Why high quality content creation is the secret to organic growth

This post is by Midge Hand, Founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises and a Copyblogger Media Certified Content Marketer. Midge has been working with TrinityP3 on an inbound marketing strategy since early 2011.

When you saw the headline of this post you might have thought… oh no, not another blog about content!

Why is content so important? Because the Google God said so…

Google published several statements when they were just a few years old and some of them still hold true. One of them is:

“Focus on the user and all else will follow”

Organic growth

And Google has said that one of the best ways to follow this direction is to provide solutions through content creation to build your audience – this is assuming your website is a Google-friendly site.

As we all know Google does matter, there’s no-one bigger and better when it comes to search.

Despite the other well-known search engines like Bing and Yahoo, Google has the market share hands down and is responsible for sending the majority of traffic to most websites. You can’t argue with statistics.

Here’s a screen shot where you can see Google is driving over 70% of traffic to the TrinityP3 site.
Continue reading “Why high quality content creation is the secret to organic growth”

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Should your agency be listed in TrinityP3’s Agency Register?

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder and Global CEO 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.

When we started managing agency search projects more than a decade ago it was fairly obvious that we would need a way of keeping up to date with the agency market. As our reputation grew, many agencies started couriering their credentials documents to us. Folders, custom made boxes, presentation packs with DVDs and USB sticks started accumulating in the storage area in the office in South Melbourne.

Agencies were clearly spending significant amounts of money on these credentials that were often out of date at the time they were printed. There was also the issue of where to store all of these documents. Plus often the information in the credentials documents was either not complete or not what we really needed to select an agency to meet a particular clients needs.

It was then that we decided to build our own system – The TrinityP3 Agency Register.

Agency Register_Instructions

Defining the system

When considering the system requirements we decided the following: it would be free to all agencies, it would be online and the agencies would be able to access the system, set up their own profile and manage that profile.

The database allows agencies from around the world to register and create their own profile. The information they enter is held securely and confidentially. It is also completely searchable across all criteria.

The system also allows TrinityP3 consultants to add notes, observations and updates on the agencies following their participation in a pitch or as part of our regular agency update meetings.

This gives TrinityP3 an incredibly powerful resource and the agencies registered, an opportunity to win new business. Continue reading “Should your agency be listed in TrinityP3’s Agency Register?”

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What is the future of business, marketing and next generation jobs?

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.

LIVE in the RPP FM studio every Friday, is ‘Taking Care of Business‘, one of the few dedicated radio business programs that focus on all businesses large and small.

Host Jacki Mitchell, is an international award winning brand, marketing and business strategist with a diverse track record that allows her to draw on a wide range of experiences across several industries. Jacki was awarded with Best New Presenter for 2013 at the RPP FM Annual General Meeting.

Taking Care of Business podcast

Guests – the Mayors of Frankston and Mornington Peninsula, co-host Darren Woolley‬, TCOB’s Futurist ‪Mark McCrindle‬, joined Jacki Mitchell‬ for an insightful discussion on ‘The future of business and careers’.

Topic of the day – Looking at the future of business, marketing and jobs

Today I am Jacki’s co-host on the show and we take a look at the of future of business, marketing and what jobs in the future will look like.

Jacki opens the program with an introduction on the topic of the day:

Good morning and welcome to ‘Taking Care of Business’, I’m Jacki Mitchell and today we are venturing into the ‘Taking Care of Business’ crystal ball.

We are looking into the future of business, marketing and what jobs in the future will look like from a global, national and regional perspective.

I’m joined today by my special co-host, a ‘Taking Care of Business’ regular, the Mr. Wolf of Marcomms Darren Woolley, Australia’s leading futurist, Mark McCrindle also joins in the discussion, along with the Mayors of Frankston and Mornington Peninsula shire, they’ve dropped by to talk about the Regional Jobs Expo.

In this 41-minute episode of ‘Taking Care of Business’, you will learn about:

Continue reading “What is the future of business, marketing and next generation jobs?”

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The importance of PURPOSE, PEOPLE and PROCESS in improving marketing PERFORMANCE

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder and Global CEO 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 P3 in TrinityP3 has always stood for People, Purpose and Process. Helping people achieve commercial purpose through the creative process. P3. But there is a fourth P that is so intrinsic it is unspoken – Performance. TrinityP3’s purpose is to work with those people to ensure their process delivers maximum performance.

Often through our unique Evalu8ing process we will identify where there is a misalignment of expectations, not only between marketer and their agencies, but even between the agencies themselves. It is this misalignment that leads to incredible inefficiencies in the marketing process and ultimately diminishes performance.

TrinityP3_PPP

I have shared previously the Engagement Agreement process and why we have found this more effective in achieving alignment, not only across marketing teams and their agencies, but also across a roster of agencies themselves. I have also written why the Engagement Agreement process is more effective than Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the like.

