

The Works and Beam Suntory Australia have been partners for over 10 years and continue to develop their relationship further. The Works recently worked on the global campaign for Jim Beam.

Beam Suntory Australia: James Sykes, Vice President Marketing APSA

The Works: Damian Pincus, Founder and Creative Partner

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

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