Importance of relationship management from day one of a new agency appointment

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.

We see and hear about this time and time again. In the glow of the new agency relationship, both the marketer and the agency are often oblivious to the need to establish the ground rules and implement a process of on-boarding the new agency and establishing the working relationship.

Often when we raise the topic the marketers feel that the process will happen naturally, and both parties, agency and marketer, are keen to get on with the work now the selection process has been completed.

But without clearly establishing the ground rules and putting in place the rules of engagement, the euphoria of these early days can often lead to issues in the way the agency works not just with the marketing team, but with other agencies in the roster.

At the least there will be a loss of productivity in the relationship, at worst it can lead to a complete breakdown and the need to go through the whole selection process again.

Bad_RelationshipsWhy avoid the process?

Having been through the agency selection process, which can take weeks, or even months, it is natural for both the agency and the marketers to want to get to work rather than undertake further process implementation. But a short-term focus on outcomes will ultimately be compromised by not getting the process right.

Of course, rushing into a new or major project with the new agency will invariably mean that both parties will work out a way of working along the way. But often in the rush of the new project there are miscommunications and oversights of some of the major issues.

Many marketers will feel these are a small compromise, which can be corrected later, only to discover that by the time they have an opportunity to address the issues arising there has been significant loss of time, resource or budget and the relationship, once past the honeymoon period, has soured.

This is a classic situation where an ounce of prevention can eliminate the need for a tonne of cure later. The process does not have to hold up the work, but it does have to be done and can be incorporated into the program of work upfront.

What is required and when?

There are three key areas that need to be established up front:

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SEO audits – what are they and why should you use them?

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. 

Most organisations now realise that SEO is a hugely important element of any marketing strategy.

SEO dictates the level of visibility of your brand and is an inextricable part of any content marketing strategy.

It is no longer the domain of tricksters and spammers as Google has continually raised the bar to eliminate the multitude of manipulative tactics and hacks that were once in the toolbox of every affiliate marketer and “get rich quick” pyramid scheme promoter.

Fortunately.

SEO audits

Today, search engine optimisation is all about value and quality. Content is King… right?

Not so fast!

Your content may be exceptional and your website might be state of the art in design and user experience but if you make any mistakes you will attract varying degrees of loss of trust or you will be marked down as a preferred solution to a given query.

The rise of technical compliance

This has been an incremental process and Google has been very clear that fast, efficient, error-free websites that don’t suffer from thin content or spammy backlinks will perform well in Google’s search results.

A series of major algorithm updates have targeted specific ranges of tactics - Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Pirate, EMD, HTTPS/SSL, Payday Loan, Page Layout, Hummingbird, DMCA Penalty and several unnamed and unannounced updates.

Overall the requirements are fairly clear. But working through the increasing range of needed compliance factors has become increasingly complex.

Google Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools has become an essential addition to website performance analysis and this is where a large portion of research can be done. Google has been continually adding features to this tool and gives recommendations on what can be improved on your site.

This is also where Google advises if you have received a manual penalty for non-compliant behaviour or if you have security issues such as malware.

It is not surprising then that I recommend every website must have Webmaster Tools added and the data should be continually monitored.

Other recommended tools

There are a number of very useful tools that take care of different elements of your website. We use the Moz Suite, Ahrefs, Majestic, Screaming Frog and others to look at and analyse backlink profiles.

A clean, high quality link profile is extremely important. Any sign of manipulative behaviour and penalties can be severe resulting in removal from search results or a dramatic reduction in visibility.

What is an SEO audit and how does it work?

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How to unlock media value with corporate trade

This post is by Areef Vohra, Managing Director, Active International Australia. Areef joined Active Australia as Managing Director in July 2013, following a highly successful career in sales, executive search and media spanning more than 25 years.

What do our clients want? It’s the question nearly all of us should be asking ourselves on a daily basis.

With media budgets constantly shrinking, marketers continue to tirelessly chase an ROI on their media spend while countless leading brands battle for increased sales. And this in a world of constant evolution, never-ending product innovation, emerging new technologies that ultimately lead to rapidly changing consumer preferences and vice versa. Most of us are going at full speed just to make sure we don’t lose ground to the competition.