But I want to share a conversation and the insights that came to the fore at a recent advertiser / agency Engagement Agreement Workshop I facilitated. The insight goes straight to the core of the TrinityP3 philosophy of aligning people, purpose and process to deliver maximised performance.

The point of purpose

There has been much talk about the importance of purpose for brands, championed most recently by Marc Mathieu at Unilever and promoted by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). But purpose has application and resonance beyond brand into operational performance.

We had gathered the agency team and the marketing team together to be debriefed on the Evalu8ing results, which indicated that there were some significant misalignments in the expectation of the agency from the various marketing teams on the advertiser side.

We discussed some of the pain points and frustrations for both the agencies and the marketing team. As a group, we worked through these issues and prioritised those areas which had maximum impact on the performance of the team. To do this we assessed each issue against amplitude (the size of the problem) and frequency (the occurrence of the problem).

From an operational basis, those problems with high frequency were prioritised over amplitude in this case.

Having identified the areas of misalignment the group started to address each. The starting point of the discussion was to first collectively agree what was the underlying purpose of the process identified.

It was interesting, and for some surprising, that even prosaic process functions such as meeting and contact reports had different purposes for agencies and marketers. While some saw them as simply a record of the meeting or discussion, others relied on the reports to determine roles, responsibilities, deadlines and more.

Was it any wonder that there was a misalignment of expectations when it came to the content, timing, distribution and even formats of these reports?

Continue reading “The importance of PURPOSE, PEOPLE and PROCESS in improving marketing PERFORMANCE”

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When Account Management / Client relationships are too close

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.

Over my years in agency-land, I’ve been fortunate enough to carve some genuinely close relationships with my clients.

Relationships where I no longer work with them but we’re still in touch ten years on, I’ve been to their wedding, or met their children, or…hell, written to them on Facebook.

Business_Relationship_too_close

Relationships where I spent so much time in their building I was given a desk or an office, and on a couple of occasions, got head-hunted by said client to jump ships.

Relationships where clients have unburdened personal issues, internal conflicts, career doubts to me, either in the office or out of it.

You get the picture, I’m sure. Based on what I’ve just said, it’s clear that I’m a client relationship guy, and (you may well think) pretty damn proud of myself to boot.

Or am I?

From hero to zero, to hero, to…

The thing to point out is that carving a niche as a big-account client lead in an agency is a double-edged sword.

You get looked up to as a font of knowledge about a particular client, but at the same time can be regarded as a suit, a generalist, a bag carrier.

You can be given plaudits by your boss for holding or developing the business, but at the same time, often miss out on broader agency recognition because you (generally speaking) aren’t always as heavily involved in the headline-grabbing new business development side of the business.

Finally – and this one is the hardest to overcome – you can be held up as an example of how to develop great relationships when the client is clearly ecstatic about the work you do, but at the same time can be privately vilified by senior leadership and your team because it’s perceived that you care more about the client than you do about the agency that employs you.

When you’re too close to the centre, you can’t always see out

More than one agency individual across the last fifteen years has criticised me for seeming to care more about the client than the agency. Sometimes, I think, unjustly, other times with good cause. In the past, I’ve shrugged it off. Now, with the benefit of hindsight and the broader perspective allowed by not actually working for an agency, I’m able to re-evaluate.

Whilst close relationships between agency account lead and client are always to be desired and aimed for, here are three situations where, in my view, the agency lead is ‘caring too much’ – with the result that ultimately, not enough is being done either for the agency, or, surprisingly enough, for the client.
Continue reading “When Account Management / Client relationships are too close”

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Media agency transparency is not a local issue, it’s global

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.

Anyone who has followed the unfolding controversy with MediaCom in Sydney, may feel comfortable convincing themselves that this is an isolated incident. The media agencies and their Holding Company owners want you to believe that. In fact they will deny this is a wide spread problem because they want to return to business as usual and not address the underlying situation that created this mess.

The problem is that it is not a problem the media agencies can solve themselves. Everyone needs to participate in putting this right, because everyone involved helped create it.

Man with hands on head in frustration

Is this an isolated incident?

There’s little doubt that AVBs and rebates represent global practice. Mediacom is of course a global entity with a global parent. There are several global parents in the industry. The trading arms of these entities are also set up at least regionally.

The local markets all feed their P&L into, and are controlled by, regional and global hubs. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume a level of standardisation in P&L structures and revenue streams.

Having said this, it may be worth considering different levels of corporate governance and standard business practices and cultures in different local markets. Some markets have a higher level of due diligence than others. Some have the appearance of due diligence and some have no due diligence at all.

But yes, this is a global problem, but would the fact that media agencies are acting in this way have the same resonance in, say, India or China?

