This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With 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.
Like all areas of business, advertising production has been impacted by technology and particularly digital technology, which has had a huge impact on broadcast production and print production and obviously created the discipline of digital production.
But looking back over the past 15 years (and even the last 9 years of this blog) it is clear that while the advertising industry embraces some technology advances (such as the digital pre-press process), they can be incredibly slow embracing those that deliver efficiencies to the advertiser (such as giving up film for digital broadcast).
There are three aspects of the current advertising production process that are anachronistic in the digital technology age:
- The concept that you can have any two of quality, cost or time.
- The production process exists in linear silos of production management.
- The outputs of the production process are consumables to be used and discarded.
The concept that you can have any two of quality, cost or time
“The shortest time, the lowest cost and the highest quality, choose two” was one of the first concepts I was introduced to thirty years ago when I joined my first advertising agency. It was held as a truism by the agency that to be good it needed time or money, but preferably both. To have the shortest production time you needed money or were willing to compromise on quality. Or to reduce cost you needed to invest more time to maintain the quality.
The first issue here is that quality is the most subjective, against two very defined parameters being cost and time. Quality expectations of the advertiser and the agency (and even within the agency between account management and creative) are often misaligned. Often the investment of time and money is disproportional with the quality required. So as the expectation of quality can often be a variable and misaligned the first step is to define quality in terms of the level of investment in the other two.
So let’s look at time and cost.
In the “always on” world, marketers are needing to find ways to be faster and more nimble in their ability to respond to their customers. This is not simply reacting, but responding strategically to the needs of the customer in managing the customer experience. Therefore, the application of technology in the production process should be to make the process more flexible and faster in delivering content to the customer at the time they are receptive and in the form they most want it.
As for cost, there are two benefits of technology. The first being innovation to do what could not be done before in delivering innovation and creativity. The second is in providing efficiencies and cost effectiveness. While many agencies (and especially their creative department) focus on the first, it is actually the second that is having the greatest impact on delivering cost reductions in the process.