What’s frightening is that with more and more options available to consumers, sales are under increasing pressure, product upgrades are constantly in demand, and new product launches are far more frequent. Businesses are faced with surplus, unsold stock or excess inventory. This is increasingly becoming the most common financial burden and biggest struggle for most businesses in the current market conditions.

So who should care about this? Of course the companies with the issues but also their media agencies and even the media suppliers who provide their media space who should naturally want their clients to succeed. After all a successful client is a repeat client.

Albert Einstein quote

Clients are always looking for ways to get new or incremental revenue and maximise their returns on under-performing or obsolete assets. That’s where Corporate Trade, also known as barter, comes in.  Corporate Trade companies work with clients and their media agencies to combine their challenges and commercial objectives to create financial benefits for their business.

Often described as a marketing or a financial tool, Corporate Trade allows businesses to use their under-performing or obsolete assets to pay in part for media that perhaps otherwise they wouldn’t be able to fund, and also give its clients access to a wide range of business and marketing solutions.

Even though this business solution has been around for decades, it is relatively recently that more and more businesses and agencies have begun to explore this opportunity to pay differently for their media. This unlocks additional media value by part paying for advertising, using their unwanted stock, inventory or assets, making their marketing budgets work harder.

How to use excess stock to pay for media

Let’s say a company has $1,000,000 worth of stock that they need to liquidate. In the secondary market they usually get a 30% return, which will leave them with a $660,000 loss. Using Corporate Trade, they don’t have to bear that loss.  That’s because partnering with a Corporate Trade company can help them restore full value to that product.

Simply put, Corporate Trade takes the stock or asset off the company and issues them with a trade credit* worth the full value of that $1,000,000. This credit sits on their books as an asset, and then can be spent to fund media campaigns through our media partners, thereby recovering the full value of that stock. Over the years clients from all over the world have unlocked value from a diverse range of products from corporate helicopters to chip packet packaging and everything in between!

So how does it work?

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What is the best way to benchmark agency compensation?

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 perennial question from marketers and their procurement team is “How much should I pay my agency?”. And as you can imagine this is even more complex than the question “How much does a television commercial cost?” But at least with the question on agency compensation there is a relatively accepted methodology on how to calculate a fair and sustainable model.

We have created a number of tools to help marketers answer this question for themselves including the TrinityP3 Resource Rate Calculator Mobile Business App and the Ad Cost Checker rate benchmarking site.

In this video I put the whole process together to answer this important question. And yes, ultimately we are able to actually help you answer it based on our extensive database of agency rates, resource requirements and scope of work data in more than 50 markets globally.

But in the meantime here is some food for thought on answering this question.

Transcript:

How much should I pay my agency you ask?

I will tell you.

As much as required to cover their direct salary costs, recoup their overhead and make a fair and reasonable profit.

What’s that?  You want a dollar amount?  Okay.

What is the agency going to do for you and how often?

How efficiently do you work with the agency?

Is everything at the last minute or do you have rounds and rounds of changes just trying to get the work approved?

To calculate how much you need to pay the agency

You need to know the answers to these questions:
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Benchmarking the marketing FTEs within your organisation

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.

We regularly have marketers and procurement come and ask us to benchmark their agency resources. Do they have the right level of account management? Or too much strategy? Is the media trading team right? Or do they need a higher technology resource level?

We have the methodology and data to be able to accurately calculate and benchmark the level and mix of resources required to deliver the scope of work.

We can also provide the same process for the marketing communications resources within the organisation. A common issue within some marketing departments is that they have grown organically to become bloated and ineffectual, while other marketing teams suffer from not keeping pace with the growth in their work scope without a corresponding increase in their resources. Either can lead to inefficiencies and under-performance.

Line_Up_Of_AgenciesWhat do we mean by Marketing Communications?

This is important because just as marketing has become more complex and diverse, we are particularly focused on the communication component, which can include:

  • Campaign management
  • Agency / Supplier Management
  • Sponsorship
  • Events
  • Media (Traditional)
  • Media (Digital)
  • Advertising Production
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Customer Data & Analytics
  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Social Media
  • Research
  • Production Management
  • Corporate Design

The list is extensive, but is specifically focused on the communications component of the marketing mix and excludes marketing functions such as NPD, pricing, distribution and the like.