We’ve already had heavyweights in the US speaking up about this, which will have spooked the biggest westernised market in the world to a point where a leading investment advisor in the category, Pivotal Research, has downgraded the category based on this controversy. Just from this perspective, its global.

What’s failed us?

In the Australian market at least, there is a lack of regulation. In the wake of the situation coming to light, we have seen the self-confession of media auditors that they rely on the agencies for the data.

The self-funded industry bodies, which manage self-regulation, have denied the problem. And advertisers have not wanted to rock the boat for fear of revealing how little control they have over the millions of dollars invested in media. But many markets across the region are the same and can even provide a more fertile landscape for this behaviour.

But this would not be an issue if it had not been for the systematic process of procurement driving reductions into agency compensation agreements. Rather than focusing on the value the media investment delivered to the advertiser, the outdated compensation structure pays for the cost of service provision. Procurement has successfully reduced this cost so it no longer accounts for the increased complexity of media agency operations.

In the face of reduced fees, media agencies have reduced costs by increasing reliance on low cost junior staffers. Working in the pressurised environment of the media agency without enough training leads to poor decisions and poor practice.

Let’s not forget: this whole thing came about because some buyers fluffed some post analysis reports. Everything else – the debate about AVBs, value backs, kick-backs, etc – has been the result of press blow-up and the decision of John Steedman to make further admissions.

In the face of this commoditisation of traditional media agency services driving down traditional revenue streams, media agencies have needed to diversify their service offering, often ahead of the revenue curve. This has meant they have had to fund it somehow and still make profits.

While diversification of services is natural to any business in terms of future-proofing, in the case of media agencies, you could argue that this commoditisation of the core services has forced their hand to some extent.

So am I suggesting that AVBs or arbitrage would never have happened if agencies had been paid better in the first place?

Continue reading “Media agency transparency is not a local issue, it’s global”

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3 different types of pitch consultants and what you can expect from each

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder and Global CEO 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.

Since 2003 when we undertook our first pitch management project for an advertiser, we have been investing heavily in building our resources, both human and online. Today we have our TrinityP3 Agency Register and Ad Cost Checker databases that contain the extensive details of more than 2000 agencies and a database of agency remuneration benchmarks from more than 20 markets and growing.

More than a decade ago the market was much simpler. Digital was relatively new and Facebook had less than one million users. We were lucky we could build and develop our methodology, working with our clients to develop more robust and proven techniques and methodologies.

Senior man and laptop

Marketing and advertising have become increasingly complex

It is fair to say we were very much a Process Consultancy with a clear view of what would be required to add Rocket Science to our offering. And it was clear that it was not just because we wanted it, but because the industry needed it.

Marketing and advertising have become increasingly complex. The pace of change, driven by technology, means that the process for selecting and managing a roster of agencies also needs to change.

I believe if we were starting now we would struggle to keep up-to-date and relevant, especially in areas such as digital media, data analytics and technology. But increasingly this is across all aspects of marketing. I can only imagine how the traditional ‘Grey Hair” consultants would cope with these topics based on their industry experience from a time when this technology did not exist.

It got me thinking about the journey we have come from in the area of agency roster selection and management. The transition from Process Consultants to offering our clients Rocket Science in this area. (Not enough grey hair as yet for that designation, although there are a few Grey Haired Consultants that clearly take to the bottle of dye).

Types of consultant offers based on the current market

Here are my thoughts on what each type of consultant offers based on the current market.

Continue reading “3 different types of pitch consultants and what you can expect from each”

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What I learned in 90 days as a Marketing Management Consultant

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.

Here’s an interesting thing: when I privately announced to selected colleagues my decision to enter the world of ‘consultancy’, the reaction I had was…well, to use a polite cliché – mixed.

Having been on the inside for the last almost-ninety days, it has occurred to me that, much as I respect said colleagues, there is a fair amount of misunderstanding about the role of consultants in our industry.

David Angell - TrinityP3

No one has asked me to write this. And it is not intended as an advertorial. But for anyone out there considering consultancy, either independently or with an organisation like TrinityP3, fresh eyes are sometimes best. For anyone not sure of our role – here are some truths, home-delivered.

So, shall we have a quick look under the hood? Here are four comments I took on board, versus the reality of what I’ve found so far.

Continue reading “What I learned in 90 days as a Marketing Management Consultant”

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Why are you still paying production mark-ups to your agency?

This post is by Lyndon BrillAgency Remuneration Expert at TrinityP3. Lyndon has worked at the highest level in the advertising industry for over 10 years and is ideally suited and experienced to assist our clients in achieving their maximum growth potential.

With all of the recent controversy about secret media commissions, kick backs and the like, it is no wonder that many advertisers are overlooking the same behaviour happening with agency production mark-ups.

