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.
The article this week about the anonymous disquiet in some sectors of the media industry about the launch of the Calibr8or system is amusing to say the least, because it is exactly this sector that the system has primarily been developed to help.
So I want to take you beyond the sensationalist 800 odd words that makes a Mumbrella story (perhaps they believe their readers are incapable of sustaining concentration on a story longer than five or six paragraphs?) and explain what Calibr8or is and what it is designed to do.
First, to directly address some of the fallacies put to us by Mumbrella regarding Calibr8or:
- You have to pay for inclusion – FALSE. There will be at least 30 Agencies assessed initially. Any Media Agency not included that wishes to be included can register for future inclusion.
- When using the Calibr8or system in the early stages of the pitch process only those Agencies that subscribe to Calibr8or would be put forward by TrinityP3. FALSE. Every Agency will be assessed based on it’s Calibr8or profile and suitability to the needs of the prospective client.
- Agencies that subscribe to Calibr8or will be scored more favourably. FALSE. However Agencies that subscribe to Calibr8or will be significantly better informed on how they compare to their competitors and as a function of this will be in a stronger position to improve the quality of their offering across time.
It’s an idea right out of the industry itself
When Stephen Wright returned to TrinityP3 after spending two and a half years as New Business Director at Starcom MediaVest, he was full of stories about the frustrations on being on the other side of the pitch fence. He had participated in consultant-managed pitches, client-managed pitches and procurement-managed pitches. Some the agency was successful in and some not. But there were some essential themes that emerged and some trends that were already developing.
He said one of the biggest challenges for a media agency was to be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors as part of the pitch process. With every Agency professing competitive advantage (in word at least) it was very hard for clients to determine meaningful differentiation and the selection process often defaulted to trading and ‘a race to zero on price’.
After all, if every agency had the tools, the people, the systems, the trading position, the expertise, the skills, then all you are left with is how cheap can you buy and how little you will charge. It becomes the ultimate commoditisation of the category.
Even if you do have a competitive advantage in perhaps your trading desk or your optimisation systems, how easy is it for a competitor to completely negate it by saying all those tools are pretty much the same?
The difference between media agencies and all other agencies in a pitch
We manage all types of pitches. Creative, digital, mobile, event, promotional, experiential, social, PR, and of course media. The difference between all of these and media is there is usually an output of the work all of these agencies do for other clients.
However, the work a media agency does for a client is largely hidden or can only really be demonstrated through the strategic, planning and trading process, which is often dry and difficult to follow.
Meanwhile other agencies have tangible pictures and videos to show and tell that are interesting, entertaining and elicit an emotional response, both positive or potentially negative, from a potential client. (Perhaps this is why creative agencies appear to win so many media awards?)
This is why in media, many advertisers and procurement default to having the agency prepare plans to mythical briefs (or real ones) and require them to cost these, with the agency knowing they will be compared and assessed by the cost per thousand and CPM and total cost and not the quality of the thinking underpinning the strategy.
Continue reading “How Calibr8or calibrates the strengths and capabilities of media agencies”