What criteria are considered?

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Posted in agency remuneration / compensation, agency solutions, customer relationship management, marketing process optimisation, marketing procurement, media planning & buying, resource rate calculator, social media & digital marketing, strategic management, television & electronic production | Leave a comment

12 essential tips for developing a content marketing strategy

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. 

It seems that there is still a major problem around the development and ROI measurement of an effective content marketing strategy.

Questions asked in a series of recent seminars which Darren Woolley presented at demonstrated how much marketers are still struggling with the new digital content arena.

Is it too much of a leap?

Does it require too much new learning?

Learning something complex

And how can you possibly discriminate between those who know what they are talking about and can deliver results and those who have read all the right blogs and can regurgitate content strategy platitudes that appease those who are feeling just a little bit…

lost?

Yes, it is a big call. And there are many content marketing mistakes that can be made along the way – all of which will seriously hinder your results.

My 12 tips for developing an effective content marketing strategy

Here are my 12 primary, essential tips that you must take into account if you want all of the business benefits that a content marketing strategy can bring to your business – big or small.

1. Develop a strategy

Makes sense to start here doesn’t it?

It is hugely important that the content creation team (or person) has an understanding of who your customers are, what your business does, what needs your products or services satisfy, what language or jargon and tone of voice is appropriate for your customers and most importantly, what success looks like.

It is necessary to analyse personas and to develop content that will engage these potential customers.

Before conducting any research into potential search queries it is important to have an in-depth conversation to get familiar with USPs and competition, market reach and business goals.

These should all influence the type of content you are creating.

How frequently should you be publishing? What form will the content take? Who will be the business lead for this content?

The strategy should always be focused on solutions. It should answer your potential customers’ questions and should give value. It should also be structured for ease of indexing by search engines so your customers can find your solutions easily.

2. Publish content regularly

If there is not a commitment to regular content then a content strategy will not be effective. This is the big hurdle for some businesses.

As soon as things get busy many people have difficulty finding time to supply crucial information for their audience.

If you are struggling to resource this content creation from inside your company then you must outsource to writers who have an understanding of web structure and optimisation (but do not go down the “SEO copywriting” keyword repetition path) and who can write for humans, not robots.

What is regular enough?
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The good, bad, bizarre and unknown of Mergers and Acquisitions

This article was originally posted by Stephan Argent on the Argedia Group website. Stephan Argent is the CEO of Argedia Group and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3.

GooTube

So Apple just inked its acquisition of Beats Electronics for a whopping $3 billion.

Some argue the deal is pricey – even for Apple – given Beats headphones rail against Apple’s sleek design ethic. Others argue it gives Apple the opportunity to build a ready-made music subscription service, revitalising their music download business.

Time will tell whether the deal is good, bad, or bizarre for Apple to complete, but it got me thinking about mergers and acquisitions that have already made their marks on history in a variety of categories.

Here are my picks for the good, bad, bizarre and – like Apple’s acquisition of Beats – unknown:

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12 simple ways to improve agency communication and relationships

This post is by Kylie Ridler-Dutton, Marketing Management Consultant at TrinityP3. Kylie is a discipline neutral specialist with consulting and implementation experience spanning across retail, alcohol, utilities and telecommunications.

Achieve success with your agency through everyday relationship psychology

Like a pre-arranged marriage you go in blind and hope for the best. However, in this day and age we have the power to go into a relationship with the expectation that our needs will be met.

Agency communication

 

Laying out the ground rules through communication at the very beginning establishes clear expectations so it doesn’t turn sour. What works for you may not work for the next person. We are very complex creatures and with the plethora of partners we can choose, both business and personal, it feels easier to just start again.

The smallest changes in our communication can make a healthy lasting relationship

Set expectations at the very beginning:

1. Take the time to sit down and plan before you launch into every day life. Like personal relationships both parties want to feel their needs are being met and that they are understood.