Just the other day I read a publication from a reputed local industry ‘finance guru’ who was justifying the practice of charging production mark-ups on external supplier arrangements.

Agency production mark-ups - man with taped mouth

Yet this practice should have gone the way of the media commission. The truth is that like media agencies, many creative agencies are continuing to apply a production mark-up, often without their clients knowing.

Agency justification

In the publication, widely distributed and promoted to agencies and agency associations across the market, it stated the charging of a production mark-up was essential to:

  • reimburse the time involved to negotiate with suppliers
  • provide their administration cost recovery
  • compensate the value of their intellectual property and technical expertise

Of course all of these seem reasonable at face value. But then when you dig a little deeper, isn’t this the reason why a marketer engages an agency partner in the first place? And aren’t most agencies already being compensated for this in other ways already?

What does justify the production mark-up for the agency is the opportunity to increase their revenue and potentially their margin if it means they are being paid twice for the same service.

Now don’t get me wrong, these are all services provided by the agency and the value of these services should be paid to the agency based on the agreed method of compensation.

However, to remunerate them via a production mark-up is essentially flawed in my opinion. This is especially the case where these costs are already either retained or estimated as part of the production estimate anyway, which could effectively lead to the marketer double paying for some services.

Lacking transparency

The problem with agency production mark-ups, much like the recent controversy on media agency kickbacks, is that they can be difficult to identify.

In the industry publication I read, it mentioned that it was common practice within the industry for an agency not to disclose any mark-ups or margins on 3rd party charges, which totally undermines the concept of a transparent relationship.

If the agency is not disclosing the addition of a production mark-up then it can be very difficult to identify the practice unless you know what to look for in the agency estimates and invoices. Of course you could undertake a full financial audit of your agency, but if they are not doing it, it could be a complete waste of time and effort, and a flag to the agency that you do not trust them.

But have you and the agency agreed on whether they can add a production mark-up or not?

Continue reading “Why are you still paying production mark-ups to your agency?”

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Why Sydney Skinny is great training for successful agency pitching

This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder and Global CEO 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.

On March 1 this year I participated in my first Sydney Skinny. I can say it will not be my last. For those unaware of the Sydney Skinny, it is the world’s largest organised skinny dip – nude ocean swim.

Author, adman and social entrepreneur Nigel Marsh raises funds for a number of associated charities and causes, and started the event three years ago. Nigel was also instrumental in getting me to take the plunge.

Along with more than a thousand other people, we all gathered for our nude swim.

Sydney_Skinny_2015Apart from being a fabulous way to start the day, made even more marvellous by the amazing Sydney weather, it made me reflect on the performance we put on in daily life and how this often gets in the way of making a real connection. Especially when we are trying to make someone like and respect us – such as during an agency pitch.

Picture the audience nude

I remember doing one of those many presentation-training sessions when I worked in agencies. There seemed to be a new presentation technique or approach every other month. But in this particular one, they advised that one way to overcome nervousness was to simply picture the audience you are presenting to as being naked, nude, starkers, not a stitch on.

The theory was that in the process of imagining them without clothing you strip away their power as you could not be scared or afraid of something you found amusing. As a man, this could be embarrassing if you were presenting to a room of top models.

But in actual fact I believe it was more a distraction technique.

At the Sydney Skinny, it was quite an opportunity to put this to the test. You see, I did not have to imagine the audience without their clothing, because there on the beach everyone was naked.

The fact is that being publically stripped of your clothing is actually quite a liberating experience. (You can tell this was my first time, right?). You overcome the last shred of self-consciousness of being naked because of the fact that everyone else is naked too.

And there is a huge sense of connectedness because you realise we are all just a group of people standing on a beach on Sydney Harbour.

Standing naked and alone

The experience would have been very different if I was standing on that crowded beach and was the only one that was naked. I can only imagine the sense of humiliation I would feel having people look at my naked body while they were protected by their clothing from judgement and ridicule.

That thought reminds me of presenting my own creative work to a client for approval. In many ways the concept you have created is part of you and to stand there presenting this idea of yours for approval, was like standing there naked as someone critiqued and judged your creation.

I remember one client who was so busy having lunch that he requested we come and present our concepts in The Botanical Hotel on a Friday afternoon. At the next table was the creative department at a rival agency and as the Creative Director I had to present the concept for approval. It was a very challenging experience. But it was made bearable by the other agency holding up napkins, scoring my performance. Luckily it was eights and nines.

But what if we were all sitting there naked in that restaurant? What if instead of hiding behind our uniforms of power, or wearing our armour, we dropped the pretence and connected in the process as human beings?

If the client was naked too would their reaction be different?

Continue reading “Why Sydney Skinny is great training for successful agency pitching”

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