2. Set time in your diaries to catch up on a regular basis and review your agreed requirements. Agree on areas for improvement and how this can be achieved to avoid disappointment.

3. Assess what you want to spend time together discussing or even not discussing, so the time spent together is productive and positive.

4. What makes you tick? Do you prefer a phone call to a million emails? Are you are a morning person, a coffee catch up before you hit the desk job?

5. Plan, plan, plan – Share how your day pans out, what meetings do you attend and when do you need some extra support or pro-active input. The more both parties are prepared the better the results.

6. Plan, Plan and Plan again - both parties will have goals to be met and daily tasks they need to achieve so if one party throws a curve ball the other is going to face conflict with achieving their goal which leads to frustration.

7. Allow for growth, trust takes time and often we are thrown together like a pre-arranged marriage. Most of us have a different work style, the planner or the person who gets a thrill from last minute cramming - recognise the work style of your partner/s and try to compromise on how to get the best results.

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3 questions for agency roster management expert – Darren Woolley

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.

As TrinityP3 continues to grow, so does the team of professionals within the company as does the depth of experience and expertise. Therefore I want to take this opportunity to introduce some of the core team members and their expertise, before having them answer three questions on what they do being:

  1. What are the challenges facing marketers today in their area of expertise?
  2. How does TrinityP3 assist marketers in this area?
  3. What advice would they give to any marketer facing these challenges?

Finally in this series of TrinityP3 expert videos I’d like to reintroduce you to me. As the founder and the Global Managing Director for TrinityP3 I have been involved in a wide range of projects with the full breadth of marketers around the world. The interesting commonality is that most marketers are struggling with the incredibly complexity being driven by technology and the impact this is having on people and the market.

In this video I address the issues surrounding this complexity. Technology is increasing the options and opportunities available to all marketers who are dealing with issues such as how to integrate this technology into customer relationships in an effective and seamless way and how to best structure their marketing teams internally and their suppliers externally to best deliver the strategy.

Q1. What are the biggest issues for marketers in managing their agencies?

I think the biggest issue today for marketers is managing the complexity of the marketplace.

Technology particularly is driving complexity throughout the marketing mix.  New channels, new ways of doing business, new ways that the consumer is engaging with brands is actually driving this.

And so what we’re seeing is that marketers are becoming confused or challenged by these constant changes in technology and what that means is in response to that, marketers are often finding themselves getting a range or a roster of agencies that covers all of these different areas.

So instead of just having their creative and media agency, they’ve now got specialists in each area. It’s not unheard of for marketers to have twenty, thirty, even up to one hundred different agencies to cover this level of complexity.
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The 45 second TVC up-sell – why does this happen?

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.

Would you like fries with that? Or, “How come I ordered a 30 second TVC and ended up with a 45 second TVC?”

I have been in advertising for more years than I care to admit and I have seen the 45 second TVC up-sell happen on a regular basis. So why does this happen?

Hamburger

It usually happens when the “entertain and engage” part of the commercial has a complex plot scenario or the director has suggested some extra shots to enhance an already “full” TVC.

Many director’s think that it is their job to make these suggestions and to bring that “little bit extra” to a TVC, after all isn’t that what separates them from their rivals?

Every time I sit in on a director’s presentation and he or she says “Wouldn’t it be great if we could just add ……..”, I know that someone will be disappointed, and more often than not that will be the client.

Management of the TVC

If TrinityP3 is involved in the management of the TVC we suggest that a timed animatic is presented to the client and the agency so that decisions can be made before the shoot regarding what will fit into the 30 second version stipulated in the production brief.

Sometimes it is a chance to weigh up if the director’s suggestions could replace some of the agency’s story line but this is very rare indeed as the agency’s script has been crafted to fill the advertiser’s brief.

The director’s suggestions are typically there to enhance the drama, comedy or performance or whatever is the main driver behind the “entertain and engage” story. Quite often the timed animatic never gets made, and the cost to produce an animatic or the delay to the schedule is sited as the reason.

The advertisers in their innocence are told by the agency producer and client services that the director and creative team “know what they are doing” and that it will all “fit in” especially if there is no lip sync to drive the timings.

Are agencies deceiving their clients?

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